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Contested Adoption Support Group

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Contested Adoption Support Group

surviving a contested adoption is one of the most excruciating things that has ever happened to me. i found that only others who have personally experienced this heartache really knew how to support me. we need each other to survive.

Members: 24
Latest Activity: Dec 16, 2013

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Survival Skills 3 Replies

Started by mrs. r. Last reply by Steve Wilhoff Mar 23, 2011.

Thankful for this group...

Started by Grace Aug 25, 2009.

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Comment by Mommy of 2 in Kentucky on March 22, 2011 at 3:33pm
We have a 2 year old daughter. We brought her home from the hospital and she's been with us ever since. Now, we are faced with putative father stopping adoption. We live in KY. Anyone here in our situation?
Comment by Dorothy Rose on April 30, 2010 at 8:13am
My husband and I went throught the foster care system with intent to adopt, awaiting a call for a baby that was most likely adoptable. We knew it was risky and took our baby girl home from the hospital only to soon find out that we had a fight on our hands. Our fight lasted over two years. These are some of the things I did even though I was told "You are only the foster parent and have no rights". It was hard to believe we had no rights when we were the ones who had total care of the baby. I loved my baby so much and was so afraid she would end up in serious harm if she were to go back to the bios and thus began my fight. I guess I just couldn't accept that we had no rights at all and I became very involved in the caseworkers thought proecess as the baby had visits and asked a lot of questions and communicated my own findiings. I also called numerous attorneys but none would have anything to do with us until I came across an attorney in Beverly Hills who seemed interested in our story. We met him and after he looked into the situation (he worked closely with the children's court) he called us only days later and said he would take our case (even though he had never helped "foster" parents before). We learned we could become "defacto" parents after six months of having the child in our home and so we went to court to become "defacto" parents and won that. Our attorney (who let us pay off our debt monthly) said he would never charge another penny even if it went on for years. And so we had him to speak for us in court, to fight for the baby's rights and it was very empowering. We also had a trial and our attorney spoke loud and clear for the truth to be heard and considered because it seemed everyone else had lies to tell. Finally, with clear and convincing evidence, our little girl was freed from the bios (and it was a scary situation). Our daughter is now nine years old and doing fantastic. I remember thinking when she was a baby, the worst thing I want to happen to you is that your hair didn't turn out the way you hoped before you went out or a friend was a dissapointment in school or she needed to work harder to pull her grade up. These are the worst things I could accept happening to this precious human being, not the other possibilities that had my stomach in knots and my body trembling in fear for her life. We are thankful everyday for this attorney who stepped up and changed the course of a little girl's life and gave us hope. We are thankful everyday our daughter is safe with us and such a happy, healthy child. I send the attorney an update on our daughter once a year and since he has helped us, he has helped at least two other foster families fight for the child's right to have a life free from harm and to be loved and cared for. I am proud to say I'm my kid's mom. I hope this empowers others to look for ways to fight for your child.
Comment by jbsmommy on March 9, 2010 at 2:34pm
Dawn- thank you for your comment. It really helped me. I am a single mother who just went through a hideous contested adoption--only to lose my 9 month old daughter. This literally happened to me 5 weeks ago and I am devastated. I had my daughter since the second she was born (I was in the delivery room) and relinquishing her back to her bio parents was hands down the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

I am grieving the loss of JB terribly. I fought with everything I had to keep her--however I had a very pro-birth parent Judge, who made absolutely no bones about which way she was ruling. She made it clear from the beginning--bio parents want her back--she's going back.

I miss JB so much that it's hard to breathe sometimes. I really loved being her Mommy--and miss the life we had built together over the past 9 months.

Your email was very inspiring--and I wanted to thank you for it. I have decided that although this process was painful--I still want to be a mother, and still believe adoption is the most beautiful way to make a family.

I hope that I will find my forever baby soon. But much like you said--JB will ALWAYS be my first child. It was really helpful to hear your story--and know that I am not alone in the hell that is contested adoption.

I wish peace in all of your lives for everyone in this group.
-JBsMommy
Comment by Dawn on March 7, 2010 at 6:00pm
Hello everyone,

Here is my story:

Almost 9 years ago, my husband and I began the adoption process for our first son, who I'm calling "E" for privacy concerns. He was placed with us at birth by his birth mother, and what began as our dream come true soon turned into the most difficult and devastating single thing that ever happened to us when his bio father contested the adoption. After a very lengthy and emotional almost 4 years, and a process of 9 judges, our son was removed from our custody and returned to his birth mother.

In her custody, he was abused, his step father was arrested on child abuse charges,


and "E" was subsequently removed from her and given to his birth father who eventually won full custody.

In the year that followed our heartbreaking loss - which to us was not unlike our only child being kidnapped or dying, my husband and I grieved, cried enough tears to fill an ocean and just felt lost. Our life WAS our son... we wrapped our lives totally around him. We had become parents without a child, and without a purpose, and without much joy. Just empty.

It was about a year after that tragedy that broke us both emotionally and financially, and nearly spiritually, we both began talking about becoming foster parents. We thought that it would be a good place to focus our energy and be able to help children in crisis weather the trauma of being removed from their families. See, we'd learned a thing or two about trauma and loss and grief in children. We knew no child could ever replace E, nor that we could love another the way we loved (and still love) him. We had no intentions of ever, ever going down that painful, traumatic road to adoption again either, although we had a very high profile adoption attorney approach us soon after our loss and offer to do a free adoption. It angered us that anyone could even suggest we just adopt another child even though, looking back, I am sure it was offered out of a sense of compassion. In regard to fostering, we figured we could do our best with whichever children came into our lives and care for them and keep them safe until they could safely go home or to other family, but never dishonor our son's memory by "replacing him" with another child.

We went through a pretty intense licensing process where every aspect of our lives - both public and private - was scrutinized. We were licensed in February 2006, and received a call for two boys on the very day our license was approved. We accepted placement, were very, very nervous, and it was somewhat strange and sad having children in the house that we had shared with our boy. And these children were very difficult, one displaying signs of fetal alcohol syndrome and RAD. We were not prepared for that .at.all but we did the best we could, not being a therapeutic home. It was very, very, very difficult and the older child ended up being split from the younger for safety reasons. When we had a date for the boys to return to their family, we made the decision to take a 30 day break from placements and reflect if foster care was really something we wanted to continue to do, and whether we had jumped the gun on being ready to take on that kind of emotional and physical challenge at all while we were still so wounded ourselves. It was an emotional rollercoaster we weren't prepared for.

One week before the last child was scheduled to return to his family, we got a placement call for a 3 1/2 year old who needed an emergency placement - 30 days maximum. Even though my husband and I had discussed taking that break and were pretty firm on it, something tugged in my heart, and I did not immediately say "no". Instead I called my husband at work and asked him what he thought. He told me "do what your heart tells you to do, and whatever that is, I'm with you on it". So I called placement back up and said "yes".

Four hours later a social worker walked in with the cutest, blue-eyed little boy. He was really scared, but very quiet, standing close by the SW as she was dealing with paperwork. It took some time to get him to go into his new room and play with toys or explore as he was so afraid of what was happening to him, and of us, strangers to him. I felt almost an instant attachment to him that I did not with the other two boys, but I kept it in check and guarded my heart. Without sharing too much of my son's story, it turned out that the 30 days temporary placement became long term. The birth parents rights had already been terminated and he lived with a relative. That relative turned out to have problems as well and was not able/willing to work towards getting him back, but would rather him go into an adoptive home. When the relative realized who the foster parents were (our case with E was very public and we supervised visits) that relative was thrilled that we were who the child was being fostered by. We just by chance happened to see our foster son's profile on the state adoption website as an "available special needs child" and we called the agency immediately. We said WE would be willing to be his adoptive resource as we knew, from dealing with his trauma, loss, emotional and behavioral issues already, another move would be incredibly harmful to him. We had no idea what his status was at that time prior to running across the adoption profile online, and the DCF had no idea that we would consider adoption. It so happened the DCF jumped the gun in advertising him for adoption anyway, as the birth father filed a late appeal of his termination from prison, so we had a year's wait until the appeals court determined if the TPR would be upheld or not. It was.

In that year of waiting for the courts, our foster son became our son, we bonded very tightly with each other, and lived life with adoption as the goal. We never made any promises to him or anything as we knew from past experience, anything can and will happen. We guarded our hearts as best we could, but never really let go and stopped worrying about what would happen to him. We got word that the appeals court upheld the TPR in February 2007. We finalized our son's adoption April 16, 2007. He was nearly 5 years old. It still took another year before we could really feel like he was, in fact, our son and stop looking over our shoulders for someone to come take him away too.

Where once we thought we could never love another child with the intensity of love we have for our first son, we discovered our hearts were big enough to love more than one child, once we took a chance on opening it back up again. You never know what God has planned for you. Now when people ask us how many children we have, we often say TWO... one who lives at home, and one who lives in our hearts.

Never give up.
Comment by Amber Nielson on October 8, 2009 at 2:05am
we have good news the potential birthfather did something extremely stupid the week before our last hearimg that resulted in a termination of his rights, baby boy is legally free for adoption. i know many of you are still waiting for that news and my family is praying for you and I hope you have some great news soon. Thank you for the support, help and love as we traveled this road.
Comment by Amber Nielson on September 17, 2009 at 5:49pm
does a birth parent have to pay for his own attorney or will one be provided for them if they don't have the money?
Comment by mrs. r on September 9, 2009 at 6:22pm
amber...i feel your pain, honey.

we have been waiting for our trial on friday for about a year.

the only comfort i know is:

1. too many projects to distract you
2. lots of diet coke
3. plenty of comfort food
4. a killer attorney
5. lots of prayer.

SO SORRY!!!
Comment by Amber Nielson on September 9, 2009 at 6:19pm
gah...the hearing to accept my son's birthmother's surrender has been pushed back again...we don't know why but I am sure it has something to do with the potential birthfather...I am so disappointed I am just ready to find out what the next step is whether it is a full blown trial or finalization....gah...I hate limbo
Comment by Steve Wilhoff on August 28, 2009 at 9:19pm
We recently completed a 5-year court battle to keep our daughter. It went all the way to the State Supreme Court. Appeals, delays, frustrations...and now we are her full custodial parents...the biological father has visitation (identical to a divorce situation).
I guess I'm just sharing to say that, despite what we've been through, I do NOT now what you're going through. No one does. Your hurts, your fears, your pains are yours. Yes, there's lots of of adoptive parents who are or have struggled with contested adoptions. But it's you, it's personal and it hurts like hell.
I don't think we would have kept our sanity or been able to fight as long as we did without a belief that ultimately, God had it all covered. It didn't turn out exactly as we wanted, but we do have our daughter, and she is our daughter in her heart...and ours.
I'm sorry for anyone who has to walk through this. All I can really offer is this:
God is exactly who he claims to be and you can take him at his word. At the end of the day, when I shake my head and wonder about all the wrongs I see, I take a deep breath, close my eyes and smile. Because, despite it all, God's still good and I'm still his kid.
Comment by Amber Nielson on August 5, 2009 at 6:38pm
so...i am a little frustrated and confused...so the agency hasn't heard anything from the potential birthfather since June...but now there is a court date and it got postponed so the potential birthfather can video conference in which is news to me...so its got me thinking he has hired a lawyer but is unwilling to do a paternity test?...I am so confused and not sure what I should do/think next...I wish that we were kept more in the loop but right now there are at least 4 lawyers that I know of involved and if he has 1 that makes 5...grrrr
I would love to hear a success story right now of someone who has BTDT so I know that it does happen
 

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