You may not know this about adoption, but in many states it takes months to make an adoption officially legal. In our state of Tennessee, you cannot make an adoption official until the child has been in your custody for at least 6 months. So, if you do an agency adoption, after the birthmother signs papers to terminate her parental rights, even though the child is in the adoptive parents’ custody, the agency technically has parental rights until you go to court and transfer rights to the adoptive parents.

It sounds complicated, but in my opinion, it’s a good system. We had to have at least two home visits from our social worker in the course of those 6 months to be sure that all was going well. I like this because it gives birthparents and everyone involved the assurance that the adoptive parents have the support they need, and that they are also caring for the child and meeting all of his/her needs. After those 6 months and two visits have passed, you also need to hire an attorney to represent you in court so that a judge will sign the paperwork to officially change the name (and birth certificate even!) of the child to be forever in your family.

And Friday was our day at court! It’s not often that going to court is a joyous occasion, but of course it was today for us. Our Sweet P if now legally and officially our daughter and her name has been legally changed to have our last name. My parents, sister, and our social worker were able to come too, so it was so wonderful to have family there to celebrate with us (and take pictures). The judge asked us questions to be sure we would raise her as if she came from my own body, and of course we gave an enthusiastic ‘yes’!
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We had the same judge that finalized the buddy’s adoption too!

We are so happy this day has arrived and are so grateful for our official family of 4!