Sunday, 6 April 2014

Our Celebration week...

Half seven on Wednesday morning we all woke, ate breakfast and then the task of bathing three kids began. Once clean, they got dressed into their matching two piece outfits. They looked beautiful and I couldn't help but feel a sense of pride as I looked at my daughters.

Cute outfits bought by Godparents.
We were then off to the Court to attend our 20 minute slot for our Celebration Day. The mood in the car was playful and light, mixed with a bit of apprehension. Once we had arrived we were shown into a room full of big, stuffy looking books on law and a large chairs facing inwards to make a circle. Our two Social Workers met us there and while we waited for the judge we made small talk and tried to keep the girls entertained with the pictures in magazines on law.

I had presumed we would be taken into a large court room but instead we were called through into a smaller, less formal room, with a large dining table, fire place and another circle of large chairs all facing each other. The judge had a grand red chair which the clerk politely made clear was for his honour and not for us. There was part of me that was disappointed as I quite fancied going to a court room in all it's glory, however, I think the less formal room and all sitting round together probably worked better for the girls.

The judge was friendly and asked the girls to draw him a picture each which he promised to keep, along with the other pictures he had been given by children, on his wall. As the judge placed the large felt tip pens on the table I did panic a little as I thought felt tip pens and clean children in white tops do not mix. My face must have been easy to read as my Social Worker looked at me and laughed, while the judge assured me that the ink was washable.

The judge then presented the girls each with a certificate of their new name and matching (thank goodness) teddies. He then took his wig off and asked the girls if they knew what it was made out of. We all guessed sheep's wool, but we were all wrong. It is actually made out of horse hair. Two of the girls tried on the wig and posed for pictures, while our middle daughter hid on her daddy's lap and stated that she did not not want to try it on. The judge continued to speak to us and the girls about family life, school etc. He congratulated the Social Workers on finding a couple who were willing to take three children and then the ongoing support they had provided. We took pictures to remember the moment by and then said thank you and goodbye.

Once outside into the cold air we felt a sense of relief and a wave of tiredness. The girl's Social Worker told us that this was the first Celebration Day that she had attended that had been so relaxed, informal and she has not known a judge to give out teddies before. After saying our goodbyes to the Social Workers we decided to pop into a local cafe. We all sipped on our coffees and hot chocolate while the girls opened the presents they had received from the Local Authority.

We decided to go back home in the afternoon. The girls put their pajamas on and watched a film. We were so tired, I think we had underestimated how tiring the whole experience would be.

Once we had recharged we got back into our glad rags and headed out for a nice meal, followed by slice of cake at home. We gave the girls a bracelet each to mark the day which read 'Daughter, a little girl who grows up to be a friend'.  

The day went by quickly, but it had been a special day and one I don't think any of us will forget. The long process is now complete. We are legally and officially a family. We share the same surname and the girls no longer have a 'looked after status', no more visits from their Social Worker, no more educational and health reviews.

Today we threw a little party to mark both the adoption and the fact that the girls have been with us for 12 months. We had a buffet, drinks, opened presents and cards and then the kids played outside in the rain! The atmosphere was relaxed and as we sat by the log burner I think we all felt a little dozy. We finally took lots of photos before coming home and once again feeling completely exhausted.

What a week!