Yesterday, we went to Carlisle for a 3:00 p.m. hearing where Sarah’s adoption was finalized at the Cumberland County Courthouse. With Carlisle nearly three hours away, it was an all-day event!
Yesterday’s finalization was the final step in the legal process. It not only marks the end of Sarah’s adoption process, it also marks the end of a chapter in our lives that began four years ago. In the summer of 2006, we attended an informational meeting by Adoption Horizons in Carlisle, followed by the submission of a formal application to pursue international adoption six months later. Thirteen months after that, we flew to Korea to get Ethan (February 2008).
Toward the end of 2008, we started making plans for a second adoption, and in October 2009, we flew to Korea to get Sarah, whose adoption was finalized yesterday.
The hearing was short and sweet. It involved answering a series of questions after which the judge signed the order formalizing our adoption of Sarah. The final questions essentially asked if we knew what we were getting ourselves into and if we still wanted to move forward (although it was asked with a bit more elegance, I suppose). Among other things, the action changes Sarah’s name from her Korean name to Sarah. She also becomes an American citizen.
Judges tend to enjoy adoption hearings because there’s no opposing party and nobody walks away unhappy. It’s also a photo opportunity. We posed for a photo with Judge Masland (a United Methodist, we were told) after the hearing.
One of our favorite moments was when Ethan, just before the photo was taken, leaned over and tapped on the judge with his fist and said, “Knock, knock!” It’s generally not a good idea to hit a judge, but in this case, the judge didn’t seem to mind!
As we did for Ethan’s finalization, we went to Spring Garden Restaurant to celebrate afterward. Every time we go to Korean restaurants, we seem to get extra attention (as well as unsolicited parenting advice :-)).
Well, this final legal step is the end of a chapter. But the journey certainly continues. As does our gratitude to God!