This week is a very special anniversary. Two years ago our long journey of finalizing Olivia's adoption was brought to a legal completion as we appeared before a judge to sign all the necessary papers. While it had not been a difficult journey to get to this date, it had been a lengthy one. She was 19 months old. I want to recapture the moment for you because it was an incredible one. Last week of Feb., 2008…
As we prepared for the court date I tossed around the idea of inviting a few people to go with us. I pretty much decided against it because our past experience had been one of an uneventful, five minute deal with a non-emotional judge. I did, however, invite one of our good friends and her two children to come along for support, take a few pictures and basically let her experience a bit of the process as she, too, would someday love to adopt.
I called my good friend, Wendy, the morning of Feb. 22 and tried to talk her out of coming with us. The more I thought about it, the more I felt the sacrifice of her family's time to get there would just not be worth it. She wouldn't hear of it and was committed to coming. Little did we know what was in store for all of us.
We arrived at the courthouse, meeting up with our attorney. This was to be his last court appearance for an adoption which was just so meaningful to me with the whole "closure experience" I was having. As we were ushered in to the courtroom, we were greeted with much warmth by a friendly bailiff who said, "Do you have your cameras with you?" Already, this was so different from before. Immediately the judge approached us, introducing herself. As Jessica and Cory stated their first names she responded with, "Oh, and you are the big sister… and the big brother." Very personable! At this point, Olivia was wild!! …insisting on getting down to run around the place and scope it out. The judge along with the bailiff steered her toward a bucket of prizes that she could choose from. This was just the beginning of knowing we were about to experience a very special time together with these kind, considerate officials.
The judge acted as if she had all the time in the world to meet with us. She was definitely allowing us to take in the moment and what it all means. After we signed some papers it was her turn to place the final signature on the adoption court order. before she would do that, she had us, while holding Olivia (okay, trying to hold Olivia…WILD) repeat after her a poetic prayer entitled, "Our Promise to Olivia." While I know this is getting lengthy, I just have to include it because it was so, so meaningful.
Our Promise to Olivia
We, Ed and Lori
Solemnly swear to treat Olivia
In all respects as our natural child.
We are prepared to accept
This gift of a child to raise.
We will share our lives with her
Help to mold her mind
Nurture her body
And enrich her spirit.
We will never betray her trust
Dampen her hopes or
Discourage her dreams.
We will be patient and kind
We make this commitment willingly.
We will cherish Olivia
All the days of our lives.
When we got to the phrase, "This gift of a child," I lost it! I was overcome with emotion as I thought about the gift to our family that she is, and just the completion of an incredible miracle God did in our lives.
The judge then posed for pictures with us, congratulating us and still acting as if this was her most important appointment of the day. It was beyond special to us, like nothing we had ever experienced. As we left her courtroom, we then walked to the Dept. of Birth Records where we filed the papers to receive a new birth certificate which will state, "Olivia Grace Margo born to Ed and Lori Margo." It is such a picture of what God does in our lives through the gift of salvation!
I Peter 5:10 states that after we have suffered for a little while, God will bring strength and restoration. In my Bible study this week we were asked to cite a time when God chose a trial for you. Mine would definitely be infertility. That specific, God-ordained trial brought me to a deeper walk of faith and much God-given strength. As far as restoration, it brought… Jessica Katherine, Cory Edward and Olivia Grace MARGO.
God is so worth praising! I hope as you read this your response will be that of Psalm 44:1. "God, we heard what you did." And, verse 8, "All day long we talk about how great God is. We will praise your name forever."