Monday, December 7, 2009


I have a daughter today.



On the books.




But things don't feel any differently today. She's been "mine" a lot longer than seven and a half hours. My heart knows it, my mind knows it, my family knows it, you all know it...

It's been an emotional day for me. I can't help but think about the first time I met Jocelyn. When her birth mom asked me if I wanted to hold her. Giving her her very first bath. Holding her hand when she got her very first shot. Watching her sleep. And then taking her home. Riding in the back of the car with her and obsessing over every tiny sigh and grunt.

Miraculous. But not mine.

I've heard several new mothers (biological) tell me how it felt when they gave birth and became a family instead of a couple. They say things like they couldn't even remember what life was like without the baby, that the change was so instant and so easy, like the baby had always been there. Almost like all pre-baby memories were gone. It was a little different for me.

When we took Jocelyn home, it felt too easy. (Which is insane because it was such a long, arduous process.) Someone had just given us a person. A little, small human to take care of. One day our backseat was empty. And the next day there was a carseat back there containing a wriggling, pink, little thing. I enjoyed it all, but because it felt so undeserved, I felt like it was temporary in a way. Almost like we were babysitting. It was just so surreal that I couldn't wrap my head around it. For awhile, too, it was like her birth mom knew her better than I did because of spending all the time carrying her in the womb. It took me over two months to finally get to the point where I felt that maybe I knew her better.

Little by little, though, she became mine. Hours of watching her sleep. Memorizing the way she holds her hands. Knowing that her lips pucker when touched if she's sleeping. Feedings. Tears. Late nights. Early mornings. Diaper changes. Baths. Baby massages. Habits that made me a mother. And I can't say exactly when it happened, because it was gradual and built, but she became mine.

playing around at jordan's house after we found out the time was changed.

Hearing the judge "execute the order of adoption" today didn't bring tears to my eyes. But what did was when I, having been sworn under oath "So Help Me God", was asked to explain what my life has been like since we've had Jocelyn. "Beautiful chaos," I remember saying. I remember saying that she is my focus, my purpose, my world. As Justin said, she's made us complete. And I got teary on the stand. I am teary now.

with our lawyer in courtroom #2 right before the hearing

signing papers promising to love and care for our new baby

with honorable judge ralph savage - a friend and coworker of justin's

cindy, afton, jordan, me, judge savage, jocelyn, justin, and mom

One thing that is so amazing about parenthood is how intimately I know this human. More intimately than I know anyone besides myself. I know every millimeter of her body, I know her cries and noises and signals, I know her smiles and behaviors. She is so vulnerable and I know all of it. It's amazing.

So we went back to the courthouse at 11:15 and our attorney and our judge were there this time. The hearing lasted about a half hour. It was during Jocelyn's naptime, so she was a little bit vocal (like more aggressive at playing and just more squealy and vocal - right before she gets grouchy), but a binkie kept her well-behaved. My brother Jordan, his wife Cindy, and daughter Afton rearranged their schedules to be there. My mother flew up and was here for less than 24 hours but she knew how important this was to me. She even had to take a later flight because of the changed time. How wonderful. Family is such a blessing and we are so loved. Thank you, to all of you, for rearranging your lives to be there for us. I know it isn't a small task and I am grateful. It was such a special moment. I dreaded the thought of it just being Justin and me in there alone. Things truly are grander when they are shared.

We had lunch afterwards. Because of the changed time of the hearing, Justin had to dash off to work since he couldn't get more time. We went to Jaker's for lunch. The waitress heard about our good news and brought us a "birthday" dessert. I dropped my mom off at the airport and went to work myself.

It's been a full, busy day. But it was a wonderful experience and totally worth the wait. After nearly 8 months, two hours really isn't that big of a deal.

Justin got home from work around 7:30. He felt bad missing out on the celebration lunch because he wanted to celebrate too. We delayed the decision a bit then around 8:30 we decided to drive into town and eat at a restaurant. We tried to go to Johnny Carino's but they were just about to close, so we headed to Texas Roadhouse because it stayed open until 10 pm. It was a fun and yummy dinner although neither of us really thought we'd be celebrating somewhere with peanuts all over the floor. The waitress just fawned over Jocelyn and showed us pictures of her children. Justin asked me at dinner if she looked different to me, like more like a Zierke. I said no.

So now the three of us are just hanging out in bed. It's so peaceful. So natural and normal. Just now I asked Justin why he asked me that question about Joci looking different - if she looked different to him.

He said, "Yes. She looks like mine."


Ashley said...

How wonderful. Congratulations.

P.S. I felt the same way for about two months. It's hard to feel like it's okay to love and it was really hard for me to move past the pain Carri was feeling.

Jill Elizabeth said...

Congratulations! What a happy story :o) I bet you can't wait now to take her to the temple and have her sealed to you! I'm excited for you :o)

Kristy Skoy said...

Make me cry! I am so happy for you!

Jamie Boyd said...

My favorite picture is the one where Justin is signing the papers because Joci has the most adorable expression, like she's saying "Well finally, you guys. I don't see why we had to wait 6 months for this."

I love you guys. I can't wait to celebrate with you in a few weeks.

Beckie said...

Ooh I love it! A real real family-- !! Makes me cry to think of it!! Congratulations!

Cindy said...

Congratulations!!!! Thanks so much for inviting us to be there with you guys, Joci is truly yours!

Liz Smith said...

congratulations!! this is so wonderful! i wish nothing but the best for you and your beautiful family. :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry we couldn't share this very special day with you guys. I was going to surprise you two and drive up the night before and just show up but our weather wouldn't allow it. Darn it all anyway. That picture of Joci looking on while the paperwork is being signed, looks as though she really knew what was going on. I'm with Jamie B. on that one "finally." Thanks for putting her in her little crocheted dress, it made me feel good inside. It made me feel as though I was there. Can't wait until Christmastime when I get to hug my kids and love on those grandbabies.

Grandma Z

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you all! You are a beautiful family and I am glad you are official! It is such a good feeling to sign those papers!!!! Claire

The Gotch Family said...

Congratulations! I was out with sick kids on Monday and didn't get to ask how it went. I am so glad this happened when it was supposed to so you can now be sealed. How wonderful!

Hays Family said...

What a wonderful event and I am so greatful I could be a part of it to witness this special event. You two are such wonderful parents and Joci is very blessed to be in your family. Love, MOM


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