Adoption is something we always knew we wanted to do. We did two foster adoptions in under two years. Adopting through the State is very different than a private adoption.
Our first adoption was considered “Open”. We fostered D1 from birth to nine months, when his biological parents decided to relinquish him to us for adoption. We all went out to a local restaurant, sat down with a mediator and had a really great talk about what we all wanted to see happen. The mediator helped us work out a good agreement for communication, we all agreed on it, and then paperwork was sent in for the hearing. The relinquishment hearing happened three days later. I attended their final visit with him prior to relinquishment. It took six more months to get the adoption paperwork all done and finalized in the court.
Adoption court is SO different from anything else I’ve ever seen! The judge was laughing and joking with us. It was a closed courtroom, so we were the only ones there, along with invited guests only. D1 was 15 months old, and he climbed chairs, ran around the room, and played with the judge’s robe during the hearing. So different than what I expected. She just talked to us, about parenting, important things in life, and responsibility. It was SUCH a happy day! Our adoption caseworker, plus one extra case worker who was involved in the case early on came. Sadly, we only have extremely poor quality, worse than web-quality pictures from that day (hard lessons learned about photo resolution, ouch!) Still I look back on it and it chokes me up to remember the day. It means so much to E and I.
D2’s adoption was similar, minus the agreement. We never had contact with his bio parents at all. They gave him up as a newborn and were out of the picture. D2’s situation was so different, because there were no parental visits or anything like that. I was able to relactate and nurse him from the time we got him, through 14 months. SUCH a blessing there too! It was hard work but so worth it. He was legally free at six months, and his adoption was final a week after his first birthday. We had a different judge and attorney, but the same adoption worker (we love her!) and the same closed courtroom. Our kids and family piled in and we had another very short, very nice chat with a judge.
It’s so strange to think about the hearings now, because we had received both boys at birth, and the hearings just made them legally ours… but in our hearts they were ours already. Becoming a mother can happen so many different ways. By birth or adoption, officially or unofficially… What doesn’t change is when that child becomes part of your heart, he is yours. It does not matter how he—or she—landed there.