Back in June when we received the letter from our lawyer after they filed our adoption paperwork, telling us that our court date for finalization would be August 1st, I cried staring at that piece of paper. I don’t cry a lot. But I cried at that. I also jumped around my kitchen like a teenage girl, but I cried too.
I wrote something about my emotions toward finalizing our adoption in this post about how I felt like this court date was my giving birth to my children. Since I’ve known that August 1st would be THE day, I feel like I’ve had this dividing line in my life. The line where there would be a before and an after. This would be the second of those lines in my life – My wedding day was the first. December 30th, the day they came home, was penciled in as one of those lines and August 1st would trace over that penciled line with irreversible ink.
July 31st, the day before we were to appear in court, I had butterflies in my stomach all day. Not from nervousness, but from excitement. I’ve never given birth, but I imagine it’s the same feeling knowing you’re going to be induced or scheduled for a c-section the next day. It was overwhelming anticipation knowing that that would be the day you would officially be “mom.”
Friday morning we were scheduled for 8:30 and the courthouse was an hour away. On an early day the kids usually wake up at 7:30, but we had to get them up at 6:15 to get ready to go. So by the time we got to the courthouse, they were already ready for a nap! So a lot of the pictures we have are with their fingers in their mouths and eyes half open. Poor babes!
Aaron’s mom and my dear dear friend, Lesli, were there with us to support and celebrate. Our social worker, Mandy, was also there. That meant so much to have them there with us.
I can’t even begin to express what a beautiful experience this was. Not only the experience of finalizing, but the court itself. Every first and third Friday is adoption day so while we were waiting outside the courtroom, there were a couple of workers who passed by who go, “Oh yay! It’s Friday! We love Fridays around here.” When we came into the courtroom and the judge came in he gave a speech about how they are usually strict about the rules in the courtroom but they wanted to bend the rules in order for us to be able to celebrate and remember this special day. So he told us we could use flash photography, record the proceedings, and even have our designated photographer come up behind the bench to view our faces to get the best photos.
There were several families there for their finalization that morning and we all sat in the courtroom while each family approached the bench and we clapped and cheered as each family was finalized. When it was our turn – we were third in line that morning – the judge asked us to introduce ourselves and friends and family with us. Then we were sworn in and our lawyer asked us basic questions about the kids and their placement.
Sidenote: How funny is it that our lawyer’s name is Royal and the judge’s name was Pope?
When she asked us what we would like their names to be, I choked up saying their names because their first names are names we chose and their middle names are the names their birth parents chose. Seeing their names from both worlds on their birth certificates and having it finally recognized was too much for me.
It took less than five minutes and we were done. Everyone clapped. The judge picked out stuffed animals and gave it to them and we all took a picture. This will be going in a frame in our house.
Going in to the adoption process I was under the impression that every move we made would be judged and under a microscope by everyone who came in our home, ready to rip our kids out of our arms at the first sign of ill-parenting. Maybe some agencies are like that, I don’t know. But definitely not our agency. They have been the complete opposite. We are so thankful for Mandy and everything she’s done for us. She’s been the best and easiest social worker to work with. So supportive, encouraging, and laid back and down to earth. Totally the perfect social worker match with our chill, laid-back family. Thank you for everything, Mandy! You’ve helped make this process a beautiful one for us.
After the hearing, Lesli surprised me with this sweet treasure of a gift she made for me. It’s a frame (she knew the PERFECT color I would love!) with the sweetest poem and C and G’s birthdate and adoption date. Again, I don’t cry easily, but reading this made me choke up. It’s a beautiful gift from a friend I treasure deeply.
After everything was over, we changed diapers, fed the kids, and stopped for brunch at the Cracker Barrel (Aaron always laughs that I call it “The” Cracker Barrel). The kids were so tired that they napped in their car seats the entire time we were there – they NEVER nap in their carseats outside of the car. The family that was behind us in court, showed up as well for their brunch and it was so sweet being able to tell each other “congratulations!”
When we got home we spent the rest of the day getting ready for the kids’ Adoption Party, in awe that these babies were now officially OURS and we, theirs.
This part of adoption…it’s beautiful.
Photo credits / Mandy, Momma B, and Lesli. Thanks for helping us record this day!