When we finalized with the boys, it was definitely due to random circumstances. The car overheated which caused us to have to sit in a parking lot, instead of getting to our finalization in time. The rest of our family was there, but we were freaking out on the other side of town. Luckily, it was a group adoption event and they were able to pass us over and come back to us.
Here's that story... http://www.the5parkers.com/2011/05/three-years-ago-we-adopted-our-sons.html
This time, I lost the debit card. Yeah, that was me. I didn't realize it until we were getting close to the time to leave. The kids and I were going to run to the store and then to a friend's work because it's possible that I left my camera in her purse. You can't go to an adoption finalization without a camera. :) And, when I went to confirm the location of my debit card, I realized that it wasn't there. No problem, I thought, Brian has it. Well, I think that we all know that Brian didn't have it... Several minutes of pocket searching, van searching, and wallet searching ensued with no luck. So, then, I decided to panic instead. Have you ever tried to take a trip to the other end of the state with no debit card and only a few dollars in cash and no access to your money because it's a Sunday? It's not easy.
So, what does a grown-up, mature woman, wife, and mother of four do in these situations? I called my parents and cried. My parents are not the kind of people who lose debit cards, so they don't really know what to do with me, but, boy, do they have my back. Or, more importantly, they have their grandchildren's backs. So, a couple of hours later, we were heading out of town with borrowed money and anticipation.
We could now focus on the fact that we were about to officially become a family. :)
Thankfully, the trip was uneventful. We made it to Fort Myers at 7:30pm instead of mid-afternoon like we would have without my antics. But, we made it! We checked into a hotel that had us in two rooms on separate floors (we got that fixed), got McDonald's to go, only to discover that they had messed up the order (we ate it, anyway), and we collapsed tiredly into our beds (well, Brian and I did, at least).
I laid there in bed, thinking. When you're going to become a mom, there's a lot to think about. But, mostly, I thought about logistics. Are the camera batteries charging? How early do I have to get up so that I have enough time to dye my hair (I can't finalize with gray in my hair!) and to do Lizzie's hair (if you've ever tried to do a black child's hair in a hotel room with spinny chairs, then you know that it's extra challenging..)? Would I have time to stop for the pantyhose that I forgot to buy (probably not)? And, what time should I get the kids up? I think that's when I dozed off.
I got up early. I dyed my hair. I woke up the kids with obnoxiously cheerful songs and it all went as smoothly as it could, with 4 kids involved, and we were on our way. That is, until I realized that I left the battery charger in the outlet in the hotel room. So, I went back in, got another key and rushed up to the room. That's when I realized that I gave the clerk the wrong room number and had to run back down and get another key. I was in rare form. It's almost like I had something else on my mind...:)
Finally, after all this, we were actually on our way!
We got to the courthouse with about 10 minutes to spare and found out that you have to take off your shoes to go through security. This made me regret putting myself, Lizzie, Antwan, and William in boots. Haha.
Eventually, though, we got to the courtroom where, of course, we waited around. Kaleb got a "congratulations on being adopted" quilt, we got hugs from the Guardian At Litem, and the paralegal agreed to videotape for us. And, finally, we were called in.
It was different from how we do it in Jacksonville. We didn't stand up, make statements, and I'm not even sure if we raised our right hand. It was informal, but, at least, it was happening. :) And, then she started to say the words. She started to say the words that do make it final, makes him our son and, officially, a Parker. That's when I started crying. :) And, when she was done, I went in for my hug.
(Weeks before the finalization, I had warned him that I was going to hug him and he needed to let me. I thought it was important because, occasionally, in the past, he had jokingly dodged the hug; even though, we both know that he loves them. I needed him to know that this wasn't the time for that. I had earned the dramatic hug, darn it! ;) He joked and asked what would happen if he did and I simply said that it would break my heart. I wasn't taking any chances on this one! haha.)
So, it was with confidence that I went for the hug and I could feel him lean into me. I cried and hugged and thought how awesome this moment was; and, how great it was that he was really in the moment because he wasn't pulling away. That's when I heard his muffled voice, "Wow, this is a really long hug."
So, he was humoring me about the hug, haha, but not about being happy. :)
We all stood up. Everyone was smiling. Then the paralegal came over and told me that I had run out of space on my memory card, but she got everything that she could. So, it is likely that she got the judge talking, but not the actual finalization. I haven't been able to bring myself to look at it yet and that is my biggest disappointment. But, perspective is important. He is still my son, now, even if there is no video footage of me smothering him with a hug. ;)
We left the courthouse, feeling good. My family patiently posed for several pictures.
We had lunch with his Guardian At Litem who is the greatest. And, we drove home.
Kaleb slept a good portion of the way. Lizzie, Antwan, and William made as much noise as they possibly could because, apparently, they had enough of being cooped up. Brian and I were over-joyed to be home, get out of the van and out of such close quarters with the children that we love so much.
We went to bed about as quickly as the kids that night. We were exhausted and Brian was getting a cold. But, we were going to bed as a family and that was pretty cool.
I sent them all to school the next morning on inadequate sleep and I went to work. I did a little gushing at work and a lot of thinking. (Maybe not so much working...)
There has been a shift since then. I know that Kaleb feels more secure. I think that we all do.
If I needed any more proof, I've got this. The other night, I tucked him in (just like I have been doing for weeks.) This time, he said "I'm glad that I have a mommy now to tuck me in every night."
I said that I was glad that I had a son to tuck in. He laughed and said "No, you're not. You just want to go to sleep."
That was also true. I am always exhausted when I am tucking him in.
But, there is no doubt that I am really glad that this boy is my son and that he settles for my low energy tuck-ins, every night. :)
And, I'm also thankful to have a husband who finds the humor in the fact that he found the debit card on the floor, a week later.... :)