One of the questions I got was why we didn't need to be at the final court hearing.
Each county in Illinois does their adoptions differently. In theory we could have filed the adoption in any county in Illinois. From what I can tell each requires two hearings. In some counties the family goes in person to the 1st, in others you go in person to the last. Some counties only do adoptions two times a month, others four days a week.
The county their case was out of was almost 2 hours away and very small county. Our attorney wasn't familiar with their procedures but offered to file in that county if we wanted to. We liked the idea of the same judge handling the adoption but by the time we got the point we could actually petition for the adoption we decided it wasn't worth the hassle.
The county we live in has a bit of a lag between petition and hearing dates, but would have had us go in person on the day it was final. The drawback was there would be no cameras allowed at all. No phones with cameras are allowed in the building. So we decided not to file there.
The other county we live very close to is very big and they do adoptions nearly every day of the week. There was virtually no wait time for a court date and they allowed pictures in the hallway (not in the court room). The drawback was we had to go to the 1st hearing and wait on the finalization date to be communicated to us.
So that is how it happened that we weren't there. So we have two adoption days. The day we went to court and told the judge we wanted them to be ours forever. And the day that it was official.
I asked the kids last night about their feelings about the adoption being final, final. Simon said he forgot it happened this week. Smiley said "It feels like my birthday. I don't feel different than six even though I'm seven." Stella said it didn't feel different and when I affirmed her feeling Sarah spoke up that she felt the same way but was worried that would hurt my feelings. "It's a big deal but it doesn't feel that way and I thought that would hurt your feelings. It just felt like a regular day."
I told her that I completely understood and that maybe it meant that we handled the transition so well as a family that we didn't need a piece of paper to tell us what we already knew. They all agreed and then went back to eating their dinner.
But I have to admit I'm a little weepy this week about it. We were at a baptism today and the priest was giving his homily (sermon). He was from Uganda and was talking about traveling to his homeland to visit and his journey back to the US. He talked about being "home" and how we all just want to feel stability and safety, no matter where "home" might be. We want to belong to one single place.
It was a moment where I felt like the words were meant only for us. Meaning in the message for sure.
A little later a friend of the family member who's child was Baptized was reminding me we had met before. After finding out we had 5 kids, she was all "I think the last time I saw you, you were pregnant."
I was like- "Nope, don't think so!" She was all "Are you sure?".
A little later I told Hubby that I should have said "Nope, just fat." And he was like I was going to say that as a joke but I wasn't sure how you'd take that.