Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I Am a Weldie Now!
Today was a very big day for us, but even more for George. Today, we officially re-adopted him. Now he is a US citizen. Now he is a Weldie. He is a new creation!
Oh how meaningful this day was...in so many ways. A few weeks ago, when I took my paperwork to the Jefferson County probate court to set up our court date, I made the decision to just have Joe and I go to court, say our "I do"s and then go home. George would stay in school and he would never know what went on.
You see, I was not trying to be mean. I have come to realize how unfamiliar settings can send George into a tailspin. Those tailspins entail George reverting back to the George of month one or two. A light bulb has finally gone off in my head about this...he is scared, uncomfortable, unsure how to communicate how he feels an so he switches into "survival mode". This means he wants to hurt us before we can hurt him. He will be mean to us before we can be mean to him. He will turn off his emotions before someone can cause him pain. He does whatever he needs to protect his fragile emotions. So, I thought that taking him to a court, standing before a judge, all that stuff, would cause George anxiety. And, I simply did not want to make our re-adoption of him an anxious moment.
But, God whispered to my heart, "He deserves a celebration. I delight in him. I want you to delight in him!" Oh, how those words pierced my soul and I knew at once these were the words of truth. George deserved a celebration!
Passionately, I cried to Joe that I had changed my mind and not only would we be taking George, we would pull all the kids out of school to mark this very special day.
We tried in vain to explain what was about to take place; we would go before a judge and he would review our post-adoption reports and then he would make a decision about whether or not he could officially be a Weldie. George just didn't get it, because in his mind and in his heart, he was already our son. We agreed, but tried to say that we needed to do this anyway. I don't think he understood at all.
On the drive there, George was his usual self, "Can you radio, please?" Translation: can you turn on the radio please? That was soon followed by "I LOVE that song!"
As soon as we walked into the lobby of the courthouse, George froze. We had to pass through a metal detector. Immediate flash backs of our time in the various airports on the way home from Addis. Images of a smelly, dirty boy screaming at the top of his lungs, being dragged through the metal detectors filled my brain. Oh no...I totally forgot about these things. Joe bent low to George and simply told him, "I will never leave your side."
That seemed to be enough for George to relax a bit...that and seeing all his siblings go through with smiles and giggles. The sheriff on duty was amazing and joked and smiled the whole time - and not those corny jokes of someone trying to "Funny Guy" - you know, the loud funny guy that seems to pop up in every crowd situation. No, this guy was saying simple jokes to Harry and Eleanor and then reassured George that it would all be OK. Nice guy!
We climbed up a flight of stairs and then walked down a long hallway. The whole time we were passing rooms of people, most of them looking unhappy or nervous. Our brood, on the other hand, was skipping and laughing and holding hands as we excitedly sauntered to our court room. What a contrast in life...here we were celebrating adding a son to our family...and there they were, not exactly sure why, but with looks of fear on their faces.
The courtroom was meticulous and in the waiting room we lectured the kids about proper behavior in the court room. We walked in quietly, took our seat and prepared to see a case that was in front of us. Apparently the docket had become backed up (no surprise) and we were no longer a 2:15 case, probably more like a 3:00 case. I have to admit that Harry and Eleanor in particular were excited about seeing a real live case, and the former home schooling mother was just bubbly inside thinking about the discussions we could have on the way home about law, public defense, judges, etc. But, the court clerk took one look at our brood and said, "Why don't we move case 3021 up." The judge agreed. The defendant of the case before us looked very annoyed when the judge ordered him into the waiting room. We didn't care...we were now up!
The seven of us came forward and sat at the tables: Joe, George, Lincoln and I at the defense table. Isabel, Eleanor and Harry at the prosecutors table. We were all a little giggly and so desperately wanted to talk into our little microphones. George kept putting it up to his ear (which he keeps calling his eye) and trying to hear music. I am sure we were quite a sight!
The judge opened our case and started reading through the file. He asked Joe and I a few questions and then said, "I am ready to make my judgement."
I have to admit, I held my breath a bit. How could he make a judgement already?
"I find that Joe and Traci Weldie are of sound mind and are fit parents and are doing what is in the best interest of the child. I approve of the petition to adopt. From this moment forward Georgebush Joseph Lema will be known as George Bush Weldie."
In the best interest of the child....time seemed to stop as I pondered those words. We really are doing what is in George's best interest. No matter all my hard days and all the arguments and fights and struggles, all this IS in the best interest of George! He is now a US citizen - wow! His life is so different from this moment on. The life expectancy of a male in Ethiopia is 42 years! Now, George has double the life time to love and grow and serve the Lord. Praise God!
The judge said, "Now you can clap." And we all laughed and clapped and smiled huge grins at each other. We took a picture, and actually a man in the gallery volunteered to take a picture of all of us - I am soooo disappointed at how blurry it is, but we do have a picture of all 7 of us with the judge.
The judge came off his bench and gave George a high five and said, "I love your name! George Bush is one of my favorite people - so I am sure you are going to be great man." He then told Joe and I how wonderful it is to reside over adoptions like this: all joy! I looked around and everyone in the room was smiling and clapping - everyone was celebrating George!
On the way home, we explained to George how we all have middle names and we went around the car a few times each sharing our full name. It was quiet for a minute and then we heard George say, "George Bush Weldie. I am a Weldie now."
Posted by Traci Weldie at 6:49 PM