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Newark family celebrates a new daughter born with the Force

It was like a scene out of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

Several Star Wars characters chaperoned 4-year-old Zoe Pedicone’s adoption ceremony Friday afternoon at the Leonard Williams Justice Center in Wilmington.

Zoe’s new mom, 47-year-old Deanna Pedicone of Newark, said many of her friends sent her a video of a princess-themed adoption ceremony held in Michigan earlier this year as she was preparing hers, which got her thinking.

“I asked her, ‘If you could have anybody at your hearing who would you want?’ and she said Darth Vader. Darth Vader is her favorite character,” Pedicone said.

But it wasn’t just Darth Vader who showed up. Chewbacca, R2D2, Rey and a couple storm troopers all helped celebrate, saying they were drawn to Courtroom 2C by Zoe’s strength with the Force.

She only uses her powers for good (and convenience), opening automatic doors and turning traffic lights green.

Members of Garrison Carida, the local chapter of the 501st Legion, a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization, volunteered to help pull off the ceremony.

Family Court Judge Barbara Crowell even donned a Princess Leia costume as she signed the official paperwork.

Crowell, who traded in her typical magic wand for a lightsaber to consecrate this ceremony, considers adoption events her therapy sessions.

“We have many, many children of all ages here in Delaware who aren’t able to be with their biological family and it’s so great when we can find a family like we found today,” she said.

Despite Darth Vader being Zoe’s favorite character, but she was a bit star struck when they initially met.

“She’s still overwhelmed, so I think she’s dancing outside with R2D2, but she kept telling me up to today, ‘You’re stuck with me, mommy. This is it. You’re going to be stuck with me,’ and I was like, ‘I know. That’s what I’m counting on,’” Pedicone said.

Now that they’re legally a family, Pedicone says she’s looking forward to more permanent activities that she wasn’t able to do as a foster parent.

“I think it’s just knowing that I can buy clothes that she doesn’t grow into yet or plan for things that are years out and that’s new.”

Pedicone says she and Zoe are now working on charter school applications, with the young Jedi excited to start kindergarten next year.