Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gotcha

Yesterday, I adopted Rene. I wanted to record the moments so I'd never forget. After opening up our facebook albums so people could see our past 7 months together, I woke her up for a cereal breakfast of cinnamon toast crunch and Disney music (just in case she had any nerves). We got ready...not everything was working out for me though...I couldn't find some of the clothes I wanted to wear. I remember needing to check my heart as my girl was in the living room alone playing games on her DS on a huge day in her life while I was stressing about not finding the slacks I wanted to wear. So I tossed expectations to the side and focused on encouraging her and being with her until my folks arrived from out of town. We piled in my car and I drove us to the family court house. We found great parking! yay.

After going through security and meeting up with all the friends who had come to support us, we went to the 5th floor and I met the lawyer for the first time. He talked us through what would happen a bit more and shared the questions he'd ask me and what Rene would be asked. I got real emotional as he asked some basic questions. My friend Guy-Michel began taking pictures while we waited and before I knew it (although we had probably waited about 30 minutes outside the courtroom) the lawyer came out of the court room and called my name. We all ushered in..I thought to sit down to be called but instead they moved us right in front to stand before the judge! Rene and I stood there with our family and friends behind us for support and they swore us all in.

Then the sweet gentlemanly voice of our lawyer started to ask me questions. I was thankful that my spirit and voice felt full of conviction when I answered "yes, sir." to basic questions then the more serious ones of my commitment to care for Rene forever, my financial ability to care for her, and if I believed this was the best thing for her. Then the judge asked my sweet girl several questions ranging from grades and plans for the future through to her desire to live with me, if she felt this was the best decision for her. Next, the judge asked our family and friends the question on if they would be here to support Rene too. Finally, the judge granted our adoption of each other and we hugged. That's when I started to cry for sure! She whispered, "You're not crying are you?" and I said, "Of course I am!" and I hugged her tight. The judge gave her a blue and white teddy bear, which she kissed the ear of and got lipstick on which was super cute and we exited the courtroom. She named the bear Paschal which I'm not sure if she realizes is part of our lawyer's name.

We went back outside the courtroom to wait on the lawyer to get some paperwork in process and to me. In the meantime, we took pictures on the staircase. I saw my papa lean down and whisper things in her ear, of his encouragement and pride I'm sure, to which she stated to us, "Now I'll care on the family name." Ahhh....after speaking to the lawyer and saying bye to the CPS and my adoption agency worker, we headed off to the Cracker Barrel. :)

Of course, I realized when exiting the garage that I had lost our ticket...ha, of course, how was I going to keep up with such a small thing on such a big occasion! hee hee. We got to the restaurant, ordered and opened presents. My mom gave Rene a beautiful James Avery leather double-wrap bracelet with a silver heart to which my alternative daughter swiftly turned into a choker necklace and I received a beautiful silver necklace with a pendant that reads, "born in my heart." We got some much needed picture frames and some baking aprons from a dear family of friends. The aprons are priceless because there are four of them and they read, "Grandma Baker," "Grandpa Baker," "Momma Baker" and hers which reads, "Now, I'm a Baker too." Ahhhhh....we ate and enjoyed the breakfast then went home.

Later, while watching her beat a Wii game, Rene asked, "Did you have a good day?" I laughed and said, "the best!" then I asked her, "Did you?" to which she rolled her eyes in the way that teens do and said "no" but then smiled and said, "Of course!' Later we had some visitors stop by with congratulations cookies.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Scriptures for a New Mom



Today is exactly three weeks until we finalize the adoption! I find myself all excited and nervous at the same time. I'm a first time mom and I feel the weight of responsibility as a single mom by choice because really...I don't know what I'm doing! Ha. Seriously, I do question sometimes if I'm even relying on God enough, am I sharing about God enough, am I making this time special for her, am I in tune with her needs and hurts, her desires and hopes...am I being a good momma? 

Also, I'm ready to get back to a somewhat "normal" routine for me. My daughter and I have established one for us but in my hours when she is at school it's full of work - and a call from CPS, next an email from my adoption agency, but it's the 1st of the month so all my foster/adoption monthly paperwork needs to get completed and emailed and oh, that reminds me, I've got to send that signed paperwork back to the lawyer but first there was something really important I needed to do...oh yeah, pay BILLS! Yikes. What a whirlwind! This little paragraph does it no justice for the outsider.

Thank you Jesus for putting it on my friend's heart, Angie, to send me this little reminder of scriptures below! It's helping me out today. Let's face it, adoption is a HUGE step! And not just for my daughter but for me too...so I know I need to chill out some and rest in God (even in my ability to rest in God - LOL). 





Besides just getting off the phone with my friend Esther and talking through some of my other emotions, something else that's been helping is the example Katie sets in her book called, "Kisses from Katie." I am always moved at how much Katie gushes as a new mom about her new foster-to-adopt daughters. Today I feel the need to follow her example and remind myself what an amazing young lady God's placed in my life.

My sweet girl: She's got such a heart of perseverance! She feels emotions deeply and likes to take care of others. She does small things all the time to show her love (like putting a Zip-Lock bag of dark chocolate covered espresso beans in my purse this morning as a surprise). She's a smart young woman who does great in school (just 3 points shy of all A's) and is competitive in the type of way that makes her successful but doesn't overpower others. She enjoys ALL kinds of animals and has shown extreme patience as she's tried to befriend our shy cat, Manna. The other day he let her hold him like a baby! She's the only other one besides me who has ever had that privilege.

One thing I really enjoy about her is her intense desire to laugh. She cracks herself up all the time. We laugh and have begun having inside jokes and routines which are beyond special! She is playful, caring and has a child-like nature that is completely endearing. My daughter is super creative and crafty (DIY - she is currently making Christmas ornaments that are sequin pokemon balls) and if reading was an Olympic sport, I know she would blow the competition away.

I very much admire all the times she is open about her day, her dreams, her thoughts and her hurts. Any tear that she sheds is so special to me because I know she does not have to be that vulnerable with me...but when she shares her emotions I know that she's made the decision to trust my love. Not many young people at her age (sweet 16) carry that kind of openness, especially after dealing with the foster care system. It makes me understand more deeply the specialness of Psalm 56:8 as to why my own tears are so special to my God. He knows we don't have to be vulnerable so when we choose to open our hearts and emotions to Him of course they would be special to Him too! God has blessed her with a fun, light spirit and He has blessed me with her! As my friend put it in a text today, having her as my daughter is my "destiny." :)