There are certain moments in my mothering journey that are ingrained in my memory forever. Moments when time stands still, when I am completely present and aware of the magnitude of the blessings, moments that will stay with me forever and will be replayed and enjoyed as I reflect on them years from now.. Yesterday was one of those days.
As I sit here in the darkness of the night I have the joy of reflecting on the day. With the births of each of my children my favorite part of the day was the night after giving birth. After the sun went down, and everyone went home and I was left alone in the hospital room with my new child. My heart overflowed with gratitude and relief that it was done and all was well. All the worries about what could go wrong were set aside as the enormity of the miracle was laid before me. Tonight I find myself feeling those same emotions. Labor is over, the worries about everything that could have gone wrong were unfounded and I am humbled by the miracle God has laid before me. Tyler is mine. It is done. I feel the weight of worry lifted from my shoulders and my heart overfloweth.
Today couldn’t have gone any better. I saw God’s hand in this beautiful day from beginning to end. Our scheduled court time was 1:30 but we were told to arrive at 1:00. Mimi Joy followed us down to Pittsburgh where we met my parents, my grandma, and my sister and her kids for the ceremony. It was so special to have the people most important to us join us on our special day and it was with great love that they traveled from New York, Michigan and Ohio to join us.
When we arrived we went through security and then took the elevator up to the 9th floor. Tyler was quieter than usual and I could tell he was nervous. As we walked into the auditorium where we would wait with all the other families adopting that day we were greeted with a sign that read, “Happy Adoption Day!” ..my tears began. The reality that we made it, that we were in the home stretch, hit me.
When I walked into the waiting room I found myself overwhelmed by the sheer joy that filled the room. The room was full of families and children that were there to finalize their adoptions. The atmosphere was one of celebration. There were cookies and cupcakes. There was a photographer taking family pictures as well as taking pictures of the children being adopted and making them into buttons. There was also a woman doing balloon animals for the kids. She was amazing and the kids all had fun getting balloons made.
It was soon time for us to head to the courtroom. The entire family came in. Toby and I sat in front of the judge with Tyler on Toby’s lap while everyone else sat behind us. The judge introduced himself and welcomed us. He was wonderful. He joked with the kids and put us all at ease. He also told us that he personally knew the joy of adoption day because he had adopted his child. The hearing itself consisted of a series of questions that we had to answer and then a series of questions that the social worker had to answer. Within minutes we heard the judge declare, “From this day forth Tyler will now be known as Tyler Jacob McCleery.” Even now I find the tears falling as I think back on the emotions I felt at that moment. He was ours..finally ours.
The judge then presented Tyler with a teddy bear he had signed with Tyler’s new name on it and a goody bag of treats. He then invited us up on the stand to have our pictures taken with him. He joked that our family beat the previous record for the most people up on the stand at one time.
As we filed out of the courtroom there were tears, hugs of congratulation and goodbyes as we said farewell to the social workers who have been such a big part of our lives for the last 10 months.
Afterward we all drove to Saga, a Japanese steakhouse, to celebrate. It was so much fun. We did the hibachi dinner so we sat around a grill and watched our food be cooked. It was perfect. The little kids loved the show and we all enjoyed the food. It was a special way to end a very special day with the people we love most.
Dinner ended with a happy birthday song for Tyler in honor of “being born” today!
As I sit here and reflect on this adoption journey I am amazed at the difference a year makes. Last year at this time we didn’t even know Tyler existed and here we are today with a son. It feels like he has always been ours. We have witnessed first hand God’s goodness as He laid the foundation for this day over the course of many years. He put upon our hearts the desire to adopt 10 years ago and from that moment on He provided opportunities to grow and prepare for this moment so that when the time was right, and we were ready, our son would be placed in our arms. It was a long pregnancy and a long labor but the blessing of watching God’s miracles along the way made it a journey of joy. When I started this blog.. soon after Tyler was placed in our home.. it was so you could walk beside us as we navigated this unknown terrain called adoption. We are grateful for all the prayers you have prayed on our behalf, for the words of encouragement that always came when they were most needed and the support we received from so many. It is with great joy that were share this day with you. God is Good!
“He may not have my eyes or smile but from that very first moment he had my heart!”