After seven years of being a stepfather, the day had finally arrived. Thomas Banzhof was able to officially adopt his stepson, Gabe, 10.
“From the start he [Thomas] and Gabe instantly bonded,” Jessica, Gabe’s mother, said. “That was his son…the adoption just sealed the deal.”
“I was just thinking, ‘Wow, he’s officially my father,’” Gabe said.
“The judge asked my son, ‘Is this what you want?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely,’” Jessica stated. “Then she asked him why and he said, ‘Because I’ve been this person for so long, and I just really want to officially belong to a family who really wants, loves and accepts me. And I’ve been a part of that family, and I’m ready for my last name to match theirs.’”
But the cause for celebration didn’t stop there. Only days before, Jessica had a chance encounter at a local pet shop while buying dog food. Cupid, floppy-eared and brindle with a mischievous white face, was out meeting and greeting during a “Dogs on the Town” event with Lucas County Canine Care & Control.
Jessica was immediately taken with Cupid. “I asked if I could pet him and then I noticed that he wasn’t actually her dog,” Jessica said.
That’s when she was told Cupid was available for adoption.
“I guess it was just kinda fate that I met him,” Jessica said. She texted her husband: “I met this dog and I love him.”
The family visited the shelter three times before they decided Cupid was the perfect match for their family. And the day they brought him home?
The same day that Gabe’s own adoption went through.
As soon as the proceedings in the courtroom were complete, the first thing Gabe wanted to do was pick up Cupid.
“I was adopted and now I’m ready to do it for him,” Gabe told his parents.
At the shelter, as he waited for Cupid’s paperwork to be completed, Gabe showed Laura Simmons-Wark, Lucas County Canine Care & Control’s community outreach coordinator, his own adoption certificate. He couldn’t stop smiling.
No one in the room could.
“It’s like, ‘We did it,’” Jessica said. “We’re a family. We’re a whole. And then with Cupid, it’s like he was that little piece that made the puzzle complete.”
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