Party Day

“M” was very excited about her classroom’s party for Valentine’s Day. Each morning this week she asked, “Is it party day?”

Although our family has had some challenges the last six weeks (which has meant a hectic schedule), we wanted to help make her day at preschool special. So Daddy went to school!

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The Room Mom always does a great job organizing the holiday parties. The students decorated cupcakes:

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And they played the Pie Face game. Each child received a heart with the number of clicks to spin the handles. I’m surprised that “M” braved it! It looks like she had fun!

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My heart sunk a bit when Joey told me that she got whip cream in her hair! But he did a great job getting it out with wet wipes without messing up the style. I did her hair the night before and hoped it would last several days — Dad saved the day.

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Of course, for this little one whose love language is Words of Affirmation, the valentine cards were her favorite. She read the names when she got home and beamed with happiness!

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Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio.

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Adoption Finalization Day

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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.

 

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I am hopeful

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We arranged for family portraits to be taken since we had been told that your adoption would be finalized “soon.” They said it was “possible” before Christmas; but, Dad and I did not think it was likely. And, of course, it didn’t happen. We have been asked countless times by family and friends if it is final. We have to say no for now. BUT one day, we are hopeful we can say the wait is over. You are worth the wait, my dear Moriah.

Digital supplies:

Kit and Blog Freebie– Hope Floats from Dawn by Design
Font – Traveling Typewriter
Photos by Laney Bland

Love, Dada

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Little Moriah,

It truly has been a joy to see you grow over these past 10 months.  I remember seeing you for the first time in the hospital nursery -– that precious little face -– and hoping to be your daddy forever.  You were very small, but you have grown!  Sometimes I am amazed how big you have become.  I forget that you used to be only a little over 5 lbs.  You are now crawling, trying to walk, and even talking some!  It makes me so happy to hear you say “dada.”

Your coming into our lives has been a lesson to me about how God knows what is best and nothing surprises Him.  Our Heavenly Father orchestrates events for our good and His glory – and our joy!  He knew you would be born from eternity past, knit together in the womb, and then placed into our home.  We have prayed for you and God has given us the joy of raising you and seeing you grow!

It is my desire to always be your daddy!  I will do my best by God’s grace to be a good father; however, I know that I will fall short.  I will make mistakes and let you down at times, but I will do my best to point you to Jesus.  I pray that God will open your little eyes to the truth of the Gospel.  Our sins are forgiven because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross and His resurrection.  He will never let you down.

At this time, we are waiting for the courts to grant permanent custody to the agency.  We’re told the adoption will probably be final at the end of this year.  I do want you to know that I love you so much!  Even though it is not “official,” in my heart, you are my little girl.

Love,
Dada

Love you, Mom

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Dear Moriah,

It is currently 12:45 in the afternoon — nap time for most babies — and you are, instead, crawling all over me while I lay on my stomach in bed. I’m journaling and reading, but you think it’s play time. Your nearly-8-month-old mind has to know what’s happening up here with the pen and paper. I feel you inch closer and closer until your head is resting near my neck and your strong, tiny fingers are stretching to grab the pen. I redirect your curiosity toward 2 toys that wait for you in the middle of the bed, hoping you’ll give in to exhaustion as you chew on a stuffed frog.

You have filled our home with joy and giggles since birth. We have enjoyed watching you develop and grow, praying for you as you learn and discover. Your personality is easy-going and generally content. Since you started to crawl a few weeks ago, you are less satisfied with the constraints of your playpen, despite the amusement you gained from the toys therein before you knew how to scoot along on your forearms and belly. Your new-found mobility has offered opportunities to train you, though. This week — for the first time — I said “no” firmly as you were headed for a basket of board books (no doubt, to chew on them). You looked into my face, curled up your tiny bottom lip and began to cry. Your heart is so tender and your feelings were hurt by the correction. I stood my ground, just quietly watching. You eventually crawled away obediently.

Moriah Joy, we want you to know the loving discipline of the Lord and to learn to follow Him. His ways are not restricting but, rather, freeing. God offers boundaries for our protection. We pray we will train you in such a way that your heart will be fertile to experience saving faith early in life.

We love you, yet we know you really — ultimately — belong to God. He formed you and chose a plan for you. He placed you in our home and in our arms. He will care for you the rest of your life. He will never leave you if you are His child. There may be days of uncertainty or doubt, yet God sees beyond what we can.

As I write, Dad and I are unsure about the course of your adoption. Your birth mom has expressed that she wants you to be adopted because she is unable to parent right now. I think she is brave to admit that adoption is the best thing for you, and we are thankful that God chose us to be your parents! He planned this family before time began, and His ways are good. Always good.

Love you,

Mom