As the judge entered the courtroom, my heart began to pound loudly, my palms became instantly sweaty, and a flood of emotions swept over. To my left sat my amazing husband, the one who has stood by my family and I through thick and thin. We have been through an awful lot for still being considered newlyweds, including the events that had led us to that very moment. We were in this together…for better or worse. To our left sat our lawyer, a veteran when it came to these matters. We had spoken on the phone and through various emails, but meeting for the first time that day, did nothing to ease our fears regarding our current “legal matters”. Behind us sat the reason for that day. He was squirming a little in the over sized chair he was sitting in. He was nervous too, though he didn’t know why. My mother and aunt were seated behind us as well. They shot nervous smiles to Jay and I while attempting to quiet the bustle of commotion at the back of the room.
We were sworn in under oath, and our testimonies began. At first there were simple questions; state your name, address, occupation…then, as I assume all lawyers do, he began to dig in deeper.
“Mrs. Reichert, please describe the situation that leads us here today.” Where do I start? Do I start with what I thought was our plan from the beginning? How far back do I go? Back to when we first started praying for him shortly after his birth in 2010? Back to 2012 when we first said, “yes” to God? Do I talk about how we had unknowingly been preparing for this for the last two years? Do they care to hear how God’s timing is perfect, how much his grace and love has been laced through this whole situation from the start? I shorten up the details surrounding our “situation” the judge, after all, has the file lying in front of him, as does the lawyer. I describe the events that took place 14 months ago, as well as the circumstances from that time that have led us to court on a blistery cold January day.
The judge listens intently, and in a rather wise grandfather like tone he says, “It is not for us to criticize other people’s choices in life, or their circumstances with which they choose to live. However, even their poorest choices can lead to some of our greatest blessings, as we can clearly see here today.”
Jay and I both nodded in total agreement.
“Mr. And Mrs. Reichert, please explain to the court how you have adapted to this situation and describe, please, the bonds that have been formed”. I begin to try to answer the question, but how does one describe the bond of love? Lots of poets and songwriters have tried over the years and not one has successfully completed the task. I notice quickly that all the eyes in the courtroom are not on me anymore, and no one appears to be paying much attention to my answer. They instead are focused on the little one at the back of the room. He had gotten off his chair and had made his way to our table. He quietly climbed up into Jay’s lap, reached his little arms around Jay’s neck, and nestled his head on Jay’s shoulder. The judge smiles, and says, “A picture is worth a thousand words. I don’t need to hear about bonds forming, when I am seeing it so perfectly right in front of me. I watched him get off his chair and walk right up to his daddy. He didn’t ask for permission, he didn’t have to say a word. He knows, right there on your lap Mr. Reichert, he is safe, he is important, and he is loved.”
We have traveled home hundreds of times with Jayden, our little man, in tow. But, for the first time after our court date, we brought him home officially as our son. We have officially started our family through adoption. This was not what we saw coming two years ago, and he certainly is not the international delight we were expecting when I started this blog, but this story/his story was beautifully written none-the-less. From the moment he entered our lives and our home he has been an amazing and perfect addition to our family.
We are going to continue with our international adoption, though the when and (and now possibly) the where are still largely unknown….so for now, “until God opens the next door, we will praise him in the hallway”.