On October 11th, 2012, we made our family official. I changed my last name, but Miss Madeleine wasn't able to change hers. We've been the Martin-Parmenters for 274 days.
From the very early days of our relationship, we talked about adoption. John already knew that he wanted to be Maddie's dad... and so as soon as we could (after we were married) we filed the paperwork to become an official, state recognized family of three. It was a LONG process. We were lucky enough not to have to struggle with any issues with her biological father. He signed and sent in his paperwork almost instantly. We expected this, and were very happy that it worked out as planned. The long wait was due to the government agency paperwork. For a step-parent adoption in Oregon, the Department of Children and Family Services does a background check with the state police and in cases like ours (where John has lived in Oregon for only a couple years) an FBI background check. THAT is what took the longest. After all the paperwork was in, the background checks completed, and we checked out as a-okay it was pretty quick! We knew that the petition had gone to the courts, and we just waited, on bated breath, to hear back.
Flash forward to today, we went up to OHSU's Doernbecher Children's Hospital to see a specialist about all the fevers Maddie's been having. It was a scary morning, but it turned into a lovely day. We were grateful to find out that Maddie is perfectly fine. It was a huge relief. It's been two whole months of unknowns, and to find out from a specialist that everything would be alright was like a huge weight off of our shoulders. We decided to go up to the Portland Temple grounds and walk around for a bit. It's just such a lovely place, and is one of my very dearest "happy places". We brought a very special shirt along today, in the hopes that we could snap a couple of cute pictures of Maddie wearing it.
Mom saw this at the store, and thought it would be an awesome shirt for Maddie to have on the day we got the news that Maddie's adoption was finalized. We got to the temple, finished lunch and ran around for some pictures. We thought they'd be fun to have on hand for the day, whenever it got here, so we could use them to announce her adoption on Facebook. Up until today, she's never had a picture of her face on the internet. We've made a sort of game out of sharing pictures of her without revealing her face. Sort of like Wilson from the show Home Improvement. At any rate, the plan has always been to go on a Maddie picture sharing overload when her "Gotcha Day" finally came. For those of you unfamiliar with adoption language, Gotcha Day is the day that you are officially granted your child for forever by the judge presiding over your case. In our case that day was July 12th, 2013. While leaving the temple today, we received the email that changed our lives forever. Madeleine is now Madeleine Jean Parmenter! Our attorney got the judgement paperwork in the mail just this afternoon.
She is OURS. Forever. We couldn't possibly be happier, and we think she's pretty happy too.