Tuesday, March 5, 2013

taking forever

Let me just say that our adoption finalization is taking forever.  Well, it seems like forever, but Jackson is only 7 months old and that really isn't that long.  I just know that others of you out there have finalized adoptions in less time than that and it just seems so frustrating. 

Here are the things that I am frustrated about:
  • We had to have a TPR done for the father, and while that process isn't that complicated, it is more complicated than we thought.  They just had the hearing on TPR a couple weeks ago and we are now free and clear.  
  • Our lawyer is very busy and not really that interested in us.  I mean, he came recommended by our agency and has done great work for them before, but now isn't so awesome.  We met him once, to sign papers and hand over a retainer, but since then I think he has emailed us twice, but billed us FOUR TIMES.  Even when the TPR hearing was over, they didn't even call us to let us know.  They emailed us.  We won't use him again.
  • The lawyer fees are ridiculous.  It is going to cost us almost half the cost of the agency fees to finalize the thing.  Think of it this way...our agency worked with us for three and a half years and the lawyer is going to work with us for eight months and get half of what we paid them!?  I don't like it.  
  • The birth certificate:  Am I alone in not liking that they will completely erase the birth mother's name and put in mine?  I don't want to erase her.  And I know I'm not supposed to know her last name and such, but I wish they could just put in her first name and leave it at that.  We aren't hiding the adoption from Jackson and so I don't know why the birth certificate has to have my name.  
  •  The court appearance:  In NC, the adoption agency can appear for the adoptive parents and since our agency is several hours away, and the court is where the agency is, it makes the most sense for us to let them handle it.  I must admit, though, that I kind of wanted the pictures with the judge like I've seen many of you have. 
We've been living our life and loving our boy, but we want this thing finalized.  I don't know how we'll celebrate it, but I know I want to do something.

What kinds of things did you to do celebrate?

6 comments:

Bailey's Leaf said...

Had to look TPR up to see what it meant. (Terminating Parental Rights.) In Ohio, we had a few different hearings. The one that we did have that counted was the permanent custody hearing, which was where parental rights were terminated and the county became K's parent.

In Ohio, it is required for a child to be in the custody of the people that will adopt for at least 6 months before being adopted. Having gone the county route, we were on adoptive status 9 months after birth and her actual adoption went through ON her first birthday, two days shy of being with us for one year. Darlin', it takes time.

Cost wise wasn't for us what you are in. Having a county adoption of a child who was cocaine positive, the county basically gives those babies away since they are (in the state of Ohio) labeled with the state as "special needs" and as such, they (the county) pays for their adoptive processing since they are considered hard to place. It is not what we meant to have happen, but it is how it worked for us. We adopted K for the price of some cheap city parking.

Oh geeze. You asked more questions. Drat. I can't recall all of them.

Ah! Yes, your name will be on the birth certificate, but as J's mom, it is up to you to handle the birth (first mom) name the way you see fit. It is a part of your family story and testimony of how J came to be with you. Certainly, it is important to just (in our opinion), to make adoption just be something that is always known. K knows that in her case, there was a woman who carried her and that she knew that she couldn't keep K. She knows that she couldn't take care of her. She went to the hospital and had her there, leaving her with the doctors and nurses who would be able to take good care of her and to make certain that she was passed on to a loving family. Though her first mom made some really dreadful decisions, we will not slam on her to K. We've let her know how wonderful the decisions that she made were (going to the hospital instead of having her elsewhere and doing goodness knows what) and how grateful we are for K being with us.

As far as commemoration of the day goes, we celebrate what we call, "Happy Home Day." Gotcha Day doesn't really ring to us. (Though it works for the general most. I'm also an artist and generally walk to my own beat anyhow.) HHDay is a day that we take time out to do something special. 95% of the time, we hunt down a place to go see Christmas lights. (It's 12/22 after all!) I've added a new ornament to the tree each and every year. I told K that when she grows up and moves out on her own, she'll have a tree full of ornaments that I've carefully labeled on the back of each one who gave it, what year and even all of the HHDay ornaments.

Bailey's Leaf said...

I understand where you are at. I kept track of K's first mom's "activities" on the online county court docket. I called the county workers and their lawyer on a regular basis with updates on A- well before they even knew. If they gave me papers to fill out, I would get them done and in the mail the next day. We did classes by the piles when we could. I kept in close contact with everyone and appeared at each and every single court opportunity that we could. We are about a half hour away from the courthouse and though most of the dates were optional, we were there. My policy was "be seen often." I didn't want anyone to forget about us.

If you can, I would truly try to make it for the adoption in court. I know that it might be a hardship, but in the end (in my opinion that was not asked for and I hope that I don't offend), you will not regret it. It is the final piece to the puzzle that says, HE'S OURS!

You want those photos.

You want those papers-- right then.

We just sent K (she's 9) to school with copies of her court photos just a few weeks ago. Her teacher knew that she was adopted, but thanked us for sending them. (She was working on a social studies section about primary and secondary sources.) I even included the letter that President George Bush wrote. (Write the President! Tell him about J being adopted! Write the President in the first year of life and they write a letter to your child and signed -- just like on Christmas Story-- in ink!) K was proud to be able to share the photos with her class and her teacher was particularly touched by the Presidential letter, too.

All of this is just from our own experience. You ask, I give our end of things. Just because we did what we did doesn't mean it would be for everyone. In the end, J is yours. Yours! Can you believe it? It is a grand thing. Take that and smile forever and ever about it. :)

Our congratulations!

Bailey's Leaf said...

(They wouldn't let me run with the whole comment in one bit. That's why it is split.)

Maria said...

I am SO glad you are waiting for legal stuff now - and no longer a baby to call your own! It still is frustration though when you just want to move on.

Gianna was 14 months old when her adoption was finalized. The wait was full of frustation and actually the event was a little anti-climactic but it was nice that the rest of the world acknowleged what we already knew....she was our daughter.

One of our frustrations is that the judge who finalized it was the same one who was part of our story when we lost the other two children to a very messy court situation. (His hands were shaking when he signed the the final papers!) Overlooking that awkwardness, the day was a significant milestone. We invited a few key people to the courthouse - which they really made nice, despite the situation. The day actually meant more to some of them than it did to us. And the court sees so many sad stories through family court - they are usually thrilled to enjoy the happier part of their job and witness the families that are created in this miraculous way. I would echo Bailey's Leaf in saying it might be worth considering making a day of it - even if it's just the three of you. Sometimes we adoptive parents might feel a little cheated out of the celebratory fuss made over parents who birth to their children. This is sort of a special event that says "this is BIG deal!"

Regardless of your choice - I'm glad you're getting closer to end. It marked a time for us when we trasitioned from being considered an 'adoptive family' (not that I'm not proud of that) and just became a family. It also marked a time when the adoption became more of Gianna's story and less of ours. Blessings to you all.

All in His Perfect Timing said...

I am the one you are talking about who had a quick finalization. It was 7 weeks. We took Luke to court that day & got a picture with the judge. Every single shot was blurry. I was so mad. You DO want that picture. If you can take a half day, you might do it. It is pretty anticlimatic once you are there & doesn't take a long time once it is your turn (the waiting for your turn is terrible!), but to get that picture, I can agree with Bailey's Leaf that if you want that picture. Get it. :-D
We didn't have any family come down, as they were 2 & 3 hours away, but if you invite them, they can decide.
We haven't done anything for Luke's Gotcha Day, as he was only 7 weeks. We will have to do something this year. I like the idea of doing something special just for him.
Our names are on the birth certificate instead of the birth moms. I didn't expect that either. They should have a special adoption birth certificate with a place to list the birth parents.
I'm so glad that the TPR is all done for you!!! But I am so sorry that your lawyer is a douche.

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