almost final

This morning I finally filed our paperwork with the court to request finalization of our adoption of Baby J. It has taken much longer than we anticipated, but we are now waiting for a hearing date, which could be as soon as a few weeks from today.

Our four post-placement visits took seven months to complete, then our case worker prepared her summary report to submit to the agency after the new year. Then there was a backlog at the agency, causing a delay on our final report. There was also a miscommunication between the agency, our lawyer and us about who should do what first. (We were forced to hire a lawyer to handle certain aspects of our adoption and he ended up helping prepare our paperwork for finalization.)

Now it is finally possible that we might have a court date by the time Baby J turns nine months old.

But even this step was not without misadventure consistent with the rest of our story.

I had been trying to make the time to get to court during business hours when I didn’t have to work. The court closes at 4pm, so with my work schedule and Baby J’s naptime, that meant going in the morning which had not been easy to coordinate.

Finally, I prepared all of our documents and was ready to file last Friday morning. But it was a court holiday, as was Monday (dead presidents day for all you non-Americans). So I planned to go Tuesday morning on my way to work, be the first in line, zip in and out. I’ve been so busy at work and I needed to get in at a reasonable hour so I could get home to see my daughter before bed.

The court website and voicemail said the clerk’s office opened at 8:30am so I got there at 8:15. Yes, I was proud of myself for being early. But the door said the office didn’t open until 9am. My plan was foiled. I still had to commute, so now I would be really late to work, plus I had time to kill. I went to the cafeteria and ate some oatmeal while texting M to vent and wished I had an i.phone to do some tweeting. Great people watching at the county courthouse.

When I returned to the clerk’s office at 8:50am, I noticed a very small sign at the bottom saying that court filings are in a different office on a different floor. That office opened at 8:30am. Crap. Of course there was already a long line. Foiled again.

As I waited in line for any of the four clerks’ windows to become free, I wondered which clerk would be the most helpful, which line would be the quickest. I had a lot of papers to file, originals and copies, some for the court, some for us, and it was complicated.

As I was called to an available window, the clerk who took my paperwork began complaining about how she didn’t normally work in this office, this wasn’t her division or even her desk, that everyone kept asking her questions and she didn’t know what she was doing, that she was just filling in because they were short-staffed. Great, I thought, perfect. I hoped she could at least stick our papers in the right pile.

But then she looked up at me and said, “The good news for you is that I normally do adoptions, so I know exactly what to do here.”

Yes. Phew.

She proceeded to go through all of our documents, checking each form, stamping each one, telling us exactly what we’ll need for the hearing. She assigned us a case number and a judge and said as soon as the agency sends its report, she will call me to schedule the hearing. I was able to look her in the eye and thank her for everything, and tell her how much we appreciate having someone who knows what she’s doing on our case. I left feeling so relieved, but I also had to laugh at the auspicious timing of it all.

When I called M to tell him how we lucked out despite me fumbling through this morning, we agreed the whole thing sounded like a sort of microcosm of our effort to bring a child into our lives.

There we were, finally ready to go but thwarted at every turn. We took detours, we were met with road blocks and frustration. But then we encountered just the right person at just the right time. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and intimidated by the process, we took comfort in knowing we had made the right connection to continue our journey.

Of course I’m downplaying the years of heartache and loss here, but you get the idea.

Now we are one step closer to Baby J becoming our forever family in the eyes of the law.

Of course she is already our family and we would do anything for her. No piece of paper can make her more our daughter than she already is. We have embraced her in our hearts and couldn’t possibly love her any more. But we can’t get her a passport or social security card. We’d need legal advice for how to make her the beneficiary of our life insurance without a social security number. We can’t even open up a bank account for her or start a college fund. We can’t give her our name legally until our adoption is finalized. (When she is issued a new birth certificate, we’ll keep it next to the original which shows K’s name and save them both for her.)

So we’ll celebrate that piece of paper and what it represents.

We’re almost there.

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~ by luna on February 16, 2010.

20 Responses to “almost final”

  1. Hooray!
    Trips to the courthouse are rarely smooth and almost never pleasant. Glad you found the right person.

  2. I’m jealous! We STILL haven’t finalized with V due to the slow courts. You’d think that Mr. Badger being a lawyer would help, but not so much apparently.

  3. I wish you all the very best. We have just started the process (in the UK) and it is very very exciting but frightening at the same time. I will be following your blog and will be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    If you want to see how we are doing you can look at my new blog diary. http://iwanttobeamummy.wordpress.com

  4. an odyssey worthy of homer! so glad it’s all working out despite the lengthy process…oxox to you and M and baby J

  5. Glad you got that extra help you needed. I hope the court date comes quickly.

  6. Celebrating with you, Luna!! One more hurdle crossed.

  7. A great step towards finalizing this part of the journey. Well deserved to have the right person at the right moment to take care of you paperwork! fate!

  8. I am so happy that you ended up with who you did- at just the right moment. I wish you the best and hope for a speedy court date. Keeping you all in my thoughts.

  9. Hooray! Holding you close.

  10. So glad to hear things worked out, despite all the nuttiness!

  11. I’m glad you fought your way through the nonsense–the end is in sight!

  12. Here’s hoping that the rest of the process moves forward smoothly. Congratulations to all you have achieved!

  13. yay for almost being done this part of the paperwork! tee’s court hearing for finalization is on march 10th after which we can work on his canadian citizenship etc. just one more step done:)

  14. I wandered to this post from Mel’s roundup. What a lovely post, and congratulations on having almost cleared one more hurdle in what’s clearly been a long path to reach your daughter (not quite sure how to phrase that! I get that you have already reached your daughter and yet, hurdles remain, so …).

  15. Congratulations on reaching this adoption milestone! Yippee. I remember our forever day, it was such a relief. Keep us posted. :))

  16. Yay for almost having everything finalized on paper 🙂 Very awesome.

  17. It’s such a red-tape process and so complicated. I’m very glad to read you’re at the tail end of the trail,

    g

  18. The finality of the paperwork is a good feeling. We too encountered so many of the bumps in the road of all the paperwork. Unbelievably we still have more step to complete. The adoption is official and my son is a US citizen but something came up and we have ONE more thing to do. It is all worth it.

  19. […] report to court The final report of our adoption agency has (finally) been sent off to court. Now we are really almost final! […]

  20. […] would be in another room. How could five adults not see that sign for 20 minutes? It was exactly what happened when I filed the initial paperwork – we got there early and all of a sudden we were late. But this was different. We could have […]

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