We got up Sunday morning and drove to Lake Lure, NC. I love the area and it's just so beautiful this time of year. After lunch at one of our favorite places, we took Emily to the Lake Lure Inn (where we got married). The temperature started dropping so we only had time for a few quick pictures before we bundled up and drove to an apple orchard. On the way there, it started raining and Emily fell asleep. We grabbed some warm apple cider and a bushel of apples and continued on our way. Randy and I really enjoyed driving through the mountains looking at the leaves changing and reflecting on good memories. We've taken countless trips together to the mountains (it's one of our favorite places to go) and it was nice to be able to take Emily along and create new memories.
We drove from Lake Lure back in to South Carolina to Greenville. We checked into our hotel and settled in for the evening. Being at the hotel brought back so many memories of our first weeks with Emily in Ohio. It was nice to know that this time we only had to stay for one night! After changing into our pjs, Emily and Randy settled in to watch a little "Tangled". For some reason, Disney movies and music always calm her down when she is fussy. She is her daddy's girl, after all. :)
We woke up early the next morning to get ready for family court. I told Randy I was more nervous than I was the first time we went to the hospital to meet Emily. I think because we had known about the court date for weeks instead of it being a quick, surprise trip to Ohio! We checked out of the hotel and made it to court with time to spare. I tried to feed Emily in the car in the parking lot in hopes of her lasting through the hearing without getting fussy. But she was tired and only took a little of her bottle before passing out. After walking through metal detectors we finally made it in the court house lobby and met the guardian ad litum. She was so nice and has adopted children of her own. She told us the story of her (at the time) young son who was confused by a discussion at school where babies come from. He wad adamant that babies come straight to your house because their daughter was brought to them by their lawyer and DSS case worker. :) Our lawyer was out of town but we met his partner who was wonderful. They each had a turn holding Emily and agreed out of all the cases they've done over the years, that God just doesn't make ugly adopted babies.
Our time came to enter the courtroom so we made our way towards the doors. We were about to go in when the bailiff asked us to wait outside while the judge finished up from the case just prior to ours. The attorney was holding Emily while we waited and we were soon ushered back into the courtroom. Our lawyer walked right in holding a fast asleep Emily and walked right up to talk to the judge. Randy got such a kick out of the fact that Emily was "already approaching the bench."
The hearing got underway and we each took turns on the stand answering questions about our marriage and Emily. The questions were a bid odd (like "yes, we do understand that adoption is permanent." Are there parents that don't?!?!) but there were only a few and the hearing was over in a matter of minutes. We snapped a quick picture with the judge and we were done! We got congratulations all around and the lawyer gave us info about getting Emily's birth certificate and final paper work. That part was all a blur and I'm glad we have pictures to remember it by!
After a quick outfit change for all (in the car in the parking lot, no less!) we made our way to a local park. We had an appointment with the woman who photographed our wedding (and adopted mom to four!) to do do our first family photo shoot! The weather was beautiful, although chilly, and we got some great shots. I would show you, but I want to keep them a surprise because they are going to be our Christmas cards! But I will show you Emily after the photo session. It's such tough work being so cute.
The whole weekend was such a memorable one. Every day I am reminded how blessed I am when I see her smiling face. I knew I would love being a mom but I never in a million years knew how much joy she would bring us. And it's great that she is finally "ours" and offically a Branham!