Monday, May 05, 2008

Adoption Finalization

The first week of May has tended to be eventful for our family. From fun vacations to graduations, we have often spent this week on some new adventure. This year was no exception. We flew out to Salt Lake from Detroit last week so we could finish the final legal process of adopting Landon as our son. Here are just a few photos from our exciting weekend in Utah. We wanted to document the event, and we had Stacy from Three Winks Studio (the same woman that took Riley and Breanne’s wedding photos) take the professional photos you see here. You can check out Stacy's blog that has some photos at http://threewinksstudio.blogspot.com/.

The process of formalizing our adoption took place in three stages, one legal, and two spiritual or church-related. On Friday, we went to family court, where we had the opportunity to be made the legal parents of Landon. When Jodi our social worker gave her recommendation to the judge regarding us as parents our hearts just leapt with joy. We thank her for that. We are grateful that Stacy was there to document the time before we went in, a picture with Judge Iwasaki, and afterwards with all of the workers from Open Heart Adoptions. It was a great day for photos, and you can't beat Salt Lake in the spring (although Detroit is pretty nice, too—definitely not as dry. All three of us were parched in that mountain air!). All of the flowers were out just waiting for us to come. What does a family of three do to celebrate this occasion? Go to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. It is Hallie's favorite place and we enjoyed our breakfast and conversation that we had with a family in the booth next to us.

Saturday was the peak of the three days. We had the opportunity to be sealed to Landon in the Salt Lake Temple. What a beautiful experience it was and we were grateful to be surrounded by family and friends. We enjoyed walking into the sealing room and seeing people there supporting us. The sealer spoke a bit to us, and then they wheeled Landon in to the room in a little white stroller. They had him all dolled up in a little white outfit. We took one look at him and both started to cry. We will have that mental image in our minds forever. After the sealing some of our guests stayed around so we could take pictures with Stacy. It was a lot of fun and Landon was tuckered out by the afternoon. We all headed over to the Nauvoo Cafe at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and had a great lunch!

On Sunday, we blessed Landon in our former Salt Lake Eleventh Ward, and we again visited with friends and family. The biggest highlight was that Landon’s birth mom, Natalie, came and shared time with Landon and us. She and her fiancĂ© (now husband) Jared came and spent Sunday School and Sacrament Meeting visiting with us and our family and giving us a few more insights about Landon’s birth family that we can share with him as he grows older. In all, this has been a wonderful experience, and we feel glad to have both Landon and the support of so many loved ones in our lives.

(5/8/08, We had to add something as a post script.) Mike was writing a bit about this weekend to our friend (spiritual twin sister? ;) ) Jenny, and he had to add this little bit to this post: "[The adoption finalization experience we had] was another instance of the Good Lord gently showing His great grace in elegantly simple yet profound ways. I think Natalie had a chance to verify that she had done Landon right, I know we felt so much more bound to Landon and so much love from those around us, and I believe this little miracle helped members of our family and our ward to appreciate the unique gift of adoption in our lives. A few years ago I do not think I would have been able to see things this way, but I love the fact that Landon came to us how he came to us. He's a special little person with a big set of experiences ahead of him, and I really think he will appreciate that this was how his story in mortality began."

3 comments:

Kamie said...

(okay, I haven't even finished reading the post yet - I got stuck on the photos, haha)

But I have to tell you, I LOVE, love, love your dress. So so cute! And I absolutely LOVE the pictures! And Landon is absolutely adorable! Oh my gosh! He is such a cutie!

*okay - back to reading! I'm sure I'll be back to comment!* :)

Kamie said...

What a wonderful weekend for you guys! That makes me so happy!

You two have a beautiful family! Landon is adorable. I am so glad that everything went so well!

Congratulations!

Brenley and her boys! said...

Ok, everytime I read about a family taking their little one to the temple it brings me to tears. I so cannot wait until this summer when we will get to take our littel McCoy. I LOVE the pictures, we have hired someone to take pictures for us also, and seeing yours makes me even more excited that I decided to do that. The pictures are amazing! Congrats on your forever familY!