Friday was a big milestone for our family.  Nolin’s adoption was finalized.  In some ways it was exactly what I expected, in other ways it was a very surreal experience.

We woke up early, got Nolin ready to go and began the trek to Daytona.  After showing up at the wrong courthouse, we finally made our way to the correct location.  We met with our attorney, who briefly ran through the process…you’ll be sworn in, we will verify that you have read and signed all documents, you will explain to the court why you want to adopt Nolin, etc..

Well…That should be easy enough.

As we were waiting to be called into the court room, Teresa noticed that Nolin must have spit up on himself.  Upon closer examination, it turns out that his father must have been in a bit of hurry at 6am and got a little careless with the diaper.  I immediately thought, well that’s great the judge isn’t going to trust us to take care of this child if I can’t even change a diaper correctly after 4.5 months.  So I did what any good father would do…I blamed Jenn.  Which worked out great until she told everyone that I was the one who changed the diaper…so much for for better or for worse.

Anyway, that was a pretty minor crisis with no real harm and we began to make our way into the court room.  Jenn and I walked past the bar and sat down with our lawyer.  The judge entered the court room and they started with me.

Jenn, Nolin and I with her parents

They asked me to raise my right hand…I panicked.  Am I supposed to stand or sit?…why didn’t they go over this with me?  How am I supposed to answer?  Am I actually raising my right hand or did I accidentally hold up my left hand? Being that my family is made up of lawyers you’d think I would be alright, apparently not.  Then they asked me to state my full name…ok finally a question I can answer. I started to relax.  Next they asked me to state Jenn’s full name.  Again I panicked.  Do they want her maiden name or her middle name.  If I choose wrong will the adoption be denied? Needless to say we made it through relatively unscathed.

The one thing I told myself before the whole process began…this is a celebration, do not get emotional.  So after Jenn and I spoke the judge started addressing us.  I looked over to Jenn and could see her eyes beginning to water, I looked over to the Clerk of Court and she turned her head to the side as her eyes began to water.  I glanced at everyone behind us, they all had these big happy smiles on their faces…oh great you’re going to be that guy.  At that exact moment, Nolin let out one of his squeal laughs and his big smile and saved the day.

Our family with the judge

After the formality of the adoption process, the judge began to speak directly to Jenn and I.  She told us that she has always viewed adoptive parents as angels on earth.  Being a family law judge, I am sure these cases are a welcome relief, but the comment really stuck with me.  I think because this day never would have happened without the support of our family and friends, the help of our social worker, the love that Nolin’s birth parents have for him, but most importantly it never would have happened without Nolin.  I’d have to say that he is really the angel on earth.

It is hard to imagine what life was like before Nolin or how much things have changed.  I am excited to see what the future has in store for our family and I’m looking forward to writing our next chapter..unless of course that chapter is teething.

Some pictures of our day at the beach after the finalization…


Pointing Out The Trees To Nolin

Happy To Be Relaxing

Attracta & Nolin

Nolin & Jenn

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