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. :-)