Today at the Baltimore County Circuit Courthouse, Judge Ensor decreed that Teddy is our legally adopted son.
A routine proceeding for the judge, but an oh-so-momentous one for us. With the stroke of a pen, our 18-month adoption process has concluded.
What a feeling!
It was all very informal. After sitting for 20 minutes in the courtroom, making conversation with other families also waiting to finalize adoptions, we (accompanied by a dear friend who made the trek to provide moral support and take pictures) followed the bailiff to judge’s chambers. She introduced herself as “Judith” (our adoption was finalized by Judge Judy!) and welcomed us into her office. We sat. And of course, Teddy immediately started jumping on my legs, which the judge couldn’t help but comment about. And the ice was broken.
We made small talk for a few minutes. Then the judge asked Teddy if he was ready for this. He smiled and shook his head. (Yup, you read that right. When asked if he’s ready to be adopted, the kid smiles and shakes his head “no”. He loves shaking his head. I’m assuming he has no idea what he’s doing….) Fortunately, the judge went by the smile and not the head shaking and deemed Teddy ready. She signed the decree, and that was it. While we’ve been living like a family since November 7, today, we became a legal one.
And just in time to have him dedicated at our church. In fact, the timing of our hearing needs to be filed under Fingerprints of God. As of May 7, we were legally allowed to file for finalization. We were told that once we filed, it would take the court one to two weeks to get in touch with us to schedule a hearing, and that we wouldn’t be scheduled for three to five weeks from that call.
We’ve been praying it would be quicker than that because my parents are flying in to town next week and we were hoping we could have Teddy dedicated at our church during their stay. We didn’t want to do the dedication until the adoption was finalized.
We filed our paperwork Friday, May 11. The court clerk called us Monday, May 14. She said the next available date for a hearing would be June 8. I asked if there was any way we could be squeezed in the previous week. She said no, but were we free Friday, May 18. Um, yes, I said. I think we can make that work. I hung up the phone and screamed.
Instead of taking as much as seven weeks, the process took one week.
And now we’re done. No more paperwork to file. No more visits with our social worker. No more trips out to our agency for training.
At least not until we’re ready to adopt number two…
“But of all God’s miracles large and small, the most miraculous one of all is the one I thought could never be:
God has given you to me.” —Fiddler on the Roof