If Oli's adoption was the sweet conclusion to a long, drawn-out parade of state errors, then Mani's was just the opposite. And here's another thing: no one cried at Mani's adoption. Not even me.
Manolin's former state worker--the one who had taken him into custody almost exactly two years ago and wondered if he would even live--was present. The smile on her face was nearly as big as my own.
"I am so happy for him!" she kept saying, over and over. And I believed her. I believed her with my whole heart.
His adoption worker, who has only known Mani for the past seven months, came to witness the event. A slightly rumpled, nutty professor type, he surprised me by being so emotional.
"We did good social work right here," he told me, waving his hand towards my son and indicating everything that could have been an obstacle, but wasn't--thanks to a whole lot of people who Did the Right Thing.
And finally, there was the judge, who beamed at our growing family as he swore each and every member in.
"You guys have made my day," he told us as we hoisted Mani high and all did our own silly Blandings version of a courtroom appropriate happy dance. "This is why I do what I do."
Mani laughed. He ate animal crackers. He investigated the judge's robes. He dashed around the courtroom live the two year-old deverish he is. And he was, at the end of the session, adopted.
Welcome to our family, Mani! We are so proud to have another Blandings lighting up the world!