|With tears in her eyes, there was much going on in her mind and her heart.|
The re-adoption court hearing seemed rather simple to us and we had not put too much thought into it. We worked with a lawyer who specializes in social work and adoption and after many forms and some money the court date was lined up. I didn't think about explaining it to Peaches since I figured she wouldn't understand any of it anyway.
As we were walking up to the courthouse this morning, I sensed some uneasiness from her. I told her we were going to the courthouse to complete her adoption and that they would ask some questions, we would answer the questions, and then we would go home. It would be very easy.
She quickly tensed and withdrew, walking very slowly right behind me. She said she didn't want to talk to anyone. Thinking I understood her concern, I picked her up and carried her. We went up to the second floor of the Dakota County Courthouse, all eight of us, and were told to go into the courtroom. It was about 8:15 am. Our hearing was scheduled for 8:30 am. After sitting for a few minutes, the judge entered, we all rose, then sat back down, and then we received a civics lesson while we watched the legal proceedings of someone suing another person for faulty car repair. It was fascinating.
We were next. Peaches, Bo, and I headed up to the bench and were told to sit in the witness chairs. We were asked a series of questions related to the specifics of Peaches' adoption. Toward the end of the questioning, we were asked if we understood that following this hearing Peaches would be considered as though she was born of us. Those words struck me. I pondered their importance in our relationship with Peaches. Though ethnically we are a half-world apart, we are connected as if by blood according to the State. Isn't that amazing? A girl from Ethiopia who was abandoned is now connected to a family in the US as though she was born of us. I was reminded that she is an orphan no more.
It was then, however, we realized Peaches was crying. She was quiet and looking down. She wanted to be held by her sister Sunshine. We asked the judge if we could take a picture and he happily said yes. He tried to talk to Peaches but she turned away from him, not wanting to make any eye contact. He thanked us for allowing him to be a part of the proceedings and we headed out of the courtroom to finish some last paperwork.
As we stood in the hallway, I heard Peaches through her tears say to Sunshine, "but I want to stay with you." Wow. Now I understood. She thought the men were going to take her away. The legal proceedings must have brought back vivid memories of her being relinquished by her birthmom - which coincidentally was in a courtroom in Ethiopia 2 years ago almost to the day. We quickly tried to calm her and explain to her that we are her forever family and that she will be our daughter forever. The reassurance was not enough to overcome the reality of the memories that must have flooded her mind and her heart.
We left the courthouse which allowed her to begin to calm down and realize that everything was OK and that she was not being taken away. She slowly began to calm down and the brightness in her eyes began to return. We then headed to Perkins with the whole family for breakfast. Some bacon and eggs were what she needed. She loves her protein and the heavy cholesterol proved to be soothing to her heavy heart.
How do we process all of that? We're thankful for our beautiful girl, thankful for our family, thankful for how God places each person in a family, thankful that He can heal the deepest wounds, thankful that her adoption is full and complete, thankful that our adoption in Christ is full and complete, thankful that she cannot be stolen away from us, thankful that we cannot be stolen away from Christ.
It was an emotional day. But we are together as a family. Forever.