"Gotcha" Day (as some refer to the day you bring your child home)
The .26 Hearing (the day parental rights of the natural parents are terminated)
The Signing (the day legal papers are signed before the adoption can be finalized)
The Finalization (The final court hearing when the child is legally yours)
These are the most memorable for me, although every adoptive parent has their own. I've shared before about the importance of the date I chose for our finalization, but today I'm going to talk a little bit about the day itself.
I don't remember what time we got to the courthouse, or how long it took to get inside. I don't remember much of what the judge or the attorney said. It was an overwhelming day; I was overwhelmed with the feelings and emotions of exactly what that day meant.
I had heard stories about adoptive parents getting emotional during their finalization hearing, and I was determined to keep myself together. The judge asked if I agreed to “bestow upon him all the rights of a natural-born child?” With a lump in my throat, I nodded, yes. Then he told me we were bound together forever as parent and child, and the tears came. Nearly seven years of agony were over. I was a mother in every sense of the word.
This is the only picture I have of us with the judge. Sorry, the lighting was terrible...
There is something inherently different about adoption - with childbirth, no one asks you if you promise to love and keep your child, but with adoption, you make a verbal and legally binding commitment to the child whom you have chosen to parent. You stand before a judge, and numerous other county employees, and make a conscious decision to take on the responsibility of the life another human being.
It was the greatest, most selfless thing I have ever done.