Ruby’s “Gotcha Day”

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Today, Ruby’s adoption was legally finalized!! I’m not sure where the term “gotcha day” came from, but it seems to be pretty popular within the adoption community, so there ya go!
As both kids lay in bed tonight, I sit reflecting on what a blur the day really was.

Eli woke up with a full blown cold and our little area of South-East Texas was preparing for the “ice storm of 2014” (which means we *might* get some sleet in the wee hours of the morning…).
Our lawyer called at 9am to let us know our arrival time had been rescheduled to 1:30, so we should expect to be in court at 1:15. Eli and Ruby napped most of the day away, which meant I fell asleep too. Barry woke me at 12 and the rush set in. We ran around like crazy people trying to get everything we needed together. Packing a bag for a short trip still entails a lot. Plus we didn’t want to look like hobo’s when we arrived before the judge. Makeup was in order.
When we pulled up at the courthouse, it had begun to rain and temps had started to drop in the low 30’s. Barry’s plan was to drop me and the kids off at the front, but we *thought* we had gotten a close parking space instead. We loaded the kids up in the double stroller and made a mad dash in the rain. On the way, Eli lost his shoe, pulled Ruby’s headband off, my umbrella blew away, and we all got drenched in freezing cold rain.
We ran up to the doors only to find we had actually parked on the back side of the courthouse, the back doors were locked and there was no covered walk way or ramp for our stroller.
So we carried the stroller around the outside of the courthouse until we got to the front, where we all stood at the foot of another set of stairs and cried. Thankfully we had some super nice locals stop to direct us, lift the stroller for me and help us get where we needed to go. 🙂 So it wasn’t terrible, but definitely memorable.

I posted this on Facebook for a good visual:
Imagine the scene from home alone where they are frantically running through the airport, except we are outside in freezing sideways rain, with a double stroller and pregnant lady RUNNING to the court house that has NO ramps. Ruby fell over in the stroller and screamed all the way to the courthouse, Eli lost a shoe and pulled Ruby’s headband off, Eli is covered in boogers because surprise he’s sick and I did my hair for no reason because my umbrella blew away. But we are here and this is our crazy family and we are crazy blessed because today Ruby’s adoption is finalized!!!!!

Once we got there, we were told they were running behind by 30 minutes, so we set up camp in the hallway and let the anxiety of getting there settle into excitement. Goldfish crackers, baby books, blankets and iphone apps playing annoying songs. 😉 We were a site to be seen for sure.

We weren’t sure what to expect, but honestly it was very simple.
The judge called us in, our lawyer read a few statements to us that set the scene for the situation (yes we understand we will be Ruby’s parents, yes we agree to the terms of the termination, yes we are who we say we are, etc…). As she read the statements I teared up. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with happiness as she stated over and over again that Barry and I were her parents, that we were a family, and that this placement was in the best interest of our child. It really had come full circle. And even though that part of the ceremony took only 2-3 minutes, it was powerful and touching.
Ruby smiled and sucked her thumb through the whole thing, which lasted a total of 10 minutes or less. Eli, of course, charmed the pants off everyone in the courtroom- so much so that the court reporter asked for a statement to be repeated because she was too busy smiling at him. 😉 He’s a flirt.
The judge smiled, said she loved cases like these and announced that the adoption was final. The people present clapped and then we had a picture taken.
It seemed so huge and yet so fast all at the same time. We have been waiting for this day for so long, and all the love and work that has gone into it built up to this point. As she spoke, my heart swelled with love and pride. This is the family God gave us. This is the family we are creating and growing together. It was beautiful and simple. I feel closer to my husband and I feel more bonded as a family.

For dinner (yes, we braved the “ice storm of 2014”), we got together to celebrate. My mom wrote a letter to put in Ruby’s baby book, and I think she summed it up perfectly: Ruby was part of our family before she even got here. And while this was just a formality, it’s still her special day and we are so excited to get to celebrate it.

The pictures were a mess too. Perfect to go with our day. 🙂 People are cut off, making strange faces or hidden awkwardly behind others. Not my most proud photog moments, but this is our family and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thank you to everyone who has prayed for our adoption, supported our family and loved on us during this time. We can’t believe it’s all official and we are glad to share it with everyone! 🙂

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