8:00 a.m. – You woke up, and the sound of your calls from your room woke the rest of the family. Daddy fed the baby, while Mommy got you out of your crib and offered you a sippie cup of milk. You ran to our bedroom with it and talked to Dad while the baby finished her bottle. Mommy started prepping for lunch and made scrambled eggs for you.
8:45 a.m. – Breakfast time. You have been teething this week and have barely eaten at meals. But, today, you decided to eat your eggs and a portion of pancake. We were so thankful because we knew today was a big day for you!
9:00 a.m. – I got a phone call from your caseworker at Children’s Services. She was trying to close your file and noticed she needed a few more signatures from us. I asked her to bring the forms with her to the hearing and we’d happily finished the paperwork!
9:30 a.m. – Family started to arrive at our home while we finished getting dressed and ready for the adoption hearing. You did not understand why we had visitors but you enjoyed snuggling on Uncle Jake’s lap and watching Sesame Street until it was time to leave for town.
10:20 a.m. – We made the short drive to the court house. We checked in at the Probate Court Office upon arrival and waited to be called. We greeted our attorney and your caseworkers when they arrived. Our family waited in the hallway with us: Grandpa and Grandma, Aunt Kristin, Uncle Jake, Papaw and Nana, Aunt Lynnsay, Uncle Scott and Aunt Mandy, Grandma D, Meme and Papaw all came! The court house was hot, and we were anxious to meet the judge.
11:15 a.m. – Our hearing was scheduled to begin.
Mom was called back first to the Judge’s Chambers. I was sworn in. He and our attorney asked questions about me, our home, our marriage, when we first met you, etc. The attorney commented that you have lived with us your entire life. You know no other parents. The judge talked for a few minutes about how adoption is final and permanent, just as if we were your natural parents. Caring for you is a responsibility and privilege for your entire life: the good times and the not-so-good times. He said you need love, security, discipline, guidance, and affection. I agreed. He said, “You have been her parents this whole time. Today we are just catching up the paperwork.”
The bailiff led me out, and Daddy went back to answers a few questions by himself.
When Dad returned, the bailiff invited us and our guests to enter the court room. We filed in and waited for the judge to enter. What a moment! We had been waiting nearly two years for this moment. Everyone was quiet. Dad squeezed my hand. You sat on Grandpa’s lap behind us, and we all held our breath.
The judge entered the court room. He asked our attorney if he had anything further to present on our behalf. He replied with a request that, based up on the documents files and the testimony in the chambers from the petitioners (a.k.a. Dad and Mom), the adoption be found in your best interest and the adoption finalized today. The judge then found we were “fit and appropriate people to adopt this child and, certainly, we grant this adoption. We order that it be final as of today. That it be a final adoption.” After some more advice he said, “I want to tell you. First of all, I respect both of you for what you’re doing. You’re giving this girl the most important thing in her life that she can have. And that’s two parents who love her. … I believe there is no one better to parent this child than you. … I truly do respect you. You are making my day! You really are. I wish this county had an adoption every day. If you think about it, courts are really depressing. … Adoptions are different. … You’re doing a good thing and you should always remember that.”
We took photos with the judge and with our caseworkers and attorney and our supportive family! Hooray!
11:50 a.m. – We followed the attorney to the Probate Court Office and received stamps on all the paperwork that made us an official family! Done. Final.
We still need to file for a social security card and notified various offices about your name change, but the adoption is complete. We will receive a new birth certificate in 8 to 12 weeks with our names as parents.
12:30 p.m. – We enjoyed lunch with family at our house as we celebrated the wonderful news. You are tired and eat a little. You are happy to have so much attention; but, to you, this is just another family gathering. It’s normal. It’s natural.
2:00 p.m. – You laid down for a nap (later than usual) and our family said good-bye for now. When you wake up it will be just another day at home.
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Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. Learn more about Joey and Elaine.