It’s hard to believe but we’re getting close to celebrating one full year with the kids. And unfortunately, we still don’t have much of a sense of when, or if, we’ll be able to call them legally ours (emotionally we already see them as ours and nothing will change the bond we’ve created – they are our son and our daughter). The trial continues to drag on and while there is currently a final court date scheduled, there’s no way to know if it will actually be the final date – at least not until that fateful day rolls around.
We recently met with K, the attorney representing the children, and she still couldn’t say for sure if additional court dates would be added. She did, however, say that after this week she’ll have an idea of when she’ll call one of us to testify and if any additional court dates will be necessary.
This week the trial is on the docket twice and hopefully after the first day K will be able to get a better grip on how the rest of the trial will play out. The first day will likely bring the father’s testimony to a close. Following his testimony will be the remaining social workers on the case: the adoption worker and the previous ongoing worker.
Next up: the parents’ attorneys will make their cases and it’s unclear at the moment how long this will take but K theorizes it shouldn’t be too time consuming. The other adoption option, the children’s maternal grandmother, is expected to testify. If she does, then K has already stated she intends to have one of us testify as well. We briefly discussed who would testify, but no decision has been finalized. We’ll make our decision once we have a date to appear and we start preparing. Either way we hope to both take the day off from work and head to the courthouse. Even though we both can’t physically be in the court room at the same time, we can be in the court house and available for support.
As always we’re trying to stay optimistic and yet realistic about this whole process. It’s admittedly frustrating hearing from many of the other couples from our MAPP class as one by one they announce that their foster children are legally free. In their cases the birth parents of their children have had their rights terminated, either by the parents signing an agreement voluntarily, or by the court forcing it upon them. These families can now start the legal adoption process.
We are of course happy for everyone in our class who is making their dream come true by becoming official parents, but we wish we could celebrate too. It’s difficult being the only ones from our class (that we know of) having to experience the headache of a trial. We can’t help but feel a bit jealous.
Needless to say though, no matter how the adoption happens, it’s difficult – one family is being torn apart while another is being built up. One couple from our MAPP class did share some of the heart wrenching emotions that went into the signing of the TPR (terminating parental rights) paperwork. The adoptive parents described how they cried with the biological parents and promised to care for their little girl.
Right now we can’t envision having any such moment as the biological father is fighting to keep the children. While K has discussed an open adoption agreement that would allow a couple of supervised visits each year along with pictures and letters, we’re told he refuses to even consider such an offer. While we sympathize with him not wanting to give up, it’s hard to imagine him being equipped to raise his children. He also risks losing all access to the children. The judge could rule to terminate the biological parents’ rights and to not allow any visitation or communication.
Marcy can’t help but wonder how much the fight is about the love he has for his children and how much it is about losing. Perhaps it is a mixture of both. While she doesn’t question that he does, on some level, love his children, how is it that he can’t make a greater effort to see his children. (He has now missed several consecutive scheduled visits with them.) She admits he faces some very real obstacles to making the visits, but to not be able to make a visit in the last month and a half?
Regardless of the reasons for the legal fights, one thing is very clear – these children are loved. We love Sport and Sunshine as much as any parent can, all while trying to stay positive about their relationships with their biological family, who also love them.
While we know the lives of these two adorable and yet troublesome kiddos aren’t normal and are maybe a bit more turbulent than most children their age, we’re giving them all the opportunities kids should have to have fun! In fact, this summer they may have been a bit spoiled with the amount of trips and fun activities that they took part in. We’ve already shared some of the excitement from this summer in previous posts but in the last month or two there’s been even more! There was the YMCA family camp (a boy’s camp that is opened at the end of the summer for one week for families to come and stay and take part in all sorts of camp activities like swimming, boating, sports, arts and crafts and more), tent camping in the White Mountains National Forest, and a Unitarian Universalist beach weekend retreat!
Check out photos from all the fun: