"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Days

This morning we woke up early and prepared ourselves for the meeting that would make Eleanor our daughter forever.  Eleanor wasn't impressed with being woken at 6:30am.  She may not be mine by blood, but she has somehow inherited my distaste for waking up early!  She was down right cranky and it was adorable. 
The dress I had laid out for Eleanor to wear was adorable and apparently impractical.  I bought it at a consignment sale and she had never worn it, but I had high hopes.  She was much more interested in yanking the hem up to her mouth to chew on than letting it lay pretty.  I decided I was okay with that, but she needed bloomers to cover her diaper.  I dug through a tub of clothes and found her white bloomers with the razorback on the rear and slipped them on her, but her thighs are so fabulous that they couldn't be comfortably contained!  Finally I gave up, took the dress off and slipped her into something comfortable.  We kept the ruffled socks and shiny black shoes.  She was dressed, but she was obviously still not thrilled with the early hour.  This wide eyed stare says, "Seriously, what are we doing?  Do you even know what time it is?" 
Awkward family selfie in the bathroom before we go...

To the judge...
We got there a few minutes early, wanting to make absolutely certain that we wouldn't be late.  I was nervous, Drew was nervous, Eleanor was still sleepy.  Then it was time.  We were grateful for the family members who were able to be there with us as we stood before the judge.  We were asked a few questions and a short bit later the judge said, "From this point on... you are mom, you are dad and this is your child..."

Technical stuff... today is December 22nd.  Eleanor will turn 6 months old (and will have been in our custody for 6 months) on January 4th.  She must be in our custody for 6 months for the adoption to be final.  (My understanding is... Many people going through private adoptions go to court sooner and get an interlocutory decree, but it still can't be final until the child has been in your custody for 6 months.  We just chose to wait the 6 months and do it all at once.)  We had our court date today because our dear friend & attorney, Esther, is having surgery next week and she didn't want to make us wait any longer than necessary (bless her heart!).  So, today everything was done.  The judge signed what needed to be signed and his clerk will file it on January 5th, at which point it's a done deal.  It's a done deal now, but the papers will be filed on January 5th.  It's done!  She's ours!  Eleanor is officially & legally a Harris.  We have papers to fill out to get her birth certificate and we will have to get a social security number soon (think taxes & insurance).  Adoption: Done. Praise God!

Personal stuff... I've had more emotions during this journey than I can express.  Today I was nervous about the technicality of a judge saying I can be mom to my daughter.  I wasn't worried it would go badly, I was just nervous about getting it done.  Drew & I have been blessed with the love & support of our friends & family from the beginning of this journey.  Some of those loved ones were with us today and their support means so much.  To all of our friends & family, far & wide, your love, support, and prayers have been felt and greatly appreciated.  We look forward to the rest of our lives with this awesome kid and having you all along for the ride.  We are forever grateful to Esther.  Without her we would have never met birth mom and Eleanor would never have been ours.  Our lives have forever been altered because of Esther and we love her so.  Finally, birth mom.  My momma heart aches for her and she will always and forever be in my heart and my prayers. 

I've heard adoptive parents speak of certain days in their adoptive journey.  For example, many families recognize a "Gotcha Day" to celebrate when they got their child.  Some  celebrate "Forever Day", which I suppose would be this day for us.  Our journey has been so different than for many who adopt and because of that we don't have those days nailed down.  We got her on her birthday.  From the moment she entered this world she was ours.  We've been there for it all.  Her birthday, the day we brought her home from the hospital, the day the judge signed the papers, the day those papers are filed... they are all just Happy Days and will be remembered as such.  Praise be to God!