When Cheryl and I got married, I wrote vows to Max as well as Cheryl, and gave him a tiny silver ring of his own (he was four at the time). I married both of them that day, since they came as a matched set.
Today is our fourth wedding anniversary, and when I picked Max up from theater rehearsal I wished him a Happy Anniversary. He said “Oh, it’s your anniversary?” and I said “No, it’s OUR anniversary” and reminded him about the details of the day.
When we got home, there was a moist (it’s been drizzling) non-descript envelope waiting for us in the box. I tossed it on the counter and went to hang up my coat, and Cher grabbed it and opened it up. Interestingly, it was made out to her.
Inside was the single best anniversary present I might have asked for – a brand new proof of Max’s live birth with me listed as the birth father
If you’ve followed the saga, you know that much of this past year was spent jumping the legal hurdles and hoops to adopt my stepson Max. While the court date and paper signings were done in May, the last piece of the puzzle was the actual, official, legal birth certificate.
I showed it to Max right away, and he glanced at it and said “Oh. A bill.” I guess all official correspondence looks alike to kids. But I had him read it, and pointed out my name in the “Father” field, and he got it immediately, whooped! like a crazy boy, and wrapped himself around me for a long (and delightfully unprompted) hug, saying “Hi, real dad.”
So now it’s legal. It’s always been real, but now it’s legal. All kinds of things get simpler… travel, medical issues, the simplest things that have irritating complications when you’re the step dad. Now I have four awesome kids, and while we’ll always make a point of ensuring Max knows and remembers the whole story, I’ll never have to introduce him as anything more than my son.