4/22/2006

Our Adoption Story: Pt. 5

Part one is here
Here's part two
Part three
This is part four

Here is a post from the Forever Parents board dated 9/30/03, the date our placement officially ended.

Today, Sept. 30, marks the end of our 90 day "trial" with our kids. As the Grateful Dead say..."what a long, strange trip it's been".
Over the next 1-2 weeks, the state will sign a consent form that gives us the okay to proceed with the adoption and then we have to sign (with a notary) the adoption decree forms. Then our lawyer takes all that to court and gets us a date.
Keep your fingers crossed for a date before Christmas.


Our caseworker, Jennifer told us that we could have extended the placement if we wanted. If we needed more time to work things out or if we just wanted to take it slower. She was so supportive of us during the whole journey and did everything she could to help us and solve any issues we had.
Our lawyer called us and the date was set for Oct. 28, which happens to be Cimion's birthday. I told them I wasn't comfortable finalizing on his birthday and that I wanted another date. I felt that that date should stand all on it's own, not have to share with someone's birthday and visa versa. Cimion & Shawna seem to have emotional issues surrounding their birthdays to begin with. Plus, with the finalization coming up, they were anxious and stressed and I just felt it was better (and would be better in years to come) if we did it on seperate dates.
As soon as I said something though, I wanted to kick myself because what if they could only give me a date months away? They called me back and our new date was set for October 30 at 8:45 AM. *whew!*

As the days got closer, Shawna & Cimion became more and more emotional. Shawna was very moody and sad, crying over little things. Cimion started acting very defiant and not doing simple things that we asked him to. It was a very touchy time for all of us and I tried to not overwhelm them by talking about the finalization to much. We discussed exactly what would happen and what they could expect from that day in court. I stepped in when well meaning people would tell them "You must be so happy to be getting adopted! How lucky you are!!". I tried to explain that yes, a part of them was happy but a big part of them was scared and anxious and nervous.
It was an emotional roller coaster of a time.

Finalization Day:

We met Jennifer (their caseworker) & Sheila (their guardian ad litem) at the court house. Sheila had bought some helium congratulations balloons for the kids and it helped to give their minds something else to think about. While we were waiting, we met a mother who was there to finalize the adoption of a little boy, also from foster care. When she looked at the kids, she said "Is that Jackie?" I said yes and that we called her Jacqueline now. She told me that she had met her at one of the foster care picnics and she had a picture of Jacqueline dancing with her son. :-) She was so happy to see that they were getting adopted together and wished us well.

Jennifer and the kids waiting in the hallway for our turn to see the judge.



When it was our turn, we were told to sit at the table on the left, with our lawyer.



The kids and Sheila were told to sit at the table on the right. Jennifer sat behind them, in the first row of seats.



The first few minutes were spent going over names, dates, addresses, proof of termination of parental rights, etc. She asked us why we wanted to adopt and then why we wanted to adopt these children. She also spoke to the kids, although they were very quiet and not talkative at all. Shawna also wanted to legally change the spelling of her name from Chawna to Shawna so we took care of that besides changing their middle and last names.

Judge Gurrola handing down her descion:



We took a picture with her afterward and she asked us to send her a copy.



When we were all done, we took Jennifer & Sheila out to lunch.

*I'm trying to locate the picture*

After that, they had to go back to work and the five of us went back to the place we had first met, that little park off the Gulf of Mexico. It was so weird going back there as a family. We hung out for a while, talked and watched the men fishing. It was a beautiful, sunny day.

While we were there, we took a picture in the same positions and in the same spot as
the picture we took on the first day we met. It's great to see how we've changed!



Shawna took this picture of us:



After that we went to have their social security numbers changed. I suggest doing if you adopt a child that was removed due to abuse. It's just an extra measure of protection.

We went to visit our case worker Pat Matthews and gave her flowers. :-) She was such a big help to us and she was our biggest cheerleader throughout this.



Later on, we took my mother, Aunt Mary and cousin Maryanne out to celebrate. We went to our favorite low-key Chinese buffet and had a really nice, relaxing time. It was the end to a very emotional day.



*Last part coming soon*
*I've added some pictures to parts 2-4 today*

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2 comments:

Susan said...

I've loved hearing about your journey! Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

Andrea said...

*sniff* That was awesome. I don't know who is luckier, you or the kids. :)