Our agency, along with many other agencies, hosts a picnic each year, and at that picnic, judges come to volunteer their time. They set up in ramadas and finalize adoptions for about 3 hours straight. It's their good deed for the year:). So, we went to the park, checked in, set up our blanket and enjoyed waiting with our amazing friends who showed up to celebrate with us. This is us waiting for our moment with the judge...
We were called a little early, of course right as Jackson was finishing his bottle. We rushed over, with our friends by our side. We stood in the back as another family was finishing up, heard the clapping as they celebrated, and then heard our name called. What happened next is honestly a blur. We were asked to state our names and to be sworn in:
In that picture you can see some of our friends standing behind us (others were taking pictures around us:)) and our social worker beside us. Jackson was a true angel, as you can see. I was struck by how big the moment was, and how he would not ever be able to recall that day the way we can. So many big decisions were being made on his behalf, and all he needed and wanted at that moment was to be held by his mommy and daddy. That is all he needs to be happy in this world, for now.
We then were asked a series of questions that I couldn't even repeat. Something like do we understand that we take on complete responsibility of him, forever? Uh-huh. Do you agree to take complete parental responsibility of this child? Um...do I have to say it?! I struggle to remember what was said, and I remember that I nodded a lot because I couldn't even say "yes" or "I do" because I was crying so hard:
As you can see, I was trying to hold it together here. I failed. Miserably. Luckily, so far, I haven't seen any pictures of me completely falling apart - people were kind as they snapped photos:). Our social worker was asked to speak, and she stated that they (the agency) believed it was absolutely (I remember her saying that word) in Jackson's best interest to be our son. And then, after about 5 minutes (if not less), Jackson was officially announced as Jackson Levi E and we were officially deemed his parents, forever (by law, that is - we know that we already were his forever parents in every way that matters). And the happy family takes pictures with the judge:
As Grandma Sheree pointed out, it took longer for us to get married. LOL! They sure are quick about these hearings.
We want to thank our chosen family for being present for our big day. So, to: Brian and Leann and their beautiful children, Emma, Kate, Mya and Max; Phil and Sheree; Jeff and Cheryl; and Jamie and Danny and their newest adorable addition, Eden...we want to say thank you to all of you for being there to celebrate with us and to welcome Jackson "officially" into our family. It is days like this one that remind us of how truly important it is to surround yourself with family, whether that is family of the "chosen" kind, or otherwise. We know that we are so very blessed to have all of you in our lives, and in Jackson's life.
To Jackson's birth parents: We love you, we are so thankful for you, and we missed you. We will never be able to explain the depth of our gratitude, so we will just have to continue showing you in any way we know how.
To Jackson, your mommy and daddy love you more than anything in this world. You have single-handedly healed our hearts and filled our home and we will never be able to explain to you how grateful we are to have you as our son. You are perfect in every way. Happy Adoption Day, our precious baby boy. We love you.