The Cherubs are adopted!!! The judge had tears in her eyes as she read the official decrees and signed the documents. The kids had been fairly freaked out by the idea of going to court, but I think they were a surprised by how kind and loving everyone was, from the clerk to the bailiff to the judge herself. It was a great experience.
THANK YOU to all of you who blew up Facebook to celebrate with us. We read every comment and felt loved by every thumbs up. I was a little numb with disbelief (it’s been a LONG process), and your words and support lifted me to a place where I could celebrate this milestone, rather than just being amazed that we made it. I’m grateful yet again for how FB allows us to be there for each other even when we’re spread out across the world.
The most surprising thing for me is how RELIEVED I am.
Even though things went miraculously well as far as adoptions go, it’s a weird thing to go around knowing that you don’t have custody of your kids. For example, I’ve had this letter in my purse for more than a year now. It gave us permission to get emergency medical care for the kids if necessary, and to take them across state lines to Maine to see my family. Thankfully, we never had to use it. But still, it’s unnerving to need a letter to take your kids for a day at the beach. Our agency gave us a ton of freedom to oversee things like registering them for school and attending conferences without having to have a social worker there. But still, there’s a strange limbo in this process when you’re functionally the parents, but legally you’re not really anything.
I didn’t realize how tense I was about all of this–worried that I’d screw up in some way, or that something would fall through–until this weekend, when I relaxed for the first time in about two years. I was just sort of floppy and happy, like I imagine I’d feel if I ran a marathon. (She says, having no idea what that would feel like) If someone had wrapped me in a tinfoil blanket and told me to sit on the curb and catch my breath, it would have felt appropriate.
Then I went wild with parental freedom.
I cooked a dinner that did not include all the food groups. I left one Cherub at home alone for 90 seconds while I got the other from the park at the end of our street. I let the other ride in a car with a parent who had not been background checked by the state. It was crazy, I tell you.
And now we’re just…us. Which is pretty groovy.
4 or 5 years ago, when we were in the depths of our infertility/miscarriage season, my friend Lisa reminded me of something I’d written in my first book. “God didn’t just promise you a husband, Trish,” she said. “He said he had a family for you, too.”
I’d forgotten about the family part. Sort of on purpose. “Well I do have a family, I said. “I have my family and Steve’s family, and our church family…”
“No,” she said, interrupting me. “A family is a family. It’s children. That’s what God promised, and I believe that’s what He meant.”
I didn’t have faith to believe that at that point (although I’m sure I fibbed to her and said I did. I was fibbing a lot about this back then.) I never had faith to believe it, to be honest. I was almost positive things would fall through, because they always had before. Until last Thursday, when they didn’t. So now I’m scrambling to catch up, and to wrap my mind around this new reality. Once again I’m surprised by how God takes impossible situations and makes them possible. It takes so much longer than I think it should. But when it happens, it’s worth the wait.