Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Anatomy of an Adoption

February 23, 2009 – Met with attorney to ask some preliminary questions regarding adoption such as what the options in our state are (second-parent adoption is available), how soon we can take next steps (infant must be 6 months old), how to complete the birth certificate (do not list known donor), etc.

December 17, 2009 – Met with our primary attorney and a second attorney to begin process in earnest. Paid (large) flat fee for them to jointly represent us in legal proceedings to come. Attorney explains that I can not maintain my status as a legal parent and add M as a second legal parent - I must terminate my own rights and then we can adopt him jointly. We are assured this will all take place in a matter of seconds (i.e. no termination until the judge is actively signing the adoption order as well) but the bottom line is that in order for M to be granted any rights as a parent, I must legally disown and then adopt the son I gave birth to.

February 7, 2010 – Went to attorney’s office to sign papers in front of witnesses and have them notarized. K has to sign scary document terminating her parental rights. K and M have to jointly sign petition to adopt. Attorney mails a copy of termination of parental rights document to KD which he has to sign in front of two witnesses and a notary, then return by mail. We write check for court escrow account which must clear prior to filing.

February 19, 2010 – Case filed with family court. We are informed our next step is completing a home study with the Guardian-Ad-Litem, aka our 11 month old’s attorney.

March 10, 2010 – Mail requests for child abuse/neglect criminal record checks on both K and M. Attorney notifies us court date has been set for May 19th.

March 26, 2010 – Criminal record checks returned – no findings.

April 20, 2010 – Notified we have a problem. Since KD is not a legal parent and therefore cannot technically terminate his rights, Guardian ad Litem has requested newspaper notification of pending adoption. Catch is that newspaper ad has to run a minimum of 45 days prior to court date, which is unfortunate since our court date was only 29 days away. Alternatively, KD may be able to sign an affidavit claiming parental rights (prior to terminating them) but we’d need to get a revised birth certificate prior to court date and bureau of vital statistics typically does not offer that efficient of a turnaround. K expressed extreme dissatisfaction with this development and authorized attorney to spare no expense or assertiveness in trying to get things back on track.

April 22, 2010 – Attorney notified us problem was merely a “misunderstanding” and we’re on track for May 19th. We elected not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

April 24, 2010 – Talked with Attorney via phone to prepare for meeting with Guardian ad Litem. We are given a laundry list of things Guardian is likely to ask about including the layout of our home, our family and community supports, the history of our relationship and efforts to conceive, our educational and professional backgrounds, a detailed accounting of all of our debts and assets, and our thoughts on discipline, education, vaccinations and more.

May 3, 2010 – Met with Guardian ad Litem. Mercifully, “home study” is conducted as more of a formality than anything else and he ushers us through the information-gathering relatively quickly and painlessly.

May 18, 2010 – Talked with Attorney via phone to prepare for testimony in court.

May 19, 2010 – Court proceedings take place as scheduled. M and I both testify under oath. Elliot's attorney reports that it is "with great pleasure" that he recommends our petition to adopt be approved. Our son walks into the courtroom with one legal parent and walks out with two. M and I finally have legal rights and responsibilties that reflect our equal relationships to the child we have spent years dreaming of, planning for, conceiving, gestating, and raising. It feels even better than I thought it would. :-)

20 comments:

anofferingoflove said...

aw, congratulations ladies!!!! :)

Inlocoparentis said...

I am so happy for all three of you!

Melissa said...

So excited for you!! Our adoption is next week :)

jessie said...

congrats! it really is a good feeling:) can't wait till you get your new birth certificate - that's REALLY cool!

tbean said...

First off, congrats on the adoption. That's terrific. Second off, can I just go off on the ABSURDITY of the fact that you had to relinquish your parental rights to do this. Are you effing kidding me? It hit a nerve today, just as we were contacting our lawyer about whether or not my wife has to sign away all parental rights to the egg/embryo she donates to me, only to have to (hopefully) adopt her biological child on the other end of this. Absurdity. But we do what we have to do, right?

tireegal68 said...

This should be published! Congrats again - that must be sn incredible relief - but oh my God what ridiculous machinations to get to a place that seems so right and normal and common sensical. People need to know what we all have to go through to be parents!

Katie said...

While I am very happy for you and M, let me just say that it is freaking ridiculous that you had to jump through all these hoops. And your state is better than most, probably. We are in MA and my wife got to be on the birth certificate from the start. We still did a second parent adoption but it was super easy...no home visit etc...just a formality and it was done when he was 2 months old. Not too pricey and my wife's employer actually reimbursed the whole amount, so that was cool. Anyway, sorry you had to do it, but glad you had the option! :)

Meredith said...

Oh my. After reading all that it took, I would have been a TOTAL reck! Congrats on all the hard work giving both of you legal rights.

Strawberry said...

That is absolutely absurd, but I'm glad it's done in the end. Congrats!

jay said...

I feel a little bad moaning about our adoption absurdities now. How did you keep your calm?

Congrats on getting the deal sealed though!

Emily said...

YEA congrats!!

Stuff Parents Need said...

Hooray! Wow...that was a lot to go through. Thanks for sharing...didn't know it was that complicated!

Meegs said...

Boo for all the ridiculous hoops you have to jump through to do the second parent adoption... but a big, fat, huge YAY for it being complete!!!!!

Congratulations.

Elana said...

Yahoo!!! Big congrats!! I can't even imagine how terrifying it must have been to have to relinquish your parental rights in order to adopt. It just sends chills up my spine. You guys have been through so much and this is SO deserved!!

Bionic Baby Mama said...

congratulations! second-parent adoptions always taste a little bittersweet to me (for the reasons noted above), but congratulations on getting through the bitter to the sweet part (if that even makes sense).

areyoukiddingme said...

Congratulations! How absurd that you have to undergo these kinds of trials - but, so glad it worked out (mostly) smoothly.

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Luisa said...

CONGRATULATIONS to all three of you! Sorry you had to jump through so many hoops but glad it is available to you.

a beautifully written post too.

Lut C. said...

What? That's an awful amount of red tape!
I'm glad it worked in the end, but it's positively terrifying!


(Arrived from the Crème de la Crème list)

Sara said...

Great story. The process sounds horrible. (The part about first terminating your rights is absurd!) Congratulations for reaching the end of it!

(here from creme)