Last week Thursday was our last visit with our social worker, our last post-placement report, and the last time we'll have to clean the house in that weird "we know it doesn't really matter but will she think we're better parents if everything looks put together..." kind of way.
The post-placement visits really haven't been that difficult. We mostly talk about how T is doing. The first time we chatted about the the whole adoption experience and our time in the US, as well as how we were adjusting to being parents, but since then it's all been about T and his development. Well at 4 1/2 months he weighed 18 lbs 3 oz so we all know he's growing! By now our social worker feels more like a family friend versus a VIP guest (although we do still madly clean the house before her visits!), due to the timing of her visit on Thursday we had her over for dinner while we completed our last report. She has seen us at our best and worst when it comes to adoption, it was really nice to end our time with her on a high note.
So now what, you might ask.
Our adoption of baby T will be finalized 6 months after we took custody of him. He has a court date in the US scheduled for March 9th, 2010.
Most of the time when we mention to people that the adoption will be final at the 6 month mark we observe a slightly confused and nervous manner in whomever has prompted such a response from us. I am quick to say that no decisions can be revoked because I can see the question formulating..."can his birth mom come back to take him?" I hate it when I hear this question. Not because I am concerned about her very important and much needed role in his life, but because of how it is asked. I know people are only thinking of us and their concern for us if they are thinking we might have to give him back. But to me that question just sounds so crass. It makes me think of all the poorly produced TV drama's showcasing legal battles between birth and adoptive families, of how first mothers are demoralized in society, and how more often than not people think negatively about first moms. It may not be right for me to jump in and answer the question before it is even asked - perhaps letting people know that T's first mom has legally relinquished her rights may say something about me that I am unaware of. I just don't want to be in the position of having to reassure someone that no one can take him away from us, it makes me feel like we don't have a valid family and that I am speaking badly about T's first mom.
Basically, the reason finalization occurs at 6 months is because the court requires 3 post-placement reports along with 3 medical reports and pictures to make sure that we are keeping up our end of our custody agreement and taking good care of him. If we were found to be unfit parents then our adoption of T wouldn't be finalized and he would be adopted by another family.
Due to some fancy footwork by our lawyer in the US, he is able to stand in as our proxy for our March 9th court date. This is a very good thing because cash flow is tight around here and a trip to the US is not in the current budget! Once the adoption is finalized we will receive documents which we can send to Canadian immigration so he can finally become a permanent resident. This is important because one's he's a resident then we can get him on our provincial medical card and can stop paying for all his doctor appointments! You sure realize what a fabulous benefit universal health care is when you don't have it!
We are planning a finalization party with family and some close friends in March. This is not to signify a "gotcha day" (I'm not really a fan of those) or anything else other than to mark the end to this part of our adoption journey. Most of the paperwork will then be finished (we'll still have the Canadian citizenship process to work though) as well as dealing with adoption agencies...and that alone is something to celebrate!