On Monday, September 15, 2014, Camilla's adoption was finalized. Done. Finished. Forever.
I'm not usually big on play-by-play blogging, but it's not every day that your daughter's adoption is finalized, either. I don't want to forget anything. So...a play-by-play it will be!
We loaded up in my dad's truck bright and early. We had to be at the courthouse by 8:45 a.m. My parents spent the night with us, so we all headed over together.
|Because I embrace my generation...we take a selfie. It's the only way to prove anything happened, right?|
We made it to the courthouse with time to spare...enough time for a family photo in the parking lot, even! It was cool (well, for Georgia in September) and drizzly. Millie was wearing the only remotely 'fall'-ish dress she owns that fits her. I hadn't planned on it being not-blazing-hot...
We met up with Matt's parents in the parking lot and all seven of us traipsed in together. Matt, Millie, and I made it through security. The rest of our party had...issues, shall we say? Ha. Luckily, the metal detector issues were the only hiccups in our whole court experience, so they weren't a bad sign or anything. Then we headed up to the third floor to wait.
We took pictures in front of a giant window.
|My bangs look stupid, but my legs look great, soooo...there was some mental turmoil about whether I should share this pic or not. I decided to go for it. Vanity wins.|
Our lawyer came and went over some papers with us. We nodded and signed our names a few times.
And then it was our turn to go back!!! Because adoption hearings aren't...I forget the terminology...open or public or something...as in, not open to the public to sit in and watch/listen. Not 'closed' in the sense of the adoption being a 'closed adoption' (it's not), just...you don't do them in the regular courtroom with the other civil matters and court clerks, etc., present. So we went back to the judge's chambers. Our parents and lawyer came with us, and they were allowed to continue snapping pictures (and taking video!).
The judge had already reviewed all of the motions, paperwork, home studies, etc. This was an incredibly fast process that just made everything signed and official. First we were introduced.
Then we raised our right hands and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help us God.
Our lawyer asked us a few questions. We answered. The judge asked some questions. He thumbed through our paperwork.
And then he pronounced us to be her mom and dad. Forever. And we cried. And shook his hand.
He agreed to take some pictures with us. He even entertained me and put on his robe. I mean, hello...I needed him to look a little more judgy. That suit wasn't cutting it.
Seriously, the entire thing took maybe five minutes. I couldn't believe how fast it was. Months and years of waiting and preparing and gathering data and writing checks and waiting and praying and hoping...and it all culminates in five extremely easy minutes in a judge's office. It would almost have been anticlimactic if it weren't so incredibly awesome.
Then we had to wait in several different places while various paperwork and certificates were signed, sealed, and delivered. (Really, I don't know about delivered, but after I typed 'signed' and 'sealed'...I just had to go for it.) We passed the time by taking some incredibly happy family pictures.
Then our lawyer came out with the official Final Decree of Adoption, so we had to get a picture with her (and it)!
Then we had to go somewhere else and wait for awhile for the Certificate of Adoption to get sealed and notarized and whatever else. I posted our happy news on Instagram.
|If you're not repeatedly dying at how cute Millie's moccasins are, I don't know if we can be friends.|
All in all, the whole courthouse experience took maybe two hours. Again- an incredibly quick and easy finale to a process that started approximately twelve billion years ago (or so it feels like). I'm thankful for that. I expected this part to be the easy part, and it was. There were plenty of happy tears- and just this incredible sense of holy cow, it's OVER now. There's nothing else. We're just regular parents with our regular kid. No one can separate us. No phone call can come that will ruin my life.* She can't be taken away from us. We can breathe, we can move forward, we can just enjoy life. She's ours forever.
I'm still pretty buzzed from it. The finality of it all, you know? I mean, we still have to wait on a few things- her new birth certificate and social security card, I think. But really...we're done. All of that waiting, and now...done.
We kicked off the beginning of our 'official' new life by eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
|It was freezing, so I wore my mom's too-small track suit jacket. Classy!|
But we know. Camilla's adoption is final now. She's ours forever- for as long as we all walk this earth. Thankful doesn't even begin to describe it.
*Obviously, plenty of life-ruining phone calls could still come. I don't presume that our lives from here on out will be trouble-free...we could get awful phone calls from doctors, from school principals, from the police (oh please no, Camilla!!). I just mean we can't get one that would keep us from being a family. For now, that feels like a huge accomplishment.