Friday, August 20, 2010

Final Post

I always intended for this blog to serve as a baby book for Marguerite, depicting the process that brought her to us and the milestones that took place on her road to becoming a Leone. This blog provides a story of Marguerite's adoption, the wonderful gift that we received when Marguerite was placed with us, and the great joy that we felt upon the finalization of her adoption.

With finalization behind us, it's now time to close this blog. From this point forward, Marguerite's milestones and smiles and adventures will be chronicled, together with those of her parents and siblings, at our family blog, Munchkins on the Path.

As for this blog, I am printing it in hardcover book format for Marguerite to cherish and enjoy as she grows older.

As I type this, Marguerite is eight months old and is standing unassisted. She has taken one step on her own, and she is "cruising" all over the place. She is bound to be an early walker! Marguerite has just popped her first tooth, and she eats solid finger-foods like there is no tomorrow. She entertains us and fills our lives with joy. I can't wait to see all the adventures life with Marguerite brings in the coming years.

We love you, dear daughter, Marguerite! This blog-book is a our gift to you.

Elizabeth & Marguerite

Julie Dahlen, our adoption social worker, with Marguerite.

Marguerite lookin' cool.

The Leone Family

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Marguerite Jane Leone

Yesterday morning, Marguerite Jane's adoption was finalized. I can't tell you how blissfully happy we are.

The court date yesterday made legal what has been in our hearts for seven-and-a-half months:  Marguerite Jane is a Leone!

Marguerite is an integral part of our family, our beloved daughter, our adorable sister, and person without whom life would be terribly incomplete. Yesterday's court date just made all of that official.

Following the finalization in downtown Madison, we walked across the Capitol Square to enjoy a celebratory breakfast open house with bagels and fruit at Joe's firm. Marguerite was a little put off by all the unfamiliar faces oohing and ahhing over her. But she held her own in the presence of all those lawyers and finally fell asleep in my arms toward the end of the party.

Yesterday evening, we topped off our adoption celebration with a delicious dinner at a nearby Thai restaurant where we created something of a spectacle. Marguerite enjoyed gumming scallops and pad thai (and littering the floor with rice), while Joe and I busied ourselves catching water glasses bumped by little elbows. A memorable night, to be sure.

While Marguerite has been our baby daughter for more than seven months, there is nothing like the supreme satisfaction of knowing that no one can ever change that.

We love you, Marguerite Jane Leone! And we are so blessed to have you in our lives.

We were on the very top floor of the courthouse building.
The kids loved the view of the Madison isthmus.

This photo was snapped by the bailiff just moments after
Marguerite's adoption was finalized.
Pictured with us is Judge Fiedler, who gave teddy bears to all the kids.

Marguerite is all smiles after her important court date.

Look at me, Mom and Dad! I'm a Leone!

Getting ready to head across the Square to celebrate with Joe's colleagues.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Almost There!

Big news...

This Friday, we finalize Miss Marguerite Jane's adoption in court.

All eight Leones will be there with bells on. We're planning a celebratory day.

Counting down the hours until our sweet daughter is legally ensconced in her forever family...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Update from Our Social Worker

This is the email we received from our local (Wisconsin) social worker today.

We are getting so close to making Marguerite a legal Leone! As soon as Open Door in Georgia sends the below-mentioned documents, we can set the court date for finalization! Woo-hoo! 

In order to petition the court for an adoption date, I need two documents
from your agency: Marguerite's birth certificate and the termination of
parental rights (TPR) court paper work. I contacted your agency social
worker on Tuesday and let her know I'll be needing those documents. She said
a court hearing had been scheduled this week (I think for today) regarding
the birth father. After that court hearing is completed, she said she will
be able to send me the TPR court documents.

So please hold off scheduling the court date until I get those documents.
I'll let you know as soon as I receive them.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Post-Placement Visit #2

On Tuesday, we had our second (and presumably last) post-placement visit. Little Marguerite was wide awake and perky for the visit, crawling around on the floor and showing social worker David her stuff. It was a laid-back meeting where we sat and talked about Marguerite's development and her perfect fit in our family. David was impressed with her crawling and sitting skills. Miss Marguerite impresses us all!

At the end of the visit, David gave us the paperwork necessary to get the adoption finalized. We are legally eligible to finalize anytime after June 13th, although we have to wait for the paperwork shuffle between Georgia and Wisconsin. Once the paperwork is out of the way, we schedule a court date. On that day, Marguerite will be a Leone 100% officially. We cannot wait! She's been a Leone in our hearts, but it will be so nice for her to be a Leone on paper too.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the finalization date. So exciting!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Post-Placement Visit #1

Our first post-placement visit on Tuesday brought us one exciting step closer to legal finalization of Marguerite's adoption which should occur this summer.

The post-placement visit occurred over family breakfast while David, our new social worker (our old, much-loved social worker has left the practice—boo-hoo) asked us questions about bonding, attachment, and how Marguerite is fitting into our family. Of course, we had nothing but positive things to say as we gushed about our sweet Marguerite and how she's truly the perfect fit in our family.

Marguerite was quite smiley and content throughout the meeting. I think she liked David, and perhaps she even sensed the importance of this next milestone on her path to becoming legally a little Leone. Meanwhile, the five older kids kids ate their yogurt and granola. Thankfully, breakfast kept them all fairly occupied, thus preventing any major bounces-off-the-ceiling or heated debates over favorite Star Wars characters during our all-important meeting.

Joy of joys, we learned from David that, despite the "legal risk" situation surrounding Marguerite's adoption, we will be able to finalize in Wisconsin. Up to this point, we knew there was a chance that Georgia would require us to head back down there for finalization. Georgia is lovely, but there is no place like home.

Just one more post-placement visit, and then we get to schedule the court finalization date.

Three cheers for crossing off one more adoption milestone on our way to legal adoption of our sweetie!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

From the Mouths of Babes

Five-year-old Andrew came up to me the other day and said he wanted to write a letter to Marguerite's birth mother. He asked if I'd please help him with the spelling.

This is his letter, straight from his lips to the page.

I cried.

And I couldn't have said it any better.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

We have received so many wonderful, thoughtful, beautiful cards, sentiments, and gifts since Marguerite's arrival. We are ever so grateful.

However, one card that arrived in yesterday's mail bears special mention.

It was a card from Elizabeth Cavanaugh, the dear woman who cared for our children in Georgia while we were busy meeting Marguerite and Temple at the hospital. When we "came home" with Marguerite and introduced her to her siblings, it was the Cavanaugh home that we "came home" to.

The Cavanaughs will always hold an incredibly special place in our hearts for providing not only a home away from home, but a real sense of family in Georgia during a very special time in our lives.

Elizabeth's card read as follows:

Dear Marguerite, 

I hope and pray that you may always know how much God loves you. He has blessed you with two mothers, that you may have life and have it abundantly as He promised. May you always seek to know, love, and serve God. 

It has been such an honor to have gotten to meet you at the beginning of your wonderful journey. I made this rosary for you in honor of your Baptism and initiation into the Catholic Faith. May it remind you of the love of your Georgia family.

God bless,
Elizabeth & family

The note brought tears to my eyes, thinking of the family in Georgia who opened their hearts, giving us the loving space of their home for our first "homecoming" moments with Marguerite.

Enclosed in the package was the most beautiful white rosary, handmade by Elizabeth.

God bless the Cavanaughs. We'll always consider them our (and especially Marguerite's!) Georgia family.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Marguerite's Adoption Video

I created a fifteen-minute video, chronicling Marguerite's adoption.

If you would like to view it, you can do so by clicking on the following link.

The video is password-protected for friends and family only. Please email me for the password.

You can choose to download the video to your desktop and view it using quicktime at a later time.

Or you can stream the video. To do so, you'll need to wait until the video fully loads before you can stream it without pauses in the video. This could take a little while, depending on your connection.

When you're ready to view it, be sure to turn up your speakers!


From Georgia to Wisconsin: A Love Story