MUSCATINE, Iowa–Though the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt special events, Kelly and Scott Dahlke, with the help of the community, still found ways to make the adoption of their son, Angello Dahlke, special. By organizing a gathering of cars outside the Muscatine County Courthouse April 24, Angello had the opportunity to celebrate his adoption with many people he cared about safely.
As Angello’s adoption day drew nearer, Kelly and Scott Dahlke struggled to find a way to celebrate it. Each time they made plans, social distancing restrictions changed. Finally, they decided to invite their family, friends, and Angello’s teachers to come park outside the courthouse. Several local first responders got in on the act as well, parking their emergency vehicles and police cars on the street as well.
After Angello’s video adoption hearing ended, the Dahlkes drove over to the courthouse with the pretext of taking photos, surprising Angello with the line of well wishers. Car horns honked, lights flashed, and sirens blew, all in celebration of Angello. “Our friends and community turned out on a rainy day, and it couldn’t have been more perfect,” recalls Kelly Dahlke.”
“This community helped this little boy in ways they’ll never understand,” added Scott Dahlke: “To make him feel like a prince on a day where hopefully his life will take a different path is priceless. There is no doubt it’s be a day he will never forget.”
Angello himself could not have enjoyed the day more. When the judge finalized his adoption, Angello cried tears of joy, to the surprise of his parents. Later, at the celebration, he got a big kick out of seeing all the emergency vehicles and several friends dressed up in inflatable T-Rex costumes. “He was very excited, and, of course, wanted to hear more sirens,” remembers Kelly Dahlke.
Kelly and Scott Dahlke also felt touched by the community’s show of support, and thank them for everything they did. “There are not enough words that can express the level of humility and gratitude I felt when my family came around the courthouse corner and saw everyone that gathered,” said Scott Dahlke.
“Scott gets to see what the community will do for it’s own fairly often,” chimed in Kelly Dahlke. “I don’t have that same privilege, so when it happens personally it’s humbling, exciting, and helps reaffirm the friendships we’ve made and the goodness in people.”