Monthly Archives: October 2014

Bringing the good news from London to Leicester. Adoption Day.

I don’t remember much about the journey home to Leicester with the good news about Jah’s official Adoption.

We knew that the children were all waiting anxiously. I don’t know which adult was staying with them – or probably Lucy was quite old enough, so she would have been in charge.

Naturally I shall never forget the children’s reactions.

Jah greeted us with big wide eyes. He looked almost ‘white’ with anxiety, even though we had telephoned them with the good news. Perhaps he needed to hear it from us directly. Instantly his eyes regained their sparkle and he looked immensely relieved and happy. So did Sam, Lucy and Anna.

I was touched by Lucy’s gift to Jah. Many months previously, she had decided to embroider a new shoe bag for him to take to school, complete with his official name – the same family name as all of us. It had been waiting in a drawer for many months until this important day. He cherished that present and used it with great pride for a long time. Amazingly I still have it. The felt of the little footprints has shrunk slightly, but can still be seen quite clearly.

Shoe bag I have no photos of the whole family celebrating, but the following picture conveys the atmosphere in our household on that important Adoption Day. Happy:rejoicingImage courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net (cropped)

Notionally this could be Sam, Jah, Lucy and Anna.

 These reflections will continue. Adoption Day was obviously a significant new beginning, but in another sense it was a continuation. We had been committed to Jah as our adopted son ever since he joined the family just before his fourth birthday.  As with all adoptive parents, it is a commitment for life.

Adoption Day arrived at last.

As November drew nearer and nearer, Jah grew more anxious. We did not want to make a big issue of going to the Court for his adoption, but he himself was quite focused on the idea of being officially a member of the family, sharing the same surname.

Then, shortly before we were due to go to London, yet another solicitor took over the case.

We received an urgent ‘phone call.TelephoneImage courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I had a feeling that the caller was starting halfway through a sentence. She was speaking extremely fast and sounded agitated. It was the new solicitor. She told us in no uncertain terms

“On No account should Jah come to the Court. I understand that you were expecting him to be there! His birth mother has agreed to attend the Court and I think it would be most unsuitable for them to meet after all these years.”

D. and I were instantly relieved and as we explained the new scenario to Jah, we could see anxiety lift from his small shoulders.

And so, the great day dawned.  It was arranged that we would meet Pat, Jah’s social worker, at Euston Station. We would then walk to Aldwych. I remember that it was a gloriously sunny November day. We passed the Inns of Court and peered at their impressive grounds and buildings. We arrived finally at the Royal Courts of Justice – a beautiful building with marble interiors.Royal Courts of Justice

I didn’t have time to take in the architectural features of the entrance hall of the Court, because almost immediately we were face-to-face with Jah’s birth mother. She looked very like him, tall and light skinned and her face resembled his. She was quite calm. I suppose I had expected her to be somewhat nervous. She had one request. “Tell him one day that he has two brothers.” We said we would do that.

What happened inside the court room is indelibly fixed in my mind. Firstly we sat down a few rows behind the birth mother, but someone asked us to move to the other side of the room. That was mildly unsettling. Were they expecting trouble? Or had we just been tactless or naïve and unwise in not thinking of a more suitable place to sit?

To our surprise, a barrister whom we had never met, did the talking, but she was so forthright. She read out in a loud voice so many incriminating things about the birth mother. I feared that this would cause the birth mother to walk out in a huff and jeopardise the whole situation.

Fortunately, the judge was a person of kindness, stature and evidently a man of great experience and understanding. He reprimanded the barrister and said that since she and he both had the papers in their hands, she only needed to refer to the relevant paragraph by number. Then he would consider each paragraph.

Finally permission was granted to us to be Jah’s legal adopters.  It is hard to describe the feeling of relief we both experienced.

One thing I regret is that I never wrote and thanked the judge for his consideration, but my excuse is that we were always so busy. (No real excuse I know.)

After the hearing D. and I went and celebrated beside the fountains at the Barbican. In those days we were very much visitors to London and it felt good to be celebrating in a smart venue in our capital city. We shared a glass of wine between us, because we never had much money and that seemed quite extravagant enough. The air was cold, but the sun was shining and we sat outside. This legal step was a milestone.  It had been a long time coming, but now our family was complete.BarbicanImage courtesy of vegadsl at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(Sometimes in the future Jah would ask “Can we ‘dopt a little brother?” We replied. “We did. And You are IT!”)