August 3rd had come and gone…James’s adoption was final. The last two things that I needed to do were to apply for a new birth certificate and a new social security card. As I sat at the window of the Arkansas Vital Records Department, I filled out all the information for his new birth certificate. From now on, his birth certificate would read that he was born to Tim and Deana Wood. It would have his new name printed on it as if it had always been that way, James Timothy Wood. It would even have our old address where we lived the year that he was born. It’s pretty amazing, pretty surreal.
There, in the midst of the drama that apparently is ongoing in the Vital Records Department, a woman walked up to the window smiling, holding a blue piece of paper in her hand. And as I wrote the check to pay for that piece of paper, I realized that it was the first check I’d written for James’s adoption. Carefully, I filled in the “Amount” section. Twelve and 75/100——— I handed her the check, she handed me that precious piece of blue paper, and that was the end.
As I left the Vital Records Department that day, I thought about that twelve dollars and seventy-five cents. It was hard to believe that for that amount, we had a new son. For that amount, we had given our family to a child. For twelve dollars and seventy-five cents, we had changed the course of our life and his forever. I still think about that moment often and remember the day that I wrote the check for $12.75 and gained a son for life.
**In the State of Arkansas, adoption from the foster care system is completely FREE except the cost of the birth certificate.***