October 2 – A Tribute to Family

Tomorrow is October 2, 2010.

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Cooper legally becoming a part of our family.

It would also be my dad’s 72nd birthday.

I thought I would share with you a couple of posts I wrote back in April & May. A special tribute to the history of this day in our family.

October 2  (Repost)

My Cooper came home in November of 2007. Thanksgiving that year was amazing, full of family, love and joy at this new arrival. My dad, who had been very sick for several years, had a great day, and was so excited to meet his grandson, who was just ten weeks old. My dad died just five weeks later.

A grandpa and grandma holding their infant grandson
Cooper with Grandpa & Gram on Day 1

 

Fast forward to September of 2008. I was preparing to sign adoption papers, to finalize Cooper’s adoption. The attorney called me to set up a time for the court finalization. The day it would all be official. No more court dates. No more Social Worker visits. No more sitting on pins and needles waiting, hoping, praying. She told me I could request a date that would work for us, or that was significant to me. Her exact words were, “If you wanted, say, October 2, we could ask for that.” My heart skipped a beat, and I felt my face get hot, as tears filled my eyes.
October 2 was my dad’s birthday.
A dad and his adult daughter sitting together on a yellow sofa
My dad and me on his birthday10 years ago.
I slowly asked her why she mentioned that date. She told me it was her son’s birthday. I said, “That’s the day I want. That was my dad’s birthday and he died shortly after meeting Cooper.”
The Attorney was quiet for a moment, then said, “I’ll do everything I can to request that date.”
A grandpa sitting in a recliner holding his infant grandson
Grandpa & Cooper watching Ducks Hockey
A few weeks later, I received a letter in the mail, stating that our court date was indeed scheduled for October 2. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. This would be the first birthday since he died, and what could have been a day to mourn, became a day to dance. I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to honor my dad.

 

On October 2, I cried again, as the judge said that he was mine. Forever mine. I cried happy tears for us, and for my dad, who I know was with us that day. We’ll celebrate that day every year, and it will not only be about how we became a family, but about sharing with Cooper about his Grandpa, and how much he loved him.
A grandpa sitting in a recliner and holding his infant grandson
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven: 
a time to be born and a time to die…
a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Signed, Sealed, Finalized! (Repost)

There are many important dates in an adoption:

“Gotcha” Day (as some refer to the day you bring your child home)
The .26 Hearing (the day parental rights of the natural parents are terminated)
The Signing (the day legal papers are signed before the adoption can be finalized)
The Finalization (The final court hearing when the child is legally yours)

These are the most memorable for me, although every adoptive parent has their own. I’ve shared before about the importance of the date I chose for our finalization, but today I’m going to talk a little bit about the day itself.

I don’t remember what time we got to the courthouse, or how long it took to get inside. I don’t remember much of what the judge or the attorney said. It was an overwhelming day; I was overwhelmed with the feelings and emotions of exactly what that day meant.

I had heard stories about adoptive parents getting emotional during their finalization hearing, and I was determined to keep myself together. The judge asked if I agreed to “bestow upon him all the rights of a natural-born child?” With a lump in my throat, I nodded, yes. Then he told me we were bound together forever as parent and child, and the tears came. Nearly seven years of agony were over. I was a mother in every sense of the word.

This is the only picture I have of us with the judge. Sorry, the lighting was terrible…

A mom holding a toddler boy, standing with grandma and an adoption judge

There is something inherently different about adoption – with childbirth, no one asks you if you promise to love and keep your child, but with adoption, you make a verbal and legally binding commitment to the child whom you have chosen to parent. You stand before a judge, and numerous other county employees, and make a conscious decision to take on the responsibility of the life another human being.

It was the greatest, most selfless thing I have ever done.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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