Our Imperfect Lives


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Almost a Year

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:

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Legal Rigmarole

So far there have been a lot of legal steps that have gone into Sport’s and Sunshine’s DCF case and we’re certainly not anywhere close to being done with the courts and the lawyers and the motions and arguments and all the fun legal rigmarole. However, up until this point, none of them had really involved us – but that all changed about two weeks ago.

We received a phone call from our adoption worker who informed us that we needed to speak with the DCF attorney regarding a motion involving the release of our home study. The attorney told us that bio Dad’s attorney wanted to present another adoption option and in order to do so needed to see what other adoption option (us) they would be competing with. We were also told that the other adoption option was to be Sport and Sunshine’s grandmother, so we assumed this was Dad’s Mom and there was a new player in the game. As it turned out, the grandmother referenced in relation to the motion was bio Mom’s mother, who had already been denied by DCF as an appropriate placement. Of course that was little comfort.

After speaking with a few other adoptive parents we learned that it’s pretty common for birth parents to present last minute adoption options either as an attempt to stall the court proceedings or as a hail mary to keep the child or children close and/or in the family.

What was apparently uncommon was the request to have our home study released. No one we’ve talked to about the situation – adoptive parents, foster parents and even our adoption social worker – had any experience with such a request.

Both the DCF attorney and the children’s attorney expressed to us that they would argue against the release of our home study. We don’t know the details of all their arguments, but the children’s attorney argued that any adoption placement proceedings, including the release of our home study, is irrelevant until the termination of the parental rights (TPR).

The TPR arguments were scheduled for the following week.

Now, if the home study was to be released it would be redacted and supposedly never make it into the hands of the bio parents – only their attorneys. Nevertheless the bio parents would find out some of what it says, including that we’re a same sex couple, which we don’t think they knew about prior. And even redacted – it’s a very personal document. The dad’s attorney may not get to see our names, the city we live in or our places of employment but the whole document, all 15 pages of it, is about us. It tells about our coming out stories, our relationships with our families and each other, our decision to start a family through DCF, our thoughts on parenting and more. It’s a pretty deep delve into our lives.

The document is so personal that a couple of the experienced foster/adoptive parents that we asked about this situation were not only surprised, they actually worried that if prospective foster parents knew that their home studies could get released they might reconsider fostering.

The impending release of our home study didn’t change anything for us and while we were far from overjoyed with the idea, we weren’t so distressed that we’d head into court to try and fight it, which was an option. We had nothing to hide. Yes, they would find out we’re a same sex couple, but in our great liberal state of Massachusetts where we lesbians have all the same rights as heterosexuals and legally cannot be discriminated against solely on the premise that we’re lesbians, we’re not too concerned about our “big secret” being let out of the bag. Our only concern with being revealed as a same sex couple was that dad would be distracted by it when visiting with the children or look for petty reasons to complain about the kids’ care simply because he didn’t like us.

A week later the date rolled around for the motion to be heard in front of the judge and the dad’s attorney won. DCF handed over a redacted version of our home study.

The next trip to the court room for the attorneys was on the docket for the following week – at least it was, but the court dates were pushed forward for reasons unknown to us.

We’re not holding our breath for any good news on the legal front. New court dates have been scheduled for Tuesday, June 2Friday, June 19, and Monday, July 8, but time will tell what actually happens on these days. Since it’s in family court the courtroom is closed and we cannot be present. Nor will the kids be present at any time.

We’ll hear about the hearings in the abstract, if we’re lucky. However, if the bio parents agree to relinquish their rights and sign an open adoption agreement, then we’ll be contacted.

As always, we’re trying to keep this from putting too much of a damper on our days. Right now we’re a couple of lucky ladies with two beautiful kiddos living under our roof and while they both drive us a little batty from time to time we love having them in our lives. We’re continuing to show these two nuggets, Sport and Sunshine, what family, love and fun is all about.

The kids joined us for our annual pilgrimage to the cape for Memorial Day weekend and they had a blast! And just in case you don’t believe us, here are a few photos from the beach to give you a glimpse at how awesome the weekend was:

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Legal family or not – boy are we lucky!