The last step in our adoption of Anna Mei is called her "readoption." This basically allows us to get her a U.S. birth certificate, which will ensure that she never has any trouble proving her identity should her Chinese birth certificate or adoption decree ever get lost. We started Anna's adoption process back in January 2005. Three years, four months later, we are all done with anything related to adoption paperwork - Praise God!!!!
In an effort to save $500, I became our family's "attorney." For Lian's readoption, we hired an attorney. Now I know why people pay attorneys. I have spent 3 1/2 hours at the King County courthouse since starting this readoption process. I had to learn an entire new language - motions, ex parte, cause number and more. I learned that there is a mad rush upon the clerk's office at 4:27 pm (three minutes before closing). And I learned I do not wish to be an attorney - I could never deal with the bureaucracy.
I thought I had everything compiled in the right order for our 9 am hearing this morning. When we showed up, the 3rd floor clerk informed me that none of the paperwork I submitted to the 6th floor clerk's office had been received (when I filed this three weeks ago, I gave them a huge stack of documents but the clerk had never filed a readoption paperwork before - just my luck). Also, it was apparently a very big deal that I did not have cover sheets on each section of my paperwork. For those of you who know me, you know I don't do well with "systems", so I was ready to explode when they told me that. However, we were very blessed that the adoption facilitator was willing to make me cover sheets so that we could still get our hearing in today.
Finally, the clerk ushered us into Commissioner Joan Allison's chambers where we swore once again (I think this is the fifth time since adoptiong Anna) to love and cherish this precious little girl. The good thing is that despite my ineptness at maneuvering the County Court System, Family Court loves adoptions. After sitting in their courtroom for an hour waiting to file my motion, I now understand why. I was on the brink of tears the entire time listening to marriages disolved, custody battles fought and estates challenged. It was extremely depressing. So for a commissioner to be able to help form a family and honor the love two parents have for an abandoned child is extremely rewarding for them. Thus, they are willing to overlook the bureaucratic mess I created.
There were many emotions today. I cried after we left the courthouse. Some of my tears were tears of joy at ending a process that has lasted over three years; others were tears of frustration at my own feelings of incompetence with the system; and others were tears of anger at a system that creates rather than removes barriers to adoption. St. Augustine said "“Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.” Today was a day of both great joy and anger. I am believing our tomorrows will be made of courageous steps to be a voice for more children.