I wanted to do another post today with all the photos and reflections from little Gavin's Adoption Day so they will be in the blog book that I'll be printing at the end of this month with all my journal entries and family photos from 2014. Most, if not all, of these photos you've probably already seen if you watched the slideshow in my previous post.
Gavin's Adoption Day was everything we had hoped it would be...filled with so much joy, happiness and love. The judge commented (along with the other attorneys there) that he doesn't get many "happy moments" like this in his courtroom--so he savors them when they do happen. We actually ended up doing the adoption hearing in the judge's chambers which I liked so much better than having to stand in a big courtroom with complete strangers in there watching it all transpire. Especially since it's such an emotional experience as you can probably imagine.. so I liked this much better doing the adoption hearing in a more private setting.
We didn't know for sure going into this hearing if the judge was going to approve the adoption or possibly have to postpone it due to procedural issues. This is why we didn't have any of extended family fly down because we felt bad asking everyone to travel 10 hours for this hearing and then to find out it was going to have to be postponed until January. We also decided to not pull Noah out of school for the hearing because he really didn't need to miss school with all that he has going on and then also, we were afraid it might be too confusing and upsetting for him if for some reason the judge felt the adoption needed to take place at a later date. As you all know, this adoption has been such an emotional roller coaster for all of us--including Noah--so that is why he wasn't there for the hearing.
On the drive over to the courthouse--I will admit it-- I was a nervous wreck...I just kept praying that the judge would grant this adoption and we could finally move on with our lives. Thankfully, when we arrived at courthouse our attorney met us at the door and informed us that it was going to happen that day. Apparently the court had reviewed the file in advance and saw no concerns with terminating parental rights and granting the adoption. We were overjoyed!!
In this photo above--on the left is our adoption attorney, Isabel, who was so wonderful to our family throughout this ordeal. She helped us navigate our way through this stressful adoption. She did an unbelievable job representing and advocating for us as Gavin's foster parents and hopeful adoptive parents. The gentleman on the right was Gavin's ad-litem attorney who was assigned by the court to represent him through this final adoption phase. He was such a sweet man --he came to our home to visit us and get to know our family a little better before writing his report to the court and making his recommendation either for or against the adoption.
One proud papa...he and Gavin have such a close and special bond.
In the photo above with the hubby and Gavin is my husband's law partner, Lino.
We were so happy he was able to be there at the hearing and snap a few photos for us.
He and his wife are dear friends of ours.
Here is everyone just anxiously awaiting in the conference room for the Judge to call us
back to his chambers. While we waited, our attorney went over some last minute
paperwork items and some questions she'd be asking us during the hearing.
Here we are in Judge Ramon's chambers...as luck would have it--
as soon as we walked in, Taylor started to kind of get fussy.
I tried to calm her by giving her something to drink and a protein bar
I had in my purse, but they didn't interest her.
Judge Ramon was so sweet--he pulled out a big bin of chocolate bars
from behind his desk and said they could pick whatever they wanted
from it. Both she and Gavin were all smiles after that. :-)
And then we were able to get the hearing started by swearing in both
the hubby and myself. And then our attorney began by asking my hubby
And as you can imagine...the tears started to flow.
I knew my sweet hubby would have a hard time getting his words out.
We had been waiting for SO LONG for this moment.
So many tender emotions ...
It was about this time that Taylor dumped all of her peanuts
and chocolate on the floor and started to smash and pound
them into the floor. Oy!! :-)
Everyone just started to laugh and the judge said as long as she's
happy...it's quite alright.
And then it was my turn to speak to the court about my love for Gavin
and my desire to be his forever mommy.
I had a hard time at first getting my words out because of the tears
and the huge lump in my throat...but I immediately felt the Lord calming my
nerves and was able to stop crying long enough to express to the court how much
I love this little guy and how humbled and grateful we are to be his parents.
After I spoke, Gavin's ad-litem was asked to share his thoughts on the adoption.
He told the judge during the hearing that he was so touched by how much love he
felt in our home and that he couldn't imagine a better family for Gavin.
We were so humbled by his kind words and that he was so happy about this adoption.
The judge listened intently to what we all shared-- he then explained that he
wholeheartedly agreed with this adoption and was happy to make him
"officially" our son forever.
One of the happiest moments of our lives...
Afterwards we helped Tay-Tay clean up her mess and then
said our good-byes to judge and headed out the door.
While we were visiting with a few other people afterwards,
the kids had fun playing in the offices.
A beautiful ending to our long journey to make little Gavin a part of our forever family.
We have been humbled on more than one occasion throughout this process by how many
friends, family and even strangers were touched by our story and offered prayers to the Lord
on our behalf.
We look forward to sharing with Gavin as he gets older how hard we fought for him...
and how so many friends and family came together collectively during this journey
to pray for his well-being.
I am reminded of a quote I heard by Henry B. Eyring that I love...
"If we have faith in Jesus Christ, the hardest as well as the easiest times in life can be a blessing....
we never need to feel that we are alone or unloved in the Lord’s service because we never are.
We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and
our right to bear us up.
And He always keeps His word."
I can tell you that I truly felt the Lord lifting me up during so many low points of this
foster-to-adopt journey--especially those times when we were faced with the reality
that we might lose our son to "the system".
It is yet another testament to me that the Lord is involved
with the little and big things in our lives...
He hears our prayers and answers them in His own timing.