Jarrod and Amanda brought their sweet daughter, Madison, home this summer. They have an amazing story of God's miracles and faithfulness to their family that you can read here. And earlier this month, they finalized Madison's adoption. Here's a glimpse from Amanda's eyes about the day Madison took their last name, and forever, officially, they became a family.
November 5, 2014 was a day like no other. We waited in the hallway for the bailiff to call us in before the judge. I could practically hear my own heart pounding with excitement - so loudly that it would resonate off those cold, brick, courthouse walls. This was it. After these few moments before a judge, the little girl that I held in my arms would be forever ours. There would be no more visits from a social worker or unexpected legal fees to pay. There would be no more paperwork or reason to worry that something could happen. She would take our name. Papers would be signed. The case would be closed.
The three months since Madison joined our family flew by. It felt like just a few days ago she was placed in my arms for the first time. I cried tears of joy at that moment - I had dreamed about it for so long. But now, the tears came again. This moment - this private moment between our family, an attorney and a judge in a Florida courtroom - was the beginning of our official lives as a family. The judge would legally declare, for the rest of time, what we all already knew to be true in our hearts: This little one was meant to be our daughter. God ordained the three of us a family long before we even knew she existed. And now, we are a family.
The bailiff swore us in and our attorney began to ask us a series of short yes or no questions regarding our adoption, the fees, our adoption license. They were short and simple. But then, in the form of one final question, the attorney asked a question embedded so deeply into my heart that I'll never forget the words. In the hustle of these moments, this significant question, would have been easy to miss. But, in that moment, it felt as if no one else existed in the room but Jarrod, Madison, and myself.
"Do you understand that when the judge signs the order of adoption here today that Madison will now legally be yours as if she was born to you?"
The beauty of those words still make my heart skip a beat. We nodded our heads in response. The tears began to well up inside me while the judge placed his stamp of approval on the paperwork and handed it back to attorney. It was done. This adoption case was closed. In less than five minutes, we had gone from a couple caring for a precious little one, to a legally, binded-together family. I'll say it again: What we knew in our hearts to be true for so long, was now official. This little one was meant to be our daughter. God ordained the three of us a family long before we even knew she existed. And now, we are a family.
Every step of the journey that led us to that moment has been an adventure. There were a lot of tears, a lot of questions, a lot of unknowns and difficult moments. But there was also celebrating, and trust, and hope. Hope that in the end this plan that was not our own, but divinely predetermined for us by a good and incredibly gracious God, would be worth it all. And indeed, every moment was. This little girl is worth every ounce of this journey and I'd do it all over again for her.
When we began our adoption journey, I ended my first ever blog post with the below song. It was an anthem that got me through some of the deepest and toughest moments of this journey. So it's only fitting to end reflecting on this song once more.
A special thank you to Heather at Studio 25 Photography for giving of your time to come capture these precious images for us! We'd also like to thank my sweet Aunt Deb for accompanying us to the courthouse and rejoicing (& crying) with us during this time of celebration! Your support and love meant so very much!
For more of Jarrod and Amanda's story and this original post, see their blog, Adding to Us.