Thursday, September 1, 2011

Who wants to cry?

I may need to do this in two parts. I have a lot to write down and I have a headache.
But I will start with this morning, Goober was in a great mood and as I walked away from dropping him off I heard him say " MOM". I was in the middle of hugging another teacher and left her to go see what he had in his hands for me. He gave me a piece of paper with a green heart and green cross drawn on it and said " Happy Adoption Day"...I thought to myself " he gets it". That was just reason #1 for not putting on any make-up until absolutely necessary today!
At 11:00 I went to check him out and his teacher said " Goob, make sure you give your mom what you wrote for her". She told me that he had worked hard on it that morning. He handed me an index card that said " Dear Mom, you are the best mom I have ever , Goober". And that would be reason #2. It makes me want to hug him for days and days for the sweetness in those words and the very hard truth of his past in those words.
We got to the courthouse in their hometown around 1:00. I was glad to see them sleeping as we pulled in town  because I didn't want Goob to recognize anything and begin to dwell on his past. We immediately spotted our caseworker and she gave out hugs and helped us find the entrance. Once we all made it through the metal detectors (adam took a while because of his steel toed shoes :)), and got stickers from the friendly security guard we headed upstairs. We were immediately greeted by a swarm of people. Our caseworker from our adoption agency, our CPS caseworker, our attorney, the kids old CASA worker, the supervisors of CASA and several other people from the area who had worked with the kids in the past.I was so happy that they all came to be a part of our big day.
The next 15 minutes are a blur because we literally signed papers for three different deals and since we had to do it all today we couldn't make copies so we were signing our names one after the next, trusting that everything we signed was legit. Our attorney had us sign several things stating that we understood what was about to happen and how much court fees were. He then walked us through what was going to happen in the   courtroom and how we were to answer and what we could and couldn't do. Then we signed a ton more paperwork for CPS starting that we understood our responsibilities from here on out and that the children's birth county was releasing them to us. We also signed several things for medicaid and financial obligations. Then we signed paperwork for Arrow agreeing to be a full adoptive placement and that we were up to date on everything. Luckily, the kids love their CASA worker and she kept them busy walking them up and down the hallway.
We also spent some time explaining Ribbit's two new battle wounds. She has a bruise on her cheek from getting in a fight with the magazine holder, it won. She dented it but it left her with a nice blue bruise. Then, of all days, a little boy bit her on her arm today at preschool over a book. It looks painful and if I would have had time to put an outfit on her that covered it up I would have, but we didn't so that meant we had some explaining to do :)
Anyways, we were called into the courtroom soon after and of course Goob lead us up to the front row. There was an adoption trial right before ours but...did I get to see that one? Nope. Goob and Ribbit both had to use the bathroom at that or die!!! So we dashed to the bathroom, saw that the boys was out of order so I firmly encouraged Goober to just go in with me and his sister. I didn't want to keep that judge waiting.
We made it back in plenty of time and the judge called us up. Our three main workers came and stood with us. I'm going to write down as much as I can remember from the hearing but keep in mind I chased Ribbit around for a lot of it and held onto her as she screamed " down mommy".
The attorney introduced us and asked us to state our names. Then the judge asked us to swear in and testify by raising our right hands. Then the BEST part ( I thought ) was that the attorney noted that we came here today and have no relationship to these kids at the beginning of this hearing. Then he asked Adam several questions about the kids past, our qualifications and our intentions, all of which Adam answered Yes too. Then he asked me some questions and if I agreed with Adam said. Then he went over what we were requesting the kids name changes to be and asked us if we thought if it was in the best intentions for the kids to be with us. As we said Yes, Ribbit came and clinged onto my leg and said " mommy". Then the judge said " I am going to grant your wishes for the name change and even though you came here with no relationship to these kids you are leaving as birth parents with all the rights bound as such"....I LOVE THAT!!!. Then he read out loud each kid's new name and we high fived Goob and said " YES" and he said " Congrats". Everyone cheered and we started taking pictures. I think I will leave you with those pictures and go to bed. I will write about the rest of our GOTCHA day tomorrow. I am extremely drained emotionally and physically and life goes on tomorrow for the Harvell family of four!!

Right after the hearing...Goober was a little intimidated by the judge and didn't flinch the whole time. Don't worry his sister made up for it!

She is just so happy that the State of Texas finally understands how much her mommy loves her!

The kids with our caseworker, Mrs. Heidi.

The kids with our CPS worker, Mrs. Ronda.

The kids with their CASA worker, Mrs. Becky.

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