This morning we all loaded up to drive to the courthouse for the finalization of Adelia's adoption [insert cheers and "woo-hoo's" here].
We were hoping Adelia would take her morning nap on the drive down, but she did not. [Maybe it was Ella hollering out from the back seat the letters she was finding for the alphabet game? Or maybe it was the fact that Isaac was singing at the top of his lungs the entire way there?]
Not sure, but nap or no nap, we arrived.
We met up with our lawyer and waited in the courthouse for our appointment, along with several other families.
November is National Adoption Month, and tomorrow (the 15th) is National Adoption Day. So today is a big day for the courthouse we were at; it's their celebration of National Adoption Day and they processed several adoptions today.
Here we are, waiting in the hallway.
Finally we were called into the courtroom, where we stood in front of the judge with our lawyer. We were asked some questions, which we answered in the affirmative, and then the judge pronounced the adoption final and her name change completed (note to you: for the past seven months, although she has been "Adelia" to us (and thus, to you), she has legally been her given name- and all social workers, doctors, and anyone within this adoption process calls her by her originally-given name.) No longer.
After the formal words were spoken, the judge invited us back to where he sits; our children were able to sit in his seat and shake his hand (note to self: work on the kids' hand-shaking skills!) and then we got a picture with the judge.
Because of all the adoptions being processed, the court had quite the festivities planned for the day, so we waited a bit more for those to begin.
[In the following set of pictures, I was trying to get a smile from our sleepy girl.]
She finally (barely) obliged.
And finally... the long-awaited nap!
The festivities included a few speakers-- our favorite: a father of fifteen (eleven of which are adopted through the foster-care system!), a formal introduction of each newly-adopted child, during which they handed out teddy bears for each child. Oh- and our kids' favorite part: the cookies and balloons also handed out! Our adoption agency also gave each of our children a stuffed lamb, so they were all quite tickled.
Then we walked for a bit to let the kids stretch their legs before the drive home, and had lunch together.
Here's Adelia, expressing her frequent, "Praise the Lord!"
And then- the drive home. Much quieter, that. Isaac, Isaias, and Adelia all slept. Ella was quiet in the back seat, though not sleeping.
Mark and I reminisced about the past several months-- that first phone call and our acceptance of this little girl we'd never laid eyes on, our first visit, my hesitations and fears (and really very clear to me after-the-fact: a serious spiritual attack) leading up to and even following that first visit, God's faithfulness in calming my heart and reassuring us of His plan, the come-and-get-her phone call, bringing her home with us for the first time, and all the joys since. We didn't have time to cover the entire adoption process- beginning at the paperwork stage!
What a wonderful journey God has led us on, and what a beautiful gift He has given us in Adelia. His plans are so very right.
When we pulled up to our house, this is what we were met with:
[What you don't see here (er, other than our last name!) are the flowers, the homemade goodies, the cards, and the gifts given to us by our amazing friends!] Here's one of those gifts (again, I've blurred out our last name on this one, but you get the point!)
And so, today it was made official what we've felt in our hearts all along: this precious girl is our daughter. Oh, how that makes my heart glad!
Thank you, so many of you- for your encouragement, friendship and prayers for us during this process. You've truly walked through it with us. We love you and appreciate you.