October 2006--This is the last installment in Corazon's adoption story. Previous installments can be found here. Of course, our story continues throughout this blog.
16 months after our journey began, all systems were "go" for the adoption once everyone signed on the appropriate dotted lines and all papers were filed. Of course it was now summer so it was difficult to get people to schedule the adoption. We were further impacted by the judge's request that she "officiate" at the finalization. I know most of the social services people had NO desire to have her involved any further in this process so we joked about selecting dates when she would be on vacation. I really didn't care. We had waited so long that it just didn't matter as long as we could finalize. We had some delays because of vacations, summertime and then on my end because the first date offered in September was the first day of school, the second date offered was 9/11 and we finally settled on October 3, 2006 in that judge's courtroom.
That morning it poured! The rain was intense so traffic downtown was ridiculous. We managed to get to the courthouse as the skies cleared up a little and we got a couple of pictures outside the courthouse. As we waited inside the group of people who would be joining us arrived. We had scheduled a HUGE celebration so we didn't invite many people to the courthouse. I was the only one adopting Corazon (long story) but C. was there as was our friend and housemate P. Another close friend who was to be Corazon's godmother was also there. It was actually funny when we started seeing the social services people arrive. There were the two social workers who had handled my homestudy, there were 3 of Corazon's social workers over the years, the mother's social worker, 3 supervisors and the social services attorney! It was clear there were so many people anxious to see this happen that several of them had taken time off just to be there and be able to go out to lunch with us after the adoption. We were so grateful.
The scheduled time for the adoption came and went and we weren't called into the courtroom. After 30 minutes, the social services attorney went to see what the issue was. The judge was no where to be found! Another 30 minutes passed and it was determined that the judge had a personal emergency and would not be coming. There was talk of rescheduling due to the large volume of court business. The look on my face said it all. When the social services attorney saw my face she told everyone to hang tight because she had an idea. Within minutes they were clearing another courtroom and we were being ushered in. Turns out she was friendly with one of the other judges and when she told him our plight he offered to do the adoption for us. We quickly went in and started the process. As it turned out the judge recognized Corazon from her previous year's performance in "Black Nativity." He was very thoughtful and engaged with Corazon and the rest of us. He took one look at the number of social service folks in the room and commented that he would love to know the story behind "this one" and he recognized that there were many people invested in seeing this adoption through.
With a few signatures and the banging of a gavel, we legally became what our hearts knew all along we were meant to be. This part of our journey came to an end EXACTLY 20 months from the day it began.