Though it seems impossible to believe now, it was only five weeks before Abraham’s beatdown that I made the decision to adopt “Ted” as his grandfather. I would not have had the strength to make that decision after Abe’s death, so I take it as sign from above about the rightness and the importance of the decision. But let’s be clear: Despite my grief about the loss of Abe, I do not regret the decision to adopt “Ted” and I am very happy with him as my grandson. His real name, by the way, is Danny.
Many years ago, Family Focus Adoption Services (commercial as always) recognized that the time of the moment of adoption – which is not the court moment-of-finalization of that same adoption – was unclear. We knew when a newborn was adopted: it was the moment the agency handed the baby over to the family. But foster kids remain foster kids until the finalization. So when does their adoption actually occur? There is no answer.
So we created an adoption ceremony – with a specific moment in time for when that adoption occurs. Our ceremony has no legal standing, at least in New York. But it has incredible psychological and spiritual standing. At the ceremony, the adopting parent(s) sign Covenants. Then the adoptee signs a responding Covenant. On occasion, we have other family members sign what we call “Affirmations.” These would indicate their acceptance of the adoption they would have just witnessed.
On Saturday, for the first time, I experienced the Covenant Ceremony from the other end. As you will see from the attached Covenants, I adopted Danny – not yet court finalized, mind you. It was among the best days of my long life.
I have debated whether or not I should post them in this blog, but finally decided that they are a gift to all who read the blog. I was going to change names and so forth, but what’s the point? Everyone reading this knows my name and can easily find out the names of those in my family. However, those witnesses outside the family – that is, on Danny’s Covenant – I have not copied.
These Covenants were the very first where we used the word “betrayal.” In Danny’s case there is no lesser word – see blogs from months ago. But it is an appropriate word for almost every foster kid, I believe.
With Danny signing as he did (see below), we declared him adopted at the moment the last witness signed the last document. Believe me, we all felt the truth of that, no matter what the legal facts.
My colleague and friend, Joanne, ran the Ceremony and she added for the very first time an opportunity for Danny to mix real chocolate with real milk (see first or second post) as she – and Danny – explained to the crowd the meaning behind it. It was a very powerful day. I hope the Covenants mean something to you.
A proud and happy grandfather,