A family adoption, is just that LOL…it is an adoption of a child from a family member. It does not mean that the child is a foster child or in the system in any way, shape or form.
Our youngest son is a family member. He is “technically” my great nephew. His mom is my niece. His dad is unknown. This made it easier for us. We, first got Power of Attorney over him. He was living with us, while she was homeless. We needed this notarized document stating that we could seek medical care for him. I believe, this was the hardest part of our journey. My niece was not well…addiction at its best. She is also wicked smart when it comes to anything legal. She looked over that document with a fine toothed comb. She also had me go over it with her, her ex husband and the notary. She analyzed every single word. To look in that baby’s eyes and tell her that she is not safe to raise her son….well….it was difficult to say the least. Hurt my heart on so many levels. In the end, she made the right decision. We did pay our attorney to draft a generic Power of Attorney document. This cost around $200.
After that, we sought temporary custody. This lasted for about 3 mths. We never had an attorney, that we paid for, during this process. We did have the County Attorney involved (free) and then she had her attorney (free for her).
Once that 3 mths was up and no progress was made on her part, we moved to permanent custody. Again, we did not need to hire an attorney. We could have kept permanent custody forever. The only time it would have been challenged is if A) she did what she was supposed to do and petitioned the court to get him back B) if the father was identified and DNA was done. He would have been “legally” our child but without our last name. The last name he had was one of a man who was not his father.
A lot of people stop here. The only money we were out was the $200 for the Power of Attorney and that was it. We, however, were not satisfied stopping there. We wanted him to have our last name. My sister and her husband were on board, as well as, our parents and extended family. Paige, allowed us to adopt him, though it was gut wrenching for her to physically sign those papers. It was gut wrenching for the rest of us, as well because we now understood the magnitude of her choices and the consequences that followed her. We are, however, incredibly grateful for her sacrifice because we wanted her to do this voluntarily. We did not want the “powers that be” terminate her parental rights involuntarily. We wanted her to have a say and to make the decision that only a person with a mama’s heart could make. She made it.
From this point, we had to get an attorney to do all the paperwork and such. This is stuff that we could not do. The cost of attorneys vary from state to state. Ours was very gracious and she did give us a discount. She went above and beyond doing what we needed her to do in order to get all of this finished and finalized.
In the end…my niece is still his mom. I love her beyond the written word and she will always have a place in our lives and he will always know that he grew under her heart and the sacrifice she made in order to give him a better life. Does she make the mom decisions? No. Will I include her? Absolutely.
Family adoption is messy and sad….but it is also humbling and God honoring.