finally final!

Our big day was incredible, though it started out a little less than smooth.

Baby J woke up happy, which is always nice. She was too distracted to eat, as if she knew something was going on. We rushed to get out to the courthouse by 8:30am so we could park and get through security with enough time to find the courtroom by 9am. We got stuck in traffic and M was convinced we were going to be late. Of all days to be late. The one day in the world we would be called by the state to finally become legal parents to our daughter. I had to tell him to stop worrying because I didn’t want to freak out myself. But as we slowly crawled across town I was starting to worry myself and I pictured us running to make it…

As it turned out, the traffic cleared at just the right spot and we pulled into the lot at 8:29am. After taking the best picture of the day of the three of us in the morning sun on our way into the building, we were through security by 8:45 and waiting outside of our courtroom. Or at least what we thought was our courtroom. Meanwhile, K did make it and even though she had a much farther drive than us, she was early. We gave her huge hugs in the hall and she couldn’t believe how big Baby J had gotten since December. Then my aunt and cousin showed up with her two girls. Her two year old adores Baby J and apparently screamed in the parking lot, “We’re going to see Baby J[…] in court!” to anyone who would listen.

When 9am came and went and there was no sign of activity in the courtroom by 9:15, I finally noticed the sign on the door that said matters scheduled to be heard in that room 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 missed it altogether!

Another matter was being heard in the other room, but we didn’t realize they had already called our names. Oops. We waited for the lawyers to pack and go but then another matter started before the Judge realized we were there and waiting. It was at exactly that moment that Baby J let out a cry to let us know she was hungry and uninterested in sitting quietly. The Judge, bless her, interrupted the proceeding and asked if the parties would please step out for a few moments so she could handle the adoption case. So they packed up and left and we thanked them, and they waited to reconvene while we took their seats.

The Judge came out from behind her gavel with our file, walked over to our table and introduced herself. We introduced K and she invited our family to come join us. She walked through our papers and the agency’s final report. As she recited her findings, behind me I heard my aunt and cousin start to sniffle. The clerk brought over a box of tissues for them, then passed it to us and to K, who didn’t need it. At the moment I was so happy, and while emotional I didn’t feel teary until I heard the cries behind us. Then I had to dab my eyes of course.

When the Judge ordered the adoption final, we each signed the papers and she congratulated all of us. We shook her hand and took some pictures, including some with K, and that was it. All the court staff said this was such a wonderful way to start their day, that these occasions were often the only happy moments in their day, which is just what my mom had said.

Outside the courtroom, M hugged K first. I heard him thank her and say how happy he was that she was with us today. Then it was my turn. As I embraced her it came pouring out. I held her tight and through my tears and I simply said, “I am so grateful for you” and “I love you.” She held me tight and through her own tears she said the same exact thing back to me. When we loosened our grip we each took a deep breath and released it. And it was done.

After we filed the paperwork, we decided to go back to my cousin’s for breakfast. M and I had plans to go out — we were going to take a ride to a little cafe we love by the coast — but with three little kids that plan changed. My aunt insisted on buying groceries as a gift from my mom, so she could be there in spirit. (My nana was also there in spirit because I wore her bracelet that I haven’t worn since our wedding.) Baby J fell asleep in her carrier while we shared a lovely meal and a mimosa toast. Afterwards, we went back to our house and spent the afternoon with K, hearing more about her life these days and all of us enjoying Baby J. (Yes, of course I ended up taking the day off. What was I thinking?)

We talked about how this day was a culmination of the process (and mountain of paperwork) we started nearly two years ago, and the process K started a few months later when she found herself unexpectedly pregnant. Because K signed her relinquishment papers nearly nine months ago, when Baby J was just three weeks old, legal custody has rested with the state (or technically our agency) until today. K said she was really happy that legal limbo period was now over and that she was able to witness this day and share it with us.

When I put Baby J to bed a few hours ago, the magnitude of the day hit me as I said our ritual goodnights to everyone. When I said “goodnight K[…], thank you for bringing J[…] into the world,” the tears started flowing again. Every night, I end our goodnights before our lullabies by telling Baby J how much I love her, how happy we are that she’s here, and how lucky we are. And every night I mean it. But oh, tonight did I ever.

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~ by luna on March 11, 2010.

39 Responses to “finally final!”

  1. Congratulations!!!

    What a beautiful post and fitting addition to J’s story. Like any good story, it needed a little adventure to create drama before the happy ending.

  2. Congratulations, ALL of you. This is an amazing, amazing story and a great way to start MY day. Hugs all around.

  3. Beautiful story – congratulations to all of you!

  4. Congratulations, its a beautiful thing.

  5. I teared up reading this! I am so happy that your forever family is final! Congrats to all.

  6. Absolutely wonderful!

  7. oh how wonderful and congratualtions! she is yours and thats FINAL! thank you for sharing.

  8. Oh, and now I am crying too…

    Sounds like an absolutely perfect day, wrong courtroom and all. So, so happy for you!

  9. Sounds like a wonderful day even with the wrong court room thing.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story here. I have tears in my eyes and all down my face now. Congratulations!

  11. I love that your Nana’s bracelet is such a symbol of joining.

    Congrats to the Luna family!

  12. Congratulations Luna! I was on edge reading this post!

  13. Mazel tov! It feels sooooo momentous, so giant, so huge (and it is). And so very beautiful.

  14. I am so excited for you all! Congratulations! I have to admit to a few tears of my own as I read this post. What a perfect day!

  15. I’m a little teary after this. I’m so happy for you. I can imagine that you’ll be telling this story a lot as your little girl grows up and understands what a special + loving family she has.

  16. What a beautiful story. I’m crying here. Sniffling into my Diet Coke.

  17. Yay, so excited for you! But man oh man, I love reading about your relationship with K. It really couldn’t be more healthy. that’s so awesome.

  18. Luna- I am so happy for you and your family- I am excited for you all that everything is final- you will have such wonderful stories to share with Baby J as she grows- she is so lucky to be part of such a loving family!

  19. If I hadn’t ‘watched’ it happen through your words I almost wouldn’t have believed this was real life. It’s more like a made for tv movie:)
    What a happy ending and beginning for all of you.
    xxoo

  20. Wonderful news. Congrats to you and your family and I’m sorry that your mum was unable to come.

    All of you have navigated a complex path so deftly. It is inspirational to watch.

    love B

  21. Sounds like an amazing day. I love to read about families in adoption reaching out to each other and being met with a welcoming hand. I’m glad you asked her, I’m glad she wanted to come, and I’m so happy for all four of you.

  22. I always feel like I am saying the same thing to you…beautiful post. Really though you bring the most amazing parts of your story to “blog” life in such a beautiful way. I am so happy for your family, Luna. Congrats!

  23. Bawling myself so I have no idea how you kept it together actually being there. What a beautiful post, a beautiful day, and an amazing story of so many adults coming together to love this child.

  24. now you have me crying at work….:) congratulations…

  25. Congratulation! I can practically feel the love for your darling girl radiating off of the screen. Now that you can turn the page, may the next chapter in your lives also have a tremendously happy ending.

  26. This gave me chills. So happy for you.

  27. so happy for you!! and your day sounds SO very special. hopefully we’ll be final soon too.

  28. Belated but heartfelt congratulations! Isn’t it amazing how everything can change in just a second? I’m so happy that your journey has brought you to a place of such contentment.

  29. Rituals……..every night as I tuck my 12 year old into bed, I say “thank you for being my daughter” and then pause to say “thank you Denise for creating my family”. I will say my thank you’s until the day that I die. I yearned to be a mom, without Denise I would still feel barren and empty. The special feeling will never leave you. You are blessed indeed! Congrats!!!

  30. Wanted to add my congratulations, too — could not take a break from blog-land without that. Thinking about your family puts such a smile on my face. I wish you all lived down the street and I could come over all the time to borrow a cup of sugar (and share a bottle of wine!).

  31. Luna, I am crying. What a beautiful day! It took us about nine months to be finalized too…agonizing!

    I’m sad that I don’t have the relationship with Sam’s firstmom that you do with K. You are all very lucky…long may it continue to bless you all.

    xoxox

    Flicka

  32. Oh, a big puddle of tears…

    So very happy for you and your wonderful family!

  33. I am so sincerely happy for you…now the legal system has recognized what has existed all along. My best to you and your sweet family.

  34. Wow, this made me tear up. I’m so happy it has worked out all the way around. Congratulations!!

  35. An incredibly belated congratulations! (tears streaming down my cheeks)

  36. Beautiful day, and you summarized it so well. Congratulations!!!

  37. […] around the holidays. Then we didn’t see K until March, when she accompanied us to court to finalize our adoption. Yesterday, we saw K for what will likely the last time until mid-to-late […]

  38. […] around the holidays. Then we didn’t see K until March, when she accompanied us to court to finalize our adoption. Yesterday, we saw K for what will likely be the last time until mid-to-late […]

  39. […] Finally Final (March). Recounts the day we finally became a “forever” family in the eyes of the […]

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