We stand in the same lobby as we did for Paige’s first visit, this time Payton accompanying us. Funny that the end of our adoption has taken us back to the place it began two and a half years ago. I am flooded with memories. I look fondly at the dim, pea-green visiting room. It’s such an ugly room for such a beautiful occasion.
Anita meets us with her usual smile and leads us upstairs. We sit down in a room sparsely filled with old, beat-up toys and grungy books, which sit in an equally sad, dull brown bookshelf made of plywood. The carpet is tan and stained. The girls make a beeline for the toys, their novelty making up for their condition.
A bubble of ecstasy wells up in my chest. This journey ended up having a much longer road than expected. I clench my hands together, fingers itching to pick up a pen and sign my name.
Anita pulls out a mound of paperwork and smiles a toothy grin. This must be the best part of her job aside from, perhaps, the court signing. “Are you ready?” We nod and she continues. “Today’s paperwork is what makes Paige your legal daughter.” I grin uncontrollably. “You’ll sign most of the paperwork today.” She slides identical sheets of paper across the table to us, one after the other, and we sign away our life to welcome another into it.
Anita hands us a questionnaire about Paige’s biological family. “You probably know more about them than I do so I’ll have you fill it out.”
Next, she produces a manila envelope stuffed, its seams straining. “Here’s all her paperwork from the County; medical records, court hearings and her original birth certificate. The new birth certificate will come in about six months.” Anita hands us the new birth certificate information and asks us to proofread it. “When you receive the new one, you will be listed as her parents. Lynn, it’ll be as though you gave birth to Paige and her biological parents never existed.”
“Really? Why is that?” I furrow my brow, feeling a touch of sadness for Ruth losing yet another part of her daughter. I had thought Ruth and David’s names would stay on the original and there would be an addendum listing Andrew and I as her new parents.
“It’s to prevent problems when you fill out paperwork that requires a birth certificate. People see the biological parents’ names and get confused. It just makes things easier.”