Guest Blogger: Jeni

Meet, my person, Jeni.  We have been friends for 14 yrs.  We met online….she moved close….we lived life….she remarried Teemu….and moved to Finland LOL.  She has 3 children (Joshua, Jeremy, and Lizzy aka J1, J2, and Tito).  Her parents are Tim and Linda Kelley.  Here is her story of being adopted, as an adult, by her step-father.  I am blessed to know them all.

I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to find the words to convey my adoption story. I’ve read through the amazing stories on the blog & feel a bit humbled because my story is so simple & straightforward. In 2010, at the age of 36, I was adopted by my stepdad, Tim. Step-parent adoption isn’t all that unusual but I like to think we’re unique because he didn’t raise me & I didn’t meet him until I was an adult, married & pregnant with my 2nd child.

I’ve had a couple of people question why I would ask a man who didn’t raise me, a man who I only met when I was 25, to adopt me. No, he’s not rich. 😊 I’ve had a good relationship with my dad, my children have grown up thinking of him as “grandpa,” and I watched him love & support my sister as she dealt with her personal demons. During his time as my stepdad he also loved & supported me through a suicide attempt, a very painful & drawn out divorce, depression. I was not exactly at my best & yet I knew that I had his support. He’s loved my sister & I unconditionally.

I don’t like to refer to this part but it is relevant so… In 2004 I learned of an incident that led me to cut all ties with my biological father.

In 2007 I married a truly wonderful Finnish man. My boys & I moved to Finland to start our lives as a new family. In 2010 I was filling out forms to renew our residence permits & when I got to the section asking for my parents’ information, it just hit me. I hated having to enter bio-father’s information because in my mind, that person was no longer my father. Tim was. Tim was the one who loved me & my children the way a father should. I had come to think of him as my dad, I loved him as my dad, so I asked him to legally become my dad. I was nervous & felt a little silly about asking but I was so happy when he said yes.

That summer my husband & I flew to California so that our daughter (she was 16 months old) could meet my parents. During that visit we all went to the courthouse & I was adopted. One of the things I remember most about that day was the judge telling me I could pick a stuffed animal to take home with me. I let my daughter choose & she picked out an adorable snow leopard. I think it probably goes without saying that she decided that she was keeping it.

In January 2018 I have to once again renew our residence permits. I’m looking forward to entering “Timothy Kelley” as my father’s name. This will be the first time I get to formally recognize him as my dad.


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