Depending on the dictionary, the word adopt means “to take into one’s family through legal means and raise as one’s own child.” Or I like this one even better, “to take by choice into a relationship.” We have heard this word so many times over the last 12 months. It is exactly a year ago that Brandon and I decided to head down this crazy road to adopt. As we began this journey, it was filled with so many questions. Questions from our family, friends, and even questions we had ourselves. “How will you ever love a child that is not born from you? How will you bond? Why are you choosing this when you could continue to try to have “your own” child? What about color? Aren’t you worried that she’ll get taken away from you? What if she doesn’t think you’re her real mom?” Believe me, we have heard it all. And to be honest, there were times we didn’t have the answers. There will be times we still don’t have the answers. But one thing has not changed over the past 12 months, is the confidence in the calling that God placed on our lives.
Today we officially “adopted” Selah Grace into our family. Although she has always been ours, today it became legal. Many people do not understand the significance of this day, so let me try to explain from what I understand. When Selah was 24 hours old, her sweet birthmom signed papers to terminate her rights. A birthfather was not named, so our lawyer went through all of the steps to make sure the adoption would finalize. Bethany appointed us as her legal guardians. We had to wait 90 days, have three post-placement visits, and complete MORE paperwork before we were able to get a court date. Today was our court day and basically we were proving to the court that we are fit parents and it was in Selah’s best interest for us to adopt her into our family.
This was a celebration! And let me tell you, we celebrate around here!
We invited 40 of our closest friends and family to come celebrate with us! The court lobby was filled with our friends and family. It was actually so full, it made our lawyer nervous. He was scared we had too many people to fit in the courtroom! As we were walking in, I overheard him tell the bailiff, “These people have a BUTT-LOAD of friends and family. Do you think the judge will mind?” The bailiff wasn’t the least concerned, shrugged his head “nah” and started to find more chairs to fit “our neighborhood” as the judge called it. Our friends and family were literally spilling out of the courtroom and we could not have been more proud or thankful to call them ours! We were so blessed to have them take time out of their busy schedules to celebrate this precious day with our family! It is because of their love, prayers, and support this day was possible.
Court is just intimating for the average person. My brother-in-law is a lawyer and I’ve asked him on more than one occasion if it is like the TV shows. You know the ones where the lawyers stand up, smack the table, and say, “I OBJECT!” He assures me that it isn’t, most days. Even so, I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous. It’s so legal. You know, kind of stuffy. Very strict and to the point. I barely understood all the legal jargon they were saying. The walls are boring, everyone is dressed up and so proper. The reason for this, is the law. There is no wiggle room in the law. It is the standard. You either measure up, or you don’t.
I know this whole day was about our sweet girl and her adoption into our family, but I think we would be failing Selah, if we didn’t truly understand our adoption in Christ and think about this day in light of His gospel. Our lawyer asked us questions like, “Do you understand you are asking for responsibility for this child until and after she is 18? Do you understand that Selah will receive your inheritance just as if she was your natural child? Are you willing to love her as if she was born to you? Are you financially capable of taking care of her? Do you realize the responsibility you are asking for? How has your life changed since Selah has been in your home? What activities do you do with Selah? Do you love her?”
Brandon did such a great job and thoroughly answered the questions, and although I was nervous and emotional I think I managed through it. I caught a glimpse of her sweet face as they were questioning me, and just couldn’t put into words my love for her and my desire for her to be in our family. But the entire time I was on the stand, I felt the Spirit say to me, “Jesus did this for you.” I was not only an orphan, but a slave to death. I was a not-so innocent, helpless, hopeless, enemy of the Father. I never measured up to the standard of the law. I brought nothing to this “relationship” except for filthy rags. And in spite of all these things, the Father loves me as His natural child, I am now His heir, and although He understands this responsibility of buying my freedom (death on the cross), He still chose me. He went through all the legal means necessary to adopt me into His family.
This day has been one of the sweetest days of our life. I worked so hard to make it special for Selah. As we were cleaning our house and making chicken salad at ten o’clock last night, Brandon reminded me that Selah doesn’t care if our house is clean. Let’s be honest, all she cared about was getting her belly full and taking her naps! But every April 7
, we will sit down with her and tell her the story about the day she became ours, her “Gotcha Day.” We will show her pictures of the clean decorated house :)
, all the friends and family who came to love on her, the kind judge, our lawyer, her sweet birthmom’s choice, and how tiny and precious she was. But more than all these things, we will tell her that “Jesus did this for you. Just like we adopted you into our family, He wants to do the same thing.” And hopefully one day soon, we will be celebrating a different type of Gotcha Day. The kind where the Father makes her His heir.
We chose you, sweet girl! Welcome to our forever family!
PaPa G, MiMi, Uncle Tripp, and Aunt Stephanie
PaPaw, Aunt Jenna, and Tio (Uncle James)
YaYa and PaPa T
Haley and Suzie. It seems like just yesterday we were at Suzie's Gotcha Day!
Haley, Suzie, and Sarah
Mommy's Sweet School Friends
Michael, Callie, Crazy Tim, and Judah
Zach, Kendall, and Tate
Faith and Madelyn. Faith takes good care of me!
For you Uncle Timmy....this was only one of them!
Forever Family, April 7, 2014