**want to start from the beginning? scroll down for links to chapters 1, 2 and 3**

And there wasn’t much spare time to worry about the next step. Each day was so full of adventure and challenges and hard work. Matt and I decided that I should quit my teaching job and home school the girls for Kindergarten. We needed more time to bond. They needed the security of being able to see me constantly, get lots of hugs and cuddles, and get to know me better. I hadn’t known them for the first three years of their lives, and I wasn’t ready to be separated from them for half the day.

Staying home with the girls was the best and most difficult decision. It gave us opportunities to talk, play, learn, and resolve conflict. Most days were a mix of joy and desperation. It was wonderful to have full, uninterrupted days with the girls, but sometimes I wondered if we were making any progress in learning to love each other well. This getting to know each other, building this trust, meant seeing the darker sides of each other as well. Apologizing became a regular feature in our day. Most of the apologies offered were from me to them. I’ve never been so humbled.

After a year, we found a lawyer, and began the adoption process. In addition to the wonder and stress of relating, we had a constant stream of papers to fill out, checks to be written, phone calls to make, and appointments to keep. We hit some bumps. We wondered how long this process would take or if it would ever end. We saw God provide again and again. One key person, whom we had no idea existed, came out of the woodwork and advocated for us. She was an absolute miracle. With her help, we were able to schedule the final court date.

The final court date. The words are so beautiful and so terrifying that I almost couldn’t comprehend them. I wrote them on my calendar. I sent out emails to family inviting them to join. I felt numb. So much had led up to this one, pivotal day. The girls would be legally ours forever, they would be issued new birth certificates with our last name. It was unreal.

The day finally arrived. There were metal detectors, security guards, friends and family. We waited for an hour and a half for our case to be called. The security guard yelled at me when I took a picture, but the judge was kind. She led us in taking our oaths to be loving parents. She posed with us for a picture. And then we celebrated. We went to the zoo, we went out for spaghetti, and we walked along the beach. There were gifts and dancing. It was official! They had been ours for a while, but now they were adopted.

Today, three and a half years since the girls came to live with us, my cup overflows. One of my daughters just came in, cuddled up next to me and said, “I love you so, so much.” I said, “I love you, too,” as a wrapped a soft blanket around her. We are still learning to love each other. We still owe each other lots of apologies. God has brought us so far, and is continuing to work in our family, and we are so, so grateful.

catching up? click here for chapter three, chapter two, chapter one

*click here to see the new chosen {adoption} necklace*

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thank you chrissie for sharing your sweet story with us. you have been blessed and your girls are an amazing part of our family. {i love you all!!}