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February 14th, 2012 is the day my son and I became a family in the eyes of the law. 

It was marked by a phone call from my attorney.

“Your adoption is officially finalized.” I’m sure he also said congratulations.

Very anticlimactic and yet it was everything. 

It was that final exhale.

It was freedom.

The final milestone and the end of a chapter.

Some call it Gotcha Day, Anniversary Day, Homecoming Day, Celebration Day, Forever Day,  {Child’s Name} Day, Adoption Day, or Finalization Day.  

We call it Family Day. 

The journey to adoption is one made up of a series of milestones within a chapter of your life. The final set of milestones in that chapter, for me, started when my son was first placed in my arms. However, there would be many more defining moments before Family Day. To recount those moments stamped so vividly in my mind brings a smile to my face…

I was so naive although I thought I knew everything. Nobody told me about skin-to-skin, yet there I was, holding my son, sipping it all in—his weight, his features, sounds, and smells. His every breath.

Walking into the room of his birth mom, sitting next to her on the bed and giving her a big hug. Neither of us really knowing what to say or do. 

The tension and anxiety I felt on the day of relinquishments and then the joy I felt when I learned “she signed.” There is so much I wish I understood then that I know now. I was selfish in my experience. 

Texting back and forth with my son’s birth mom from the hotel room, while announcing to the world through Facebook that I just adopted my son and taking in, with excitement, every word of celebration.

Those first moments of parenting my son with my mom watching on, while waiting to be “allowed” to leave the state…and enjoying every second with him.

The out-of-the-blue phone call letting me know I could go home and walking into my condo in Chicago for the first time, as a family of two. 

Looking forward to every post-placement visit from my home study social worker I became so fond of.  

Showing my son off to friends and family at his Bris (Jewish ceremonial event) and a Sip & See party with friends.

rg-adoption-consulting-becca-and-treyAnd then Finalization. While it was done remotely (nope, COVID wasn’t even a thing yet) and I missed out on the picture with the judge and the gavel, I gained my forever Valentine! A valentine who gives me the tightest hugs, drives me up a wall while he literally climbs ours, and makes me burst out laughing at the random shit he does. 

As I read in the “Journey of Parenthood” blog, “My son’s birthday is about his birth. Mother’s Day is about his mothers. But Finalization Day is about the journey and the path and the joining of two families forever.” 

Navigating new relationships, something I was so fearful of when I began this chapter of my life, can sometimes be tricky and always takes effort, but is so worth it. I guess I could say the same about parenting. While relationships with my son’s biological family tend to get easier with time, I think parenting gets harder. So we remember each milestone in our life’s journey as we strive to reach many more. 

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