Interview with Judge William Sizemore Jr. for National Adoption Month

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

By Kathleen M. Calcutt

On September 25, Judge Sizemore took time away from the law review article he was writing to talk about one of his favorite topics, adoption. The Judge’s office is decorated with memorabilia and family pictures, including a picture of his adopted, oldest daughter graduating from college, and his three adopted siblings on their adoption day. Judge Sizemore presides over between 10 and 20 adoptions per year in our six county circuit. He says, “Adoptions are a time of celebration. Everyone is happy.” In virtually every other type of case he presides over, there is a winner and a loser. On adoption day, “No one is losing.”
When asked about his own adoption he says, “It is 100% wonderful. She is grown now with a child of her own. I couldn’t be prouder.”
“My mother, always for the underdog, became a CASA volunteer in Albany. Through her work with children in the foster care system, she and my father felt called to adopt. They adopted a sibling group that included a boy, age four, and two girls, ages approximately six and eight. I cannot say it was not without its challenges and adjustments at the time, but no question it was positive for them, my parents and my other brother and myself. Adoption is important. Through this process, you can change lives. I think people should remember how much of a difference they can make when deciding whether to participate in the adoption process.”
The final adoption is a closed hearing. Judge Sizemore allows the adopting family to decide whether they want to conduct the final hearing in the courtroom with all their friends and family, or if they want a more intimate proceeding in the Judge’s chambers with just the adopting family present.
“Prior to the hearing, I review the file and confirm that the lawyer has done everything that the Code requires. I review the home study and make sure that the adopting family is qualified to adopt the child or children and that they have completed the necessary background screening.”
During the hearing, Judge Sizemore makes everyone feel welcome. The hearing is light hearted and upbeat. Sometimes families wear matching t-shirts and bring balloons or a banner. Judge Sizemore added:
“I especially love the adoptions of the older children. They really want to be there and are so happy.”
Sometimes the child being adopted is a local.
“I enjoy having the opportunity to watch them grow up.”
The Judge closed our interview by saying:
“Adoption is something special. I enjoy being part of something that makes such a positive difference in people’s lives.”