Maya Catharine: Adopted!

June 9, 2016

IMG_0426 Friends, after a lot of back and forth about whether Maya’s adoption would go forward, we found out Thursday evening last week that it was a go. And it went! I’d love to share with you the play-by-play of adoption day! Sorry it’s taken so long, we’ve got our temporary foster baby back and there’s very little down time between refereeing babies!

So here’s the play by play of adoption day!

Once we enjoyed the partial relief that court was scheduled to open on Friday, we had to worry about my parents’ arrival. They were flying into Houston on Thursday evening and hit major thunderstorms. They were diverted to Dallas and got to Houston at midnight, only to sit on the runway for an hour! They are troopers. But we were so, so glad they were able to make it for Maya’s big day. leaving-for-adoption-day Friday morning, we woke up very early (Maya woke us all up at 5:23am!), got spruced in our adoption day finest, and headed west to Fort Bend County Court. We crossed over the very swollen Brazos River on our way, in total awe that court would go forward. But it did! When we arrived, the court was open and we waltzed right in.  walking into adoption We signed a few papers with our lawyer, met Maya’s ad litem, then waited for a little while outside of the courtroom. Our caseworker, Taylor, handled the termination of Maya’s birth parents’ rights with the lawyer, then they came out to get us. Maya charmed everyone and we took a little video to test the Facebook live stream before the actual court part.

The court part was so fast! I wish we could do it over and just make it longer! But one of the first things the judge said was that there would be no do-overs, no take-backs. (Cue the tears!). But the adoption flew by, and Michael and I were both so emotional. Our judge, Walter Armatys, was wonderful. He even sent Maya away with a stuffed animal and posed for photos with us. We’ve named Maya’s new giraffe Walter in his honor!

The strange thing is that neither of us have ever felt threatened with Maya’s situation. From the moment we saw her face, we knew she was ours and the particulars of her situation meant we didn’t need to worry that she would ever be taken from us. But nonetheless, having Maya’s adoption finalized, having her officially become a Westbrooks, having her officially be our daughter in the eyes of the law, was a big deal. Michael pointed out over the weekend that part of the excitement was because we’ve never really had a chance to celebrate Maya with our friends and family. We didn’t have a baby shower and her birth was such a surprise that it took a while for most of our family to even meet her. Sadly, some of them still haven’t – but they will later this summer. So this was our celebration of Maya joining our family, and it was wonderful from start to finish.

If you are on Facebook, you can watch the whole video sequence from adoption day right here. If you are not on Facebook, you’ll have to wait just a little longer as I figure out how to pull the Facebook livestream video off Facebook to share with non-Facebookers. Anyone have any ideas?

In the next few weeks, I have more to share about Maya’s first 8 months. I actually have video of the first time we met her, which is rather tear-jerking, and tons upon tons of photos of her. It’s a lot to catch up on, and I haven’t the foggiest how to go about it, but we’ll get there eventually.  post-adoption-maya For the time being, this is our sweet girl after her adoption. She was a champion and looked absolutely gorgeous in her little blue and white dress! I went back and forth about the size of her bow, but in the end I figured what the heck, when in Texas, right?!

And now, a whole lotta photos from the day!

First, the waiting in anticipation for the lawyer to call us in…. adoption selfie Our adoption day crew! My parents on the right, Michael’s sister Leah in the red, our dear friends the Walkers on either side of her, and Leah’s boyfriend Eanna (team photographer! Thanks Eanna!) at bottom right. Our caseworker, Taylor, is in a lower group photo as well. Couldn’t have done this without her! walkers adoption day Maya and I with the Walkers, without whom Maya simply wouldn’t have been possible. Their encouragement before we moved here, their welcome and help when we got here, and their constant support as we have raised Maya for the last eight months. They constantly believed this would happen, which was such an enormous gift. em excited adoption maya pre adoption with grammy And here we go! Cue the waterworks! We do solemnly swear…. we do adoption moment with judge armatys To love this baby girl forever and ever! Thanks, Judge Armatys, for making it such a sweet moment. And for posing for photos with us! Ha!  family of 3 official First photo of our official family of three! If you look closely you can spot the alligator tear rolling down Michael’s nose. Big softy, that husband of mine. mike banty and maya And very proud sister/aunt!  mike and maya post adoption

maya and banty adoption crew post adoption courthouse adoption crew adoption crew courthouse While Michael and I were inside getting Maya’s adoption decree and filling out applications for her new birth certificate, my mom entertained Maya by letting her play with the courthouse roses. Thank you, Eanna, for snapping these! My mom and her first grandbaby!  maya and grammy flowers maya and grammy flowers 3 maya and grammy flowers 2 Then Maya’s grandparents treated us to a delicious lunch at Revival Market in our neighborhood! They know Maya and Michael by name, so we thought it would only be fitting to celebrate in a place that knows us well!  family of 3 celebration lunch em and maya lunch mike and maya adoption lunch mike and maya adoption lunch 2 maya first high chair Maya got to sit in a high chair for the first time. My dad was nervous she was going to slide out, so I’m pretty sure his hand was on her the entire lunch! Sorry, Dad! She also got her first taste of danish (minus the filling) and made a lovely, flaky mess – luckily we were eating on the patio! We spent most of the lunch trying to decide whether to go forward with our plan of a picnic celebration later in the afternoon. We went for it and we actually got sun!  adoption day party We had a lovely little picnic celebration in a park around the corner from our house, and apparently everyone got the memo to wear blue! 😉

Thank you all, for consistently and constantly being so excited for us and encouraging about our adoption journey. We loved knowing that so many people were rooting for us from afar even during the adoption itself! I’ve said it before, but it’s been so powerful to know how much support we have from friends, family, blog readers and strangers for the last eight months. I never anticipated what a boost it would be to have you all by our virtual sides! Lots of love from us! xx Em, Michael and Maya


  • Reply Ellie June 9, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Tears of joy! I love all the pictures! Thanks for sharing, Westbrooks family!

  • Reply Courtney F June 9, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    YAY YAY, I am honored to have followed you guys on this journey. What a special thing you have done, and you handled the past year with such grace! Maya is truly blessed! Congrats again!

  • Reply Jaki June 9, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    She’s just dotey, Emily! Congratulations again x

  • Reply Andy June 9, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    YAY!!!! Congrats you guys!! So exciting!! So precious, love seeing the journey and Maya’s cute face. You are a wonderful little family and I know you and Michael will be a great Mom and Dad! Congrats again!

    On a Facebook note, if you go to the video, and click the arrow in the top right corner you should be able to get an embed code to put it on the blog! hope that works!

  • Reply Gerry June 9, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Truly a weekend to remember forever.

  • Reply Tamar June 9, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    What a wonderful and joyful closure to the last 8months! Maya is beyond blessed with the best parents! ? you guys are wonderful. X T&J

    • Reply Tamar June 9, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      The love heart that I had typed somehow turned into a questionmark…obviously no question about it! Lol xT

  • Reply Kim B. June 10, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Congratulations, Emily and Michael and all your family — and those wonderful friends who stood with you and really were there for you all these months. This is a beautiful beautiful love story, and she is one absolutely beautiful little girl.

  • Reply Mary June 21, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Congratulations! I’m so delighted for you all, wishing you many fun, happy days & peaceful nights in the future xxx

  • Reply Sydney July 13, 2016 at 12:27 am

    Yay, just yay! Loved being able to follow along, finally see her sweet face and watching your family grow!

  • Leave a Reply to Ellie Cancel Reply