Sunday morning, we all went to church together before going out for brunch. Shortly after we got home, Uncle Steve showed up.
"We didn't expect you," Dad said after greeting him at the door.
"I know. I just wanted to see how Elliot was doing after that scare with those guys who were involved in the shootout. But I also wanted to have a quick chat with Benny and Ryan."
"I suppose it's about the adoption ceremony," I said, since they were my sons.
"So have you set a date?"
"That's one of the things I want to discuss with the boys. I'm a little late doing this, because I've been involved with a couple of very messy cases the past couple of weeks, but now I think I can finally schedule a date for this to happen."
"That's great. I'll go get them."
I went up to Ryan's room and knocked on the door. "Who is it?" I heard Ryan ask.
"K, come in." When I walked through the door, I froze for a second. The boys were on the bed and Ryan had his penis shoved up Owen's butt, so I'd obviously interrupted them. "What's up, Dad?" he said nonchalantly.
"Uncle Steve is downstairs and he wants to talk to you and Benny."
"Can't it wait? I'm kinda busy."
"Yes, I noticed, but Uncle Steve made a special trip. You can come back up here and finish up later. I want you to get dressed as quickly as you can and join us in the living room."
As soon as I got downstairs again, I located Benny in the family room and asked him to come with me, while telling Joshie that Uncle Steve wanted to talk to Benny alone. When we got to the living room, Ryan wasn't there yet, so I told Uncle Steve that Ryan would be right down. About that same time, I heard thumping on the stairs, as Ryan came lumbering down to join us.
"Hi, Uncle Steve," both boys greeted him.
"Hi, guys. I just wanted to speak with you privately for a few minutes." Getting our cue, the rest of us excused ourselves and left the room. "First, I just want to make sure you haven't changed your minds about being adopted."
"No way!" we could all hear Ryan shout.
"No, I want to be 'dopted," Benny added.
"Great! That's what I figured. So now I have a couple of other questions for you. What are you going to use for your last name?"
"Whatcha mean?" Ryan wondered.
"Well, you could keep your name just as it is now, or you could change it to Currie, O'Hara, or do like Elliot and Noah did and use a hyphenated last name, O'Hara-Currie."
"That will be a lot to write when we have to sign our names," Ryan pointed out.
"Yes, it would, so it's your choice."
"I want to do what Noah and Elliot did," Benny stated. "That way we'll all be the same."
"Yeah, me too," Ryan agreed. "We're all brothers, so we should all have the same last name."
"That's what I thought you'd say. Now, I have another question for you. Do you want to keep your middle name or use your old last name for your middle name?"
"I'll keep my middle name. I don't need my old name any more," Ryan said bitterly. I guess he felt his family hadn't done anything for him, so he didn't owe them anything either.
"Ok, then after the adoption ceremony you'll be known as Ryan Edward O'Hara-Currie."
"I want to do that too," Benny quickly confirmed.
"Then your name will become Benjamin Alan O'Hara-Currie."
"Can't we just use Benny?"
"People will still call you Benny, but your legal name will be Benjamin."
"Now we just need to pick a day when we do this. Do either of you have a particular day you'd prefer?"
"Yeah. I heard our dads sayin' that Grandpa Josh's birthday is comin' up, so how about then. He's the one that adopted our dad, and he wouldn't be doing this for us now if Grandpa Josh hadn't done it for him, so I think we should do it on his birthday. That way we'll be connected to him too."
"Yeah, and Grandpa Josh does lots of stuff for us, like teachin' us 'bout baseball, so I want to do that too."
"Then I guess we have our date. I'll just check and see what time I have free that day and pencil you in. I think it will make Grandpa Josh feel really good that you wanted to do this."
"Good!" they both said.
Uncle Steve then told the boys they could go back to what they'd been doing - if he only knew in Ryan's case - and then he came out to speak with us.
"Josh, you don't know this yet, but the boys just gave you a huge compliment. They want the adoption ceremony to take place on your birthday."
"So I guess they must have just picked that day and don't know it's my birthday," he countered.
"No, they know your birthday is coming up and specifically asked to do it on that day." Dad looked stunned for a second, before he began to beam. "They basically told me they wanted to do this, because they wouldn't be here now if you hadn't adopted Danny and started the ball rolling. That's why they want to do it on your birthday, as their way of thanking you."
"Then I'll have to give those two little buggers an extra squeeze tonight," Dad stated, as the rest of us chimed in our agreement that the boys had made a very wise choice.
"Well, that's all I needed to do," Uncle Steve said, "so I'd better get going. Mary won't be happy if I stay here too long without her."
"Thanks, Uncle Steve, and we want you and Aunt Mary to go to dinner with us to celebrate after the ceremony."
"I wouldn't miss it, and I'm certain Mary will feel the same way."
After Uncle Steve left, I spent time with Brandon, Dion, and Trey, as we not only made plans to celebrate the adoption, but Dad's birthday as well. Brandon and I thought it would also be a good time to notify everyone about something else, so it will be a multi-faceted celebration.
A short time later, I decided to find Ryan and Owen again. They'd obviously had time to take care of their 'needs', so I felt it was time to do something else. They were both grinning as I walked up to them.
"I hope you liked what you saw earlier," Owen quipped.
"And I went back and finished up after talkin' to Uncle Steve," Ryan added.
"I have to admit that I was definitely surprised, seeing you told me to come in."
"You've seen everything already and know we do that, so we didn't think it would make much of a difference."
"I may have seen all the parts, just not in action like that." Both boys began to giggle as I continued to speak. "Owen, I want you to go grab your gear so I can take you home. I'm beginning to think your parents might not want to take you back, if you keep spending so much time here with us."
"That would be ok too, but can you give us a little longer? Ryan just did it to me earlier, but I haven't done it to him yet." I merely rolled my eyes.
"Make it quick then," I agreed, as the boys went racing up the stairs. They returned about fifteen minutes later.
"Ok, I'm ready now," Owen said as he held up his bag to prove the point.
We then walked out to Brandon's car and I took him home. His parents waved at us from their front door as Owen walked from the car to join them.
"I'm glad you gave us time to do that," Ryan said as I was driving home.
"So you like doing it now?"
"Maybe a little, but mostly I like that it makes Owen feel good." I didn't pursue what he'd said and we continued on in silence.
Life went back to normal after the cookout, and Adam told us several times that his mother really enjoyed spending time with all of us. He also said she was looking forward to doing it again, so we told him we were looking forward to it as well. That seemed to really please him.
Since Ryan was spending the following weekend at Owen's house, Noah decided to ask Adam to stay with us. His parents had no problem with him doing that, so Noah and Adam ended up leading the parade out to the pool on both Saturday and Sunday. Even with the age differences, the boys all seemed to enjoy spending time with each other, and Adam was very good with the youngest three.
The following weekend, Owen stayed with us again, and all weekend long the main topic of discussion was the upcoming adoption. "So Ryan's going to have a new name?" Owen asked shortly after he arrived on Friday.
"He'll have a new last name, but the rest will stay the same."
"Then maybe we'll be in the same homeroom this year. My last name begins with M, and his new last name will start with O, and there were other kids in my homeroom last year whose last names began with O too."
"Yes, I guess that's a possibility. I just hadn't thought about it before."
"I'm really glad that he's doin' that, cuz now we might be together in a bunch of different things, not just homeroom. Lot's of stuff goes by your last name."
"Yes, I realize that, but I guess I'd never given it much thought before you mentioned it."
"Well, it makes me really happy." His huge smile would have told me that, even if he hadn't verbalized his feelings.
"I can see that, and I'm glad."
The boys spent the rest of the night doing their own thing, but Owen and Ryan stayed with Benny and Joshie most of the time, which really surprised me. I guess it meant the older pair was either waiting until later to have sex, or they were going to do it tomorrow instead.
When Brandon and I went up to tuck them in later, I decided to make a comment. "I was surprised you two stayed downstairs all night."
"Yeah, you told us you didn't want us doin' it all the time, so we was just doin' like you said," Ryan explained.
"And I wasn't even sure that you boys were listening to me."
"Of course we were," Owen responded. "You're really good to us, so we listen to everything you say."
"I'm glad to hear that. You've just scored a brownie point."
"Uh, what's that?" Ryan wanted to know.
"It's an imaginary reward for doing something good."
"So it's not real."
"Only to you and me. It means I'll remember what you did and then sometime in the future I might even show you how much I appreciate it by doing something special for you too."
"Then I think I like brownie points," Ryan responded.
"Me too," Owen added.
Before we left the room, Brandon and I kissed each one on the forehead and said goodnight to them. I wasn't sure if they were planning on doing something after we left, but if that was the case, then they didn't seem to be in any hurry to get started.
The next morning at breakfast, I decided to ask the boys a question. "We haven't gone to see a movie in a long time, so how would you like to do that today?"
"Sure. Can we go see The Fantastic Four?" Noah wanted to know.
"Do you all want to see that?"
"Not particularly," Elliot answered, "but I'll go with you anyway."
"Yeah, we want to go too!" the other boys replied.
"Ok, then I'll see what time it's showing."
"Can I ask Adam if he wants to go with us?" Noah asked next.
"Sure. I don't have a problem with that."
"Then can I ask Ian," Elliot chimed in.
"Sure, if you think he'll be able to get around in there."
"He'll manage, because I'll help him."
It was another movie based on comic book characters, which seemed to be in vogue both in the theaters and on television. I didn't have a problem with that and checked to see who else wanted to go with us. Brandon said he would, but Dion and Trey didn't think it was something Wyatt should see, so they were going to take him to see The Seventh Dwarf instead.
We both chose times after lunch, so the boys went in to watch cartoons until we ate. Adam arrived just as we were finishing up, so I had the boys get in the SUV and we took off for the cinema complex at the mall. Elliot drove his own car, so he could pick Ian up, and told us he'd meet us there.
Since we'd just finished lunch, the boys said to only get them a bag of popcorn to share this time, along with their drinks. That was fine with me, so we grabbed everything and went in the theater to find seats together.
Brandon and I weren't overly fond of the movie, although the boys were, but it wasn't so bad that we wanted to leave right away either. When it was over, I had the boys throw their trash in the garbage container before we went home. On the ride back, they made comments about the movie.
"I wish I could move from place to place as easy as they did," Benny stated.
"I'd rather have their superpowers," Ryan disagreed.
"Benny, if you moved to another dimension like they did, then we wouldn't be together any more," Joshie stated.
"I'd take all of you with me."
"I'm not sure we'd all want to do that," Owen challenged.
"Yeah, I'd rather stay here," Noah confessed.
"No matter what we wish for, we're always going to be stuck being ourselves and living with our families," Adam offered, putting an immediate damper on the conversation.
When we got to the house, I asked Dion and Trey how they'd made out. "We all enjoyed the movie we went to. It was really cute."
"I'm glad it worked out for you then, because I think I'd have been better off staying home."
The boys wanted to go swimming next, and the rest of us agreed to join them. After spending an hour in the pool, the adults left the boys on their own and went back in the house. Having kids certainly keeps you active, and you can have a good time doing those things with them, if the young 'uns don't tire you out.
After dinner, we let the boys entertain themselves, as we made certain everything was ready for Tuesday and the adoption ceremony. While Brandon was checking all the boys' suits, dress shirts, and ties, I called the restaurant to confirm our reservations for Tuesday evening. Once we were sure everything was in order, we spent a little more time with the boys until bedtime.
After church on Sunday, we followed our normal routine and went to brunch before going home. As soon as we got back, the boys wanted to go swimming again, so we told them to go ahead. They wanted us to join them again, but we explained that we had other things to do. They kept pleading with us, so Brandon and I finally agreed to join them for a half hour, but that was all. They weren't thrilled about this, but they realized it was better than nothing at all and stopped whining.
Before we took Owen home that afternoon, he asked if he could come with us to the adoption ceremony. I told him we didn't mind, but he'd have to wear a suit, because we were going to a really fancy restaurant afterward. After he confirmed that he had a suit, I told him I'd check with his parents when we reached his house.
After I explained the situation to Terri and Brian, they told me they'd make sure Owen was ready so I could pick him up on the way to the courthouse. They also said they would send enough money with him so he could pay for his own meal. I told them that wouldn't be necessary, but they insisted, so I relented. They also agreed to have him bring a change of clothes, since Ryan wanted him to spend the night afterward.
I don't think they minded that Owen was going to stay with us again on Tuesday night, since we were going to have a full-house the following weekend and Owen wouldn't be able to stay over then. All of the family was planning on coming to officially welcome Benny and Ryan to the family, as well as to celebrate Dad's sixty-fifth birthday. Once everything had been cleared up, Ryan and I returned home, excited that we were inching closer to making him a legal member of our family.
Monday went by in a blur, since Ryan and Benny were constantly asking what was going to happen at the courthouse and what they were going to have to do. Since they were still so hyper when we tucked them in that evening, I wasn't sure if they were going to get any sleep.
We let them sleep in a little later on Tuesday morning so they would be well rested, as the ceremony wasn't until 4:00. When they finally came down to join us, they both looked much better than they had the previous day, but there were still a few hours to go before the ceremony.
After lunch, we sent the boys up to take another shower and brush their teeth, but we didn't have them get dressed until 2:30. We told Owen we'd pick him up around 3:15 and then go directly to the courthouse. I wasn't sure if Uncle Steve would want to meet with the boys again before the ceremony, but we'd be there early enough so he could do it, if that were the case.
When we were finally let into the courtroom, we all sat in the gallery while we waited for Uncle Steve to enter. When he did, we all had to rise, and he looked out at us and smiled as he took his place behind the bench.
"As I've said in the past, this is one of the more enjoyable duties I get to perform as judge. It was quite a few years ago when I first became introduced to this wonderful family, as they first came together and continued to add even more to their number. This time, however, I get to add the newest members to the next generation of this unique family, since one of the boys from that first adoption ceremony is now adopting more children of his own.
"I've already presided over the adoption of the first two to join this new generation, and I see them sitting with the other family members as we get ready to add two more. I just hope this isn't the last time they'll require my services, because I'm certain there are other youngsters out there that would benefit from their love and guidance as well.
"Benny and Ryan, will you please step forward," Uncle Steve added, and we had to prod the boys so they would do as he'd requested. I felt they were a little overwhelmed at this point, as we eagerly sent them on their way. "We're here today because Daniel Currie and Brandon O'Hara have petitioned the court to adopt both of you. Are you willing to let them do this?"
Ryan and Benny merely nodded their heads, so the bailiff had to prompt them about how they should respond. "Yes, your honor," they both agreed verbally this time.
"Since I approve of this wholeheartedly, and all the legal requirements and obligations have been met, I will now affix my signature to the documents to proclaim it so. Benjamin Alan Devaney Jr., you will now be known as Benjamin Alan O'Hara-Currie and I will present you with the documents you will need to prove this, including a new birth certificate."
"Ryan Edward Hayes, from henceforth you will be known as Ryan Edward O'Hara-Currie, and I will also provide you with the documents you will need, including your new birth certificate. Do either of you have any questions?"
They both shook their heads this time, so the bailiff prompted them again. "No, your honor."
"Then come up here and get the documents from me, before you go back to celebrate with your dads."
Both boys were beaming proudly as they took the papers from Uncle Steve, and then they trotted back to join us. I think the bailiff was about to tell them to walk, but he noticed Judge Shay shake his head, so the bailiff didn't say anything.
As soon as the boys joined us, Brandon and I gave each of them a hug and kissed them on the forehead. Then, we inspected their new documents with them and admired their new names.
"I get all tingly just looking at it," Ryan said as we inspected his new birth certificate together. "I can't believe that's really me now."
"You'd better, because I'm not ready to go through this again," I joked, and then I gave him another hug.
After we left the courtroom, Uncle Steve came out to meet us in the hallway. "The reservation is for 6:00, so we'll see you and Aunt Mary then," I reminded him.
"You certainly will," he replied, as he shook hands with both boys and gave them a quick hug.
We went home in between, because we had time to kill before leaving for the restaurant. Everyone was congratulating the boys, as well as congratulating Brandon and me, and before long Owen came over to do that as well.
"I'm so happy for you," he told Ryan. "I think you got the best parents, besides mine."
"Yeah, I do too."
When we pulled up in front the restaurant a little later, Owen made another comment. "This place is super fancy."
"Have you ever been here before?"
"Nah, but my mom and dad have, so I've heard them talkin' about it. They come here sometimes for stuff to do with the bank, and mom told me to mind my manners while I was here."
"I have no doubt you will."
We were then led back to the private dining room. Everyone from the house was there with us, along with Owen, and then Uncle Steve, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Sally joined us. The rest of our brothers didn't come this time, because we would be celebrating with them on Saturday, at the house.
Once everyone had arrived, we placed our orders, and enjoyed our meals when they were delivered a short time later. Everyone was talking excitedly about today's events while we ate, and once the staff had cleared the dishes from the table after we'd finished, our waiter returned carrying the cake we'd ordered for this event. On one side it read, 'Congrats, Benny & Ryan', while on the other side was 'Happy Birthday, Dad/Josh'.
"I thought this was just to celebrate the boys joining the family," Dad said after seeing the cake.
"Come on. How could we do this without celebrating your birthday too?" Brandon countered.
"And now we can celebrate together every year," Ryan chimed in. "In a way, it will be Benny's and my birthday too, since we are kinda being born into the family today."
"You know, I like that idea and I'll be happy to share my birthday with both of you from now on," Dad concurred.
There were two candles on Benny and Ryan's side of the cake, and a single candle on Dad's section. After the waiter lit the three candles, we sang 'For They Are Jolly Good Fellows' to Benny and Ryan, before singing Happy Birthday to Dad. Then we told each of them make a wish and blow out their candle.
"But I just got my wish," Ryan countered, looking at us confused.
"Me too," Benny added.
"And I began living my wish ever since I started taking in you boys," Dad said next.
"Hey, who was the first one?" Ryan wanted to know.
"That would be your Uncle Ricky, and then your dad, Danny."
"So one good and one bad," Noah commented before releasing an evil laugh.
"I hope you meant I was the good one," I challenged.
"We'll let Grandpa Josh decide that," Noah replied with an evil smirk.
"I wouldn't call either of them bad, but Ricky sure tests our patience at times," Dad responded. "However, I would definitely agree that your dad was the good one."
Once we had all finished our piece of cake, Brandon and I had something we wanted to say. "Before you leave, Brandon and I have an announcement to make. Since gay marriage is now legal in Pennsylvania, as well as the rest of the 50 states, we've decided to get married the day after Thanksgiving this year, and you're all invited."
The boys immediately began to cheer and everyone else took a moment to congratulate us. Then, Dion made a comment. "My birthday is the day after Thanksgiving this year too, so we'll be sharing a date on the calendar as well."
"Oops. In our excitement, we overlooked that, so we hope you don't mind," I stated.
"Not at all. I think it's great that the three of us will be able to celebrate together each year."
"And this way my parents can come then too, because we can celebrate our anniversary each year over the holiday weekend," Brandon added.
"So where are you going for your honeymoon?" Trey wanted to know.
"We'll be taking a delayed honeymoon. Maybe we'll do it like we did this year and go away over Memorial Day Weekend again."
"That's an awfully short honeymoon," Pop pointed out.
"Since we've been together for so long, it's all we really need," Brandon confirmed. "Besides, we don't think we could handle being away from the boys for longer than that." The last half of his comment elicited smiles from the boys.
Shortly after we'd shared our news, we said goodbye to Uncle Steve, Aunt Mary, and Aunt Sally as they left for their homes. We had the waiter box up the rest of the cake so we could take it with us, because we knew the boys would polish it off over the next few days. It had been a long and emotional day, so we all went to bed early that night, secure in the thought that we were a family and no one could separate us now.