Today was our moment in court, we along with all the children, my parents and my aunt headed off to Magistrates court to meet with the presiding judge and collect the official paperwork. We met our social worker at the council offices then strolled over to the court. For such a serious event it felt really weird as child 4 wanted to look at the huge carp and goldfish that swam around in the mini moat that encircles the offices and child 3 turned cartwheels on the green. The court is housed in a huge imposing building with stone steps and pillars marking the entrance. To enter you have to pass through security very similar to that at the airport. Bags are checked, pockets emptied and everyone has to walk through the metal screening system. Once inside we were escorted quickly and quietly through the waiting area and up some stairs, thankfully avoiding the Vicky Pollard look a likes.
According to the judge, a man who sits in family court and deals with some of the child neglect horror stories on a day to day basis, these celebration hearings change the whole feel of the court for the day. This is one of the people who deals with the legalities of removing children from the birth parents and agreeing the adoption orders to allow the children to be placed for adoption. So for him and all those that work in the court a celebration hearing is a happy ending. It's a reason to smile when they leave work for the day. The judge was great he knew us all by name and spoke directly to each and everyone of us, congratulating us on our new family.
Then that was it. Done! No red carpets, fanfare, brass band or cheering crowds just us and a judge. It was almost anti - climatic. All those months of training, talking, form filling, social worker visits, health and safety checks, panel sittings and matching sessions and then a 10 minute session in a court room and child 4 was officially ours. I guess that because he was ours before we met him, this official meeting was just a tick box affair. But it does mean we can shout our news from the rooftops. "WE ARE A FAMILY OF SIX!!!" A very happy family of six