While our attorney had planned to schedule finalization for sometime in April, somehow life and schedules pushed us back, and here we are at the end of June and still not finalized.
HOWEVER, our attorney called earlier this week to say that we have a court date at last! Next Wednesday, July 2nd, we will FINALLY be able to appear for our finalization of adoption.
When I heard the news, I had this giddy, excited sort of feeling. I looked at my sweet baby girl and said to her, "We're going to court and the judge will say that you are our little girl forever." And she stared up at me with a puzzled look.
It struck me right then how ridiculous it all seemed. I mean, to her and to us, she's already our little girl forever. We could not love her more if she came from our own bodies. And to her, we are the only parents she's ever known. We're the ones whose presence makes her comfortable, whose smiles make her giggle, whose arms she seeks when she's scared or upset. She knows who Mommy and Daddy are, and while I hope she is all smiles and happiness at the finalization hearing, I don't need the judge or attorney to see how attached she is to us to know that she IS our daughter.
We invited a few people to the hearing, but I don't think anyone is coming. Most have to work or have other obligations already on their calendars. And while this is a little disappointing, it's really OK because I can't even explain to them the significance of finalization or why it's a momentous occasion. I really can't even explain it to myself.
Besides the fact that finalization brings the legal process to a close so we can stop receiving bills from our attorney, I'm having a hard time seeing how our legal standing as Olivia's parents is much changed by next week's events. As I understand it, in our state, the birthmother's consent is practically irrevocable from the point of signing. Because there is another state involved, though, we have to abide by that state's laws as well. That state, I believe, allows a year AFTER finalization for the birthmother to contest the adoption. But in both states, it would be darn near impossible for her to make a case against us because she'd have to prove, in court, that returning the child to her would be in the child's best interests. Given her living situation and life circumstances, she would never be able to make that case even if she were motivated to do so and could afford the legal fees. Besides that, we are in regular contact with her and know with a high degree of certainty that she continues to be happy with her decision and believes that Olivia is better off for it.
So, I guess we still technically have a year of "risk" after finalization, but I'm going to stop explaining that to people. It just confuses them, and me, so we're just going to tell everyone that we've finalized and move on with our lives as a family.