5.17.2013

Taylor's Adoption Day

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Last Friday was Taylor's big day....we were able to adopt our baby girl and "officially" make her a Mask. As you can probably imagine, we have been counting down the months, weeks, hours and minutes to this moment since we brought her home from the hospital last November.  

It's no shocker that we took tons of photos to memoralize this special day---here are a few that we took before we headed into the courtroom...

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My parents were so happy to be able to join us for this special day....I'm so grateful that they made the effort to be there and support us.  Dad took off work so they could make the trip to Fort Worth. It meant so much to us for them to be there and I think it was a really neat experience for them to witness all the adoptions take place.  They love Taylor so much and are so grateful to be her grandparents.  They always make such an effort to be a part of our children's lives and I will eternally be grateful to them for this. 

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This particular date was Adoption Day at the courthouse and so we were really excited that we were able to travel to Fort Worth and be there with all the other adoptive families.  It was really special getting to see all the other adoptive couples with their precious babies.  While we were waiting to be called into the courtroom, we visited with several other couples--one in particular from New York....another from Maryland.... we were all tearing up and hugging as we shared our adoption stories with each other.

Such a special experience!
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After our 30 minute wait outside the courtroom, the bailiff called all of the families in together to begin the adoption proceedings.

My heart started pounding so hard as we all walked into the courtroom.  Jody was carrying Taylor while I tried to take pictures....my hands were shaking so bad I found myself fumbling with the camera more than anything.  I literally couldn't hold back my tears as we walked in the courtroom with all the other beautiful families --- I kept thinking to myself I can't believe this day is finally here.


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Once we were seated, the attorney began calling each family up one by one to appear before the judge.  We were third on the list. While we waited, we so enjoyed getting to sit in and watch the other adoptions take place.  There wasn't a dry eye in the room.  We were all so overjoyed for each other as adoptive families. 

It was neat how they orchestrated all of this...as each family was called up, they and their family and friends would walk up and stand in front of the judge. I thought it was really sweet how the judge would hold the baby while the attorney presented each case.  Such a happy day for the judge, too to be able to be a part of something so special.

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The three of us....anxiously awaiting our turn.

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It was finally our turn and so the attorney called our family up....my heart was literally about to pound out of my chest.  I was so excited and happy....and well, I was also a little nervous what Noah was going to do.  He walked right up to the judge as she held Taylor and stood next to her the entire time.  
Thankfully he acted really great and didn't get to wild and crazy up there. Whew!! :-)

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After we were sworn in....we were then asked a series of questions by our attorney---
Jody had to go first... and bless Daddy's sweet heart---
when they asked him if he would love, honor and protect his baby girl...well, as you can imagine---

he could barely get his words out for the tears and lump in his throat. 

Of course, he very happily and proudly swore with deep emotion he would love her and protect her for the rest of his life.

Such a sweet and tender moment to witness....
I pray Taylor always knows how blessed she is to have him as her Daddy.
He is truly a special man -- a Godly man---and I can already tell they have such a sweet and tender father-daughter bond.

For that I am truly grateful.

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And then I got my turn to express my love and devotion to my sweet daughter...
my heart was overflowing with love and gratitude for this moment.

I was also laughing at baby girl while I was responding to the questions,
she was having so much fun playing and banging all the pens and little toys
 on the judge's bench.  

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The judge then turned to Noah and asked him if he was ready to be a big brother...
he said, "Sure..."

She then asked if he loved his baby sister, and he said, "Yep..."
I think he was just excited to be able to stand up there with the judge...

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And after that, the judge declared her officially ours....Taylor Elizabeth Mask.
What a proud moment this was for our family...

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We headed to the lobby after our case was finalized and took a few more pictures before leaving...

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It felt so good to hold that final adoption decree in my hands... I would be lying if I didn't admit that during these past five years, since we began the journey to adopt for the second time-- I had some really low moments spiritually and emotionally---days where I doubted if this day would ever come.  Days when I questioned if we should just give up on ever adopting again.  Days were I was so angry about my infertility....moments where if one more person asked me when we were going to adopt again--- I could have literally knocked them out! (You think I'm kidding...but trust me, I'm not!) :-)

Yes sadly, I doubted Heavenly Father's plan for me as a mother. I'm ashamed about that...but through this process and despite my lack of faith at times, He has patiently (and lovingly) taught me so much about why we must face trials in this life.  They are for our good....they provide us greater depth and opportunities to grow closer to the Lord--- if we continue to move forward and stay faithful.

I am a better person today because of the difficulties I've faced in becoming a mother.  I'm stronger and my faith in the Lord's plan for my life has been increased immensely---and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

While I was standing there in the lobby after our finalization...Jody and my Dad were visiting down the hall and Mom and Noah were looking around upstairs at all the cool skyscrapers downtown Ft. Worth...so I had a few quiet moments with Taylor in my arms.  I was thankful for that time.  While there, I said a silent prayer of immense gratitude to Heavenly Father for being so patient with me.  For blessing us with this beautiful, sweet-spirited, precious daughter.  Oh my goodness....I love her so much!! The long wait for our second adoption to come through was indeed worth it in the end.

I also quietly thanked Him for entrusting this precious spirit with us.  I am so humbled to be her mother. And Jody is equally humbled to be her Daddy.  My heart was overflowing with gratitude at this moment for Taylor's birthmother-....for having the great faith and courage to listen to the Spirit as she prayed about placing her daughter ---which ultimately guided her to our family.  We will forever be grateful to her....she is a beautiful young lady and has the sweetest heart. I know the Lord will continue to bless her and watch over her.   I always enjoy when we get together with her and her parents....we love them so much and have such respect for them.  They are truly a wonderful family. I will always remind Taylor how much they love her and how they wanted her to live a full and happy life in the Gospel.

Yes, May 10th, 2013 will forever be a special day for family.  Not only is this day our wedding anniversary (Jody and I were married 11 years this year)...but even more special, it will now also be celebrated as Taylor Elizabeth's Adoption Day.

Our hearts are so full today and everyday....how thankful we are to now be a family of four.  So many prayers have been answered for our family these past several months.  And we continue to pray that we can soon adopt our precious foster son (baby boy) ---we should know something on that in 4-5 months.....and if that great blessing comes to fruition, we'll then enjoy celebrating his special adoption day.

In closing....I share these special memories for our family to always cherish, but also for anyone out there reading this who may be waiting for an unanswered prayer to be answered....never give up---never doubt that He is listening----never cease praying for the Lord to help you and bless your life.  He will....He always does---just continue in patience and know that He wants you to be happy.  He will answer your prayers---the answers may not come exactly the way you had hoped--but the blessings may be even more special than you imagined.  I know this to be true with all my heart.

Lastly, if you are reading this and have ever considered adoption or foster care....if this is something that is stirring in your heart....follow those promptings.  Listen to them---pray about it and act on it if you feel prompted.  There are so many beautiful children out there who are waiting for their own forever family to find them.  And I promise you....the blessings that will flow into your life as an adoptive (or foster) parent are some of the most tender and sacred you'll ever experience.  It's not an easy road to grow your family, but so---so worth it.  I can think of no greater service or act of love than providing a loving and secure home for one of God's precious spirits.

Many blessings to you....

xo,
jennifer

12 comments:

  1. Jennifer, I am so very happy for you and Jody, as well as for Noah and sweet Taylor. Congratulations!!!

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  2. Congratulations! This post is so touching - you made me tear up while reading it. I couldn't be more happy for you and your loving family!

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  3. Congratulations! Taylor is absolutely beautiful! What a blessing to have this little girl in your life. I can't believe how big she has gotten already! I am so happy for your family!

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  4. A beautiful day! We are a forever family!
    Love,
    Mom/Kiki

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  5. I am sitting here crying uncontrollably. Thanks! Such a beautiful day and I hope we might be able to experience it also soon. Not because I have always wanted to adopt but because I love our Little Mister so much so that I want to make those same promises in court that you did. Congratulations to your whole family. And ditto....on if you have ever considered being a foster mom....go for it. So so worthwhile. And yes...also hard!

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  6. there are lots of tears outside of that courtroom too...i, for one, am here crying in front of my computer screen.

    celebrating long-distance with you. God is so, so good to us.

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story! I'm crying in front of my computer now! You are truly a heroine!
    Have a great week end!
    Christel

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  8. I some how came across your blog. I just wanted to tell you guys congrats. Your family is beautiful. We have 6 kids and have adopted 3 of them. I know how big a relief it is to have court done. I'm excited for you guys to go to the temple. That will be such a special day for you guys.

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  9. I some how came across your blog. I just want to tell you congrats. You have a beautiful family. I know what a relief it is to have court over with. We have 6 kids and 3 of them are adopted. I'm excited for your family to go to the temple it will be a great day.

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  10. What a sweet baby girl and how special that her adoption day is your anniversary, too! Thank you for updating about your foster son- I was wondering how that was going.

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  11. Beautiful, wonderful, amazing...SO HAPPY for your family!!!!!

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  12. I wish we could have been there for the adoption but couldn't because of Beck's doctor appointment. Taylor, you are an angel from above and you are the luckiest girl in the world to have parents that will love you with all of their heart. Just know that Aunt Sheri will always be there if you ever need anything. We are so happy for the Mask family and especially happy to have a new niece in the family! We are beyond thrilled to be there for this special weekend of the adoption, sealing and the blessing. And, it was a joyous Mother's Day weekend! One that I will never forget. I will continue to pray that D will be able to officially be a part of your sweet family.
    We Love All Of You Very Much!
    Brent, Sheri, Beck and Kinsey

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