Sunday, December 8, 2013

His A-Day!

In the midst of our broken hearts, and sadness, God knew we needed some joy, sunshine.

There is no doubt that He planned our latest Adoption Day to be right in the middle of my Granddaddy's death and funeral services.

What I'm trying to tell you is... as of Tuesday December 3rd, we've finalized another adoption.

:)

I have lots of catching up to do.

But first I want to introduce you to our newest son, Caleb Norris.

(Same judge as Roly Poly)

When God sent Caleb to us, He knew what He was doing. 

Caleb is full of joy... and is such a happy kid.

In fact, the "symbol" I have assigned to him to represent him is: sunshine.  (That's another post for another day.)

We are so thrilled to have him officially join our home, and to give him our last name.  He has been so excited to change his last name.  In fact, he asked if he could change his first name to Chuck and be Chuck Norris.  :) 

We said if that's what he wanted he could... but thankfully decided he liked Caleb better than Chuck.

He's a funny kid.


We had a very special day planned for him... as we do with all of our kids, but it was cut a little short considering the death of my Granddaddy.  We had receiving friends the night of his adoption day.  But we told him we would make it up to him.

He has been begging to go eat a local restaurant that serves wild game.  But they didn't open until 5 pm.  And it wasn't possible... but we're going in the next week or so.  And I can't wait to take him.

Early Tuesday morning we had our "A-Day" Pictures taken.  We didn't have to be at court until 3:15 (our latest one yet) so it was different having "I'm adopted" pictures taken before the adoption was finalized.  But we were trying to squeeze everything in.

After pictures, we ate an extremely healthy breakfast at Cracker Barrel.  


Caleb chose the Pecan Sticky Bun French Toast.  :)  

Hey... it's a celebration!

After breakfast, it was still early, so we did some Christmas shopping in the Cracker Barrel store.  They have the cutest stuff.  

Then we headed to the movies.  

Caleb loves to read and has read The Hunger Games series several times.  We bought the series for Christmas last year, after he had already read it once... and he has read it several times this past year.  So when Catching Fire came out, we knew exactly what to do on his A-Day!

*Disclaimer:  I have never heard or seen any of The Hunger Games books or the movies before this.  And I never thought I would have a kid that was into "popular" books and movies.  (I tried really hard to not fit-in in school.)  And I wasn't sure if I wanted to support this movie... I had heard some things that I didn't think I would "agree" with.  But turns out, it wasn't so bad.

Caleb had to catch me up on the History of the first Hunger Games movie before Catching Fire started.  And I was a little lost.  But I think the movie stood alone pretty well.  I understood most of it.

It was really hard to watch the movie while dealing with the fresh death of my Granddaddy.  I cried several times during the movie.  And the President of The Capitol reminded me of my Granddaddy.  It was hard to watch, in that sense.  But I did enjoy the movie.  I might have to go back and read the books.  

The movie "started" at 11:55 supposedly.  But, after previews, it didn't actually start until 12:25.  Wow!  So we knew we would cutting it close making it to court on time.  We whispered to Caleb, "when the movie is over... run to the car!"  I was worried that we would have to leave before it was over.  But it ended just in time.

And we actually made it to court, found a parking spot, parked, and went inside with 7 minutes to spare.  (We always plan to get there 15 minutes early, just in case.  So we had plenty of time.)

Court was running 15 minutes late.  Imagine that.  :)


December 3rd was declared "Adoption Day" by the state... meaning most of the cases on the docket for that day were adoptions.  The judges like to schedule Adoption Days right before Christmas to grant many of the families Christmas wishes.  We were so blessed to be put on this date.  Originally, we were supposed to adopt Caleb in November, but something fell through.  We were so upset.  But thankfully, it was only moved back a couple of weeks, instead of months.

Check out that huge smile.  
He is such a happy little guy.  
This is while we were waiting to be called into the courtroom.
"No, close-ups, mom!"

Suddenly, our Guardian ad Litem rounded the corner and told us the judge was ready for us.  

Deep breath.

Here we go.

Every adoption has been different so far.  We had this judge when we adopted Roly Poly... and he does things completely different than the judge who did Cindy's.  



Once inside the courtroom, TJ was sworn in and asked questions about how long Caleb had lived with us, how many children we currently have in our home, if he had any special needs, or any Native American descent.  

Then, the important part... "do you understand that once this adoption is finalized this child will be considered legally yours and the state will not be able to tell any difference than if this child was biologically yours?"

(I always get so emotional during this part.)

TJ:  "Yes."

Lawyer:  "How do you feel about this child?"

TJ:  "We love him."

Lawyer:  "How does he feel about you?"

TJ:  "Well, we think he loves us too."

<<Smile>>

TJ was then dismissed from the stand, and I was called up.

Thankfully, I just have to say I agree with everything TJ said.  (shew)  I do not do well speaking in front of people.  


Lawyer to me:  "Do you understand that once this adoption is finalized this child will be considered legally yours and the state will not be able to tell any difference than if this child was biologically yours?"

(tears...)

Me:  "Yes."

Lawyer:  "How do you feel about this child?"

Me:  "We love him."

Lawyer:  "How does he feel about you?"

Me (laughing):  "We think he loves us too."



Then, the judge called Caleb up in front of the courtroom.

He asked Caleb, "Do you good in school?"

(He does... he had all A's and 1 B on his last report card.)

Judge:  "What do you call them?"  (Pointing to us...)

Caleb (laughing):  "Mom and Dad."  (I guess he thought that was a silly question.)

(Everyone in the courtroom proceeded with an "awwwww.")

Judge:  "Do you like living with them?"

Caleb:  "Yes sir."

(I was so nervous that he would forget to say sir.  We practice it... but it takes a lot of reminding... and he was nervous.  And I was nervous that he would forget.)

Judge:  "Do you love them?"  (Pointing to us...)

Caleb:  "Yes sir."

Judge:  "What is your favorite subject in school?"

Caleb:  "Language Arts."

Judge:  "Oh so you like to write?"

Caleb:  "Well, not write, but read."

Judge:  "Oh, well reading is good.  You can go anywhere in the world by reading.  You can be here in Greenville, and in China at the same time, just by reading.  I want you to promise me something.  After you graduate middle school, high school, and then college, I want you to come back and visit me.  Can you promise me that?"

Caleb was so excited, he looked back at us for approval to say yes.  And then shook his head yes to the judge.

Then the judge asked Caleb the most difficult question of all, "son, do you like suckers?"

Caleb (shrugging shoulders):  "Ummm, I guess."

And the judge gave him one.  (I remember this from Roly Poly's too.)

I thought it was funny that Caleb said "I guess" because any other time he would have been all over that sucker.  :)

He ordered Caleb to sit back down with us.  Then he granted Caleb his new last name, and slammed the gavel into his podium.

With that, everyone in the courtroom started clapping and cheering.  And then we rushed to take a picture with the judge, and back out into the waiting room.  Just like that, we were official parents to our son.

There is nothing like hearing a judge declare your child "legally yours forever!"

Amen.

This picture is blurry, if you look closely.  I tried really hard to fix it.  
I had my camera on Auto focus, so I really don't know how it turned out blurry.  
We actually took 3... and they're all blurry.  
But it's our tradition to take a picture out in the waiting area 
while waiting on our paperwork to be stamped.  
So here is this blurry photo... bleck.

Since December 3rd was declared "Adoption Day" by the state, a local church and the Foster Care Review Board hosted a reception for kids and families that were just adopted... right up Caleb's alley.


They had coffee, water, cake and cookies!

Then Caleb spotted the goodie bags.  (He can never be surprised... he always ruins it.)  "Are those for us?"  A lady who helped set up ran over and said, "oh yes, I forgot to give you one."

...Don't worry, my kid would NOT have rested until he got his goodie bag.  :)

Snack in one hand, bag in another.

 $10 in Chick-fil-A gift cards.

 A coffee cup that says, "A Home for Me."
He loved it!

Happy Adoption Day, Caleb!  We are so happy to finally call you a Norris.  
(Caleb kept saying, "I'm finnnnnnallllllyyyy getting adopted!)

Forgot to mention... our family song was playing before the movie started in the theater!  
How cool is God?

"We're gonna make this place your home..."

6 comments:

  1. YAY!!!! So exciting! Now you'll get to someday update those pics on the side! I'm so excited that God blessed you guys with each other! Can't wait for more updates on if there are any other kids in your home at this time and how well Roly Poly is doing, and how GIANT Bella Rae probably is now!

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  2. Not sure it's just the pregnancy or the Christmas songs in the background or you know, the intense joy, but I'm crying reading this. lol. Happy for you all! I'm glad God gives joy, even during the dark times!

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  3. Yay!!! I'm so excited that you got to add another beautiful child to your forever family!

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  4. As I read this and saw that your Adoption day is on Rachel's birthday, it made me both smile and cry! I'm so happy for you guys - what a blessing you are. May God continue to bless and encourage you. Congratulations!!

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  5. So grateful for you and TJ, as well as your kiddos! What an amazing example you are to all of us! Congratulations!

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