After 3 1/2 years of labor, we are finally proud to announce that we officially have a new "baby" girl! As of 12:03, Wednesday, December 31st, weighing 105lbs and aged 11 1/2 years, Arlaena (Lena) is now considered to be our daughter. As his last case before retiring, our judge made it a point to get it finished so that our daughter could finally have some stability in her life.
Finishing this case has made me realize something deeply profound. I never needed the court to give me vindication. Sure, hearing that Daddy had been awarded Kinship Guardianship and the court saw me a a fully operating step-mother (even without a marriage license), was great, but it didn't really change anything I already knew in my heart. I'm this little girl's mommy, she calls me her mommy, I act like her mommy and we never use "step". But I've been thinking, even if we hadn't "won", I'd still be this little girl's mommy regardless and she'd be my daughter. Becoming a mommy to her began nearly four years ago and truely touched my heart the first time she looked up as me, the raccoon costume I'd hand-sewed for her in her arms, and told me, "I love you mommy." My heart grew that day and I was her mommy.
I thought having a court would change everything, but all it did was make me realize that I didn't need anyone to tell me I was this little girls mommy. My world was already changed.