NewsCitrus, Hernando County


Hernando Co. student invites School Resource Officer to adoption ceremony

Posted at 4:13 PM, Dec 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-13 19:36:26-05

HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. — Imagine it’s one of the most important days of your lives.

Can you picture who would be standing next to your side?

Possibly your mother, brother or maybe even your best friend?

For one Hernando County teenager, the answer may surprise you.

But, it’s a sweet surprise with a deep meaning.

“We had pulled in and she was standing out in the driveway waiting for me to come when I got out of the car she introduced herself to me and I introduced myself to her,” Abrianna McGonigal said, explaining the first time she met her foster mother.

HERNANDO NEWS | The latest headlines from Hernando County

It was four years ago when the 8th grader was stripped away from the only family she knew. Her infant brother taken into Department of Children and Families custody, the life she knew of living in cars, surrounded by trash and drugs had ended.

“It’s a different life, it’s very different,” Abrianna said.

She’s put away her past and doesn’t blame her birth family for what happened. She’s now focused on the bright future she has with the McGonigal family.

Along with her brother Nick, who is now five years old, the two will stand before a judge on Friday the 13th of December and officially become permanent family members.

“That’s, that’s my mom,” Abrianna said looking at Lisha McGonigal.

But it’s not necessarily the adoption ceremony which caught the hearts of ABC Action News, it was the sweet invitation Abrianna offered to an unsuspecting guest.

“Hey deputy, just wanted to give you a heads up that with the permission of my mom you are invited to my adoption,” Abrianna read from the letter she gave to Deputy Jack Evans, a School Resource Officer.

Scribbled on notebook paper in ink, Deputy Evans thought it was maybe a birthday invitation or silly joke the middle schooler set on his desk. But, it was much more. Evans tells ABC Action News he yelled, "oh my god!"

“I was overwhelmed and I couldn’t believe someone thought that much of me to invite me to such a beautiful process,” Deputy Evans said.

After reading the letter from Abrianna, he immediately called his wife to tell her the gratitude he felt from just being invited.

Abrianna continued to read the letter to ABC Action News, next to her new mother.

“Both my mom and I have felt like you have been an amazing impact in my life,” Abrianna said as she finished reading the letter.

Lisha McGonigal, Abrianna’s new adoptive mother, thanked Deputy Evans for being there for her newest addition.

“Obviously we can’t, any parent can’t do it by themselves and to have someone like Deputy Evans to be a part of Abrianna’s life is priceless,” Lisha said.

The unlikely relationship between the two, was found after what Abrianna says she lost her first family.

The SRO with a badge and a soft side, became fast friends with the teen who says it’s all due to trust.

“The way he would talk to me and the advice he would give me it was like he went through the same thing and even if he didn’t he understood me which meant the most to me,” Abrianna said.