Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Another Milestone in our Adoption Process

March 26, 2007 was an incredible day. This is the day that Addison’s adoption was finalized in the USA. Although the Ethiopian courts recognized our adoption of Addison as final on January 9th of this year, the law required us to readopt her here in America in order for her to have full citizenship. This final step involved more frustration and detailed paperwork, which is why most people sometimes pay thousands of dollars to adoption attorneys to complete the essential forms. Furthermore, the forms for re-adoption are not readily available to the general public which leaves us non-attorney people scrambling around in preparation for finalizing an adoption that we’ve already worked so hard for. However, we decided that Aaron (the most organized person I know) could handle the paperwork without the assistance of an adoption lawyer.

I should add that in the middle of compiling these forms, I had to make a decision about Addison's middle name. I had been waivering between several beautiful Ethiopian names for months! One afternoon of serious and tiring paperchasing, Aaron came home to get my signature on a document. It occurred to me that if I wanted my child to have a middle name, I had to make a decision quickly to avoid having to fill out more paperwork to add a middle name later. No more procrastinating! I pulled out my little worn sheet of paper with about twelve of my favorite Ethiopian names, and read each name on the list to Aaron. Actually, I didn't even get through the entire list because Aaron stopped me when I read my top pick --- MERON. The Amharic meaning for Meron is "Gift from God." A perfect name for a little girl who is such a blessing to our family. And so it is --- Addison Meron.

On the morning of our court date, the judge scheduled to hear our case was absent from court. On top of that, we were told that a necessary form was missing from our case file. Aaron then calmly stated that he was going to a different government office to see if he could resolve the matter of the “missing form.” The re-adoption forms seem to vary from county to county and getting someone to tell us with certainty which forms were needed for our county proved next to impossible. For the most part, a good combination of research and guess work went into the preparation for this court date.

Aaron had to do some quick research in legal reference books to “create” this required form. Within the hour, he had done his legal research, created the template for the needed form on an old and slow government computer, and returned to the court room at a good time for the judge to hear our case. The kind judge quickly reviewed our forms, asked us questions to ensure that we had not been caught up in a black market baby ring, and signed off on forms stating that Addison’s adoption was final in the USA. So March 26, 2007 was a special day. We officially became Addison’s parents in the eyes of the US Courts. We are done! No more court dates to claim Addison as our daughter. Intellectually, I understand the importance of these court dates... but in my heart, Addison has been our child from the moment her sweet referral photo appeared on our computer screen. We can now relax from the great paper chase and get on with the pleasures of being a family. What a great feeling!