I have decided after lurking for a few months that it is time to introduce myself. I myself was adopted as an infant. I have always known that I was adopted and I never felt any different than my younger brothers (who are the biological children of my parents). My mother is the oldest of seven children and two of her other siblings have also adopted children. When I was 10 my parents also became foster parents at a group home. After 2 years, they had to stop because my middle brother was having immense difficulties with the situation. Personally, I have never felt the need to search for my biological parents. I do respect the decision that they made and know that it was the best choice they could have made for me.
I started my own adoption journey almost by accident. Since this is my children?s story, I beg your forgiveness over the lack of detail. I had an acquaintance that had several children. When DSS was called into the situation I was granted ?kinship? custody multiple times (although we were not related). When the youngest baby was born he stayed with me full time (for the first 10 months) at the biological mother?s request. Then the family moved out of state, but I continued to stay in touch. (For you foster parents, I understand the feeling of having your heart ripped out when a child leaves. I applaud you for your dedication in doing what you do to help children.) After a few months many things happened, but finally the biological mother contacted me and signed over full custody to me. My boys were toddlers at the time. It was the most loving thing that she could have done. It remains the one positive thing that I hold onto to. When it comes to explanations when they are older as to why they were placed for adoption I am glad to have that one nugget.
The adoption was not an easy process. My first lawyer (who does work with adoptions frequently) filed the custody paperwork with the court, but not the guardianship paperwork. This one mistake eventually set us back over a year. My second lawyer was wonderful. Even with a great lawyer, I was in a very unique position. Neither my lawyer (who was a child custody/adoption lawyer) nor the court system in my town knew exactly how to proceed. I remember the time being joyous because I had my children, yet the most stressful and hard time I have ever faced. I am forever grateful to my family and friends who encouraged me through that time.
I have read many of you speak about being exasperated over all the hoops that you had to go through to adopt, while biological parents can ?just have children?. I felt the same way. Since I had not done much research about adoption prior to my situation I remember being astounded about all of the hoops that I had to jump through. The worst was having to pay for a homestudy. By the time it came for that, I had had court appointed full custody of my children for over 2 years. I remember being flabbergasted that I needed to pay $1500 for my house to be considered safe for children when the courts had already decided so 2 years prior. On the plus side, I really liked the lady who did our homestudy and the process itself was pretty stress free. Now on this side, I can look more objectively at the entire situation and I completely understand why things must be done this way, however, that does not make things easier while you are going through it.
We finally had a court date and the TPR was granted. Court only lasted about 15 minutes. While it was the piece of the process that I was most nervous about, it was in actuality, the easiest part. The adoption was finalized a few weeks later. A year?s distance from the madness and I can now look at the entire situation more objectively. I am a single parent and life is crazy, but I would not change a single second of it!
I wanted to share a little of my story to give hope to those of you who are in the middle of the struggle now. Just make it through, persevere. It will all be worth it when you hold your child. As I said before, it is the hardest thing that I have ever done; yet I have never done anything that was more rewarding. It is similar to what my friends tell me about birth. When you are going through it, it is painful and ?never ending?. After, you don?t even remember or care about the pain or time.
I decided to join this board because through lurking, I find you to be a wonderful and open group of people. I love that there are all three parts of the triad on this board and everyone is respectful of each other. We currently have no contact with the biological family (for safety reasons at my lawyer and the children?s counselors? insistence- we had to go to counseling for court) but I am glad that if my children want to search when they are older, I do have more information than many adoptive parents do and can aid in their search.
Mother of two wonderful boys! Blessed through adoption.