Finalization of Older Child Adoption
W’e’re officially parents to Missy and Buddy now, and have been for just over a week. The logistics of the name-change are honestly a little overwhelming, but overall, it’s feeling good. The actual finalization was fairly anti-climactic, but our careful planning of the day really did help.
Finalizing our adoption of Missy and Buddy was an anti-climactic event. After waiting for the judge for 90 minutes, we were finally admitted to her chambers. She was kind, even while we were all a bit uptight and awkward. The kids immediately sat down in two large leather chairs, leaving me and MrH to sit off to the side. After chatting with the kids for a few minutes, she signed Missy’s papers. I had to do a double-take to realize she’d already done it! Buddy’s were much the same, though I did actually notice her signing that one. A quick family photo with the judge, during which the kids each got to hold a gavel, and off we went. I’d kind of been hoping for a tad more ceremony. Perhaps a “you are now a family forever” or asking MrH and me some questions about how we’ll forever love the children and keep them safe or something. We were in there for less than 10 minutes.
The rest of our day did work out well, for the most part. Going out to brunch afterward was great. We all loved the food and the kids enjoyed getting presents. It stretched out a bit and really felt like a treat, a special family occasion. By the time we got home, around noon, everyone was exhausted. The kids asked to watch tv instead of their normal rest hour and we let them, while Sweetpea napped. MrH and I really needed the downtime too, as it had already been an intense and emotional day, starting with Buddy’s declaration before ever getting out of bed: “I don’t want to be adopted!” He didn’t get up until the last minute, and we’re still not sure if he really meant he didn’t want to be adopted, or if perhaps he meant “I don’t want to go through this thing you call being adopted, going to a judge, etc.” Thankfully getting to wear his new shirt and shoes helped motivate him enough to get through it!
We spent the afternoon at a nearby nature area where we took a hike. It’s a lovely place with a pond, rocky trails, and large boulders that create “caves” which are safe to enter. We had some more meltdowns from Buddy, who was not able to navigate the transitions at all, but as soon as we were on the trail he went back to being regulated again, thankfully! At the top of one of the hills we climbed, we stopped for some fruit from the arrangement my parents had sent. It was a nice way to remember that they were excited for our family as well, and to know we were in their thoughts and hearts.
My favorite part of the day, and the part that seemed to resonate the most with the kids, was an impromptu decision to have ice-cream cake for dessert. MrH came up with it while he ran out to get hot dog buns, and I’m so glad he did. We stuck candles in the cake, and sang “happy family day to us!” The kids enthusiastically joined in and it felt so good to all be excited together. Everyone was exhausted by the time bedtime rolled around. Thankfully they did all go to sleep!