It finally happened – Adoption Day!
3 girls being adopted + 5 existing family members = 8 Total Family Members. Holy cow.
But what does an Adoption Day consist of exactly and how do all the parties involved feel about it?
For me Adoption Day meant:
- My family was finally, officially intact and no one could take that away. Adoption is forever!
- That my girls could feel safe and know that we are their forever family.
- There would be no more paperwork and DCS hoops to jump through.
Adoption Day consists of going to a juvenile courthouse with your family, your lawyer, your caseworker and then having a judge preside over the hearing. It was supposed to take 1 hour, but in our case it took 3 hours. You are sworn in and all the paperwork gets approved by the judge. Then you tell the judge that you are fully committed to your new children and once the gavel hits… it’s official. And the whole thing goes by really fast. I presume it’s like getting married at a courthouse. Afterwards it’s good to follow the court preceding with something your kids will enjoy. We moved our party over to Chuck E Cheese, where the little girls really got it – this IS a celebration!
For my family it was pretty much a win-win situation. We were all smiles and felt so close to each other it was ridiculous. Did the 4 and 5 year old really understand… no. But they knew we were all together and all happy. Our 9 year old was more emotional since she is old enough to understand that adoption means both a new forever family and the official end of legal ties to her biological family. She shed some happy and sad tears and we comforted her and talked it through. It’s very important for older children being adopted to understand that you care about their feelings for their biological parents, that you appreciate them for giving your child the gift of life, and that you have good thoughts and hopes for their future as well.
Adoption Day doesn’t just involve your family, but many individuals, so what are their thoughts and perspectives?
Oddly enough the judge said she’d never officiated an adoption with multiple siblings i.e. more than one child at a time. This disturbed me because I know how many sibling groups there are in the system and thought it would be commonplace.
I did some research and discovered that 85% of foster kids enter the system with siblings and 75% are seperated.
The judge was very stern during the proceedings, making sure all T’s were crossed. However, the second the gavel hit her demeanor softened and she invited us up to take a ton of pictures. There were happy faces all around.
For our caseworker, who was very attached to our girls, Adoption Day was bittersweet. She was so happy that this was the outcome of her 3.5 year journey with our girls. She has seen many placements fail. We had grown as close to her as she had grown close to our girls. She was sad and would miss them but knew this was what her job was all about. If not restoring biological families, than at least providing a safe forever family for the children.
“Our Friends & Some Family”
Friends and some family of ours were happy but still seemed confused and unable to grasp the situation. They didn’t see it as the important event that it is. Much like a wedding, an adoption is a ceremony with official name changes and legal documentation that cements relationships. Still questions prevailed:
- So is this it then?
- Now what do you have to do?
- Does DCS still come visit?
- Can you give them back?
- Can they still be taken away?
- Is it really over?
I try to explain, again and again. YES! It’s been finalized and we no longer have to deal with the entourage that comes with foster children. They are ours now and forever. There’s no danger of removal. There’s no more paperwork. We’re done! Maybe we should include a FAQ with our adoption announcments just to make sure there aren’t anymore questions.
The process to adopt the girls took a year and three months and I’m glad the journey is over. Adoption Day is a joyous occasion unlike anything else in this world. You know you have given a child a forever family. You know that your life is making a difference and that from this point on YOU are their parent and they are forever your children.
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