The Promise We All Signed That Day
Hold this moment in time, because today was the day that IT happened.
The worker came to begin the adoption paperwork process.
Obviously, we’ve never done this before, so we didn’t know what to expect.
I still don’t really know what all happened.
There were stacks of paperwork. Files on the kids, files on the parents, medical records, court records, social history and psychological examinations.
I saw both of their birth certificates for the first time.
I saw hospital reports of things I never knew, and counseling records of things I never knew.
I saw with reminded eyes how my babies were hurt, and things they went through that I wished I could take away with everything in me.
I remembered with fresh perspective of why they struggle with certain things so badly, and compassion and patience washed me back to Square One as I sat at my kitchen table.
I couldn’t read it all… I didn’t want to read it all, right then, there safe in my home in that precious moment of time.
It was such a stark contrast: the chaos and laughter in my home as I scanned the documents I was preparing to sign, kids running in and out, cackling, reading, snacking. Questions of cookies and toys and teasing as I read about heartache and pain and loss.
Tim and I finally just breathed a new breath and started signing our lives away, knowing it didn’t matter what the papers said; we knew what we needed to do anyways, and nothing we read at that table at that moment would change that outcome.
Then it came time for the kids to sign.
We called them up from playing and they sat down to read their paperwork. Little Sis started reading first:
“Adoptive Family Pledge
We welcome you into our family as our daughter. (She looked up at us and cackled in awkward disbelief at the use of the word in that moment.) As your parents, we promise to love and take care of you. We will provide a safe environment for you to live in. As our child, you will be entitled to full family rights. Through good times and challenging times, we will grow together as a family.”
She had us sign and date our part and went on to read her part:
“I want to live with you and learn to care for you as my parents. I am ready to accept my responsibilities as your daughter and as a family member.”
She signed and dated it with her new name in cursive, so proud and so awkward at the same time.
Such uncharted waters for all of us tonight, but the weight of it all is still swirling on me.
Nothing has changed… yet everything has changed.
The signed agreements go to the attorney tomorrow, the 17th.
Of course it’s the 17th.
Just a confirmation and a smile and nod from heaven to keep on going, just a little farther, just a little more, in the direction we are headed.
I hear you, Lord, and I promise to remember this day forever.