Sunday, December 14, 2008

Monday, December 14, 1998

Right about now 10 years ago, Denise, Alex and myself were sitting in a court room in Tuscarawas County before a judge. Molly was there too, but she was in the "oven" cooking. We were at the end of a several month process that involved social workers, unanswered registered letters and other documentation to our lawyer. The judge entered the court room, banged the gavel and it began. Not knowing what to expect, our attorney rose, I was sworn in and a barrage of questions was fired off at me in rapid succession. (He was an ex-Marine Corp officer, and when he spoke, he did it with purpose and right to the point) "Are you Andrew Donaldson?", "Is your occupation..?", "Do you live at...?", "Is it your intention to adopt Alex?"
I knew falling in love with Denise and marrying her meant that without question Alex was part of the package. I fell in love with that kid, too. And I wanted him to not only be my son, but to share my name. Denise never had any hesitation on this either. We were a family and wanted it that way without any question ever. After our attorney was done with his barrage of questions, the judge read the report from the social workers saying that they felt that this was a good thing as well. The judge addressed Alex and asked him if he wanted to be adopted by me, and he said yes. With that, the judge so ordered it, signed the order, banged the gavel and it was complete. For the first time officially, I was a Dad. When it was all said and done, it was about 15 minutes in the court room. The judge then wanted our first "official" family picture and she wanted to be in it too.
Now 10 years later, Alex stands taller then his mother and me. At 16, he is quickly becoming a man and like any teenager, has come to not like some of the things I do or make him do. I guess I'm doing my job right then.
I love you, Alex. And I'm proud to be your Dad.

1 comment:

Richard Schwartz said...

Thanks for telling your story. I went through step-parent adoption for my older daughter with similar "one in the oven" timing in order to make sure that all our children would always be on equal legal footing. The only differences were that our proceeding took place in the less formal setting of a conference room rather than a courtroom, and there was no gavel banging. That was almost 14 years ago now, and she's a freshman in college.