We went to court, raised our right hands, and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
We swore that we have had "Baby Boy" in our care ever since we received placement. We swore that we have bonded with him and he with us. We swore that we have been married for almost 6 years and have a healthy marriage. We swore that we will do everything we can to provide for our son. We swore that we would like to have his name legally changed to "Tyndall James".
Tyndall's representative, who happened to be a family acquaintance from the church where I grew up, testified that after reviewing our home study and post-placement reports, and visiting with us, he thought adoption into our family was in Tyndall's best interest.
Stephani, Steven, and Hailey were present as witnesses and were invited to speak. Stephani said, through tears, that she was very happy for our family and knew that Matthew and I would make great parents. (At that point, I teared up.)
The judge declared us a family. (Something we have known and felt to be true ever since our first phone call.)
And she invited us to take pictures.
And then everything was official.
I think this day means different things for different adoptive families. For us, this was a very special day, but it was nowhere near as meaningful as you would think. I have honestly, truly, fully felt that we were a family ever since we received the call that we had been chosen for this baby boy. I was never fearful that his birth mother would change her mind (she had already signed placement papers before we even knew about him). I was never fearful that his birth father would come into the picture and choose to parent him (based on what we knew from the agency, this was never a huge concern). I always knew that our family was the family God had chosen for this child, and that this child was the answer to so many prayers.
I refer to 'placement day' as Adoption Day, because that's when things became official in my mind, in my heart. It's not the same for everyone, and I recognize that. But I'm so thankful this is how God orchestrated it for us. On Placement Day, we became his primary caregivers. We were given free license to bond with him and love him fully. We were legally obligated to care for him and provide for him. We became his parents that day.
But officially, on paper, in legal documents, that wasn't true. We were his guardians.
On February 11, when I lost my job, I became a little fearful. Our ability to provide for him had changed significantly, and I was afraid they would recognize that and choose to take him away. Thankfully, that didn't happen. Our agency and attorney understood the bigger picture--that we have bonded, that we would make sacrifices to provide for our son. We continued moving forward to make the adoption official.
Yesterday, the judge signed the adoption decree. Now, we are his parents. We will even be issued a birth certificate that lists me as his mother and Matthew as his father. That's pretty cool.
What's even more amazing to me is that God has known for all eternity that this day would come. Before I or Matt or Tyndall were created, God knew that we would be a family.