“Do we have everything? Do you have all the paperwork?” I asked Dave as we loaded the baby into the backseat of the car.
The cold brisk air whipped into the garage and I reached for the blanket to shield the baby. I looked down at his little face sucking away on his pacific. On his head he wore the hat his auntie made him which matched the blanket, little did he know what this day meant for him and our family.
“I’ve got all the papers,” Dave replied as he shuddered in the cold air.
“Do we have the camera?”
“Yes, it’s in the diaper bag.”
I stopped and looked at him, “Can you believe how far we’ve come? And this day is finally here?”
He looked across the car and smiled at me, “I can’t. It seems like we are in a dream.”
Six weeks earlier we stood in the delivery room and saw this baby take his first breath and heard his first cry. The next evening we left the hospital and took him home with us. In fact, we excitedly, yet naïvely, sent out birth announcements announcing him to be our son before his birth mother even signed her custodial relinquishment paperwork. (She did, exactly 13 days after he was born.) Now, the 60 day waiting period for the birth father to come forward to claim his parental rights to the child had passed. While we were led to believe he wouldn’t petition the court for custody or interrupt the adoption plan, we breathed a deep sigh of relief when our adoption lawyer called to confirm no petition had been filed.
Officially, by law, we could petition the court to adopt this little guy we already considered our son.
The security guard at the Daley Center smiled when she saw me lift the baby out of his car seat and walk through the metal detector holding him.
“We don’t get many guests as little as him, especially with big blue eyes like those,” she smiled.
Beaming with a smile that covered my face, I replied, “Well, today is adoption day for this little guy. We go before the judge to tell the court we want to adopt him.”
“Really?” she replied. “We don’t get many cases in here like that! How wonderful! Congratulations!”
The other guards and people standing in line also noticed the baby and overheard our conversation. We quickly garnered several congratulations and we proceeded to make our way to elevator.
“He’s being really great seeing it’s just about time for the next bottle,” I remarked to Dave in the elevator as I held the baby. “Sorry to be taking up so much space with the stroller,” I said to the man next to Dave who stood close to the elevator buttons.
He smiled. “No problem. We don’t see many babies in this building.”
“Well, today is adoption day for this little guy,” I proudly shared and kissed the baby on the head.
“Well, congratulations! We usually deal with adults in this courthouse. It’s nice to see something so joyous today,” he replied and we received more congratulations for people in the elevator.
When the elevator doors opened and we made our way to the children’s waiting room outside of the adoption courtroom. Our lawyer found us and went over all her paperwork with us. We had a few more papers to sign and we needed to officially have the baby officially sworn in a deputy.
“Please raise your hand,” the deputy said as he addressed the baby. “I don’t expect this little guy to raise his hand but it needs to be official,” he told us. As if on cue, the baby’s arm moved voluntarily and looked as if he was raising his hand per the deputy’s request. Laughter erupted as we watched the baby.
Finally, the courtroom door opened and we were escorted in by our lawyer. The clerk took our paperwork and handed it to the judge.
“Well, who do we have here today?” he said with a smile as he addressed the three of us.
After asking our names, he asked for the child’s name, and read our paperwork. He looked up from the paperwork and said, “David and Becky Graham, is it your intent to petition the court to adopt this child?”
We looked at each other and down at the baby in my arms and we replied, “Yes. We want to adopt this baby.” Our faces beamed with excitement to finally make this pronouncement.
The judge smiled and he went to signing and stamping the paperwork. “I hereby grant your petition to adopt this child.” Afterwards, the judged obliged us for a ceremonial photo with him and we were ushered out of the courtroom with our attorney.
“Congratulations!” our lawyer replied. “You have officially started the paperwork to adoption. The final adoption decree should come in about 6 or 7 months. There’s no need to come back in front of the judge. He’ll just sign the paperwork and my office will mail the final decree to you.” She shook our hands and moved on to her next case.
For the next seven months our adoption social worker made monthly visits making sure we were adjusting to parenthood and to document the health and welfare of the baby. At the end of her visits, she wrote her recommendation and sent it to the court. In July, seven months after our son’s birth, we received the paperwork claiming us the legal guardians, parents, of our son.
Friends, if you haven’t read Faithful: An Unexpected Journey to Motherhood, please do!
It’s NOT about infertility. It’s about a faith journey. It’s about persevering in your walk with God when you can’t see the big picture and when the pain is so great, you want to quit. A faith journey is when you put one foot in front of the other and keep walking, trusting and knowing God has a bigger and better plan. A plan you could never imagine.
“The more faithful Becky was to God, the more faithful He was to her.”
Much love to all of you!
The Small Town Girl