April 17, 2010

We're Officially a Family!

On Tuesday, our adoption was finalized. This date hasn't been emotionally significant to me but it's been a nice marker for the end of the formalized process. I felt like Nora was our daughter when, like a deer in the headlights, we left the hospital and I scolded myself for swearing on the way home and anxiously made sure that no one on the road was going to put her precious life in danger.

The first weeks were surreal as we went from a couple with no children to a family but Nora felt like "ours" all the while. This was a luxury we were afforded by how amazing C and J have been through this process and their maturity and selflessness. This entire process could have felt much different and I'm blessed that we have had the experience that we have had.

Nora woke up at 4:30 am on the day of her finalization. (Daycare has thrown her sleep for a loop and she still hasn't slept through the night). I brought her downstairs on the couch to lay with her and held her back to sleep for an hour or so. It was such precious time for me to think of how blessed I am to have this beautiful and remarkable daughter. It's sometimes hard for me to realize that I get to be her mother. I notice that I refer to myself as mommy maybe a little bit more than other moms. I think it's because sometimes it's hard for me to believe that this is my life and I have the privilege of being a mother to Nora.

My sister and brother-in-law flew out to take part in her finalization. So, the house was soon crazy with four adults trying to get ready and get out the door by 6:45 am. Joel's parents were going to follow us to the court house so they were at our house as well in the midst of utter chaos. My house was a disaster and we were were all in an insane whirlwind trying to leave. I got Nora dressed and realized I lost her shoe that matched with her dress. We searched frantically for it and ended up on Plan B. Finally, we were all in the car and on our way to the courthouse.

We got to the courthouse in plenty of time and waited in line to get through security. I justified why all of us had a million cameras when they aren't normally allowed and we all proceeded into the courthouse. Just as we passed through security, I saw our caseworker. When she called my name and I saw her the emotion of the day hit me and I almost burst into tears. I was, honestly, surprised by my reaction. I think it was because our caseworker has been part of the entire process with us and the journey we had been through somehow became very real to me. Plus, I like our caseworker and realized we wouldn't really be seeing her much anymore (and as a result my house will never quite be as clean).

We proceeded to the court room and as I crossed the threshold Nora had a complete meltdown. She gets overly tired and looses it so I spent a few minutes walking through the courtroom with her in the Ergo Carrier. She finally fell asleep. The line for security was so long that the adoption case that was supposed to be before us wasn't there yet. Also, our judge wasn't there. They found a new judge (who I think was better than the original based on feedback I heard) and they decided to have us go first.

It wasn't quite like I imagined. The entire process was very fast and Nora was sound asleep through the entire process. I pictured photos of all of us calmly smiling with the judge but Joel and I were both stressed out because of the crazy timing and Nora's meltdown and Nora was sound asleep. The judge was kind enough to take a photo with us and he shared with us that he's an adoptive father of two children from Korea.

Our families then went to brunch to celebrate Nora and our new family. I felt blessed to be surrounded by our loved ones who are so happy to be celebrating Nora and who love her so dearly.

(I'm having trouble with my email so photo to come later).

14 comments:

  1. Congrats :) What a fantastic day!

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  2. Happy Adoption Day to you all!

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  3. Congratulations on your big day!!! :o)

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  4. What a fun day to celebrate!

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  5. Congratulations on officially becoming a forever family! I'm sure the courthouse stuff felt like a formality since in your hearts she was already yours;)

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  6. So excited for you! I'm so happy you are a three person family now

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  7. yeah!! Happy Adoption Day, Nora! We celebrate that day every year with our daughter. It is a very special time!

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  8. Congrats and Happy Adoption Day to Miss Nora!! I remember ours like yesterday (thought our 1 year celebration of it is just around the corner).

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