Today Baby Bear became a member of our family forever. I expected to cry; instead I smiled, went out in the parking lot and whooped for joy. My mom cried.
We have been given a precious gift. Adoption doesn't mean Baby Bear's birth mom and dad cease to exist. I am so glad he'll know Miss A and visit her and know how much she loves him and how hard it was for her to give him to us. He never has to feel unwanted or abandoned. She made a difficult choice to entrust him to us; she never gave him up. He will live in her heart forever. He is lucky: he is wanted twice.
I'm glad to have this picture of Baby Bear's bio dad. I am glad to know where the beautiful dark eyes come from, from a man I have never met. He is a part of Baby Bear even if we never do meet him. Adoption will always be a part of Baby Bear's story and that is okay. It's more than okay, it's wonderful.
We got to the courthouse early, excited, nervous. The kids read books to my mom while we waited. I paced and sat and paced and sat.
Hubby tried to call his grandparents.
Baby Bear, unaware of the fuss being made on his behalf woke from a brief nap and smiled at anyone who would bother to look in on him.
In fact during a trip into the courthouse office, he charmed the clerks, the staff and even the judge. After his effective breaking of the ice, the rest of the day was easy.
Grandma and Grandpa GG arrived, to hubby's relief. Grandma GG hadn't met Baby Bear before so a joyous meeting took place before the judge entered the courtroom.
Our lawyer, who calls adoptions "happy law" commented over and over on how pleased she felt to see so much family there. We felt so loved and supported. Baby Bear has a wonderful, loving family all around him... what kid could be more blessed??
Hubby and I both took a turn on the witness stand. I felt like I had been whisked onto the set of Law and Order. We testified to our residency, our jobs, our family, our financial status and best of all, our desire to adopt Baby Bear.
At last, the judge whose name, ironically, was John Judge, made the announcement that Baby Bear is forever ours! The paper pregnancy is over, our family of five has begun.
Back home again, we celebrated with an open house where flocks of friends stopped by to drink punch, eat spinach-artichoke dip and congratulate us on our official new family member. None of them have adopted so there were many curious questions of what the court proceeding looked like.
Baby Bear made the rounds of friends and grandparents...
...until the day got too exciting and he decided he needed a nap.
Since everyone on both sides of the family farms on wheat farms, guess what topic of conversation floated around the room? It turns out our pastor's wife grew up on a wheat farm as well, so she gladly jumped right in.
Somehow I did not feel any different as I held my baby son in my arms. He has been mine since the second I first held him at ten days old. The new birth certificate, the signatures and the courtroom felt like one last i to dot and one last t to cross, but other than that things felt just the same as I kissed his little head and looked into his ancient, dark eyes.
Although he has two mommies and always will (anyone who has experienced open adoption knows what I mean), I will be his Mom forever. He is mine and I love him so very, very deeply.