Tuesday, May 06, 2008

4 years ago today...

We had stayed up late the night before practicing what Keith would say. If the judge grilled him on why we were looking to adopt, he knew the answer: we wanted to be parents more than anything in the world. We wanted to give a child with no parents a loving home. All the endless possibilities of questions that he might ask were addressed and we went to bed and barely slept a wink.

The next day, May 6, 2004, we got dressed...trying our best not to burn our clothes with the iron and electrical settings to which we were not yet accustomed.

The ride to the courthouse was a quick one and we were led into a dusty hallway to sit and wait. The stark walls and shabby interior reminded us that we were light years away from home and completely at the mercy of a people whose language we did not understand.

I went through the laundry list of Russian courtroom etiquette in my head. We were to stand when the facilitator looks at us. Keith would speak only when spoken to. We would both smile and look the judge in the eye. Keith would talk slowly so the interpreter could relay the information.

Our nerves were shot before we even stepped into the courtroom.

Soon, it was our turn and we were asked to come in. I took the picture above just as we were getting ready to walk down the long hallway. This was it. This is our chance to be a mother and father to our precious boy. "Do not screw this up, Katie," I thought to myself.

After thirty minutes of Keith being grilled on everything from his desire to be a parent to our time with Daniel, he asked Keith why we liked this "American football" and what we would do with the child while we attended the games. Keith calmy replied, "we will buy him a ticket!" The members of the court laughed and, luckily, a bit of the tension subsided.

Just when we thought it was over, the judge asked me to stand. Me? We had been told that the women never stand...they never ask them to testify. Why was I being asked to stand? I had not thought of anything to say. We had not practiced this. Inside, my guts went on a 30-second roller coaster ride and I braced my hand on the front of the bench where I was seated.

After stating my name, I looked to the facilitator to see what question I would be asked. I looked back at the judge and tried to read his expression as he spoke. He was matter-of-fact and serious in tone. My hands started to quiver and I felt weak in the knees. Finally, the interpreter spoke.

"He would like to know why you would like to be a parent," she said in a thick Russian accent.

Suddenly, my mind was racing...filled with images of home study documents, medical reports, questionnaires about my childhood...it all hung in the balance.

Tears filled my eyes and my voice cracked as I spoke:

"I want to be a parent so that I can give a child that has no home two parents who will love him and teach him that he has a family that will never leave him--no matter what. I want him to have the same wonderful experiences that we had growing up and to be able to provide him with a lot of love and laughter."

I could no longer contain my emotions. Months of fees and paperwork, medical tests, caseworkers visiting our home, and two trips to Russia and we were finally to this point. All the worrying about how to cover the costs and wondering if we would ever see this day. It all culminated at that one moment. The judge took a brief recess and returned to his chambers to deliberate our fate.

Thirty minutes later, the verdict was in: adoption granted.

We were now the proud parents of a little boy with the biggest brown eyes we had ever seen. He was our child to raise, to love, to encourage and to watch grow into the determined, talkative, brilliant goofball he is today.

We love you, Daniel. Four years ago today our lives changed for the better. Thank you for letting us be your Mama and Daddy. We are the luckiest people in the world.


Megan (FriedOkra) said...

I'd say you hit the nail on the head for all of us in your response to the judge. Nicely done. Now if you were Clemson fans, he wouldn't have needed to ask you any extra questions, he'd just have known you were perfect. Hee hee. Kidding. It's happy day for sure, congratulations!

Rebecca said...

Yay! Thank you for sharing that story. It touched me. :)

MiaKatia said...

This post went straight to my heart. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. *Hugs*

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Bodifords!
Four wonderful years!
Hooray :-)

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

So beautiful, Katie. It made me cry. D is a blessed little boy.

Kickboxing Mama said...

That is awesome! That picture of him is PRECIOUS!!

Kickboxing Mama said...

That is awesome! That picture of him is PRECIOUS!!

Sincerely Anna said...

Wow - you're such a great writer. It was so good to read about what the court date was like in Russia for you. All the build-up to that exciting moment must have been incredible. And what a huge sigh of relief when it was over and Daniel was (named) yours forever. Happy Adoption Day!

MelDrop's Corner said...

Beautiful Katie, absolutely beautiful. Made me cry. Daniel, we are so glad the judge spoke those words so we could all know you. You are a wonderful young man.

Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry said...

Wow, reading this made me remember our adoption hearings, although they were right here in Texas.

As nervous as we were here, I can't imagine doing it in a foreign country without our family standing behind us!

What a blessed memory. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

So well communicated. Thanks for sharing about that special time. He is a beautiful young man! :)

Profbaugh said...

Oh my. I was just bawling by the end of your post. What a blessing you are.


The WebMaster said...

so cute...so touching..tears in my eyes..Both Daniel and you are lucky to have each other. He was made for you. :) God Bless you.

Charu T.