national adoption day is traditionally the saturday before thanksgiving, but this year was moved a week earlier in honor of the assassination of JFK. since i didn't know about this change i am still celebrating this special event today.
i love adoption. ever since i studied ephesians in college i knew i would adopt. the picture of taking on a new family, a new name, a new inheritance and becoming a chip off a new "block" is so parallel to my adoption into God's family that i couldn't help but want to experience it myself.
if you already know our story then you can stop reading and please remember the orphans today. you may never become an adoptive parent, but you are called to love and care for orphans. i am too. it is not a box to be checked (otherwise i'd be done). it is a lifestyle. if you have any ideas on how to care for orphans in your everyday life, i would l
ove to hear them.
if you haven't heard our story, here is the brief summary in honor of national adoption day..
may 2005-sonny and i begin the process of becoming certified foster parents in bakersfield, ca. we are pursuing this with the intent to adopt.
fall 2005-we are certified and ready for placement. we receive three placement in that season that we prepare for, but never come to our home. we start getting a taste of the "system". little did we know in our frustration, on october 13th, our son noah was born at memorial hospital that we drive by on a regular basis.
december 13th 2005-i get a call around noon. i sit at our dining room table as our social worker says there is a baby boy who needs a temporary home. we don't want to be temporary, but she says the current foster mother has been in a 4-wheeling accident and can't care for the baby and we can continue to wait for a permanent placement if we take this one. we don't know his name, his age, his situation, but we accept. i ask her what the arrangements are for transferring him. she asks me to call the current foster dad and set things up in the next few days. i call him and ask when a good time might be to pick up the baby. he says.... "uummm....now?" he has three other boys, an injured wife in the hospital and a job. a newborn only adds to his stress.
sonny, ari (3 yrs old) and i pile in our car, dig out a carseat that we hope will work, and drive to the house. we walk in, the man hands me the baby and two bottles. no schedule, no instructions, no diapers, wow. we walk away from that house signing no papers...just taking a baby and it feels weird. we go home and sonny returns to work. he had an event that night so i load up this baby and my 3-year-old and we're off to target for a stroller, carseat, diapers, formula, clothes, one of those nasal suction bulbs and anything else i throw into the cart thinking a baby might need that. i struggle to load all the things and children into the car and drive home. what have we done?
february 2006-the months go on and of course we fall in love with this precious boy. his bio mom starts to not show up for visits and we learn she has not done any of the court's requirements for the reunification. on her court date she is not present and the judge rules that the county will no longer fund her rehab, but she has another 6 months to complete it on her own.
september 2006-still no word about noah's
bio mom, but there is a court date at the end of this month to continue or terminate parental rights. bio mom is not present but her lawyer points out that no one recorded their
presentation of the letter of notification to her for this date. the judge gives another 2 months.
december 6th 2006-another court date. we have had noah for a year now...the first year of his life. we have had his first birthday party and watched him smash cake everywhere. we sit before a judge that holds our future in his hands. he terminates parental rights for both mother and father and rules for a 60 day appeal period. that's 60 business days. man that's a long time.
february 2007-it's mid february and i'm cleaning the house. noah is playing, ari is napping and sonny's at work. the phone rings and just like that a social worker tells me noah is ours. the elation i feel is indescribable. it is done. i run to noah and swing him around, dancing and singing. he looks at me a bit confused but goes along with my joy. i call sonny. i call my mom. i call my best friend. all voicemails. this moment is just noah and i.
eventually the calls are returned and i share this amazing moment with all those who love noah and have been praying for his bio family, for us, and for him.
february 28th 2007-we sign papers in the presence of social workers and a notary. we now wait for a judge to be available
march 16th 2007-we stand with dozens of friends before a judge as he pronounces our son will be called noah sonny varela from this day forward and has all
the rights and privileges of a son. we raise our right hands and swear to care for and protect this precious gift. oh what a day.