Born: August 22, 2011
Dropped off at our house: September 13, 2011
Found out she would be ours forever: April 11, 2012
Adoption finalized: August 30, 2012
Oh how good it feels to be able to finally say these words. While we have known for over 4 months that we were the family that would be privileged to raise Aven as our own, everything within the foster care/adoption system takes time. So much time. While knowing in my heart that she is mine has given me such pleasure, knowing that legally to the world she is ours for good just adds another level of excitement and pure gratitude that I could hardly stop smiling all day last Thursday.
It was a wonderful day. Full of love, excitement, remembering, thankfulness and celebration. We met bright and early for the finalizing of the paperwork at court. Oh a day I had looked forward to for so long! I had never been in a courtroom and while I was expecting stuffiness and formality it was actually very low-key and everyone was so excited for us.
|Signing with the sweet judge.|
|Everyone who came out to witness such an important event.|
|Officially 5. Oh, Happy Day!|
Then we went to breakfast to celebrate!
That evening we had a big party at our local community center. We celebrated both Aven's first birthday and her official adoption into our family. That deserved a party that was BIG. And boy did she get it!
In truth, there were a lot of months that we didn't think we would still have her at 1 year. I would dream of being able to have this party for her. One where we could announce to the world that she truly was ours and that we could know that we get to know how she looks, sounds, and acts at 1 and every year following. I would try to stop my heart and mind from thinking of such things...attempting to protect myself from possible deep loss. So, to be able to spend evenings making decorations and days planning out each activity was so wonderful. I would even say almost healing. Loving a child with reckless abandon while internally holding your breath can take a toll. This entire day was a release of breath for me.
She was certainly NOT shy about diving into that cake! : )
She was very spoiled by so many wonderful gifts. I'm not sure where they'll all go!!
She was our little celebrity. Hello paparazzi!
On our way home. She was still all smiles even after a long eventful day. And she remains the most flexible of my three girls. : )
I'm not oblivious to the truth of that day and what Aven's adoption means. I know that our joy mean that another family was experiencing sorrow. Our answered prayers were another family's unanswered prayers. Our happiness and dreams for our daughter's future were another family's sorrow and loss of that future. Adoption has so many emotional facets. I thought often of Aven's birth family that day (and every day). We have the task of raising Aven to know the love over her birth family. To let her know often that she had a birth mother and birth father who loved her very much. To tell her about her grandparents on each side that smiled the second she came into view and who showered her with gifts and kisses. A responsibility we don't take lightly. Part of our role as her mommy and daddy now, however, is to love her and celebrate her every moment and that's what this day was about for us. Showing her that we understand how blessed we are to call her ours.
We praise God for His hand in Aven's life. None of what has taken place the last year is a surprise to Him. The same God that carefully crafted and loved her in the womb is just as madly in love with her now and we trust that she is where she is supposed to be. Just as we would have trusted His choice had he asked us to say goodbye to Aven after loving her wholeheartedly for a year.
We are crazy in love with this girl and can't wait to tackle the world as an official family of FIVE!!