We have finally reached our much-planned and much-anticipated week of adoption celebrations and it feels GOOD!
My parents arrived on Monday night, so the boys have been super-spoiled and super-fussed all week, much to their delight (and mine - the spoiling extends to me too!). On Thursday, we went to court for our Celebratory Hearing. I wasn't sure what to expect to be honest, as I've never even been in a court room before (it was very posh and hi-tech!), but in the end, it was informal, low key and rather sweet. The judge put his funny wig on OB and let us take a ridiculous amount of photographs, and then he gave both boys some sweeties out of a tin he obviously keeps for these occasions.
Both of our social workers were there, and I was very touched when our adoption SW gave us a lovely gift of a teddy and a sweet little book about a kangaroo who 'adopts' a little birdy. OB loved the teddy and gave it a huge cuddle straight away. All in all, it gave a welcome sense of closure to the legal part of the adoption.
This morning the new birth certificate arrived which felt like perfect timing as today was the day of our party at church for all my friends to come and celebrate with us. We had activities for the kids, balloons, an awesome celebration cake, and lots and lots of food - way too much food actually, but nobody was complaining! And again I was touched by the really beautiful and thoughtful gifts we received, including a tree to plant in the garden of our new house, a 'Mum' photo frame, an adorable shirt for OB and a custom-designed Memory Box for all his treasures . . . we'll be making good use of that.
I hadn't really been expecting gifts - again, I didn't really have a precedent on which to base any expectations - but it was fantastic to receive them for all sorts of reasons. I've blogged before about how I have longed for all the things that any new parent would experience, even though the way I have become a parent isn't the usual, and today I really felt that all my friends and family pulled together to acknowledge how wonderful and special it is to become a parent, however it happens.
For a record of the event, I asked everybody to write messages on a huge piece of card with a picture of OB in the middle, so that the messages would frame the photo. After everyone had gone I just took a few minutes to sit quietly and read those messages, and the ones on the cards people had given us . . . it's hard to say how much it means to me to read those things. I'm sure I'll read and re-read them over and over again in the years to come. I'm sure those loving words will remind me of the joy, and bring me comfort and strengthen my resolve as we face the ups and downs of our future together.
Tomorrow we will hold a Dedication Service at church; a whole other kind of celebration. But for now, I'm too tired to write any more, so I'll finish with words from a beautiful card we received today:
I didn't give you the gift of life
But in my heart I know
The love I feel is deep and real
As if it had been so.
For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you the gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you!