“I will not cry.” I repeated my mantra as we drove to the courthouse.
“You will not weep,” I admonished myself over and over again as we climbed the gray granite steps to the building.
“I will not shed a single tear,” I told my husband as the judge entered the courtroom.
Now, normally I’m not a crier, but you couldn’t tell that to anyone who knew me for the past twelve months, for everything about this adoption had made me cry. Absolutely everything. While pictures may say a thousand words, hearing the words, “I’ve got good news … you have a son,” was worth a million bucks. I cried as if I’d won the lottery … because I just had.
I cried when the plane took off as we headed to Korea to pick him up.
I bawled the first time I saw his beautiful face, and tears of joy and laughter ran down my cheeks when I first glimpsed his “stick ’em up” hair.
I sobbed when I first held him and fed him his bottle.
I cried buckets when it was time to take Karson from his foster mother, and I cried at the airport knowing that I was taking this precious boy from the only family and country he had ever known.
I blubbered the first time he called me “Mama,” during his first steps, and when his first tooth appeared, as well as numerous times in between.
In short, the last year had been an endless river of happy tears, but today I vowed I wasn’t going to cry.
Not a tear was shed when the bailiff swore me in, nor did they fall as the judge examined the paperwork, making sure that everything was in order. I didn’t cry when she asked me to tell her his name, what he liked to do during the day, and what kind of baby he was.
“So far, so good,” I concluded. It was then, just when I thought I was in the clear, that the judge sideswiped me.
“Now tell me what it has meant to you to have Karson in your lives,” the judge said quietly.
Uh, oh, I thought as I bit my bottom lip to keep the tears in check. The judge had unknowingly just crossed the line. I looked up at her with a look on my face that reflected the fact that there were no words I could ever use that would adequately express what this boy, hopefully our soon-to-be son, meant to me. Yet, we had made it this far, and as far as we were concerned we were already a forever family. I knew I couldn’t blow it now.
“The sky is bluer,” I said quietly, thoughts swirling in my head. “Since we have Karson, the mockingbird is more melodious, the colors of the rainbow are brighter, and a baby’s laugh is sweeter!” My voice cracked, and I bit down on my lip just a little harder. Tears were on the horizon, threatening to take me out to sea. “The sunshine is a little sunnier, the grass is greener, snowflakes fluffier, and the wind whispers softer,” I stuttered, desperately grasping for the right words that would explain just how precious our son was to us. “Our love is deeper, our hearts are stronger, each minute is more miraculous, our joy more profound …”
“You need not say anything more,” came the voice from the bench with a tear glistening in the corner of her eye. At that moment, time stopped, and the silence became deafening. And then, finally, the judge looked over her bench, a soft smile gracing her lips and declared, “He’s yours.”
And with that pronouncement, I did the unthinkable:
I jumped up and down.
We posed for pictures.
And later that night … I cried.
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