Adoption Day

Today is the 21st of December 2006; the 30th of Kislev, 6th day of Chanukah, ‘א Rosh Chodesh Tevet, 5767; the 75th day of Kindergarten at the Albany JCC; depending on where you are in the world, it’s the solstice (or tomorrow); and it’s our Eldest Son’s Adoption Day. What a lovely multiplicity of calendars we live by!

We sang Shehecheyanu in the chambers of Judge Hummel — whose name means “bumblebee,” as does D’vorah, my Hebrew name; and remember, we’re going to be beekeeping next year. My parents were here, along with all kinds of local “family.” What a lot of love and joy, so many years in the making. And my sisters are now off the hook — I’ve provided the first grandchild.

It’s amazing. It’s lovely. It’s awe-inspiring. It’s bewildering. How and why are things different this evening than this morning??! But we have a signed and sealed piece of paper (actually, quite a few copies with gold seals on them) attesting to the fact that an order of adoption was signed today. Later we’ll have a birth certificate listing us as his parents.

But the most important piece of paper was the one that the three of us signed. We decided that there should be a piece of paper that Eldest Son got to sign, too, so I got out the calligraphy pens and fancy acid-free paper and created it. It listed all the dates above (except the solstice), our three names, and says that today we “promised to be family forever and always.” He signed his new name, including his new middle name, after my paternal grandfather, Rabbi Theodore Herzl Gordon. Grandpa died the very first week our son-to-be (not that we knew it at the time) came to live with us, nearly 2 years ago. Basically the first thing that this little almost-four-year-old did with us was bundle into the car, drive to Philadelphia in the dark and the rain, stay in a hotel for the first time, swim in a big pool for the first time, and meet all my family. Now we honor Grandpa by passing on his name.

And while Theodore Herzl’s Hebrew name was Binyamin Ze’ev, my grandfather’s was Matityahu Herzl. Theodore and Matityahu both mean “God’s gift.” And he is. He’s our 6th-day-of-Chanukah present.

Tonight, at his request, I found a big box (no, we haven’t totally unpacked), covered it with Chanukah wrapping paper, taped a card on top that he signed and addressed in his 5-year-old handwriting, and our new son climbed in.  Then before we lit Chanukah candles, both of us (newly-legal) moms opened the card and the box, and out popped our Chanukah-present son with a gold bow in his hair.

Shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higi’anu la-z’man ha-zeh…