Friday, May 21, 2010

More information

Okay, so here's the skinny:

Mimi's adoption was one of those that was "super-open", but her birth-mom moved to Illinois this past summer when she joined the military.   Due to the nature of the adoption, we've always had a good relationship with her and her family.   Anyway, she called us Wednesday after her ultrasound and asked my hubby if we would adopt this one too and of course he said yes, but there are some pretty big complications, the biggest of which is the fact that Illinois adoption law is so different from Utah law.  The other complication is from the birth-father who seems openly hostile toward the LDS faith in general and adoption in particular.  We are worried about it even happening and trying desperately to not get our hopes up.

Tamara, if you don't mind me asking, you said that placement was a "can of worms".  Mind if I ask you to share your experience?  We are super concerned about placement (if she ends up having the baby there) mostly because of the birth-father's hostility.  Although, the Illinois case-worker seems to think that with him living here in Utah, it would be better for her to give birth far away from him.  But our caseworker gave us the info on relinquishment of parental rights in Illinois, and now I'm worried because if she does give birth there, and he does NOTHING, he has 30 days following the baby's birth to make a claim, AND the agency has to provide proof that he was notified of the adoption plan.  Utah Law seems better because its 24 hours (or is it 48 now?) following the birth of the baby and his rights are terminated if he hasn't signed the birth-father registry (and you don't have to tell him about the adoption plan).


I think I just need to calm down and wait for things to unfold a step at a time...


Jon & Kim said...

The roller coaster ride of adoption, isn't it LOVELY!!! In the end yes it is but man can any one person handle this kind of stress? I would just try to stay as calm as possible, these things have a way of working things out. When it is right I think the good Lord above finds a way to make things happen. Just be there for her and follow your gut. As far as not getting your hopes up that is pretty much impossible at this point. So, you may get hurt AGAIN but wouldn't you rather do everything you can to adopt this baby rather than do nothing in fear of being hurt. You have been through so much already and it hasn't killed you and this won't either! :) I can say this to you because I have been right where you are. I say it out of love!!!! BUT having said that I totally understand your vulnerablitly right now, it is the worst place in the whole world and I HATE it. Your whole world is in the hands of another person and you are expected to just calmly wait for her to decide weather you have the blessing of another child or not. I admire her for having the strength to place again, she must be an amazing person. Just remember you are stronger than you think and you can get through this, whatever the outcome. I have always said, I would rather try and get hurt than never try at all:) Sending you lots of love right now!!!!!! We will keep you and her in our prayers!

Love Kim

Hillary said...

Sending prayers your way! E-mail my friend Lindsey--her blog is The R House (, and she's practically an adoption celebrity. She has adopted twice and dealt with similar situations, both with a hostile birth father and an out-of-state birth. Good luck!

Tamara ViAnn said...

Hi Beck-

Our daughter was born in Michigan. I'm not familiar with Illinois laws, but I think those two states have similarities in their adoption laws, at least that’s my recollection. We were matched with her birthmom for five months and we knew the entire time that the birthfather wasn't supportive of the adoption plan. He was very young (like 10th grade kind of young), in and out of the juvenile detention and involved in illegal substances. His parents didn’t have much control over him and he had (has) a very manipulative personality. While we knew he wasn’t happy about the adoption plan we really didn’t see him in a position to be a father at that time. We even met with the pbfather’s parents months before the birth and they were supportive of the adoption plan. So we at least “thought” we had his parents on our side, or at least cordial about it anyway.

Baby was born and he and his parents came to see the baby. We weren’t there but our bmom kind of flew in a rage about it when he showed up at the hospital. I think him seeing the baby combined with our bmom’s reaction snowballed into him wanting some control in the situation. We were able to take our daughter home from the hospital and had physical custody but nothing else (TPR’s weren’t signed by either parent and agency had temporary legal custody). We found out two weeks after placement that he was contesting the adoption. Because he hadn’t signed TPR’s yet ICPC wouldn’t let us come home. I ended up staying in Michigan for 3.5 months because of this. My husband flew back and forth the best he could but from October 25th - February 12th I was there. My mom flew back in December to be with me because I was just an emotional basket case trying to take care of a newborn by myself while dealing with all the legal problems. We had multiple attorneys working on different avenues to get us home to no avail. They tried everything. under. the. sun. Lesson learned is that at least in Michigan, if TPR’s by both parents are not signed you will not be clearing ICPC. Around the first week in February they were finally able to have the trial. Trial went badly for the bfather, they proposed a plea deal to us (wanted yearly pictures) which we accepted and he voluntarily relinquished rights. I flew home days later!!

I would highly suggest talking directly with a quad A adoption attorney on what he would suggest regarding the options of baby being born and placed in what state. When we were in the muck of things we lived and died by the advice of our attorney. Our caseworkers were great, but they aren’t legal experts. Off hand I’d say you are probably better off to go with Utah, but again you need to consult an attorney. In my opinion if he’s going to make things hard it isn’t going to matter what state you are in. I’m pretty sure our daughter’s bmom wouldn’t have delivered in Utah. Even if she had I bet we would have still been in a contested adoption but at least we would have been home. Michigan laws ended up being favorable to our situation because he was a minor and according to the judge was termed a "do-nothing birthfather", but you’ll have to consult with them regarding Illinois law and your specific situation.

I hope I didn’t scare you off too much because we were the worst case scenario. That’s not the norm. We became the Michigan agency’s record as far as time for a couple spent out of state. But it wasn’t uncommon in Michigan to stay there 6 weeks. Normal was 3-6 weeks. Ironically for the lengths our DD’s birthfather went to pursue custody we have yet to see one email/letter/picture/phone call from him to our daughter. If you have more questions just ask or you can email me privately at tvsorensen (at) gmail (dot) com.

Beck said...

Kim- Thanks for the support. I know I can go through this, its just been so hard to swallow that the birthfather is only looking to try to make our birthmom's life miserable in whatever way he can. We are praying fervently for him and have called in all our families to pray/fast for him too. Hopefully at some point (and I'd rather it be sooner than later) he will have a change of heart, but if not, then maybe this baby isn't meant for our family.

Hillary- thanks for the info on your friend. I'll get an email sent off in the next day or so. I hope you are doing well since you've been pretty quiet on here for a while! (Oh and that program that we talked about up at the U is now in place, but I'm not sure it compares in any way to SIRM in Vegas.)

Tamara- Thanks you for sharing your experience, and can I just say that you are one STRONG woman to have gone through all of that! I can't even begin to imagine what you must have felt going through all of that to bring your daughter home.
Our caseworker is actually the agency director (Thank goodness!) and has already been in contact with the agency in Illinois, as well as the church's lawyers to ask about everything. (We have the Sailors and Soldiers Act to follow, so that presents even more legal issues.) We've been praying so hard and while sometimes the whole situation really gets to us, other times I just feel peace and those moments are precious to me. Right now I'm just trying to keep my focus in the here and now and not worry so much until things get closer.
Thank you for your advice about the attorneys, though. That is VERY helpful!

Thanks, ladies for your support and prayers- it truly means so much to me!

Jon & Kim said...

It is so hard to have to be in a place where you feel so vulnerable and that you don't have control over anything. You are doing everything you can do and you just have to hold on to the times you feel peace. I have never been in a situation like yours but I know what it feels like to feel helpless. I have found I am stronger than I ever thought I could be and that even though there has been a lot of heartache it has been worth it in the end. I know it is easy for me to say but one day you will feel the same way. I can only imagine how much this baby already means to you having it be a blood sibling. There is just an instant connection to that baby which makes it even harder. Just know you have more people praying for the BF and for your sweet family. Keep us posted and know that you are loved! :)

Jon & Kim said...

Hey Beck, How is everything going?