FinalizationThey say a picture’s worth a thousand words. This one certainly is. But sometimes knowing those thousand or so words (let’s hope this is way less than a thousand) can be powerful too.

One year ago today, this picture was taken as we walked out of a courtroom with our newly adopted son. We were holding his hands because he couldn’t walk on his own yet, that milestone was still a few weeks away.

I’d spent the morning sitting on a couch in my counselor’s office weeping. They were tears of grief over changing his name, tears of hope for catharsis and release from the depression I could feel lifting. It was my last appointment, at least for that season of life. I was coming to the end of the depression that had gripped me and we were planning for this day to be my passageway into our new life. I hoped to let go of the adoption process that had so traumatized our family and to embrace our new life in the new year.

I went home, put on my carefully thought out “conservative-but-stylish” outfit with my red “I-have-confidence” heels and we drove to Fort Worth. The truth is we’d become a family months before this. It was a slow knitting, a painful and emotional process, but we’d said our “yes” long before any judge came into the picture. However, I liked the formality and finality of the courtroom scene. I liked marking our decision with a ceremony. And I needed this day as a doorway – a last and a first.

I don’t think it was a magical thing. There was way too much hard work and choice involved. But it worked. Choosing to see those moments before the judge as a chance to say farewell to that season of life helped me refocus my attention on the future. It’s not that I don’t ever stop, reminisce, grieve and cry; I’m way too sentimental and melancholy by nature to hope for that. But, there is a difference all the same.

I think this will forever be one of my most favorite pictures because it so perfectly captures what that moment was to me, to us.