It was so neat to see the other families there doing the same as us. Since we were the second-to-last family to go before the judge, we offered to take photos of families as soon as they exited the courtroom.
One of the most special scenes I witnessed was of a family of SEVEN - Dad & Mom (both Caucasian), three Caucasian daughters, a young AA son and young AA daughter. They were all dressed so wonderfully and had huge smiles on their faces as they emerged from the courtroom as an "official" family. They all hugged and smiled at one another. The Mom then stopped, closed her eyes, and began to weep tears of relief and joy.
Being an empathetic crier, I teared up with her before jumping from my seat to take a photo. They were so appreciative and my heart warmed with the love they all had for one another. Our family just beamed with them, knowing we were feeling the same way. What a special moment for everyone that will always be in etched in my brain and heart.
We got a few photos taken before we were called.
|Kate with two of her sets of grandparents - Papa & Gran (my dad & stepmom) and |
Grandpa & Grandma Linny (Todd's dad & stepmom).
|Daddy & his little girl.|
|Along for the ride, but not overly interested!|
|Our lil' family. I love Kate's WubbaNub paci hanging out of her mouth!|
Our attorney then asked Todd a series of questions related to our adoption, submitted documentation to the court (home study, criminal backgrounds, etc.), and then asked if I concurred with all of Todd's answers. Whenever the judge responded, she did so with a sweet and happy voice. We knew this must be the best part of job as a judge in the juvenile courts of a large urban county.
As the discussion got underway, so did my tears. They were the silent and thankful type of tears, unlike the many loud and painful tears cried through the over five years of waiting for our baby. When the judge declared this adoption official and binding, that this daughter will always be ours, she said it through a smile. My smile returned hers, albeit a little stained with black mascara streaks. (Why did I think I wouldn't cry that day??!!) The sweet judge then gave Kate a little stuffed bunny as a gift and congratulated us and our family. We took photos of OUR family now.
|Yes, for the record, I photoshopped out most of my mascara streaks.|
I was under oath, so I have to tell you.
|Just a small section of Kate's family and a minute section |
of the many who love her.
Our precious daughter was really and truly and finally ours. In our hearts, on paper, legally, to the world - ours. It's not that she wasn't before, but now we could breathe just a tiny bit easier knowing that no matter what, she would be with us forever. Joyous relief filled my heart. What a journey it has been to get here. And what a journey it will be.
"For this child I have prayed . . . " 1 Samuel 1:27