Sunday, November 8, 2015

Our Finalization

I recently put the question out there on what people wanted to know about adoption, questions that they had, how I felt about certain things. And  with this month being National Adoption Month I am going to begin to share some of our experiences, feelings, etc. Some very easy to discuss and others I have laid up at night wondering how do I answer this.  So bare with me as we experience this together.  I truly believe that we need each other, not only for support but for validation in what we may be feeling.  I don't know everything. I am not an attorney. I am not an agency worker. I am a mom who loves her family. A woman who prayed for years for her family to grow. I am a women who faced infertility and still does. I am a women who has at times felt inadequate for being a woman if I can't get pregnant.  I am a woman who's marriage struggled during the difficult times of facing this trial.  But I am a woman like you who didn't and won't give up.  I know this is something worth fighting for, something worth drained bank accounts and sleepless nights.  I am just like you, wanting answers to a broken heart.  But knowing that I had hope and still have hope that what we believe in and want more than anything would happen. As I go through this month, it won't all be serious, trust me. If you know me personally you know I am really the farthest thing from being serious all the time. You have to allow yourself to laugh in moments, if not you will go bananas. I mean really, you can't cry all the time. I've tried it and it doesn't work. I hope you are reading this, it may be for you and your family, or for a friend and you don't know what to say, or a sister that you can't relate to because you get pregnant if you look at your husband. (See...we have to laugh). I hope in some small way we can learn about adoption together, talk about infertility, and laugh and most likely cry.   

 So to get things started I wanted to answer a question I received "Why are we just now finalizing your adoption even though Millie is 6 months old".  
This was such a great day to start off our amazing jam packed weekend. In most adoptions (depending on agency, state, etc) you have to wait for a certain time period in order for the adoption to be "finalized".  Finalization is the legal process which transfers custody of the child from the adoption agency, county, or state to the adoptive parents. In our case our agency had legal custody of Millie during the first 6 months. It will happen in a court hearing, an attorney represents the family. In our case our Brother in Law represented us, which was fun to have family involved, he has 3 adopted children of his own. So it's a neat experience to share together. The attorney presents the case to the judge, which yes feels like you are in trial and very intimidating.  I kept telling myself this is a good thing, you have nothing to be afraid of. Olivia said afterwards "Mom that was scary". We joked that we hope that is the only time we have to see her in court. I say it's intimidating because our attorney represents us, presents our case to the judge, and a social worker from the agency is there on the stand to answer questions. Basically this is the moment when the adoptee (child) becomes the permanent, legally adopted child of the adoptive parents. Yay! This process cannot occur until the adoptive parents have had the child in their home for the time determined by state statute, in most cases and both of our adoptions that time was 6 months. 
The finalization hearing, was held in the  judge's chambers, usually it's fairly quick and to the point.  . The judge reviewed our home study, ask questions to each of us, and generally wants to make sure that the child is being placed in a safe, loving home. Our Judge was so incredibly kind.  He says that he tries to save adoptions for Friday afternoons so that he can end the week on a good note, seeing as he has handle difficult court cases throughout the week.  He insisted on a group picture and to have our girls put on his robe/court dress and hold his gavel. This may have been the cutest thing. Millie wasn't quiet sure about it all. We are so thankful for amazing family who is supportive and loving.  Who has accepted Millie from birth and see her as nothing but our child.  I know that may not be the case with some and we will talk about that as well this month.  I hope this helped some who may be heading to court, or always wondered what is was like. 

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