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Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Day I'll Never Forget

Kisses for Charlie!

Our first official day as a family was everything I had imagined it would be and then some. Even though our precious boy has been every bit our son in our minds and our hearts since we first laid eyes on him this spring, it feels good to know he is officially ours in the eyes of the legal system now too. Our day in court yesterday was amazing!

We were lucky to be able to finalize Charlie's adoption on National Adoption Day, which meant we were part of the celebration the court house held in honor of the 14 adoptions that took place in our county yesterday. There were balloons, refreshments, adoption-related information and keepsakes, guest speakers, and news media there to commemorate the occasion. We were interviewed by the reporter who was there, and he took several photos of the three of us together. I wonder if we'll be in the paper? They had four court rooms open, and we were among the first group of families to be called.

We were also fortunate because the judge who presided over our case is also the adoptive mommy of a five-year-old African-American boy. She showed us pictures of her son, and she even asked me if I'd like to get our boys together sometime, which of course I would! During the hearing, she had some insightful and poignant things to say about both the rewards, and the hardships of adoptive parenting, and particularly about what it's like to be a transracial family in today's world. Listening to her, both during the hearing and afterwords, I felt wholly understood and celebrated. I feel excited about the prospect of getting to know her better, and having our sons meet one another.

Our hearing was extremely touching, and emotionally overwhelming. Listening to our case worker talk about our story, and how we waited such a long time for "the right baby" was quite a moment. When she said she would like to recommend us for permanent placement and care of Charlie she said, "They clearly love him to death!" The judge had also read through our entire (40+ page) home study, and she remembered several things that she mentioned during the hearing, including our love story, and our two dogs, which made everyone chuckle.

here we are, taking our solemn vow to accept both the blessing, as well as the burden of parenting.

finally, our long-awaited moment with the judge!

here we are with my mom and dad, Charlie's Ema and Epa...they look so proud!

Once we were done with the legal aspects of our day, we had family and friends back to our house for fun, games, and food! Here's our precious boy, enjoying the homemade letter C ginger bread cookie his daddy made for him.

Seriously...he is too cute for words!

We really had a fantastic day! All day long I felt really special, and really celebrated. We played games, chatted, and everyone seemed to have a genuinely good time. So many people stopped by, it was amazing. At one point there were four little ones under the age of four in our tiny little living room. It was so nice to know that our son was amongst the group of babies. I felt so proud as I watched them play...their laughter was music to my ears! Towards the end of the evening, we commemorated our first-ever Gotcha Day by taking a mold of baby boy's hand and foot.

Once they dry completely, we'll display them in a frame, along with a photo from today, and the signatures of all the guests who stopped by. I'm so happy to have this keepsake, as well as so many great memories from our special family day with our son. It's challenging to get my words to do justice to the overflowing joy, love, and pride I felt yesterday, and still feel today when I think about our beautiful family. We are truly blessed beyond measure, and I am left with an overwhelming feeling of happiness and gratitude when I think about our story and how far we've come in {really} such a short time!

I'd do it all again in an instant!


24 comments:

Kelly said...

Congratulations!!!! I remember our finalization day like it was yesterday, and yes...even though we know our kids are ours from the minute they place them in our arms, there's something to be said about the relief of the court hearing! And how cool to be on National Adoption Day!!!!! What a neat time at the courthouse! Congratulations, your family is just beautiful!

Trace said...

Congratulations!! Ours is scheduled for the 22nd of December. The hand print was a great idea! I think I might steal it (hope you don't mind, it's a compliment!).

Andrea said...

That made me tear up! Thank you for sharing. :)

Rachel said...

Oh, Melba, I am SO happy for you guys. Serious congratluations to you. It sounds like a wonderful day that will be forever treasured in your Mommy heart.

I hope your Thanksgiving is just as wonderful and that you have a great weekend!!

Maura said...

So happy for your family!! We are waiting for a court ate right now :)

H said...

I loved reading about your awesome day and seeing your pictures! I hope this is the absolute best Thanksgiving you've ever had...something tells me it will be:)

KT said...

What a wonderful post to read on Thanksgiving morning! Congratualations, I am so happy for you that it was such a special day!

Melba said...

Trace - absolutely! As a future teacher, my motto is CASE, or copy and share everything! :)

Thanks, everyone for your sweet comments! I wasn't sure many people would be reading since it's Thanksgiving. :)

Love to all of you!!!

Melba

Denver Jen said...

I am crying reading this. What a beautiful and well deserved day. Congratulations on becoming official. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Ashley said...

How fabulous!! Brings back all the posts I read about your waiting and I can't believe he's all yours. What a blessing!! I love the hand mold idea. So creative!

Nancy said...

Congratulations!!!! I'm so happy for everyone.

Anne said...

Wonderful.. Finalization Day is quite an amazing day, isn't it? Love Charlie's little necktie- so cute!! Congratulations! I don't have to ask what you are thankful for this year :)

E said...

Melba, congrats!! Reading your story gave me goosebumps and I was tearing up....what an awesome day for you and your family.

Brooke said...

Congratulations!

Blessed said...

That is so beautiful! So happy for you guys what a beautiful perfect day!!!

Tracey said...

SO SO HAPPY FOR YOU! WHAT A GREAT DAY!

Debbie B said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! So glad this day has come. Be sure to link if you are in the paper. That would be so neat for Charlie's lifebook.

Your judge sounds amazing. Ours was a stick in the mud. I bet she loves doing National Adoption Day's.

What a great idea with the hand and foot prints. I'll have to remember that one for our next finalization.

Your joy leaps off the screen!

RB said...

Simply beautiful!

Jamie said...

absolutely beautiful.....so happy for your little family and all the love that's swirling around. looks like an awesome day!

Becky said...

I am overjoyed for you friend!!! Such tears of joy!!!

hope548 said...

I'm so glad it was such a special day for you! Congrats!

BB said...

Congratulations! It is funny how the legal aspect changes NOTHING in our hearts, but at the same time it means so much. It is, like so many things adoption, too difficult to put into words. It is so nice to see you as a forever family. Congratulations!

TXMom2B said...

Congratulations! Your finalization does sound particularly amazing. Our judge hadn't read the home study, didn't know anything about us or our story, at least that was the impression I got. Even so, it was one of the most moving days of my life. I'll never forget it! So I know how you feel in that respect. It felt like my wedding day in so many ways, if you know what I mean. Anyway, we're so happy for you!

Malloryn said...

Melba, thank you so much for sharing this with us! I loved reading about your family's big day. Just incredible :)