Only 12 months since last Christmas, but a long lifetime ago.
Last year, Mommy and Daddy were telling our families about our plan to adopt you, even though you hadn’t yet been born.
This Christmas, Santa visited our home to bring our little girl her presents.
The month before Christmas is the season of advent, we await the Christ child’s coming into the world. Last year, we were looking forward to your arrival into the world. This year, here you are in our world, our living room, our lives and our hearts.
During this advent, I’ve often thought about Joseph.
Joseph committed to the awesome responsibility of raising someone else’s child as his own.
So have I. And I’m as happy and pleased as I could be this Christmas.
During the hearing this morning, our lawyer asked mommy and daddy a series of questions for the judge to hear. A few weeks ago, we signed paperwork that said who we are and who you are. The paperwork said when you were born and said how long you’ve been with us.
Today’s questions were the same ones from our paperwork.
After the questions, the judge said that our attorney shared a photo with her.
The judge told us how pretty you look in your little dress. And she asked where we found gold shoes to match your pretty dress.
She said we’re obviously good parents, if we went to so much trouble to find you gold shoes.
“I’m pleased to give you this early Christmas gift,” the judge just said to us over the phone, “and grant you permanent custody of your child.”
And we’re so happy.
“And now it is today.”
This is what mommy and daddy told each other when we were dating, living miles apart, looking forward to seeing each other at the end of the week.
This is what we told each other the morning we woke up, and carried you on the plane, and brought you home to us.
And now it is today, the day we have the final court hearing that will determine our future together.
This is the day we’ve looked forward to since before you were born.
We brought you home nearly seven months ago, and since then, either mommy or daddy has been with you the whole time. Mommy stayed home with you, and then daddy has been home with you. You’ll finally go to daycare in a few weeks.
Opening your Christmas present with mommy at Grandma and Grandpa’s house Saturday night.
We’ve taken all these months to be with you, so you’ll know that you’re ours. We’ve spent this time connecting with you so you would feel how loved you are and how important you are to us.
And now it is today. The day the judge will say you’re legally ours.
You’ve been ours emotionally, and then physically, and now, you’ll be ours legally. Our little girl.
Until this week, we’ve still been bathing you in the sink, where we can do it standing up, and not bend over.
But lately, you’ve been splashing a lot more, as the video shows.
We’re counting the days.
The final court hearing is in just a few days, Monday morning.
There was a hearing last month, and a hearing the month before that. (Mommy and daddy weren’t involved with those hearings – they were simply steps in the long legal process.)
Mommy and daddy have been signing papers, and our lawyer has been filing motions, and all the while you’ve been playing with your toys and climbing the stairs and chasing the cat and crawling faster and faster.
Monday’s hearing is the final hearing. We’ll be on the phone with the judge, who’ll ask all sorts of questions, and when the hearing’s over, you’ll be officially ours.
Our little girl.
That’s what your doctor said a few weeks ago.
That’s what I heard, anyway.
What she said is that you are as healthy as you can be. You’re growing exactly as you should.
You’re a month behind on your checkups, so you were at your nine month checkup the day before you turned 10 months old.
You’re right where you’re supposed to be on the chart. Your length and weight and even the size of your head, are all normal and healthy.
You don’t have much baby fat, your weight is muscle. Without hesitation or fear, you hang from open drawers, the top rack of the dish washer, the door of your play pen, and anything else you can grab and pull yourself up off the floor.
You love it when we take you places. You actively engage with people you see and smile and make eye contact. You laugh and smile all the time. You seldom cry or fuss or complain.
Or, as the doctor said, “You’re perfect.”