Today we went to the court as a legal family of three and walked out as a family of four!
It feels so incredibly freeing to be DONE. Adoption is a long, hard process (as many of you know). Ours was definitely no exception. We waited almost five years for Logan and almost four years for Ruby. We had four failed placements and a horrible (and professional) emotional scammer in between.
We arrived at the courthouse at 8:45 am and settled into the courtroom. My mom, dad, and brother were with us (they drove all of the way from Ohio to be here)! Lizzy arrived shortly thereafter and joined everyone in the row of seating that we designated as “ours”.
The attorney showed up right at 9 am stating that the termination papers needed to be signed again due to a 60 day rule that everyone failed to mention. Panic. I seriously started to panic. My fear was that we wouldn’t be able to do this adoption today after everyone had come so far to be here with us.
LeAnne popped in soon after they introduced the judge in tears. I was so afraid that she was hurting. She couldn’t explain why she was crying. I figured it was a bundle of emotions for her. Turned out, she was particularly nervous of Ruby’s birth father showing up and having to face that in the midst of the proceedings. He didn’t.
There were several cases on the docket. The judge called our names and asked if we wanted to go into chambers or handle it in the courtroom. We asked for the chambers for privacy.
He then explained that he could go ahead and finalize, but he suggested that the birth parents re-sign if at all possible, to avoid issues later (should they arise). We explained that doing so would not be an issue.
He proceeded by explaining that this was a “very happy day”. He went on to say that he sees a lot of things in his courtroom, very few of them happy occasions. Of all of the happy moments, adoptions are by far his favorite. (He finalized Logan’s adoption and he remembered him and of course Logan’s charm won him over AGAIN.)
We were sworn in and he had us all introduce ourselves. He was impressed that LeAnne was there. He said it was a testament to “good things happening in adoption” and that we were all “great examples of love”.
When he announced Ruby as “Ruby Annelisse Palmer”, my heart swelled in my chest. I think it doubled when Logan said, “Thank you for making Ruby a Palmer because now the Palmer hug makes sense”.
As are most adoptions, it was a simple hearing and lasted all of 15 minutes or so. The judge handed Logan a bag of candy and we headed outside for photos. We walked away with our kids in tow. OUR KIDS IN EVERY WAY…FOREVER.
When you adopt a child, your heart knows that they are yours from the day revocation ends. The hearing is just legalities. Logan’s adoption hearing was special, but this one was something else. It was all encompassing. This was the finalization of Ruby’s adoption, but it was so much more. It was the moment our family became complete.
It means no more home studies, no more paperwork, no more waiting, no more networking, and no more waiting. We are done. It’s so hard to explain the emotion to someone who is not involved in adoption. Imagine yourself being inspected, monitored, questioned, on display, for almost nine years and then one day, you are free. You can just be. It’s such a breath of fresh air to introverts such as my husband and myself.
I remember almost giving up. I was exhausted. I remember telling God, “This is enough. If you want us to have a child, I know you will send him or her to us somehow, someway”.
Two weeks later, we got a call about a little baby boy. It happened again four days before we received a call about Ruby. Lesson learned. It isn’t about our wants or our plan for our lives. It’s about having faith that God knows the whisperings of your heart.
When there was a woman in a situation that was praying for a family, He made sure that she made her way to us somehow. I don’t believe my children were conceived for us. I don’t believe that they were ours from that moment forward, not at all. They were their birth mother’s children until the moment that they were ours.
I do believe; however, that God answers prayers. He heard ours. He heard the prayers of these amazing women as well. He knew the best answer for all of these situations. He healed our hearts. Adoption healed our hearts.
LeAnne’s heart is still healing. She doesn’t talk about it much. She likes to say she is okay. I think on a certain level she HAS found peace in this experience. I also know that at some point down the road (it could be a year and it could be ten), it will hit her very hard.
It’s my hope that she always knows we are here. It’s my hope that she continues to rally around community that understands what she is going through in a way that we cannot. We promised to love this little girl, protect her, and to raise her accordingly. We will keep that promise in every way.
Sometimes there is beauty from ashes. I thought I understood that before my children. I understand that on a completely different level now. I’ve seen despair, pain, and rock bottom. Through adoption, I’ve also seen that heartache turned into something beautiful and miraculous.
That’s not to say it’s easy. Relationships are hard. Love is not. And here’s the thing about love…
It’s always bigger.