My name is Linda Kelley and I am happily enjoying retirement after working in the accounting profession for too many years to count. My last position was as an accounting officer for the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office. I currently live in Riverside, California with my husband of 17 years, Tim.
My very first experience with adoption involved my grandson, Joshua. Unfortunately his biological father was not involved in his life. My daughter’s second husband chose to fill the position as his dad and wanted to make it legal by adopting him. I know this was important to Joshua and it made him feel more a part of his family which included his little brother, Jeremy. Unfortunately the family did not stay together but I know having a “legal” dad has meant a great deal in Joshua’s life.
My second encounter with adoption was quite different. At the age of 50 I found myself ending a 28 year marriage and starting on a new path in my life. I was fortunate enough to find my current husband, Tim, and the two of us jumped into a new adventure together. At that point I had two grown daughters, both of which were busy with their own lives. The younger one, Christina, was having a difficult time finding her way in life and lived with us on and off for several years. Tim was always understanding and very patient with the struggles we went through with her. My older daughter, Jeni, had her own family but was still close to us. She went through a few hard times of her own at which time Tim and I did our best to be there for her. Her relationship with her biological father had gone downhill to the point that they were no longer in communications with each other. One day she approached me and asked if I thought Tim might be willing to adopt her and become her legal father. She told me that she felt Tim had been much more of a father to her than my ex was and that she appreciated all he was doing for her and would like to be able to put Tim as her father in any legal paperwork she needed. She had met a man from Finland and had married him and moved there with her two sons. They had a daughter at this time and with citizenship papers, passports, etc., there was always something too fill out. She said whenever she had to put down her father’s name, she always thought of Tim first as her father so she would like to make it official if he would be okay with it. I told her I was sure he would so she asked him if he would be willing to become her legal father.
As for Tim’s reaction to her question…only he can tell you exactly how he felt but from my point of view I think it was something he had never expected but he embraced the idea completely. He loved both of my daughters as if they were his own. Christina had also grown apart from her biological father and loved Tim very much but felt a duty to remain at least cordial to her biological dad, especially if Jeni were to go through with the adoption. She remained very close to Tim up to the time she passed away almost seven years ago. I think a little background info is needed about Tim to understand why this adoption was so important to him. He had two sons from a previous marriage. Due to many circumstances he had decided to give up his parental rights to the boys after his ex had remarried and her new husband wanted to adopt them. This is something he has regretted every day of his life since. He was forced to end all communications with the boys and had lost all track of them. Luckily we have reconnected with the oldest now and he is a welcome part of our lives, but the thought of Jeni wanting him to be her father was especially touching to him since he had lost his sons. The adoption was very simple from the legal aspect of things, but the bonding it helped to create between my husband and my daughter is something I will always be thankful for. It is the best feeling to refer to Jeni as “our” daughter and not just “my” daughter.