Chancellor Rambo celebrates “joyful part of the job”
By Scott Robertson
It’s not often you see a courtroom full of smiling faces. Generally, when someone in black robes is seated on the bench, the mood is serious, if not somber. But Saturday, Nov. 23 in Elizabethton, the proceedings of Chancery Court were anything but dour. Saturday was National Adoption Day, and some 31 families grew in size and love during one marathon court session.
Chancellor John Rambo presided over proceedings that saw families from the four counties of the first judicial district complete the adoptions of children ranging in age from toddlers to teens. “We started the National Adoption Day last year in Jonesborough,” Rambo said. “This year we did it in Elizabethton.”
“National Adoption Day is the only time we have court on Saturday,” Rambo said, “and adoptions are the only matter that’s on the docket.”
The clerks from all four counties in the district were on hand for the event, but Rambo noted the Carter County Clerk and Master’s office orchestrated the event. “We haven’t made plans for where to do this next year, but Elizabethton made a great case that it should come back, because Carter County rolled out the red carpet for these adoptive families,” Rambo said.
As chancellor, Rambo presides over individual adoption proceedings throughout the course of the year, but he said he looks forward to the annual celebration of the institution of adoption.
“We do somewhere between 75 and 100 per year. National Adoption Day usually represents about a third of the adoptions I do. I typically average one to two a week,” Rambo said. “Tennessee, being the Volunteer State, is the No. 1 state for adoptions.”
“During the rest of the year, we always put our adoptions at the first of the docket before we start the regular cases. It puts the judge and everyone else in a good mindset for the rest of the day. It is the highlight of the job.”
For the families involved, National Adoption Day was the culmination of a long process. For Rambo and the other officers of the court, it was a privilege just to be able to take part.
“You meet a lot of families who have taken in a child, and now love that child, and that child loves them,” Rambo said. “The judge has the honor of being able to make official what they have already created, which is a family. That is the joyful part of the job. Nothing comes second compared to it.”