One year ago you walked into a court room as a 3 year old orphan in the law’s eyes. Ten minutes later you walked out our son.
The journey you endured at such a young age is heartbreaking, yet you took it in strides. Your mommy died when you were only two years old, followed by your daddy just 12 days later.
You attended the two most monumental funerals in your life before you could even talk in full sentences.
You then moved across the country only days later, leaving behind the only life you’ve ever known. You walked into a world full of four sisters, meals around the table, and structure. We struggled, hard, for months to try and find common ground. But once we did, it was like you’ve always been there. How did we ever live without you?
We stood outside the courthouse, snapping as many pictures as we could in the chilly and rainy Pacific Northwest morning. None of us were dressed for the appropriate conditions, wearing tank tops, shorts, and short sleeves. Because we shared the same dad, I imagined the raindrops as his tears from Heaven. Tears of happiness that you're getting the life you deserve, and some tears of sadness for not being able to raise you the way he raised me.
I walked into that courthouse desperate for it to be a done deal, but staying guarded in my hopes. Isn’t it funny how the mind can play such tricks on you, even when the reality is so blatantly obvious? Your parents were no longer here and you needed a family. Why would I whole heartedly fear the judge would deny that?
The hearing was quick and you were very shy for the first time in your life. It’s almost as if you subconsciously feared the same as I did. You had no interest in showing off how you spell your name, or telling her your favorite color. You laughed a few times at some silly noises. But for the most part, you kept your head down on the table, almost fearful of looking up at the woman who held your fate in her hands.
But the judge was sweet, to the point, and so empathetic to the life you had already lived in such a short amount of time. We took pictures with her after the session was over and then walked out into a warm and inviting atmosphere.
The sun was starting to poke through the clouds and we could all feel the warmth it brought along with it. It was the perfect way to start our new, blessed life while leaving behind the pain and cold of the past.
We loaded everyone in the car and as I turned the ignition, “My Old Man” by Zac Brown Band blared through the speakers. So, we sang our hearts out to the lyrics.
A special shoutout to @danikadiedikerphotography for all of her patience and skills of capturing amazing pictures from that day.
We fought to keep you, nursed you through trying illnesses, and kissed you goodnight for 458 days before the law finally recognized us as your parents.
“Gotcha Day” is the coined term someone made years ago for kiddos like you, to always celebrate the day you were adopted. It’s a huge milestone in your life and it should always be celebrated! I hope that every year we can look back on June 16, 2017 and talk about all of the emotions it brings along with it.
This year we celebrated with ice-cream cake. We talked about what you think your mommy and daddy are doing in Heaven and whether or not they were eating ice cream cake too. (You decided that they were!) We took some cute pictures together to remember this day and then we watched "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs" because it's your "favoritest movie ever!".
I imagine as the years go on, our conversations about this day will change and mature. I hope one day when you do read this, you'll whole heartedly know that all four of your parents love you beyond measure.