Yesterday we got home from our vacation to a USPS certified letter from our agency! As we tore it open we found our final judgement papers. Three pages full of legal jargon that contained one sentence that I can’t even type without tears flowing…
“The minor child subject to the Petition shall henceforth be legally known as Jaylen Lee Taylor. Done and ordered.”
Are. You. Kidding. Me.
While we started our parenting adventure on May 9th (which we know never ends), we have officially reached the final destination of this adoption journey. The ONLY way we got to this final destination is through prayer and faith. One thing you have to understand if you aren’t familiar with adoption is that nothing feels official until you get this final judgement.
Did we get matched? Yes.
Did we bring Jaylen home? Yes.
Have we completed all of our home studies? Yes.
Has the birth mother explained multiple times that she is so pleased with her decision? Yes.
Have we cared for and loved Jaylen to the best of our humanly possible ability? Of course.
But…adoptive parents (I think I speak for most, not all) still play a mind game of “What if something changes?” There is a constant mental countdown of when finalization will occur (typically 90 days depending on court scheduling). And the Taylor Family finalization occurred on Tuesday, September 15th.
Because I love telling stories and because if you know me at all you know nothing goes as planned...here's the story of our finalization.
On August 6th, we received the exciting email with our upcoming date and time for "Court". The email explained that due to COVID-19 we cannot have our finalization in court so it will be via Zoom, but we are to present ourselves in a "professional and court-like" manner. We were allowed to have family log into the "court room" but they cannot have microphone or video on.
I'm a planner. I like control (shocker). I like organization. On August 6th, we let everyone know the "plan" for Sept. 15th. Grandparents would stand behind us and be in the background of the Zoom. Siblings would be in their respective homes logged on. We scheduled a photographer to come into the home to secretly take pictures of the big Zoom meeting since snapping pictures with an iPhone and taking screenshots of the Zoom probably isn't being "court-like". It was all planned.
The evening before the "Court Date" Drew set up my computer in the family room because it is the more updated and efficient computer. All we needed to do was log in right before the scheduled time. We were ready.
The morning of we go to log in about 5 minutes before the proceedings begin and my updated, efficient, trusty computer crashes. Completely. Nothing is working. The blue screen of death and the spinning circle (y'all know what I'm talking about) just keeps spinning.
So we grab another computer. It doesn't have the Zoom app. Can't use it. Nana, the photographer, and Papa are all working on the trusty computer to try to get it up and running. Time is now 1 minute away from proceedings beginning.
We log into Drew's phone but it's taking forever and we are wondering how we are going to hold the phone, Jaylen, our paperwork, and still look "professional" and calm and put together. Flustered, we get in 3 minutes late. The doubts were swimming in my brain. "This is it. I cannot log into a finalization court date on time which obviously means we are an unfit mother and father so the judge isn't going to grant this final judgement and Jaylen is going to be in limbo. Stay calm. Just breathe." I know. Not dramatic at all.
But, the judge was so gracious! He totally understood the delay and that technology is just not reliable. Then as I feel like we have it all together and were "professional" the judge asks us for our drivers license. What?! That wasn't in the email. I have ZERO idea of where my wallet is at this moment. Drew's a lucky dog and has one of those card holders on the back of his phone. So again, the doubts. "This lady can't even find her driver's license. How can she care of a baby?"
Pops goes to grab the entire middle console compartment out of my car, literally the entire insert. Photographer grabs the diaper bag and starts digging. Someone else grabbed my purse and dumped it. Finally, the driver's license arrives in my hand as I casually small talk with the judge by myself (Drew was helping tear the house/car/bags apart). All is good. "Your Honor, please do not mind the sweat dripping down my face, I'm just a little flustered."
The court begins and the Judge beautifully illustrated how adoption is forever. Even when Drew and I pass on, we will be Jaylen's mommy and daddy. We will be the two individuals who taught him his life lessons, created family traditions for him to pass on, raised him to be a gentleman. It is forever.
And at about 11:30am on September 15th, despite the chaos and doubts that continued to cloud my head until the last second, the Judge ordered a little boy's birth certificate to reflect our last name. Forever.
Thank you Elyse Anna Photography for the beautiful pictures!