Today was different. Even while we waited for the Bailiff to call our case, Jaydn was laughing and playing while occasionally stopping for a sip of her juice. She had a sparkle in her eye this time. When we were called in, the room wasn't much bigger than the Ugandan court room but this time the judge wanted to hear from us. With a daughter in each of our laps, we raised our right hands and promised to tell the truth. They asked Nathan a series of questions (IE Is your name Charles Nathan Gaddis? How old are you? Do you live at...? etc.). Then it came... It was explained to him that he was committing to be her father and that if anything should happen to him, she would be placed in his will equally with the other children as a recipient of his assets. The words pierced my heart, "You will be her father" and "equal with your other children." The tears came. I started to wonder if she knew her biological father at all. Was he just a sperm donor or did he play with her and make her laugh like Nathan does? I will never know. But I knew in that moment what a lucky little girl she was that Nathan was going to be her daddy. I've never seen anyone be a better one.
Then it was my turn to speak. I answered the same basic questions and committed to treat & love her as an equal to Jaxon and Jovie. Then came a section I missed on Nathans line of questioning (b/c I was thinking about her biological father). They said that if my marriage to Nathan were to "dissolve" that I would be required to agree to terms of custody and child support for Jaydn. I looked up at Nathan right on the words "marriage dissolve" and I teared up again. I love this man more than I could ever love another human being and I know our marriage is not going anywhere but up. But in that moment I felt like we were not only committing to care for and love Jaydn the rest of her life but we were committing to do so TOGETHER! We were promising to be a team and to stay a team while raising all of our kids the best we can and as God leads us. It was a wonderful moment for me.
The judge then decided to be personal and share with us that adoption cases are the only happy things they get to be a part of from the court room. Then she complimented our family, our girls and us and bid us on our way with a 'congratulations.' It was surreal.
I didn't think it would feel any different but in some small way, it does. It changed my day. I even found myself worshipping in the car singing to myself but the girls were listening intently, "God is so good. God is so good. God is so good. He's so good to me. He answers prayer. He answers prayer. He answers prayer. He's so good to me." I just wept as gratitude poured over me that God had truly and completely fulfilled a dream He placed in my heart as a 16 year old girl. My heart felt whole.
The girls and I stopped at the mall after our court hearing and had a mini celebration together as we shared a cinnamon sugar pretzel, played dress up in the accessories shop and then took pictures in the photo booth. We picked up Jaxon from school and told him the news and he was thrilled! Tonight we will all go out together as a family and celebrate the great things God has done!
I am blessed!