During the ride to our friend’s home Carol told me she had had enough. She didn’t want to go through anymore crap and just wanted to go home. Listen, I totally understood her position, however I needed her to fight for this. It was so hard dragging her through this but at the same time I needed her to put on her big girl panties and help me make it happen. G-d dammit I was doing this for her and for the well being of our son. For the first time since I suggested we go through the adoption I got mad at her. “Carol, we have to do this. We are so close and we will make it happen.” I think for me the most frustrating part was NOT having Carol’s support. Not only did I need her support but I needed her strength. She was convinced it couldn’t be done, so that was it. She was so easy to give up. I refused to believe it couldn’t be done. Dammit, I was going to make it happen no matter how negative Carol was. But, I’d soon find out how difficult and tiring that would become for me. AND how close it pushed me to also throwing up my arms and calling it quits.
When we arrived at our friend’s home I was determined to figure out how we could find a place to live in the new county we needed for the adoption. So, I shut myself up in one of their bedrooms and got started on making phone calls to anyone I knew in the Atlanta are. Having been a part of a Jewish youth group for many years, I started with calling those folks I knew. Then, I moved on to calling people I knew from my childhood when I lived in Atlanta as a kid. I must have spoken to twenty people. And after speaking to each one of them and spending over an hour in a half on the phone I was beyond frustrated that I still had no solutions. Now grant you I suppose I had VERY high expectations that one of the people would have said, “Oh, yes! We have a basement apartment (or property) you are welcome to stay for as long as you need. But come on folks that wasn’t reality. BUT, once again, I had hoped that one person would have been out there and could have helped us.
Just as I finished talking to the last person on my list Carol came into the bedroom. She was still angry with me for not agreeing with her to quit the whole adoption thing. That certainly didn’t help as I was at that point feeling so alone and walking uphill by myself trying to figure it all out. I started crying. I felt defeated and thought (only to myself) that Carol maybe right. Maybe we were too far over our head. Carol took that opportunity to try to get me to give up. She used the excuse that I had just spent all of that time calling people and still had nothing. Well, that was all I needed to hear to get my drive back. There was something in her statement that really pissed me off. Here was the thing. It was just hours before that we discovered our fate for the adoption in one county was over but we still had a chance in another county. I had only spent an hour in a half looking for another option. That was nothing. I just needed more time and the opportunity to think it through. And so, I let Carol have it. I was so angry that not only did I have our State laws fighting against us, society fighting against us, that damn judge who was being sued BUT Carol too?! So in our friend’s house in one of her bedrooms there were Carol and I having a huge argument.
About 10 minutes into our arguing our friend interrupted us. She told us she had an option for us. She pointed out that her home was in the county we needed to do the adoption. Folks, if you could have seen my face when she told us. She told us that she and her husband wanted to help us and she offered for us to live there. She had a small wing in her home that had two bedrooms and a bathroom. We’d have to share the kitchen but she had plenty of room for us to buy our own groceries and store them. It really was perfect. The part I loved about the idea was I’d be with a friend and not alone (which scared me originally with being in a big city with our young child). However, Carol was NOT keen on the idea. She explained to our friend that it could mean we’d be there as long as 5 months. We’d have to actually live there and we may have to have a home study. And with our friend not having kids, Carol wanted her to understand it could be hard. Carol also explained we didn’t have the money to pay her for rent at that time but we’d be able to give her a few hundred dollars by December (a few months later) when we knew Carol would get her work bonus. I also offered to help around the house and do what I could as a trade off. Our friend didn’t care. She said she only wanted to help us. Listen, I too didn’t want to impose. It was kind of them to offer and Carol was right. Living with someone can be difficult and especially with having a young child. Carol didn’t want to jeopardize our friendship which she felt living with them would do. HOWEVER, I knew this was our only chance to make the adoption happen. So, we told our friend that Carol and I would talk it over and get back to her that week. While on our 3 hour ride home I told Carol we needed to use the options we had. We needed to take our friend’s offer. But, Carol wasn’t convinced. OK, so we had a place to stay (if Carol agreed that was OK) but what about all of the other stuff we’d have to do. Where were we going to get $500 for a home study if the judge required it of us? How was I going to find a job up there and be able to have Judah with me. Daycare was NOT an option. Carol needed to know more about the details on how it was all going to work. Listen, there was no doubt she was right but I was so angry that all she kept doing was throwing the questions out at me. Where were her solutions? I needed her help. Why was it for me to figure it ALL out? Well, it was because I believed she was looking for any excuse to show me it wasn’t going to work. I was so angry with her. She had always supported me. And here was something so important to our family and yet I was dragging her along. It was incredibly hard on me and a huge strain on mine and Carol’s relationship. We had each grown resentful. I towards Carol for not stepping up to the plate and helping me and me towards Carol for pushing her to do something she felt was not accomplishable. HOWEVER, if the adoption was going to happen, I knew I had to make it work. Forcing Carol to help me (as mad as I was about it) wasn’t going to make her help me.
Most of our three hour ride home that day was in silence. Carol slept and I thought and thought and thought. I went over each and every scenario I could possibly think of until I had a plan to present to Carol (which in my fashion was devised by the time we got home). And here it was. Because Carol worked during the week, she’d stay in Augusta during that time and head to us over the weekends (and during any of her vacations). I would take Judah and the dogs with me to live with our friend and I’d get part time jobs. We were incredibly lucky that right before an elderly friend had just gone into an assisted living facility had sold us her 1986 Honda Accord for $1.00. It wasn’t in great shape but it would allow me to have transportation while in Atlanta. The timing was great because up to that point Carol and I had only one car. And no way we could have done the adoption without the two cars that was for sure.
Now, before I was able to tell Carol the rest of my plan, she was already unhappy with it all. She hated the idea of us being separated and especially to not being able to see Judah. Her negativity was so hard for me. I was trying so hard to make this happen and every step I felt Carol was fighting me. I hated it. Reality was the adoption (second time around) was going to take a while. Our attorney told us we needed to wait a month before refiling in the new county. That would give us time to find a place to live and be settled in that place by the time we filed. And then we’d have to wait to see if we’d need a home study. If we did that would have delayed things even longer. No matter what though it appears the earliest we could hope to be done would be January of 2007. There was no doubt it was going to be a long time to be separated especially for our son who was used to having the two of us around. So I understood why Carol hated the entire idea but, I couldn’t understand it being the reason NOT to do the adoption. We had a chance to make it happen. Dammit, lets do it! We had a second change. Dammit, lets take it! I can’t even remember how I got Carol to agree with all of it. I’m guessing I probably didn’t give her much of a chance to disagree. I was a strong force that way. But the thing was. I knew if we didn’t grab the opportunity right then and there it was never going to happen. Judah was already 4. Once he started school it would have complicated things. We had to do it then.
And so, the second weekend in September 2007 we packed up our two cars and drove to Atlanta. Judah was excited. He loved the idea of going to a new place. Now as sad and upset as I knew Carol was, I was too. After all of the planning and trying to make it all work, once it was a reality it was hard for me. I hated it. I hated the thought I’d be alone without Carol. But, I didn’t want to give Carol any reason to back out so I felt I had to maintain a front. I had to be strong and keep encouraging everyone else.
Once at our friend’s and once we unpacked, the weekend was over before we knew it. It was Sunday afternoon and Carol needed to head back for work the next day. Folks, it was one of the toughest days of my life! Now, we had explained to Judah how Mom would have to go during the week but we knew he really wouldn’t get it until the time came. And when that time came, damn was it hard on ALL of us. I hated to see Carol so sad. But even worse when she was ready to leave, it was Judah’s tears to see her go that really got me upset. He held onto Carol so tight and begged her to not leave. And when he said, “Please, mom! Stay with us!” all while crying, it tore the two of us up. I’m sure Carol cried all the way home. How terrible to have your son so upset before leaving him. UGH! It made me so angry that we had to put our family through this in order to assure we were protected. It sucked! And I HATED IT!
When Carol left that Sunday, I knew I needed to keep me and Judah busy to keep our mind off of things. I was thrilled when our friends said they were going to a cookout at a friend of theirs and we were also invited to come. Even though I wasn’t in the mood, I knew it would be a perfect distraction. It was very sweet of our friends to think about us and to include us. All Judah wanted to know was if other kids would be there. When he was told there would be that was it. Judah wanted to go. I was relieved Judah had stopped crying over Carol leaving and he was excited to be going to the cookout. That was a huge relief.
Here was something funny that happened when we got to the home of the cookout. While in their home I noticed some artwork on the wall that was of the courthouse of the small town where I went to high school. Chatting with the wife I discovered we had actually attended high school together. And as we were throwing out names to see if we each knew mutual friends, I noticed our friend (who we came with) was clearly not happy. She seemed jealous. I couldn’t understand why. I thought it was really cool and it was neat to hear updates on people I hadn’t seen since high school. However, it was clear my friend didn’t find it as cool. What was the deal? Meanwhile, I just dismissed it and laughed it off. I suppose to be honest I wanted to put my blinders on and not see. I didn’t want any distractions from making the adoption happen and so I certainly was NOT going to let petty stuff get in the way. And so I forgot about it.
That Monday I wasted no time to contact folks I new to see if I could get a job teaching Hebrew and Sunday school at any of the area Synagogues. I was well qualified to do it and those jobs would allow me to have Judah with me. Now for those of you not familiar for Jews it is common to have Hebrew school during the week after the kids finish their day at regular school. And because we aren’t allowed to write and do work on Saturday (when it’s our sabbath) we have Sunday school. So, my first step was to contacted the director of the “Rainbow Center” to see if she knew of any Synagogues possibly needing teachers. I also contacted the synagogue I had gone to as a kid to see if I could teach there. Well, the director of the “Rainbow Center” didn’t fail me. With her help introducing me to another person I became a second grade teacher for a really neat Synagogue in Atlanta. (Later I even discovered I had cousins from my mom’s side who attended there. Truly a small world, yes?). Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a Hebrew school teaching position as all of those positions had been filled. BUT, I was able to get a job at my old Synagogue subbing. The best part was how much money I was making at my Sunday school job. It was triple the amount I had made at the Synagogue in Augusta. I was beyond happy because that allowed me to have money to pay for our food and gas while in Atlanta. I finally felt relieved and could see where everything was falling into place.
Now, I would have been lying if I said it was all smooth sailing from that point forward. Honestly, it was an incredibly l-o-n-g four months. The longest in my life. Judah and I counted down the weekdays for the weekend when Carol would come. On the days she was to arrive we’d be waiting with total excitement to run outside to greet her. Of course Sundays were always sad days because those were the days she’d have to leave. It was an emotional cycle. However, Judah seemed to have adjusted well. I kept him busy during the week by attending play groups and going to places which were free but ever so fun to Judah. He was doing more than he had ever done in Augusta so he was one happy camper. He was sad on Sundays when Carol left but at the same time he looked forward to whatever I had planned for him. Needless to say, I was exhausted. Being in a strange city and not knowing how to get places, made it so tiring. And then there was the traffic. OY! Each day we’d get into the car Judah would ask, “So, we going on the highway today?” After the first few weeks if I told him we were going on the highway, he would cry because he hated the traffic. It was clear our son was not a big city kid. The best part was when I’d be subbing at my old synagogue. It was only 20 minutes away but it took 45 minutes to get there. To avoid some of the traffic I’d take back roads which required left and right turns galore. It was so confusing to me. Well, the second time I was subbing I went to make a right turn. To my surprise Judah yells at me from the back seat and says, “Momma, you’re about to go the wrong way! You need to take a left between those two buildings over there!” Folks, he was absolutely correct. Would you believe from that point on I would give Judah the directions (drawing of a map) and my kid would tell me how to go? He was four! Amazing.
By the middle of October we all used to our situation. However, things started to turn at our friends where we were living. I started to notice having a young child around started to become challenging to our friends. They just weren’t used to sudden melt downs, crankiness, being excited and wanting to run around and other very typical kid behavior. Of course I worked very hard to keep Judah with in our living area and when he needed to get some energy out, I was diligent to take him outside. However, things happen. When a kid has a meltdown, everyone can hear him.
As time went on our friends became less tolerant of Judah. They increasingly got annoyed. They felt Judah should just be told not to do something once and that was it. So, each time I reprimanded Judah about something my friend would get mad. After all he should just know not to do it. For example: They had a beautiful dining room table that had a piece of glass on it. They requested that we put no drinking glasses on it- that we put down a place mat first. We respected their request and did as they wanted. Well, once afternoon I was getting Judah’s lunch. I put down the place mat and placed his plate of food on top of it. I then went to get his drink. As I was walking back to the table I saw Judah had one of his chicken fingers sitting on the glass of the dining room table. He was playing cars and was pretending the chicken was a car parked in it’s parking spot. Just as I was about to tell him to remove it, my friend’s husband was walked up to me very angry. He yelled at me saying he didn’t appreciate us not respecting their wishes about putting things directly on the glass of the dining room table. I assured him it wasn’t to be disrespectful and that I would explain it to Judah why he couldn’t do it. And so, I went over to Judah, sat down in the chair next to him and explained that he can’t put anything onto the glass. Judah looked at me and said, “But they said (while pointing to my friend’s husband) not to put plates or drinking glasses.” My friend’s husband was furious at Judah’s answer. He had no concept as to how kid’s think. Meanwhile, Judah was right. Bottom line was my friend and her husband felt I should have been harder on Judah for what he had done. And because I wasn’t I was disrespecting the wishes of our friend.
BUT, it didn’t always have to do with them. Another incident also happened at the dining room table. Judah was eating his breakfast. And on this particular occasion he was full before finishing all of his cereal. It wasn’t a big deal to me but to my friend it was. Meanwhile, I had bought the cereal so the food our kid was wasting was ours. At any rate she in a very snide tone told Judah he needed to finish his cereal. Judah just looked at her and said, “But, I’m full.” My friend got mad and started to tell him how wasting food was bad and wrong. Now here was the thing. I was suddenly in an awkward position. I needed to get Judah out of it and shut up my friend without being rude. AND the problem was I had NO IDEA IN HELL how I was going to do it. I knew though I had to protect Judah first and for most. Luckily as my friend was complaining about Judah, Judah looked at me and said, “Momma, I have to go potty.” LORD THANK YOU! I couldn’t have come up with a better excuse. And so, I quickly got up and escorted Judah to the bathroom. However, my friend interpreted that as us being rude. She felt I should have forced Judah to stay there until he finished his breakfast and by taking him away I was giving Judah the control. And so as you could imagine there wasn’t much I could do or say to get my friends to understand. To try to help give everyone space I started leaving the house a few days a week early in the morning and returning in the evening just in enough time to put Judah to bed. Often I packed our lunch and dinner so we could each at the park or if it was bad weather we ate indoor somewhere. I often had to get very creative. Meanwhile, Judah was still napping and he never fell asleep in the car. And so, it all got very complicated and difficult for me. I was exhausted mentally and physically. And yet, I couldn’t let Carol see it. I didn’t want Carol to throw in the towel. We were so close.
Now I have to explain. Remember how I promised my friend to help around the house in exchange for rent? Well, I went above and beyond. I felt they were doing such a huge favor for us that it was my way of giving back to them. Well to say our friends were slobs would be an understatement. Honestly, it was mostly the husband who basically did nothing all day but sit on his computer. And when he did something he never cleaned up behind himself. Anyway, there was tons of dust. Knowing Carol had bad allergies I made a point to dust twice a week along with sweeping the kitchen floor and moping it, vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom. See, not only did they have a dog who shed terribly but also whenever the husband went outside whatever he had on his shoes he’d track inside. The husband also would eat constantly through out the day and would pile his dirty dishes in the sink. And if he cooked something the stove was always left a mess. I never saw him clean up after himself. So, I was constantly cleaning up behind him. But, here was the thing. At first I honestly didn’t mind because if I could help out, I wanted to help out.
HOWEVER by the 3rd month I started to feel abused. I had become their personal house cleaner. The husband’s behavior started to become very erratic and explosive. He clearly was having emotional problems but his wife (our friend) was refusing to acknowledge it. As time went on and the longer we stayed there the husband would do meaner and meaner things. And because of his explosive behavior I had to remove Judah. I couldn’t allow him around the husband. And so that meant I had to start leaving the house all day more than a few days a week. Once I started doing that the husband started to complain to his wife (when she returned from her law school classes) that I was not helping out anymore. He would tell her that the mess he made had been ours. It even got to a point where when Carol was there one weekend that the husband claimed I had eaten all of their caramel (that they put on their ice cream). First of all not only did I not even like caramel but I had seen the husband eating ice cream regularly with tons of caramel poured on top. I was so incredibly shocked and hurt not only that the husband would blame us for what he had done but more so for the wife believing him. Folks, she would complain to me before we had even moved in about coming home to her husband’s mess and cleaning it up. So, I knew she knew it hadn’t been us. BUT because I was leaving during the day, I was no longer cleaning up behind him. And so that left the job to my friend when she got home. This made both of them not very happy. I was in shock. She was a good friend and suddenly she and her husband were turning into people I didn’t know. It was incredibly hard. Each day my friend would come to me with another issue they had of something her husband had claimed I was doing. And nothing I said could change her mind. It was always mine, Judah’s or our dogs fault. Yes, even our dogs were drug into it.
Just weeks before our court date things got really bad at my friend’s house. By that point Judah, me and our dogs would confine ourselves in our bedroom when we were there. It was the only way I knew to keep Judah away from them and unable to be a victim to their behavior. We were so close to the end. I had to continue to make it all work. And yet things got harder and harder. On several occasions I witness my friend being punched by her husband. Luckily, Judah wasn’t around during those times. And so, my friend’s behavior too became erratic. The situation had become so volatile and it was clear with us living there we became the perfect scape goats for them. I was incredibly hurt and outraged a friend would treat us as she did. But, there again, we were almost at the end. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now let me explain. I tried not to share what was happening to us to Carol. I knew if Carol felt Judah (especially) was privy to what was happening and if my friend or husband were doing anything to hurt him, she would have headed to Atlanta, packed us up and taken us home. AND folks, rightfully so. But, I knew as long as I could continue to protect Judah, then I was going to do it. That meant in many cases that I took the blame for certain things I knew he had done (just little kid stuff like putting the chicken on the table). That meant being yelled at by them for crazy things like: folding their laundry for them and my friend not finding a shirt of hers she thought she had washed. Nothing more maddening than to be accused of taking it and then to see her wearing it days later. OR being accused of eating their cereal when it was ours (just so happened we had the same kind). Thank goodness by this point we were storing it in our room so when she went to her shelf she could see hers was untouched. Maybe they were hoping we’d leave but I couldn’t afford to do that. What if the judge called for a last minute home study? Yeah, I know. How would that have worked in such a volatile environment. But, my point was I needed to hold it together for just a few more weeks. Hell, it was so close to the end. Now I must admit by this point I was a basket case. Carol could clearly see my emotional state was wrecked. I wasn’t someone who cried so easily but by this point I was. She knew I was sacrificing an incredible amount for that adoption. Here was the thing. Carol knew I was the kind of person who took no crap from anyone. I was a fighter. I was someone who would not allow even a friend to false accuse me and treat me in the manner that I was being treated. And yet there I was allowing my friend to do just that to me. Carol knew how incredibly difficult it was for me to keep my mouth shut and to continue moving forward. She had to know how much I loved her at that point and how much I wanted for her to have the security of being Judah’s other mom. That was the gift I wanted to get for Carol. AND DAMMIT! I WAS SO CLOSE! I couldn’t ruin it by telling my friend what I thought. Hell, I couldn’t even protect myself because I was afraid they’d kick us to the curb. It was a living hell for me. To say I was exhausted emotionally and physically would have been an understatement. And for those of you who understand what it is like for someone with ADHD being exhausted was not an easy task to accomplish. The stress had to have been enormous. Which it was. I was putting on a front for Judah and Carol. I was always thinking 100 steps ahead to assure Judah would not be part of my friend or her husband’s wrath. I had our two dogs. I had the two jobs I had to go to where I didn’t know anyone. It was HELL!
And so, maybe you’ll understand when I say that just weeks before our court date for the adoption it was a relief to hear my father had died. Because my dad had lived in Augusta, him dying meant I had to return to Augusta. It gave us the perfect excuse to stay there for a couple of weeks where I had to handle his estate and close down his house. It was so great to be out of the tension filled home of what was at that point my ex friend. I felt safe and secure. I didn’t have to worry about Judah which was huge. And best of all Carol came home every night. By this point I was warn out. It was only at this point I felt if the adoption wasn’t going to happen that go around, then I was done too. I had done all I could and I had given it all that I could. I just didn’t want that for Carol though. It would have killed me for it to not have happened especially with all we had gone through those last months. Luckily though my negative thoughts were gone after a few days in Augusta where I was able to get some good sleep. It felt so awesome to have Carol with me again.
Because of how complicated my dad’s estate was we ended up staying in Augusta until it was time for our court date. OH DAMN! Of course I am being very facetious here. Carol and I decided to head back to Atlanta the night before our court date. We had spoken to our “friends” and they agreed that was OK. I think the few weeks off for everyone was well needed. Even so with all that had happened we got there just in enough time to head to bed so that we wouldn’t have too much interaction.
Now, I have to share something with y’all. The day of our court date was a special day. It was the first day of Chanukah which was very significant to us. First of all it was Judah’s favorite holiday. It was not just because he got gifts though (which no doubt was certainly a definite plus) but he liked it also because the main character in the story of this holiday was also named Judah. Now let me just explain this holiday to you for those who don’t know. We don’t see it as a “religious” holiday. Meaning, we don’t have any restrictions or rules that we have to abide by like we do with our other holidays. We also don’t go to Synagogue for a special service. For Jews it was our first fight for religious freedom.The holiday is celebrated for 8 days and during those days we remember what happened to Judah Maccabee and his family during the time the Syrian- Greek king Antiochus ruled. Antiochus was said to have been a horrible and cruel man. He saw his way of thinking as the only way and expected others to follow. Antiochus hid behind his own Gods which he felt told him to treat others that way. Well, gee whiz. What can one say when you’ve got the Gods on your side? Now, Antiochus was popular among his “kind” as the majority of his people believed as he did. However, you had those damn Jews who wouldn’t conform. Damn us! Because the Jews wouldn’t do as Antiochus wanted and sense Antiochus had the Gods on his side, he felt warranted to send out his large, powerful armies to force the Jews. Now, let me stop here for a moment. Does any of this story sound familiar? For me I think it sounds like those folks who use their god to say gays and lesbians shouldn’t be parents or that gay and lesbian couples shouldn’t marry. When one uses their god to justify why others can’t exist all that comes from it is evil in my eyes. That level of self assurance (because a person feels god is on their side) seems to give some the perfect validation to hate another. After all God said so, right? Anyway to make a long story short, Judah Maccabee and his family fought back. And even though they were small in numbers, they were able to defend themselves against the large all powerful Syrian-Greek army (and lived happily ever after).
And so on the morning of our court date Judah was beyond happy. He had gotten the presents he wanted the night before and it was his favorite holiday. Carol and I really needed that time with Judah to distract us. His joy and laughter really put things into perspective for us. We decided to go out for breakfast at a diner near the courthouse before having to meet our lawyer. One of the things Judah got for Chanukah was a shiny new black belt (to wear with his “fancy” pants). Judah would show anyone who was interested in seeing it. It was so cute. It was so awesome watching how excited he was about a simple belt. On the way to the courthouse we explained to Judah (as we had done the day before) what was going to happen. Judah’s response? “Yes, I know Mom and Momma. But, can I show the judge my new belt?” Nothing like your kid to keep things real.
After breakfast we went to the courthouse. We arrived before our attorney and so we waited in the lobby for her. When she arrived she took us upstairs to where the judges chambers was located. Our lawyer was excited and told us things looked good for the adoption to go through. Carol though wasn’t going to get her hopes up until he signed on the dotted line making it official. Unlike the last time I was incredibly nervous. I had worked SO hard to make that day happen. It just had to happen. It was a chilly day but I was sweating bullets. I didn’t want Carol to go through what she had the last time. I couldn’t bare having been responsible for hurting Carol like that if the adoption didn’t go through this time.
As we were riding the elevator up, the smell of the old elevator brought back some old memories. My dad had taken me to that very same courthouse when I was Judah’s age. My dad was studying to become a lawyer at the time and he had a good friend who worked there. The one time I remember my dad taking me there it was also around Chanukah. I remembered that because my dad’s friend asked me if I had gotten what I had wanted. When the elevator doors opened and we got off, I excused myself to go to the restroom. I was feeling overwhelmed. The significance of it being Chanukah, remembering exactly 33 years early I stood in the same elevators with my father (who had just weeks before had died) and hoping more than anything the adoption would come through was just all I could stand. I went into a stall and cried. Before getting myself together I took a moment to ask my mom to please be there with us and to please help persuade the judge. And I also asked my dad who had not done a lot for me in his living years to please do something for us that day. Make the adoption come through. I wiped my eyes, looked in the mirror to make sure my make up had not run and I went to face the inevitable.
I met Carol, Judah and our lawyer at the door of the courtroom. We had to walk through it to get to the judges chambers. I remember there being a family sitting and waiting for their divorce hearing. The judge offered to take us first since he felt it would be much quicker. As we walked passed them they smiled at us and actually even looked happy for us. The chuckled at Judah as he pointed out his new belt to the divorcing family. They laughed too. When we got into the judges chambers we sat down in the designated chairs. The judge wasn’t there yet and so our attorney whispered a few encouraging words to us.
When the judge arrived we stood from our seats. He introduced himself to us and as he told us how he enjoyed moments like these, we sat back down. I could see Carol was terrified. Our attorney asked if she was ready and with a cracked voice Carol said, “As I’ll ever be.” She was asked to rise, raise her right hand as her attorney swore her in…that was where she was asked to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Just as the judge started to ask her a series of questions, Judah whispered, “Can I show him my belt now?” I told him we needed to be very quiet but promised there would be a time he could. From that point on you could hear a pin drop. The round of questions took no more than 5 minutes but damn it was the longest 5 minutes of our lives. Once the judge was done, he said, “OK” and he then signed a piece of paper. Carol and I looked at each other. Does that mean we did it? Carol looked at our attorney and whispered to her, “Is that it?” And our attorney with a huge smile on her face said, “It’s official. It’s done.”
I couldn’t believe it. We couldn’t believe it. WE HAD DONE IT! None of us could stop smiling. All I could feel was jubilation. The judge was about to head out to his divorce hearing when Carol stopped him to ask for a picture with him and our family for memory sake. He was more than happy to oblige. The judge walked back over, bent down next to Judah and picked him up. Carol and I were worried because Judah did NOT like for people to pick him up. The judge had been so kind, we hoped like hell Judah was going to be alright with him being picked up. Well, folks Judah was more than OK. The reason? Well, it was the perfect opportunity for Judah to finally show the judge his new, shiny black belt.
Wednesday, December 5th, 2007 was not just the first day of Chanukah. It was also the day a miracle happened to us. I could sound off the many philosophical ideologies which tied the meaning of that historical holiday to our historical moment but I won’t. I’ll let all of you do that. Instead, I just want to say how proud I was to receive Judah’s birth certificate Carol’s name along with mine on it as his two moms. It truly was a magical moment.