Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kate's Day in Court

For those of you who thought that the adoption process was all over and done with for Kate, there was actually one last step...

While we should have done this last year, having a houseful of small children made it more difficult than with Sydney, and we just dragged our feet. Wednesday, though, we finally went to the Denton County Courts with Kate (while the other three stayed with my mom) and had her adoption officially "recognized" by the state of Texas. Some families do a "readoption" in their state of residence, but Texas only requires a "recognition" of the valid adoption that was finalized in China. This allows us to, among other things, file a birth certificate for Kate in Texas so that we can get copies down the road. The certificate will say that she was born in China, but will be on file in Texas rather than having to use a translated copy from China.

We've actually been to the Denton County Courts three times now. We made two trips with Sydney, and this one with Kate. All three differed greatly, despite the fact that we were attempting the same action all three times...

Our first visit, shortly after we adopted Sydney, was unsuccessful, as the judge presiding that morning was filling in for the regular judge, and was not familiar enough with the process to feel comfortable completing it without more documentation than we had provided and had been told (by other adopting families) was needed.

Our second trip was a few weeks later, when the "regular" judge was back on the bench, and the process was over in 10 minutes. We probably answered a few questions, provided our paperwork, and were in and out quickly after filing the resulting court order and paying the fees to file a birth certificate.

Our third trip took us before yet a third judge who was either less familiar with the process or just more formal in general. After filing our request with a county clerk who clearly had no ability to deal with people who don't know the jots and tittles of the legal profession, we took our file to the court bailiff and awaited our turn. His Honor swore us in, asked us to identify ourselves for the record, and then asked us to proceed. Um... proceed with what, you might ask? I wasn't sure myself. He clearly expected us to present something, though, so after a few moments of awkwardness I started to describe the timing and circumstances around our adoption of Kate. His Honor interrupted a few times to make sure the record reflected who was speaking, etc (as the court reporter dutifully transcribed everything), and after asking a few questions about the information we had submitted, our backgrounds, etc, he made everything very official by declaring it in the best interests of the child and the state to... well, I don't remember how he said it, but it was done. He signed our papers, at which point we went back to the county clerk to be chastised yet again for not dotting some "i" or crossing a "t". Finally, it was all done, though, and we paid up and left. It says in the fine print (I'm sure the county clerk could quote chapter and verse) that we will get a birth certificate for Kate in the next few weeks, at which point we will be done with paperwork the formalities.

Oh, as a teaser, my next post will be a collection of photos of Kate "accessorizing". That little girl loves shoes with a passion, and we've started trying to snap photos of her when we see her clunking around in shoes belonging to everyone else in the family...

1 comments:

Jan said...

Congratulations!! What a great step to have behind you!! You have a wonderful family!