Yesterday was our re-adoption/finalization hearing for Grace's adoption. It is strange, but we had all but forgoten about the fact that there was one more, very important, thing that needed to be done. We needed the state of Wisconsin to recognize her Ethiopian adoption and agree to her name change.
We kept her Ethiopian name as her middle name, so she is now officially Grace Hiwot.
Going to the court house for a hearing was really interesting. The kids were excited to leave school early and head to the big, beautiful courthouse downtown. They had never set foot in the building, so it was interesting to watch them in awe at the beautiful architecture. It was also very interesting to witness all of the other people at the court house...many were not there for such a joyous occasion...as evidenced by the man we saw being escorted back to jail in his orange jumpsuit after being sentenced to five years in prison (we are really good listeners...his attorney chatted with his family after his sentencing hearing let out). Anyway...back to Grace. She was excited to become an official Wisconsinite and share our family name.
It was all so official. The judge started off by talking about a bunch of legal business that he needed to get on "record" and the stenographer was busy typing away...my daughter thought that was very interesting and noted that she would probably be pretty good at that job because of her practice with abbreviations while texting...So, after the official blah, blah, blah, the judge asked me Grace's given name. We answered a couple of questions, and then it was all over. He offered his congratulations and invited us up to "the bench" for pictures.
Grace seemed very comfortable sitting on his lap. She is a natural with the gavel too.
The judge did mention that because Grace was not born in the US, she is not eligible to be the president of The United States, but she can still be secretary of state (or at the very least an ambassador to Ethiopia). The kids and I had talked about his a few weeks ago...my oldest son thinks it is ridiculous that she can't be president...
It was a really touching experience. Even though Grace has been officially ours in our hearts since we first saw her picture in March, and officially our legal child according to the Ethiopian government since May, and officially a US citizen since landing in the US in July, it was still a very special moment. I asked her to tell the judge her new name and she recited it so cute with her little accent!
To celebrate, we headed to Curly's Pub at Lambeau Field (where the GB Packers play football). They have humongous desserts and we knew the kids would love to enormity of it all.
This is one of our desserts. I think it had about eight scoops of ice cream, hot fudge, caramel, Oreos, tons of whip cream, m&ms and green and gold sprinkles.
Funny to think this is the same girl who didn't like sweets when she came home three months ago. She is fitting right in now...
After we were all sugared up, the boys went to Drew's football banquet and Alyssa and her dance friends decided to get pink hair extensions to help raise money for breast cancer awareness. She looks pretty darn cute with a pink stripe in her hair (she looks pretty darn cute all the time...have I mentioned what a lucky mom I am to have her as my daughter?).
So...It's official. Grace is now officially and completely ours forever...When we got up to leave the court room, It was very sweet ...the judge and stenographer both wished us well and said to Grace, "Have a good life Grace." Wow...Through God's blessings, this sweet little girl has already lived a grace filled life and she is only three years old. I can not wait to see the amazing things she will do with the rest of her precious life. What an honor to be a part of it!