There are very few people in this life that we have legal, lifelong ties to. Spouses and children.
When children are born, the legal ties to their parents are assumed and without fanfare. The birth certificate states the parents and until that legal relationship is terminated, they are responsible for them in every way. The lifelong ties are assumed as well, as any parent with a grown child still living in the basement can attest to. They expect to be forever connected to this other person - to profit when they profit, to hurt when they hurt.
In a marriage however, these ties are not assumed and when they are made official they come with much fanfare. Two people who were once strangers decide to commit to loving each other forever and then comes the fanfare. Cakes. Photographers. Special attire. Ritual. Gathered friends and family. But the part that makes it legal (and officially a lifelong commitment) is the vows. The commitment to each other in all things as long as you live.
In adoption, as with marriage, the ties are also no assumed - at least not until the vows are made. The adoption ceremony isn't generally thought of as vows, but isn't that exactly what is happening? I'm not one of those cooky over-attached, enmeshed parents but as an adoptive parent, I am promising so many things on adoption day.
I am promising:
To have and to hold from this day forward.
I will always be on your team, in your corner cheering you on. Today I make a vow to you that I will try everyday to be the best parent I can be for you.
For better or for worse.
In rejection. In pain. In sleepless nights. In joyous mornings. In victories won and hard-fought battles lost, I will still be your Mamma.
For richer or for poorer.
We're in it together if I lose my job or become a millionaire, I will always take care of you.
In sickness and in health.
In cancer, in autism, in spelling-bees, in honor rolls and in the thick of the stomach flu, I am not going to walk away.
To love and to cherish.
My heart is on the line. I promise to be present both physically and emotionally to you and to give you just as many hugs as you need, plus a few extra.
Till death do us part.
This commitment is for life baby. Yours and mine. Whichever one ends first, I am in it for the long haul. That however doesn't mean you can't leave the nest at some point though.
Tomorrow, I make those promises. In front of a judge that will legally make it so.
I make a lifelong commitment. The first one of my adult life. I have a family that I know I would do anything for and amazing friends who go to the end of the earth for me (and I for them), but there isn't a single person on this earth that I have chosen to tie myself to LEGALLY and for a LIFETIME.
At least there wasn't until Sweetie. I can't wait to see her grow up and the wonder of this, is that I get to. Feeling humbled, blessed and broken. But oh so ready to commit to loving and taking care of this girl as if she was born to me, for the rest of my life.