Our Domestic adoption differed from our China adoption.
In Tennessee, and in most states, the child must live with you 6 months before the final adoption takes place before a judge.
You could have heard a pin drop as I clambered into the court room. I sure didn’t expect for it to go down like this. (A broken foot, masks, no family allowed including our own children, and maybe I am exaggerating but what seemed like a legit trial.)
I had dreams of a big celebration with close family and friends witnessing this amazing and beautiful occasion.
All faces seemed to be glaring at us behind 20 or so masked faces in the room.
Blake and I were sworn in, my breathing got more labored as the judge asked, “Which of you would like to testify?”
TESTIFY! I thought we would just smile, wave, sign a paper and be on our merry way. I mean we have already had our lives investigated in EVERY way possible, filled out EVERY piece of paperwork I could imagine, spent Christmas in Kansas, and said “yes PLEASE” to this precious soul in our home.
Blake immediately said, “Catherine will.”
I passed a glance at Blake and blurted, “Thanks a lot,” without even thinking. Who says that in a somber faced courtroom? 🙋♀️
The greatest comfort I had was knowing 2 things:
God started this – God will finish this.
We have the best adoption lawyer in all the south!!
The questioning began. I did it wrong and our kind lawyer said in front of all those masked faces, “ You must clearly say yes or no.” Basically he was saying- “ don’t nod or say sure!” Good heavens – what is wrong with me?
He asked questions such as “When you pass away will Henry receive an inheritance as your other children?” Plus many more including this one:
“Catherine, can you tell the Judge why you and Blake adopted this child from Kansas even though he was first adopted in China?”
Then you guessed it, I began to cry. How do I sum up all that God HAS done and DID do to bring him to us by way of Kansas??
- Do I tell him that China changed their laws and we couldn’t go back even though I longed to? (Once you have 6 children in the home you can’t adopt from China again.)
- Or do I tell the judge that I knew the minute we got the call that he was ours even though there were several obstacles and does he have time for me to tell him all of them?
- Or that I knew that I knew that Henry wouldn’t need to be labeled RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). That his mom and dad were us and that LOVE covers a lot of pain.
- Or do I tell Mr. Judge that it might be one of the hardest things we would ever do but if I get one life then I CHOOSE this?
- Or do I tell the judge that we aren’t perfect parents and we struggle and we pray and we ask for help every single day to raise all our children?
As the tears hit my mask, I fumbled some answer that are none of the above for the judge that I can hardly quote but something like, “He wasn’t able to attach to his first adopted family even though they tried. But he is in a home now where he is supposed to be.”
And then a few minutes later the judge graciously said what I will remember forever and always.
“It is my pleasure to approve of this adoption.”
I took a deep breath and by now I would have crawled to get out of that courtroom on my broken foot.
Take a good look at God’s wonders—
they’ll take your breath away.”
Psalm 66:5 (The Message)