"The Day I Joined a Forever Family"

My Adoption Day — the day I joined my forever family — was one of the happiest days of my life.

A photo taken on Justin's adoption day

“Yippee! Yippee! March 6 is only two days away!” I screamed at Erica, Ashley, Adam, Mom, and Dad. They have been my family for three years now. In two days, I’m going to get the greatest gift ever! An adoption paper. I’ve been waiting since I was three years old and I’m now ten.

It all started less than a year ago. My Mom had to go to court because the judge was going to make my birth parents not my parents any more. I had no parents, even though I was living with the Laings. I was thinking a lot that day. My class was reading a book when the office called me on the big speaker. At first I thought I was in trouble, but I didn’t do anything wrong at all. I was walking to the office when I saw my Mom through the glass window. Erica was coming from the other way. My Mom hugged me and my sister, then blurted, “You’re going to be Laings on March 6.” My Mom and I cried, but my sister didn’t. I was happy and smiling for the whole day.

That night as I lay in bed, I realized that March 6th comes after January 9th, which is my birthday. The social worker had told me I would be adopted before my birthday. I was a little disappointed, but I said to myself, “I don’t care, as long as I’m in this family.”

The days seemed to take F-O-R-E-V-E-R! Then it was March 5th, and I decided I was going to change my name to Justin James Laing. “It’s my last day being Erica Rose Brushaber,” my sister cried. “It’s my last day being David Lee Brushaber,” I added.

That night I was all squirmy in my bed. I had to wake up at 6:30 on March 6th. I put on my olive green suit, but my dad put on my tie because I didn’t know how. My Mom put on my flower with a pin. My new family was ready to go, but then I realized that I was missing my speech. Twenty minutes later I found it in my dress shoes. At first I thought it was weird to find my speech in my dress shoes. Then I remembered that I put it there so that I wouldn’t forget it. So off we went.

When we got to the court house, we all had to go through a metal detector. Family and friends were there waiting to go into the judge’s room. I taped people with my grandma’s and grandpa’s video camera. Then we got to go in. There weren’t enough seats for everybody, so some people had to stand. Judge Martens was stuck downtown in a meeting, so Judge Foley took his place. There was a lot of “I do promise.” After they said, “I do promise to tell the truth and nothing but the truth,” my family got to read their speeches. There was a funny part in Erica’s. It was “I like looking at Adam’s boyfriends.” Everyone laughed. My dad started to cry, then my Mom and then me and Erica and then family and friends started. At the end my sister and I hit the gavel as hard as we could. I got a lot of “Congratulations” in the hall.

Once everybody was gone to the party, we left for home and I saw two six-feet-tall storks in the front yard. One was blue and the other pink. The blue one said, “We adopted Justin James Laing today!!!” and the pink one said, “Today, we adopted Erica Anne Laing!!!” I saw a lot of guests waiting to get into the house. My Mom let everybody in. She had bought a big cake and two subs. After we ate, we played games, and the parents talked about stuff. Then, when everybody was gone, Erica and I opened presents. We got a lot of cards, money, and some toys. But the greatest gift of all was just a piece of paper that said I was Justin James Laing. 

This essay first appeared in Adoptive Family Connections and is reprinted with permission.

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