Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Scarlett's Adoption Hearing

Our hearing to finalize Scarlett's adoption was Friday, June 27, 2014 at 10:00 AM at the Fourth District Courthouse in Provo.  We were worried about being late and were there 30 minutes early.  We were lucky enough to be before Judge Lynn Davis for this hearing too.  Judge Davis has such a respect for birth parents and adoption and expresses that at the end of the hearings.  We love him and if we adopt for a third time we can only hope we will be able to go before him again for finalization.

Gavin, Scarlett and Daddy waiting patiently

Scarlett and Mommy waiting patiently

Gavin loved running around outside the courtroom
Gathering Gavin after he disappeared around the corner at the end of the hall and tried to enter another courtroom
We went into the courtroom and waiting for Judge Davis to enter. Judge Davis recognized JD and I and of course Scarlett who was sitting on my lap.  We brought the iPad for Gavin to play with so he wouldn't fuss during the hearing and he was on the bench behind us.  Judge Davis remembered Gavin and asked if he was there since he couldn't see him.  We brought him forward and Judge Davis said hello.  I have to say I was really impressed that he remembered Gavin and recognized him as well.  Our kids will not remember that experience but it is one I will not soon forget.

Shirl, Scarlett and Daddy waiting for Judge Davis to enter

Gavin was such a good boy to play quietly with the iPad during court.  It is a special treat when he gets to play with it so he enjoys every second!

The four of us before court started. 
 Our attorney, Shirl LeBaron presented documents to the court and our case worker from LDS Family Services, Hayley took the stand to testify on our behalf.  They inquire about the relationship that we have with Scarlett and if she believes we have bonded with her and the big question does she recommend that the finalization takes place.  She answered yes to all of the questions and stated that it was obvious that we loved Scarlett very much and that her recommendation would be to move forward with the adoption.  Our attorney then has each of us state our full names, address and we answer the same questions obviously that yes we felt like it was in the best interest of Scarlett to proceed with the adoption.  Judge Davis then asked us to state our feeling about this adoption and Scarlett.  I shared the unique experience it was to have Stevie live with us and get to know her on a very personal level because of that and watching her come to the decision to place Scarlett for adoption.  It was painful to watch her go through that process even though it was a very short period of time from when she moved into our home to when she told us she wanted us to adopt Scarlett but watching her agonize over the decision and seeing how difficult it was for her to watch us prepare for her arrival.  There is no doubt that her decision was made out of pure love for Scarlett or she would have decided to parent her.  I am so glad that we have an opportunity in court to express our feelings so it can be recorded. I wish Stevie would have been able to attend the hearing as well but she chose not to come because she didn't feel like she would be able to handle it.  I respect her decision and if I had to make the decision she did I'm sure I would have done the same thing.

There was a little hiccup this time in court and I was really worried it would postpone Scarlett's sealing and blessing that was scheduled for the next day.  In the paperwork that was submitted to the court it read that there WOULD be a paternal search done on the birth father registry in the state of Utah.  It had to have been done and until the paperwork stated that it had been done- which it had prior to placement and again a month after placement- Judge Davis wouldn't sign the final adoption decree.  Our attorney had another appointment he had to get to but called his office to have the amended document resubmitted so Judge Davis could and would sign it.  I think we waited for almost 45 minutes because there was another case right after ours but as soon as it was over we were able to go down to the clerk and get the official signed and stamped decree of adoption.  I knew it would happen but I was still sweating it a little bit during that time. 

After court we went to Stevie's apartment to visit her.  Scarlett fell asleep on the way there so we weren't able to stay very long and we had to get up to Ogden for a surprise party for Uncle Ryan's college graduation.  Scarlett did wake up long enough for Stevie to snuggle her a little bit and for me to get a few pictures, of course. 

Stevie and Scarlett- I wish you could see Stevie's face but this is so typical she is kissing her or nuzzled into Scarlett when she holds her.  I hope they always have that special bond.

Court is over and Scarlett is officially a Nielson.  She really is a dream come true.  Adoption is about love there is no doubt about it.  Our hearts are ALWAYS full of gratitude for our children's birth parents and especially on this day for Stevie.  If she loved Scarlett even just a tiny bit less she wouldn't have been able to place her in our arms and make it possible for us to adopt her.   We love you forever Stevie. Thank you for making our dreams come true!

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