By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” ~Desmond Tutu
The time has finally arrived, and the adoption journey has begun. While we had to wait until Harrison was at least six months old to do it, it ended up being 7 1/2 months for financial reasons. Now I am sure that some of you have gotten the impression from me before, but I will say it again – it is utterly ridiculous and unfair that we have to go through all of these extra steps and a lot of extra money for me to adopt my own daughter. Every step of the process is just a reminder of the fact that we live under a state that is willing to change a constitution to make discrimination state law. But no matter how unfair it is, how inconvenient it is, how infuriating it is, or how expensive it is…I will do it, because it is THAT important to me that this little girl is legally and forever mine, too. I look at her, and she flashes me that crinkled-up-nose snaggly-one-toothed grin, and all I know is that I will do whatever it takes to make it happen.
And the first step in my journey to becoming Harrison’s other mommy legally…began with some fingerprints.
I have known for a while all of the things that have to be done to get this adoption completed: file the petition with the district court in San Antonio, have a home study done by a social worker, get a set of fingerprints for my attorney to send to Austin for a report, then plan our trip down to San Antonio for our court date. I don’t know if there is a particular order, but I decided to go ahead and get the fingerprinting done, so that when I visited the attorney (aka my BFF Kim) with the paperwork to get started, then I could also have those with me for her to send off.
So last week I loaded up the baby and waited for a lull in the storms that were raging outside, and off we went to the police station around the corner. When we arrived, I loaded her into the baby carrier and strapped her to my front, grabbed my camera and off we went. My first stop was at the clerk’s window for the court, who directed me down a hall to another little window at the police station. Once I got to THAT window, I was then directed to a door leading outside, and told to walk all the way around the police station’s building to the new jail entrance. Ah. Okay. So off I went again, hoping that the dark, ominous sky would hold off until we got this done and back to the Jeep. When I got to the jail’s entrance and waiting room, I was once again at a little window – with no one behind it. Great. Um, hellooooooo? Anyone home?? I pressed a button on an intercom – nothing. Finally, a few minutes later, I hear the nice Southern drawl of an older lady come on the intercom, “What can we help you with honey?” Oh! “I need to get my fingerprints.” She came back with, “Alright sugar. I’ll let the jailer know that you’re up there. That’s an awfully pretty baby you have there.” Thank you ma’am.
Soon a nice young police jailer dude was at the window, asking for my driver’s license. He then called someone from somewhere in the back on his little batphone in there, and soon I heard locks clicking and he came out to the waiting area. He humored me while I took pictures, and even assisted in taking some himself while he proceeded to take me through the fingerprinting process. I asked him if he had ever fingerprinted anyone before who had a baby strapped to their chest, and he just laughed and said, “Well no. This would be the first.”
He was very nice and helpful, and I was glad to be happily fingerprinted – and unfortunately, I have done it unhappily before! Once he was done, we headed outside and trucked back over to the parking lot where I got Harrison back into her carseat just before the bottom dropped out and the torrential rains started again. But I didn’t care. I was thrilled to have taken the first step to begin the process! It was a beautiful, beautiful day.