Isaiah's Finalization day was yesterday. December 15, 2009.
A judge declared him "from this day onward" to be Isaiah Kingston Rivers.
It wasn't super emotional or anything, and didn't really change or increase our feelings toward Isaiah (he's always felt like ours no matter what a court declares him to be) but I still haven't fully processed it all and what all I feel about it, so here's just a summary of the day. I will say it was a wonderful day though!
Like many families who adopt, the day their child legally and forever becomes part of their family they declare as a family holiday, "Gotcha Day" or in our family "Rivers Day." Here we are waiting for our hearing...
We got to the courthouse early only to discover that the judge who was supposed to preside over the hearing didn't come to work that day. She was the same judge who had done my sister's family hearing and she was a tad on the unfriendly side. She didn't even want to take pictures with my sister's family but when our lawyer (who rocks!) asked her in front of the courtroom to take just a couple, her reply was, "Well, I guess I have to now." So needless to say we weren't super disappointed to not get her, but our lawyer came through and found another judge who would see us. This judge, Judge Thorpe, was great. She seemed excited for our family and welcomed us behind the bench to take pictures after the finalization...even saying "You know you're gonna have to hand over that baby, right?!" She let Isaiah hold the gavel in it and said, "However tight they hold on to this shows how much you're gonna have to pay for law school." After the picture Isaiah didn't let go and she kept trying to pry it from his hands and commented, "Well, if that's not the face of a judge, I don't know what is!"Afterward we went to Downtown Disney to celebrate Rivers Day at the T-Rex Restaurant. It was SO cool! After growing up near Disney, themed restaurants often fail to impress me, but this one was incredible. The hostess gave us the best seat in the house (she said, we believe her!) in the "Ice Room" that looked like a prehistoric ice cave with changing lights. Very cool. The food was scrumptralescent! Then when they brought us this ginormous dessert (Chocolate Extinction-complete with dry ice!), the staff sang a "Happy Adoption Day" song. (This picture looks like my sister is shooting a ray-gun at it!)We then did a little shopping and went to Hollywood Studios to finish the day. As we were driving home we kept commenting on what a perfect day it had been!