Meet my favorite Pirate, Tim…..he is married to Linda and they live in CA. His adoption story is one that not many people think can even happen….but it can and it is beautiful. He loves his wife, his children, and his grandchildren. I am proud to know him.
I have been asked to share my experience in adopting my daughter Jeni Kuivala. My experience is going to be much different that most since I adopted my daughter as an adult.
Let me preface my actual adoption of Jeni with a little bit of back story. I met Jeni about 19 years ago. Her mother Linda and I had been talking and seeing each other for a while. We met at a restaurant to have breakfast it was a family get together. Jeni was pregnant with her youngest son Jeremy. Well poor Jeni was so sick I think she spent much of her breakfast time ill. I felt so sorry for her knowing how miserable she must be. So that was my first meeting of her and she was, despite being sick, warm and very accepting of me and really treated me like family.
From that time on when we were together she treated me as though I were her father and much more a friend. It was very easy to feel as though she was my daughter even then and it has been a very great relationship ever since. So fast forward to 2010 Jeni and her husband Tassu were planning on visiting us in California. They both live in Finland where he is from (another story).
At the first of 2010 Jeni made a request of me that I must admit kind of took me back and surprised me. She asked me if I would adopt her when they came out to California. Well it was kind of overwhelming and was something I never thought of. It is hard to explain the feeling you have when someone asks you to do something like that. The thought of Jeni having those feelings that she wanted me to be her legal father I guess in some ways humbling. After talking with Linda and making sure that she was good with it I of course told her I would adopt her. I told her I would find out what we needed to do and how it all works.
Now I worked for the Courts in Ventura, so it was a bit easier for me to get rolling on what needs to be done. I was kind of familiar with child adoption but had no idea about adult adoption and quite frankly didn’t even know adults could adopt adults. This was a learning experience for me. Fortunately our court has a Self Help Legal center which is staffed by clerks that are familiar with different areas of law such as adoptions, civil suites etc. I made an appointment with them and they were able to explain the whole process and what documents I needed, and paper work needed. Fortunately adopting an adult is very easy to do. So that was great knowing that Jeni and I could go through this journey relatively easy and enjoy the results. What I found out is we just had a few forms to fill out and I think we had to provide birth certificates for both of us as proof of who we were. The forms were basically our information and signatures plus Linda and Jeni’s husband Tassu had to sign consent to the adoption also.
When Jeni and Tassu arrived, we had to go to the Juvenile Court house (yes that is right Juvenile Courthouse) to file paperwork to go in front of the Judge for her to approve and grant the adoption. We were on a tight time frame, so we filed the paper work on a Monday and had our Court date the next Friday morning. Adoption day I think we were all nervous, we were at the Juvenile Courthouse to have the adoption heard. Our Judge was the Honorable Tari Cody. I have met Judge Cody several times with work related issues. She is a very nice Judge and I think was excited about hearing an adult adoption. If I remember right it was the first she had heard.
Anyway, we were brought into the courtroom, the five us. Jeni and I, Linda, Tassu and of course our year and a half old Granddaughter Lizzy. (I think Judge Cody had a lot of fun having Lizzy in there). She asked us a few questions then asked Linda and Tassu if they consented to the adoption and she approved it. Next big step which is a big custom in our Adoption Court is to give the adoptee a stuffed toy. Jeni decided to defer the stuffed toy to Lizzy which all of us including Judge Cody felt that it was a great decision, so did Lizzy. That was the whole adoption in a nut shell. Like I say it is easy and very simple. But then this adoption is not like adopting a child.
After the adoption we left the building and joyfully took pictures. Will share a picture after I finish this. My final thoughts on all of that has happened and the process was so good. The fact that she wanted me to be her legal father gave me a feeling that I guess I cannot put into words. I know that I do love Jeni as my daughter no matter what. I’m proud of her and Tassu and proud to call Tassu my son-in-law. Jeni has a great family, Linda and I have wonderful Grandchildren with Joshua, Jeremy and Lizzy. I feel like I married and was adopted into a great family. Bottom line while adopting a child is a great reward so is adopting an adult.