Courting Adoption

maeveincourt.jpg
Fish Face,  March 2006
Maeve holding grandma’s hands on court finalization day

One year ago this week we sat next to our attorney, in front of a judge, and swore to love Maeve forever.

The day’s sights and sounds are as clear in my mind as if it were today: Waiting in the hallway with other families, children and attorneys. Court clerks goo-goo-gaa-gaa-ing at eight-month-old Maeve from their perch high on the bench. The judge and our attorney trying to speak over the clang of Maeve knocking her toy against the conference table. Court reporter rap-tap-tapping away into the stenography machine. Us nervously answering the judge’s questions. Camera and DVD recording moment by moment. Our families watching it all.

And in one final gesture, the judge looked up at us from his glasses one more time and signed paperwork that made our family official in the eyes of the court, the state and all government agencies.

But we didn’t need an officer of the court, a Bible to swear on or raised-seal documents to make our commitment real. That had happened long before. Countless hugs, diapers, cuddles, bottles, kisses, laundry piles, moments and lullabies ago, we had become family.

The impact of that sweeping judicial pen? Tremendous joy in being deemed Maeve’s mother in some official capacity — absolutely. Yet in those deeply satisfying moments, the finality of it all brought with it an underlying awareness of loss.

It’s a bittersweet balance in adoption: boundless bliss in being mama to a child perfect in my eyes, yet grief deep within for another mother living without her child, and for my daughter living without her first mother.

A most stirring and complex juxtaposition, indeed.

There is some solace in knowing that our seeking an open adoption helps ensure the child that didn’t come from me but would become part of me would not lose the woman she came from, the woman she had always been part of.

Surely the closed adoption in our lives helped shine light toward the path we needed to travel. In choosing to love and parent a child in an open adoption, we embrace the whole of Maeve, well beyond strict custodial confines. We hope our efforts, and her birthmother’s, together create a loving context within which Maeve’s story will read most clearly to her.

That day, one year ago, officialdom took notice of the sweet girl in the red and white polka dot dress.

But long before that, she was noticed, loved, embraced and committed to in so many ways by parents numbering more than two.

Of course, the magnitude of the day’s events was lost on the silly baby making fish faces at court personnel. We hope, though, the magnitude of all her parents’ love is never lost on her.

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5 Comments

Filed under Adoption, Adoption Finalization, Birth parents, Children, Family, Love, Maeve, Open Adoption, Parental surrenders, Parenting, Promises, Relationships

5 responses to “Courting Adoption

  1. I love this post. And I love the picture. You’re a good mommy to Maeve.

  2. Jessica

    I absolutely love that picture…she look so adorable. Happy one year of being “official.”

  3. Maureen

    Just wondering if you are doing anything special to mark the day?? Like ‘family day’ or at least playing hooky from work?? Or just some extra hugs and kisses for Maevy Gravy…..?
    You’ve got me thinking of this same day for us last year, the anniversary is coming up next month…
    A surreal day, indeed, just someone formalizing what we had known all along, we were Mom and Dad to the Bean. I still cried………. cried again that night as I tried to make a toast at the pizza party we had at our house….. I’m such a sap!

  4. Tammy

    Let me first say that to see your comment on my blog made my b-day soooo happy! And then to link up to yours was icing. Now, to comment on this post: I was completely in tears, hearing your heart so full of love for this precious baby girl. She’s beyond beautiful and so blessed to have parents like you. I’m looking forward to checking in on your sweet family. 🙂

  5. Jen

    I can’t believe that’s been a year since it became “official.” Where does the time go?

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