Today was the finalization hearing for our adoption of Yikealo. I'm sure that it didn't mean much to him, but it was nice for us, since we missed his court date in Ethiopia back in June. David was very excited, and kept telling Yikealo this morning that it was a very special day because a judge was going to say that he was our little boy forever. I don't think that Yikealo understood it at all, but it did prompt him to ask some questions about Mihiret again for the first time in weeks.
The hearing was held at the county Probate Court, and was attended by the three of us, David's parents, our attorney, our social worker and the judge. The judge was certainly correct when he said that day was undoubtedly the easiest stage of the process! He asked, "Is it your intention to complete the adoption of Yikealo David, knowing that this decision is a permanent one?" We of course said "Yes," to which he replied, "Okay, that takes care of everything!" We were handed two pieces of paper, which state that we have met all of the requirements and now Yikealo is officially ours. Not that he wasn't before, but this is basically the county and state formally recognizing him as our son. Now, in six to eight weeks, we'll get a new birth certificate issued from the state with our names listed as his parents and with his birth date officially changed to June 12th, 2006. Yay! Another step completed on the way to citizenship!
David's Mom brought a sweet gift for Yikealo to give to us: two Christmas mugs with "Best Dad" and "Best Mom" written on them. Thanks, Grandma!
When we left the courthouse, Yikealo was a bit put out that the judge didn't actually SAY the words, "Yikealo is Daddy's and Mommy's little boy!" We had to show him that we got some papers that (sort of!) said that, and then he was all smiles again. Life got even better when we visited the grocery store afterwards, and I gave in for once and allowed him to ride in the obnoxious, enormous "car" cart. I figured that today of all days, he should be allowed to have his way a time or two!
The rest of the day was pretty relaxing: some final Christmas shopping, some naps, and dinner out at Carrabba's - since Yikealo's all time favorite food is pasta. He confiscated David's sausage and lentil soup though too, and practically licked the bowl clean. All in all, today will be a nice way to remember an end point to this momentous journey in our lives!