6 TBSP cocoa, 1/4 C butter, 1 C sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/3 C flour, 2 eggs, Cook 350 - 25 mins.




Love Carries

Nine months belonged to someone else, As she chose life for you
I held you tightly in my heart, Prayed for the souls of two 

Nine months and then the years passed by, The love for you, it grew
Sight unseen, my heart, it burst, God’s timing, it came due

I would have pushed so very hard, I would have pushed for you
But God saw greater labor still, Through time, to wait for you

Love gave you life, Love got you here, Love carried you through time
Love built this family, step by step,
You, love, were worth the climb 
Shelly Bannister-Mabe


Kazz, Dad, Judge, Brian, Me, Brisan, Mom, Daxx, Kole, Jaibrian,Vinze
I woke up this morning, stretched, rubbed my eyes and thought: 
Did that happen?

Yesterday was surreal. From the generous hugs and love of our family and friends, to the absolutely precious heart of the judge, to the kids spunky friends having a calm, loving, excited time with our family; everything went absolutely perfectly.

I would not change one thing that happened yesterday.

I woke up at 4:45 am....(well, I might change that part)....and could NOT go back to sleep, so Brian ran out to grab some Big Boy Breakfasts while I got the coffee brewing.  After breakfast and much moaning and groaning from the boys as they tried to wake, we all ate, got dressed and piled into the van.  Brise and Kazz rode with Grandma and Grandpa to the family-changing event. 
Kole, Brian, Daxx, Me, Dad, Judge, Brise, Mom, Kazz, Vinze

We arrived at the courthouse in the rain.  The parking was easy-peasy.  We filed out of the van and began the familiar walk to the court building, to appear before the same judge that finalized Vinze, Daxx and Kole's adoption.  Has it really been 5 years since we finalized the boys' adoption?
As we rode up in the elevator to the 3rd floor, I took a deep breath, looked around and almost pinched myself.  Look at this family.  Can anyone be this blessed?

The doors opened and we saw the smiling face of our adoption worker, Emiline.  The next time the doors opened we were met with bunches of hugs and kisses from family and friends.  We invited a bit more people than we were supposed to, but who cares. LOL

As we all piled into the closed court hearing, the judge looked at the crowd and then at Brian and me.  I decided to let the judge know that there were a lot of adopted children in that crowd of people.  "Oh Really?!" Came the reply. 

He then directed the parents and kids to sit in the jury box. They now had front row seats!  He was chomping at the bit to talk more about this crew of on-looking, jury box kids, but there was business to take care of, so the case began.

Ian, Simon, Patrick, Stephen, Vinze, James, Paul, Daxx, Kole, Abby, Rachel, Jaibrian, Liza
Jaibrian sat between Brian and me at the defendants table. while Vinze chose a seat next to me.  He later told me that the room and judge are just like he remembered from his own adoption. 

Brian and I were sworn in.  We were asked a series of important questions.  Do you wish to adopt Jaibrian?  Do you understand that you will have the responsibility for her moral and religious upbringing?  As I thought about the specific loved ones who were watching in the jury, the weight of that question hit me.  My parents, who raised me to Love and Serve Christ were seated there as witnesses.  Jeff, Jennifer and Stacy, all of whom I've prayed with, worshiped with, and shared our lives with...were witnesses. 

Jaibrian squeezed my fingers.
Brian and I answered the Judge's question succinctly. 

The State's attorney stood and began his proclamation.  He read our file, told a bit about our past history, explained that we are a homeschooling family and then declared that the State of Michigan Highly Recommends the adoption of Jaibrian to Brian and Shelly. He emphasized the "highly."  I liked that.  Our adoption worker followed suit with her recommendation. 
As the judge made his ruling he smiled.  "I rule for the adoption of Jaibrian to Brian and Shelly who have the ability...the Proven ability I will care for this child."  

I smiled and cried at the same time. There is something about the weight of their words and their distinct belief in our ability as parents that bear down on my psyche; Weight that pushes us on to be better, learn better, and do better.

After the proclamation, applause and congratulations, the judge turned his attention to the jury box.  Each person told their name and relationship to Jaibrian.  He then asked all of the adopted children to raise their hands. A sea of hands shot up.  Seven children out of 14 were adopted.  The officials of the court gasped and applauded.

Conversations ensued.  Pictures were taken and Simon,.....who was adopted in that same court room, officiated by the same judge years earlier.... got to sit in the Judges seat and bang the gavel. 

The day was breathtaking.  These children will never forget this day and the bond that they all share...birth and adopted children alike...will last forever. 

It was an exhausting, whirlwind of a day, and beautiful. The Mongolian BBQ after party and Ice Cream Cake put an exclamation point on the festivities as the sun went down.

Somehow, it must have been a dream, though I know it was very real. God has seen fit to bless our family with Jaibrian.  Her arrival marks the beginning of our new family life and the end of our foster parenting journey.  We are turning a new chapter in our lives and embracing it.  What will tomorrow bring?  Wow...what will it bring...


Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

Congratulation!!! What a beautiful day! Thank you for sharing sharing. She is beautiful.

Stacy said...

I love this post. This is what a family is all about. So happy for you all of you Shelly. What a wonderful, blessed day!

The Wilhelms said...

I am SO incredibly happy for all of you. Jaibrian is so very blessed to be welcomed into a family such as yours. Many Blessing on all of you!
(And, while I know you've said no more, if you change your mind....I've a SWEET little girl who would be a great little sister to Jaibrian ;) )

Penelope said...

Congratulations on the newest official member of your family! Come enter our adoption necklace giveaway!