The day before the court hearing I got another e-mail asking if I could also pick up “D.” This was so odd to me that I would be the person picking up my children’s birth mother and my daughter’s birth father and driving them to court to relinquish their parental rights.
The court hearing was set for 9 a.m. in Ogden and they lived in Salt Lake (about a 45 minute drive from my house on a good day), so I had to leave early in order to pick them up and get back to Ogden in time for the hearing. I took the girls over to my friend’s house at about 6:45 a.m. so I could get on the road (thank you Nicole for watching them!). There was already a huge snowstorm so I knew I would need extra time. I was late picking Ruth and “D” up because of the snow and all the accidents on the road. When they got in my car, Ruth sat in the front with me and “D” sat in the back (I could tell they were upset that I was late). They didn’t talk to each other during the entire drive (over an hour). I tried to make small talk but then just decided to concentrate on driving, I was too nervous to say much anyway.
I knew we were going to be late (I hate being late to anything!) so I called my attorney (he was at the court house), and he was luckily able to schedule our hearing for an hour later. When we finally arrived I asked them if they wanted me to just wait in the car or go in, they said to come in. Ironically the judge ended up being the same judge that presided over Ava’s adoption two years previous.
Ruth and “D” went in the court room with my attorney and I waited on a bench outside the door. A few minutes later my attorney came out and asked me if I was going to come in. I told him I didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. He said "'D' specifically requested that I come inside." I did not expect that!
The court room was basically empty except for our group, the bailiff and the judge. “D” had a back injury so he requested to be able to stand instead of sit. He was standing at the back of the court room and wanted to talk to me. He told me about a few things that he was upset with me about (I just listened and apologized) and then he asked me if I would please send him pictures of Aubrey every few weeks. I told him I would be happy to send him pictures and asked if he had any other requests. He didn’t.
I then watched both he and Ruth go in front of the judge. They had to answer several questions and then they each signed the paperwork that would give their consent allowing us to adopt Aubrey. I was really expecting “D” to speak up and say something when the judge was asking him questions, but he didn’t. It was so quiet in the court room, not even Ruth or “D” spoke to each other.
It had been eight months since Aubrey came to live with us, eight months of wondering if she would be able to stay another day, week or month. I cannot explain the feeling of elation I felt when the paperwork was signed ~ but the emotion was very somber as we left.
Camille (me) with Aubrey yesterday (April 2, 2010).
We had planned on getting something to eat before we left to go to Salt Lake, but “D” said his back was hurting so we just headed back. The entire hearing lasted less than 20 minutes. Again the drive was almost completely silent. When we got closer to Salt Lake, Ruth said she wanted to be dropped off at work, so we went downtown and I dropped her off. It was so odd when she got out of the car, I mean, what do I say?
After Ruth got out of the car “D” got in the front seat. As soon as the door closed and he and I were alone together he started talking my ear off (we still had about a 25 minute drive to his house). He talked the entire way and I learned even more about him, things that I will share with Aubrey when she wants to know more about her birth father.
When I dropped him off at his house, I again was at a loss of what to say other than “goodbye”and “I promise to send pictures.” That sounded so shallow, but I honestly didn’t know what to say that wouldn’t come off sounding wrong, there wasn’t a RIGHT thing to say. I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if the tables were turned.
I drove away in the snowstorm and called Mykel to let him know how everything turned out (I couldn't believe all that had transpired in the last three hours, my emotions were at a bursting point, I wanted to cry, scream and shout with joy all at the same time!)
I rushed back to Ogden to pick up Aubrey and Ava, I couldn't wait to see them and hold them... and I couldn’t wait to tell the boys that Aubrey could stay with us forever!