Megan and the Judge

Megan Botts accepts a gavel from Judge Luann Cooperrider as a symbol for her adoption into a forever home. Every young person who goes through Judge Cooperrider’s courtroom for their adoption process receives a gavel adorned with a pink or blue ribbon from the Judge.

NEW LEXINGTON — November is National Adoption Month and the Perry County Children’s Services staff has a great reason to celebrate. That’s because one of the children in their custody received her forever home when the adoption process was finalized in Judge Luann Cooperrider’s courtroom on Monday, Nov. 16.

Megan Botts, 17, is the new daughter of Tina Botts. She is currently a student at Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Ohio, with her eyes set on a 2023 graduation date. Her interests are leading her to look into becoming a veterinarian or a photographer. However, that is the future, and this young lady was too busy embracing the present on this her adoption day.

Tina Botts is actually Megan’s second cousin and has already raised a family of her own. Besides three children in their 20s, Tina has a 10-year-old son whom she adopted earlier. She reports that Megan and her son get along perfectly “most of the time.”

Adoption Day began at the Children’s Services building on Mill Street in New Lexington with a photo session on the front lawn. From there, a police escort led the “adoption caravan” to the Perry County Courthouse where the official adoption process was set to take place at 11:30 a.m. in Judge Cooperrider’s courtroom.

As a special surprise, Megan’s biological brother, Aiden, walked into the courtroom with his adoptive father. A family in Columbus, prior to Megan’s adoption, had adopted Aiden. Megan had not seen Aiden in over a year, and the first major flood of tears swept through the courtroom.

Once Megan’s tears slowed to a trickle, she assumed the big sister role as she took Aiden to task for everything from his haircut (too short) to his voice (too low).

The first step of the adoption procedure brought Tina Botts to the witness stand where the attorney for the case, Linda Smith, questioned her. Judge Cooperrider then had questions for Megan to make sure the young lady had a full grasp of the situation. After 1,579 days in foster care, nobody had a firmer grasp on her new reality than did Megan Renee Botts.

Amy Woodside and Wendy Barcus did all the heavy lifting in this case according to Amy Frame, executive director of Children’s Services. Teenagers represent the most difficult age group to find forever homes. Woodside was nearly as excited as Megan during the courtroom ceremony.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled and couldn’t have asked for a better placement. We’re all thrilled for Megan,” remarked Amy Woodside.

With the chronic problem of dry eyes non-existent in her courtroom, Judge Cooperrider proclaimed Megan and Tina as daughter and mother.

“This is absolutely best thing I get to do.” Judge Cooperrider could not have said it any better, and the smiles on the faces of a new family confirmed it.

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