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Adoption Insights   

Tim McGinley - father of 18

"The Court finds all prerequisites and requirements for adoption have been met and that the adoption is in the best interests of the child. It is hereby ordered and decreed that the adoption of the described child, the subject of this suit, by Petitioners is hereby granted and that a parent-child relationship shall henceforth exist between the child and Petitioners....."

    An adoption finalization hearing is an experience to say the least. All the time, work, and emotions of an adoption seem to peak as you stand before the judge. This month I would like to share some of what my wife, Sarah and I have experienced.

    With your first placement, the entire adoption process seems like a West Texas whirlwind. You remain tense after your child comes home, just hoping that during the required 6 months (minimum) waiting time until finalization that all the follow up reports by the social worker don't reveal you to be some sort of wacko serial killer incapable of raising even a school of minnows. Somehow, though, the thing works out and you receive approval to move forward with the finalization.

    Our very first adoption was like this. We were living in Midland, TX at the time but were required to travel to Houston for the court hearing. I will never forget the court room action that day. Sarah and I were nervous as a couple of cats in a room full of rocking chairs! We said a lot of "yes your Honor's during the 15 minutes before the judge. After responding to all of the questions like. "Do you love this child?", "Do you promise to treat this child as if he had been born to you?", and so on, the last question was were I went brain dead. The judge looked up at me and very pointedly asked if I was aware of our new son's medical condition. I looked at Sarah with my usual "lights-on-but-no-body-home" gaze and said, "Huh?". The judge restated the question. "you are aware that the boy has Down syndrome, aren't you?" In all the excitement, down syndrome was the farthest thing form my mind. I was so proud of my baby boy that I had literally forgotten that he even had the condition! I did finally spit out some sort of barely audible sentence of literary genius like, "Uh,...yeah!" Well, with that, Ryan became ours forever.

    Each additional finalization since has had its distinctive flavor. Our last one took place after listening to several individual's sentencing for various crimes, divorce cases, and even tax evasion filings. Naturally, we were the last to go before the judge. i performed flawlessly! "How many children have been born to your family?" : "Uh....., help me Sarah, I think 8."

    "How many children have you adopted already?": "Uh, (pause for dramatic affect, and then Sarah whispers to me the number 4) 4!" In spite of everything, the judge smiled and approved the finalization. Somehow our court appearances never look like the courtroom action in the TV series "Perry Mason".....

    I have shared all of this to offer encouragement. Adoption can be very stressful, especially it a lot of what you are going through is new. The day you walk out of the court room, though, with your new child is one of the greatest experiences you will ever have!