Share This Page

City of Pittsburgh detective, 2 boys finalize adoption before judge

| Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014, 11:06 p.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Jessee Mook, 11, enjoys some father-son time with Detective Jack Mook in their Brighton Heights home hours after he and his brother, Josh, were adopted on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. “It’s real now. It’s forever,” said Mook, 45. “Even when they leave the house at 18, I’ll still get headaches.” Mook said the boys’ birth parents will remain a part of their lives.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Detective Jack Mook (left) raises his hand alongside Jessee Mook (center), 11, and Josh Mook (right), 15, as they pledge their willingness to be adopted by the detective in adoption court at the City County Building in Downtown on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. “I have been so very impressed with the wonderful job (Mook) has done,” Judge Kathleen Mulligan said during the proceeding.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Detective Jack Mook (right) waits outside of adoption court at the City County Building in Downtown with Jessee Mook (left center), 11, and Josh Mook (far left), 15, on the day of the boys' official adoption on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. Detective Mook learned about the boys' troubled home life – their birth parents struggled with drug addiction – and stepped in as foster father in Feb. 2013 after police arrested the boys’ guardian.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Jessee Mook, 11, of Brighton Heights, look up at Detective Jack Mook as they ride the elevator down from adoption court at the City County Building in Downtown after being officially adopted by the detective along with his brother Josh Mook, 15, on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. “I’m very happy,” Jessee said. “His house is clean, he has great rules, and I know he’s going to make me a better man in life.”
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Jessee Mook (left), 11, does a dance with his celebratory pizza for his adoptive father Detective Jack Mook (center) and his brother Josh (right), 15, at Steel City Boxing in Spring Hill on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. The family brought pizza to the boxing gym where they met in celebration of the boys' legal adoption by the detective. “I’m still ‘Coach,’” Mook said. “Their biological dad is still their dad. I want them to be a part of the good things they experience.” Both boys said they wanted Mook to go through with the adoption. They said their new home is cleaner, and they feel healthier.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Jessee Mook (right), 11, hugs his family cat in his Brighton Heights home hours after being adopted alongside his brother Josh, 15, by Detective Jack Mook (back left), on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. “It’s real now. It’s forever,” Mook, 45, said. “Even when they leave the house at 18, I’ll still get headaches.” Mook said the boys’ birth parents will remain a part of their lives.
Stephanie Strasburg | Trib Total Media
Detective Jack Mook (center) stands for a portrait below framed boxing posters with his two adopted sons Jessee Mook (left), 11, and Josh Mook (right), 15, at their home in Brighton Heights on the day of the boys' official adoption on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014. The two brothers have been living with Mook, who they call 'Coach', since February of 2013 after meeting at Steel City Boxing where Detective Mook volunteers to train neighborhood youth.

With no-nonsense haircuts and near-unbreaking stoicism, Pittsburgh police Detective Jack Mook and his two adoptive sons looked like a family long before a judge made it official on Tuesday.

“You're Mooks!” the detective told Josh, 15, and Jessee, 11, as they celebrated with high-fives outside the courtroom after the brief hearing before Judge Kathleen Mulligan.

“I have been so very impressed with the wonderful job (Mook) has done,” Mulligan said during the proceeding. Applause broke out when she signed the adoption order.

Mook met the boys about six years ago at Steel City Boxing, where he volunteers as a trainer.

In February 2013 , he stepped in as the boys' foster father upon learning about their troubled home life with birth parents who struggled with drug addiction. Police had arrested the boys' guardian.

They've been together since.

This summer, the boys fished at Pymatuning State Park and ate their way through Geneva on the Lake, Ohio. When Mook asked Jessee the name of the burrito place, Jessee grinned and said, “Effin Burrito.”

“They loved it,” Mook said.

Outside the hearing room, the boys — wearing collared shirts and dress pants — posed for photos with Mook and relatives. They changed into T-shirts and gym shorts as soon as they got to their Brighton Heights home, and they planned a pizza party at the gym that brought the family together.

“It's real now. It's forever,” Mook, 45, said. “Even when they leave the house at 18, I'll still get headaches.”

Mook said the boys' birth parents will remain part of their lives.

“I'm still ‘Coach,' ” Mook said. “Their biological dad is still their dad. I want them to be a part of the good things they experience.”

The boys said they wanted Mook to go through with the adoption. They said they feel healthier. Josh is training for a 10-mile run in November, and Mook said he had to cheer Jessee up with ice cream at the end of last school year because the fifth-grader was upset he got a B and C instead of straight As.

“I'm very happy,” Jessee said. “His house is clean, he has great rules, and I know he's going to make me a better man in life.”

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.