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.
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!
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
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.
PaPaw, Aunt Jenna, and Tio (Uncle James)
Haley and Suzie. It seems like just yesterday we were at Suzie’s Gotcha Day!
Michael, Callie, Crazy Tim, and Judah
Zach, Kendall, and Tate
Faith and Madelyn. Faith takes good care of me!
Forever Family, April 7, 2014