Finally Becoming an Adopted Family

Jason and Heather with Rhyanna

Jason and Heather with Rhyanna

We are pleased to present our second blog series by an adoptive family! This three-part series, written by Jason L., covers his family's experience throughout the big steps of adoption: getting ready to adopt, the matching process and finally, your adopted child becoming a part of your family. Read Jason's first post here, and his second here.

Shortly after meeting our daughter Ryhanna for the first time, we began having day and weekend visits with her to spend time getting to know each other. We talked about our backgrounds, our likes and dislikes, and the things that most families have gotten to know over the course of years growing up together. These conversations formed our bond as a family.

After visiting with each other for about a month and a half, we knew that we were ready for the next big step: Ryhanna moving in full-time. She and her belongings arrived on August 3, 2018, and we immediately began to countdown the days until six months had passed. Why six months? Because six months is the minimum amount of time that a pre-adoptive child must live with you before you can petition the court to finalize the adoption.

The months that followed were full of highs and lows. There were trips to Quebec City and Delaware, many dinners cooked together, and numerous family talks. There were also moments of testing and challenge with Ryhanna, after-effects of her difficult background. But we got through it and those moments made us into a strong family, ready to face the obstacles that come with living life each day.

When the six months had passed, we eagerly awaited our final approval and court date. Keep in mind, the legalization of an adoption will not be a quick process. It can take a few weeks or a few months for the court to schedule a date for the adoption, depending on a huge number of factors that are completely out of your control. Don’t get disheartened at this point. You’ve gone through the hard part. This is just the finish line.

Ryhanna had a hard time with the waiting. It caused fear and anxiety for her because she thought there was a possibility of something going wrong and the adoption not being finalized. We did all we could to reassure her that this is normal. We got through this time by telling her that we were already a family. The adoption legalization was just some paperwork that made it legal. We recommend that you do all you can to remove that fear from your adopted children’s lives. They’ve dealt with enough of it already.

Wednesday, May 15 of this year was a bright and sunny day in Boston, though a little colder than normal. Dressed in our finest, we made our way – along with around 25 of our closest friends and supporters – to the courthouse in Boston. The experience was amazing. It reminded me of our wedding day because it felt like a blur, but thankfully I remember each moment.

The moment that gavel went down and Ryhanna declared herself a part of our family, we began to cry.

The journey was over. We were a family. There were no more meetings or approvals. No more paperwork. We could now focus on just being the family we’d dreamed of being for all those months and years. We were now a new and improved family of three.

As I’ve said, each person’s journey through adoption is different. There’s no magic spell that will make it easier. You just have to take the dive and keep the faith. Is it going to be hard? Absolutely. Will you want to reconsider or walk away? Several times.

Is it one of the best things you’ll ever do in your life? You’ve got that right!

Step out in faith and become the family you’ve dreamed of. There are so many kids who are looking for their forever homes. They’re looking and waiting for you. Ryhanna was one of them, but not anymore.