Our day started out with a photography session. We were late because we didn’t anticipate parking issues and so we had to walk those long downtown blocks, me with heels. Our session went long and then we were late to the courthouse. We were stressed and rushing and out of sorts with ourselves, all because Mimi needed to have some pictures. But we made it, talked to our lawyer, signed our papers and were sent back into the hallway to wait.
I was too stressed to focus on my feelings, mainly worrying about getting our clothes changed, and Nana’s hair fixed. We were overdressed for the occasion, most people in the hallway had on very casual clothes, like jeans. It was noisy and chaotic with so many people waiting their turn.
At some point we were ushered into the courtroom and seated in the back to wait our turn. Our photographer was taking pictures of us randomly while we were waiting, often exclaiming, “this is so cool!” The word of the day was expedient because the judge was approving adoptions right and left, taking pictures and calling the next name in a matter of minutes. I was distracted by Nana and my husband playing, but was trying to ear hustle and find out about the other situations.
In one case, a huge party of around 30 people came to witness the adoption. That was pretty cool. In another case, the judge asked one boy what did he call his adoptive parent and he said “Grandma.” He asked him if he was going to change that and the boy was like, “Uhmm, no.” It seemed a strange question from a judge who probably has seen his fair share of kinship adoptions.
Sometime during our wait, a teenage boy was brought in with handcuffs on his hands and feet. It was a crazy juxtaposition, families coming together while he was being sent away on his own. I wondered where his parents were.
When it was our turn, our name was called. Wood, Nana and I shuffled to the front. Our CPS worker and our agency worker stood at our sides. The judge said something about reading our file and knowing what it took to get her. I was like “huh?” Then he asked if Nana was a Daddy’s girl, and I answered “yes” to Wood’s chagrin. He asked if we were sure we wanted to adopt her and I answered “absolutely!” It seemed like he was directing his questions only to me even though Wood was holding her. After those few questions he was like, okay, let’s take a picture. He let Nana pick out a stuffed animal, which she promptly named Peanut Butter and we took a picture.
It was over. There was no gavel banging, no decree, no dramatic presentation of us as a family. We stood outside, talking a little bit with the adoption workers. I could feel myself getting teary. Everyone started to go out of focus and their conversations became background noise. The significance of the day was starting become more apparent. The journey was over. We were officially parents of this beautiful little girl. We now all belong to each other for life. I’m a mom.
I couldn’t hold it anymore. I started sobbing and was immediately enveloped by our case workers. I was holding Nana and she started wiping my face and telling me not to cry. I heard Wood tell her that Mommy was crying because I was happy. And I was…I am. Because we are now officially a family of three!