Sunday, June 13, 2010

"How happy are those who fear the Lord...

all who follow His ways!  You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.  How happy you will be!  How rich your life?  Your life will be like a fruitful vine, flourishing within your home.  And look at all those children!!  There they sit around your table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees.  That is the Lord's reward for those who fear Him."  Psalm 128:1-4

I promised you details about Emma's "gotcha" day, so here we go.  But first, I want to give you a little background as to the court process when it involves DHS foster care and adoption.  When you adopt privately/through an agency, you are given a finalization date, you show up, and that's that.  Now, sometimes, depending upon the situation, you might have
been to the same judge when the birth parents relinquished. 

In DHS court, under normal circumstances, you have been going to court with/for your foster children for 6 months to 3 or 4 years.  You and the court go through a LOT together.  Even if you haven't had the child very long (much like Emma's case) or you are doing straight adoption, in most cases the judge has been involved in the child's life since they came into care.  These judges love to see these cases played out. 

In our case, not only had the judge been overseeing Emma's case for 10 months, but he was also the judge in Jacob's case.  Jacob was one of Judge Kirby's first cases when he moved to the juvenile court.  And for some reason, Jacob touched that courtroom and those who worked there.  I have no idea why, but they were all very fond of him. 

So, Thursday morning (very early for us) we all piled into Judge Kirby's courtroom at 9am.  It was just our immediate family's, but 18 people crowded in front of the bench looks like a bunch!  Judge Kirby made sure everyone felt welcome at the bench.  We chatted for a minute while waiting on one of the DHS workers.  (HaHa...such irony.)  And then Judge Kirby swore us all in...even the little kids!  Our attorney questioned us as to why we wanted to adopt Emma, was it in the best interest of her and our family, etc.  (All the while, she was beaming from ear to ear!)  At one point, she asked if Emma had attached to us since coming to live with us and then she laughed and said, "Well, I see that she has!"  It was very obvious in the courtroom that Emma was already a part of this family.  And then it was done.  The judge ordered it and congratulated us all. 

But then...he looked at me and said, "How have you been doing.  Are you doing okay?"  I told him that we were actually doing very well, but I appreciated his concern.  And he said, "Well, I pray for you...all of you (pointing to our entire family).  You are a special family to this courtroom."  I promised to keep him updated on our family and send pictures often.  (The judges LOVE pictures.)  When I send Judge Kirby pictures from the day, I think I will send him the story behind our Emma.  (Oh...did I mention that Judge Kirby goes to church where ChildSHARE offices out of?  Yeah, small world!)

We shook hands and walked out of the courtroom.  And she was ours.  Emma Claire Phillips.  God's promise had come to fruition.  God's faithfulness shown through in that courtroom.  And 10 minutes later, our attorney handed us the papers that make it all official...the adopton decree.  What a perfect end to such an
eloquently orchestrated promise that came from an awesome God!

And then we were off to the lake to celebrate!! 
"Oh Lord, you are a great and awesome God!  You always fulfill Your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and keep your commands."  Daniel 9:4

"Surely the Lord has done great things!  Don't be afraid, my people!  Be glad now and rejoice because the Lord has done great things!"  Joel 2:20b-21


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