Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gotcha Day! (pictures coming soon)

So I'll start off by saying pictures are coming! I left my camera with the few court pictures we have at home. Also, I did a very smart thing (in my humble opinion) and had a friend who is a fabulous photographer take pictures at Colt's party. I knew I wouldn't have time to take pictures and there would be something I would forget. So she came and snapped away all night. She said around 300 pictures were taken, she's editing and getting them ready and I'm so excited! All I had to worry about was talking to people and feeding Colt cake, and it was awesome to know I wasn't missing anything.

So....on to the day!

Court went very well. We were the last on the docket, because adoptions are private and confidential so we had to be the only ones in there. It's handled in family court, and our judge was just awesome. He smiled through the whole thing and seemed genuinely excited to be part of the process.

I only teared up a couple of times. First of all, there were a couple of tough guardianship cases ahead of us and it just made me think about kids in general and parents and how hard it is to to be a parent and to be a kid. Add in a lot of stressors they have that I don't have to think about, and I just felt for the kids involved and the guardians who were fighting for them.

I was weepy anyway, then as the judge asked us if we understood that from this day forward it would be like this child was born to us, that legally there would be no distinction, and did we understand? Did we vow to raise him as our own? Did we understand what that means?

It's just powerful and heavy and even though we've been operating under all that since the beginning, it was incredibly emotional to me to make this "final vow" of sorts.

It was also so awesome to have almost our entire family in court with us. The judge asked if they were ALL there for Colt's case and as they nodded and he said "wow". My mom and stepdad, my dad, my sister, John's mom and dad, and John's sister and brother-in-law all came and took up an entire row. I can't ever express to them how much it meant to have them there for such a simple ceremony, for taking time out of their day to be a part of it. It just meant more than any of them could ever know.

We missed my grandparents, both sets who couldn't make it, my aunt, and John's other sister who had to work. But we felt them in spirit.

Colt was SO good. He was sleepy toward the end, but you could never accuse him of being disruptive. He hardly made a sound and was just so good through an hour of boring legal procedures.

We asked the judge if we could take pictures with him, and he said yes but only on one condition: we had to send him a copy. He said he'd been handling adoptions for 14 years, and he has a book full of pictures of the families he's helped create. He said when he has down days (and in family court, there are lots of down days), he flips through THAT book to lift him up. I thought that was a wonderful sentiment.

It was just the perfect ceremony, and it was far more emotional than I imagined it would be.

We all headed to Bricktown after court to have lunch together, then John and I took Colt to visit his work for a few moments. Colt was SPENT at this point so we went home for some naps and my dad and sister came over to play with him for a few hours.

Then it was party time!

In Oklahoma, you generally don't plan outdoor events unless you want to be disappointed. So when I planned a casual cookout at a park, I worried and worried about the weather every day until the time came. But it could not have been more perfect. Other than a slight breeze, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the temperature was around 75 degrees. It was perfect.

We had tons of family and friends come out and eat hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, chips, and a GIANT Gotcha Day cake. The only sad part was that there were so many people, I didn't get to spend a lot of time talking to everyone! But the pavilion was full of people who had supported and encouraged us and loved us every step of the way up until this day. That was what it was about, a chance for us to thank those who has held us up since long before we knew about Colt. To thank those who celebrated our perfect boy and who love him and love us.

We were overwhelmed at the support and everyone who came out. There were about 75 people, lots of kiddos who were patiently waiting for cake, and plenty of conversation.

My favorite part of the night was when my friend, Ashley, was helping serve cake, and had a plate near me and Colt. She was asking me something and before we knew it Colt had his hand in the icing and it was all over his face. Note to self: Colt loves icing. He's SO quick these days...nothing can be on his end of a table (hhhmmm, like sour cream or soda) before he's knocked it over or covered in it. We have some great cake pictures. was an absolute perfect party, for a perfect boy, on a perfect day. I went to bed exhausted, sad it was over, but with a feeling of pure joy. We are so loved.

I wish everyone could have a Gotcha Day! It's different than a birthday. It's a different celebration, a different feeling in the air. I also wish that everyone had the opportunity to stand before a judge and commit to raising their child with their full heart and resources. I mean, if we ALL did it...things might be different for kids out there, you know? We have to stand in front of someone and make a commitment to our spouse to get married...why shouldn't we have to stand in front of someone and make a commitment to our children to raise them?

I truly saw it as an opportunity and as an honor versus something we HAD to do and a burden placed only on adoptive families. It felt special.

It was a very special day.


Melba said...

Wow, what a day! sounds just perfect!!

I love the last paragraph of this post, and couldn't agree more that we should all have to make some sort of pledge to our children.

I'm so happy for you...what an awesome time for your beautiful family!



KLTTX said...

Sounds like a fabulous day. I wish we had had family at our hearing but it was special for us.

The last paragraph of your post couldn't be more spot on.

I can't wait to see pictures.

Sammy said...

Congratulations! It sounds like a wonderful day! And I also can't wait to see the pictures!

Aubrey said...

Your day can be summed up as pure perfection!! Perfect day, perfect baby, perfect forever family! So happy for the HUGE blessings God has given you!! So thankful you had such a special and perfect Gotcha Day!!! Love you guys so much and I love your story!! Who would have thought that this is how it would be written! I just love it!

Tracey said...

What a great day! Glad it's final! It feels so good!

Julia said...

You forgot something else very simple yet profound...

(I know you remember this, Jess, but I'm writing it out as an explanation for those who will read the comment.)

At Spaghetti Warehouse, we were waiting for John, who had had to stay at the courthouse to finish some paperwork. The waitress came up (as they always do) and was talking to Colt, telling him how cute and handsome he is. We told her we could go ahead and order, not knowing how much longer it would take John to get there. Just as we were about to start, John walked in. As he walked up to the table, the waitress looked at Colt and said, "This must be daddy, because you look just like him!" As she walked away, we all just looked around at each other and smiled. My mom said, "Well, that was just perfect." And it was. A perfect compliment that that waitress could never have known the profoundness of.

We are all so lucky to have Colt in our lives. And he is so lucky to have the parents he does. And of course we pledged our commitment to him, and to you two, because he was a part of our family before he was even born.

I love you and I love Colt and I couldn't imagine life without him. In fact, it's hard now to imagine a time when he wasn't in our lives. He is a beautiful, choatic, wonderful part of all of our hearts. And everyone should be so blessed.

LL said...

What a perfect day! I also love your last true.

I am looking forward to seeing all the pictures.

Our finalization is coming up on the 14th. Since we don't live near family and the finalization is out of state we it will just be the three of us, so that makes me a bit envious of your special day. But I can't wait for finalization! I am sure I am going to tear up a lot throughout the proceeding!

Congrats again on your beautiful family!

Leah said...

Wow. . . I had goosebumps reading about this day. Congrats! It sounds like you and your family are surrounded by so much support.

TXMom2B said...

Congratulations! I felt like I could have written this, in a way; I felt pretty-much the same way at Andrew's finalization. It seems like it will be just a formality but it's not, it's is so moving.

hope548 said...

I'm so glad it was such an amazing and special day for you! I teared up several times reading your post!

Roo and Wren's Mama said...

Congrats! It's a great feeling, isn't it?!
I just left a longer comment on your "Unexpected" post, but realized you may not check comments that far back... wanted to share some encouragement from another mama whose babies are very close (6 mo apart!).

Mary Ann said...

Congratulations! I am so happy for you and your family