*Writers note – I cannot believe that I forgot to post this- it was only one of the single most important days in “solidifying” our family.
July 20th is a day that our family will celebrate the way we celebrate birthday’s, anniversaries, and holiday’s. July 20th is the day when the
great state we live in and by affiliation, the United States Government (including the IRS) recognized that Miss E was our daughter. July 20th was our Adoptions Day!
It was a typical desert July day- hot, very hot, with some humidity creeping into the air teasing of a great monsoon storm. I woke up nervous, scared, and intimidated. You see, A & I had filed for (and been granted) temporary custody of E back in April. This wasn’t a step we HAD to take, as in our state, once you’re certified to adopt a child, you can skip the step of requesting temporary custody. However, our medical insurance wouldn’t add E until we had some form of proof of responsibility, and temporary custody was the easiest way to show proof of responsibility. For our temporary custody hearing I was expecting that we walk in, show we had the baby in our, well, custody, and leave. Boy was I wrong.
Our Temporary Custody Hearing lasted about 45 minutes and the judge (normally these are done by a commissioner, but our commissioner had just been promoted to judge) grilled us. He asked A & I several questions that blew my mind. With that experience in tow, I could only imagine what the commissioner would ask us when we were “playing for keeps”.
We woke up (late) and got ready quickly so we could head off to juvenile court. (We were late because I had driven home the night before to attend the hearing. I had been spending the week with the girls from my volunteer group at a camp located 3 hours north-east of our city). Apparently our county does all adoptions on the same day, because when we arrived there were several nicely dressed mom’s, dad’s, and babies/toddlers/young children (at least I had hoped they were there for adoptions and not for having already committing a crime).
While going through the security line, we were stopped and asked what we were here for. Mind you at this point we were late, I was testy, and E was not quite 4 months old- what did they THINK we were there for? I looked at A very confused and must have been emanating my “smart-ass Jenn” look because he quickly interrupted the start of a very cocky (I’m sure) statement from me and calmly said- we’re here to finalize our daughters adoption.
We found our way to our court room and were amazed at the crowd that had gathered. I have to be honest- it was one of the most amazing feelings I’ve had. I was surrounded by people who were in the exact place we were- the finish line. I was surrounded by people who had been praying for their children, played the paperwork game, waited the appropriate time frames and now, were getting to finalize what had been so true in their hearts from day one. It is an atmosphere and a feeling that I will never forget.
Shortly after we arrived my parents, sister, and cousin joined us. Janet, our attorney then found us and we
patiently waited for our name to be called. Finally, it was our turn.
We walked into our court room and were sworn in. Our commissioner then asked a few questions to verify who we were. He then asked the most important question we’ve ever been asked. Commissioner H. asked us if “we promised to love, protect, and cherish this little girl for the rest of our lives”. Without hesitation, we both answered, “we do”. He then read his mandatory speech, smacked his gavel, and just like that, we were an official family.