The courtroom was crowded. More than thirty people were present. The new dad and mom, of course. Grandparents. Older brothers and sisters. Friends and neighbors. They were there to witness the formalization of a lifelong commitment. The crowd had come to celebrate the adoption of Jana, a five-year-old. She had been their foster daughter for more than a year.
Afterwards, the extended family planned to go home for a party. “It’s like a wedding,” grandpa told me. “We are all here to applaud the promise of a future lifetime together. For some of us, parenthood happens. In an adoption, the choice is more real. You sort of know what you are getting into. It’s like a wedding, where foster care is the dating period, the time you have to learn about each other.”
Marriage and adoption. The two ways lives are joined by love. We need to celebrate. While both are intended to last a lifetime, adoptions have the better track record. Fifty percent of US marriages end in divorce. Compare that to about two percent of all adoptions that fail. Adoption ends up more lasting than marriages today and has become the most permanent of all our legal relationships. Like conceived parenthood, the parent-child connection is a lifetime commitment.
Of course adoption should be celebrated. Not only in court but also with a party at home. Model it after a birthday party. If the child is older, invite his or her friends. Record the event with a video and with photos. Obtain comments, including silly ones, from those attending. As the years pass and your child grows older, remembering the day he or she joined your family will become a treasure for all to enjoy. Adoption is a forever promise.