We have received the best Christmas present anyone ever can this year.
We have become the irrefutable, absolute, legal parents of our children. (with no backsies!)
Shortly after my post in September, we sent off the Adoption Order paperwork. We hoped that we had managed to get it to the court in time for it to be processed before Christmas, but we expected to be too late. We had been told it should take about 12 weeks, and that took us up to and probably beyond Christmas.
A couple of weeks later we received a letter from the court telling us that they required “Directions Hearing” before they felt able to issue an adoption order. We weren’t really sure what this was, but a little research later and we discovered it was a hearing held for the court to establish further information about the case about things which either weren’t on the application form or hadn’t been filled in. We knew there were certain elements of ours that we couldn’t fill in due to them being unknown by even social services, so by this stage we definitely thought it would be next year before anything happened.
The Directions hearing came, and went, the birth parents were invited to it, one of them even turned up and to our surprise stated they were in full support of the adoption… That was something we’d been worried about as by this stage they had been told we were a gay couple and we’d heard that this on its own can cause birth parents to suddenly change their mind about consent. As it turns out society appears to have become more enlightened than we’d given it credit for.
The court set a date for the next and potentially final hearing a month later, with the caveat that social services needed to make direct contact with the birth parent that didn’t attend the directions hearing to ensure they received the information. This date came and, despite the time of the hearing being fairly early in the morning, it seemed like an eternity before we got a phone call from our social worker telling us the outcome. No one had turned up to contest and the Adoption Order had been granted!
So… Was this it then? Done and dusted? Not quite. The court has to give a certain period of time for appeal before it’s completely done with. Then we get what is called a Celebration Hearing which pretty much closes the case for good.
This hearing was set, much to our amazement, before Christmas and we recently attended it. It was fantastic to hear from the judge who had overseen all the decisions relating to our children’s case throughout their whole process. He certainly seemed pleased that there had been a positive outcome to it all. Us, the children and close friends and family are able to attend this. We only invited our close family and we pretty much filled the court room! We’d have loved to invite more people, especially those of you who have supported us so much throughout, but we wouldn’t have fitted!
We took lots, and lots, and lots of photos, including some with the judge, who then invited our children to try on his wig. Our eldest replying quite nicely “No, thank you!” and our youngest, who usually lasts about 10 seconds with any kind of head covering, sat there proudly with it on for some more photos.
And so… This closes a chapter in our lives. We started it as 2, but Then We Were Four.
The next chapter begins…