When you adopt there are a few important milestones along the way. The day you get the referal is when you get a child “assigned” to you. You get medical information, family history, and normally a picture. While I can’t speak for other adoptive families, for my wife and I, the referal day was -the- day when the child became ours. You have the option to turn down a referal but it was never something we considered.
The biggest day, of course, is “Gotcha” day, when your child comes home. I remember almost every detail about the arrival of my three kids. (Of course, the fact that we have about 500 pictures helps.)
One of the last events in the adoption process is the finalization. This is where a judge finalizes the adoption. A birth certificate with your childs new name is issued and for all intensive purposes, everything is complete. For our prior two adoptions, we were in Virginia, and the finalization happened in the background. We just got a letter in the mail when it was done. In Louisiana, you actually see the judge and are there when s/he signs the paperwork.
Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the court house for the finalization, and while the actual process took maybe 20 minutes (after waiting for the judge that is :), it was wonderful to actually be there and see it happen.
So anyway, I doubt anyone cares, but I thought I’d share. If you are interested in learning more about adoption, I’d recommend Adoption.com for more information. Also, almost any adoption agency in your area would be very open to talking to you more in depth about your options.