Sunday, December 31, 2006

The "D" update

Friends and family,

It has been a month since Roe was given to another family. I have decided to again enlist the informal technology of email to update you on the past months events. The last email worked out vastly better than I could have imagined.

Nov. 5th 2006 – Lara notified me she was leaving me.
Nov. 20th 2006 – Lara left for Oregon, where she will be living.
Dec. 1st 2006 – Roe was given to another family.

After deciding that honesty was the best route in regards to Roe’s adoption and it’s relation to our disintegrating marriage, I began to have second thoughts. Lara, deciding that it would be easier for her to say goodbye to Roe knowing he would be with me then to leave him with two strangers, left as soon as she had made arrangements. Roe and I were able to spend some time alone together. As I mentioned earlier, I was doubting whether, honesty in this matter was the best decision. I struggled with this for several days, because, had we not been honest we would have been able to keep Roe. He would have been raised by both of us, sharing holidays, traveling on the weekends. In the end I decided that was selfishness, and that Roe definitely deserved a better up bringing then one split between two worlds.
A couple of days after Lara left though, I started to think. What if I just raised him? What if I adopted him as a single father? I undoubtedly would be married again in a few years, and financially I was better equipped then most single parents. Legally it would be possible, Lara left the state, I could take care of him in a “Foster” capacity, and then once the divorce was final I could simply adopt Roe. The only problem was the policy‘s of the adoption agency, LDS Family services, which I explained in my first letter. I found myself up at night thinking, “Have I done everything I can here.” Not being able to answer “yes” I called my social worker and told her, “I am not satisfied with this decision, I want to talk to the top guy. The guy who actually makes the final decision. I want to be able to make my case to him as to why I think Roe should remain with me, and then have him tell me no.” My social worker told me that there would be no chance for a different outcome but that she would do what she could. She called me back that day and told me that, to her surprise I would be granted an audience with the Assistant Commissioner the following day.
I arrived ready to sell myself as a single father, with my Parents and Bishop in tow to support me. We sat down in a big conference room and the Assistant Commissioner informed me that the actual Commissioner wanted to join us and hear my case. I was thrilled, as this truly was the top guy. We met for about an hour, and had a tearful and sincere exchange. In the end, the Commissioner, moved by my peculiar situation, tearfully said that “he would need a few days to do some research, to fast and to pray, and that he would ask the Lord to guide him in what was best for Roe.” I had a peaceful feeling come over me for the first time since Lara broke the terrible news to me weeks ago. I felt confident that this man would seek the Lords guidance in this matter, I felt that I could accept the Lords decision, and for the next few days I prayed daily and fasted more than is healthy that I would be able to have faith that the Lords hand was in this. The next few days with Roe were terrific. We had such an opportunity to bond and, I swear that little 6 month old knew far better what was going on than I gave him credit for. He did a great job of making our time together very happy.
We met with the Commissioner to hear the final decision… he stated that he felt strongly that Roe should be placed with another family. I was crushed, with only a faint feeling in my heart that this was the right thing. I didn’t like it, I still don’t. I didn’t agree with the decision, and I still don’t. I do however trust in God, I trust that he loves Roe more than I do. I trust that his hand was in this decision and that this is what he wants. I suppose that if I agreed with the Lord I wouldn’t have to trust him.
The Agency wanted the solution to be swift, and gave me 24 hours. I spent one final night with my son, it was hard. The next day I met Roe’s new parents, they are very nice. We spoke briefly about Roe’s likes, dislikes, schedule, etc. The agency was very sympathetic and granted me whatever time I felt I needed to say goodbye. I said my goodbyes and left. It was awful. I was not prepared. I took the next three days and locked myself in my house; I didn’t answer the phone, the door or anything.

Since my original email, I have purposely been avoiding you my friends and family. I have not answered the phone or the door. I have not responded to your emails, voicemails, or text messages. I would apologize, but I am not really sorry. I do however appreciate those many of you who have tried in spite of my lack of effort. I needed some time to collect my thoughts on the matter. I am happy to inform you that I am finished with that phase of this situation. I’m completely comfortable talking about what happened and expressing what my feelings are… however I would like to take this opportunity to cover most of the main points to cut down on repeated individual conversations. Here are some of my specific thoughts and some conclusions I have thus far come to.

I am having a difficult time composing this portion of the letter –my thoughts and feelings– I can’t seem to figure out how to make it flow properly and I apologize that it may seem bunched and choppy.

About Lara:
I miss Lara desperately. She has become the subject of nearly every sad love song I have ever heard. The rejection I feel has probably hit me harder than anything about this. She is the love of my life, “the one.” It feels pathetic, but in spite of all that happened I still love her. Every time the doorbell rings my hearts skips in hopes that maybe she was back. Regardless of what has happened, and what the future brings I cannot abandon the fact that Lara, up till now has been the focal point of the best 4 years of my life. I have no regrets and if I could go back to the day I proposed to her, knowing what I know now I would change very little, even if I was certain the end result would be the same.
I know what some of you are thinking, especially those close to the situation. I must maintain however that Lara and I cannot be together - ever again… I know that sounds contradictory to what I just wrote, but if Lara were to suddenly change her mind again, and try to come back in to my life now, I could not accept it. I will not allow it. This event has caused a rift that I have thus far decided can not be overcome. With the terrible things that have been said, and the loss of our son, there is no way we could be together again in this life. I do not hate Lara, I am not angry with her. In fact I kind of wish I was it would be much easier to deal with, but because of what I know, I cannot be… I would ask of you, that you trust me when I ask you to bare no malice or distain for Lara. Fault is something to easily thrown around, and though I will not illuminate you as to the reasons she can’t be blamed, believe me when I say this isn’t Lara’s fault. She needs your prayers even more than I do.

About Roe:
This subject is so painful I debate even writing anything. Roe was taken from me against my will. Lara chose to end our marriage, and in effect our family. The only choice I had to make was whether or not to be honest. I will probably struggle with regret over that decision for the rest of my life. After all as a result of that decision, Roe was taken away. I am tired of people comparing me to those noble people like birth mothers who selflessly give their sons up for adoption, or even Abraham from the Old Testament who was willing to sacrifice his son upon the Lords command. I did no such thing. I fought to the last minute to keep Roe. The only other thing I could have done was run to Mexico or something. Obviously I didn’t, but I made it to Spanish Fork one day. As I explained earlier I do not agree with the decision that was made. I feel like my son has died. It is such a painful thought that I can’t even type this sentence without crying. I spend a good 10 to 30 minutes each day just looking a photo’s of him and getting a good cry out, so that it doesn’t catch me off guard later in the day. His adoptive parents and I pretty much have zero in common. He will not become the person he would have with me. His name will be changed and he will be molded by the environment he is raised in like we all are. The boy that would have been will not be, and in that respect he has passed away. It feels worse than a death, it’s more like a never was…
Once again, even with the pain, if I could go back to that fateful two months where we fought against all odds to adopt Roe I would do it without hesitation. I cannot even articulate the immense joy and happiness that he brought into my life. If I could be his father for six months knowing he would be taken, I would do it 1000 times over. It has been the greatest experience in my life

About the future:
Now that I have been completely honest with the way I am feeling… it sounds pretty grim huh? It’s not so bad. I am glad this has happened so close to Christmas and Thanksgiving. For two reasons… the first is simply that it would be rough for this to happen in say May, and then after having six months to put things behind me having to deal with the first Holidays without them. It was nice to get all of that out of the way in the first month of mourning. The second reason is because it has given me an opportunity to reflect on the fact that in spite of all that is happening to me, there are many many people on this planet less fortunate than I. Probably a larger percentage of people than we like to admit, deal with things that make even my current problems pale in comparison.
I am sad to say that I am not extremely confident that things will get better, that I will be happy, and find love again. Everyone says I will though, and I know a lot of people who have been divorced or lost a child that have. Even though I can’t see it happening, it probably will. So I am happy to pretend that that is the truth. In fact I am going to pretend that this whole business happened six months ago. I have already spent two months in misery; it has to be over… I am not getting any younger and have come to truly value time. Time definitely won’t wait for me to feel better. When you and I speak, I will be pretending and hope you can respect that. You will say “How you doing?” I won’t say “Depressed, heartbroken, and lonely.” I will say “good!” I implore you not to press me there and say something like “No, John, really how are you?” After all I think I laid it out pretty clearly in this letter. Just pretend with me, I am not talking about hiding it away and never discussing it, but just acting like it is old news, like it happened six months or a year ago. I think that will make things much less awkward for the both of us.
One other request I have, please, please, please don’t feel like you have to walk on eggshells around me. Example: You have a young son, we are hanging out, and you say “Yesterday boy was so cute, I am so glad to be a father— then you go and apologize, thinking that you have just stuck your foot in your mouth. I’m not kidding this is the most irritating sort of thing. I am not a 2-dimensional character in some bad movie that is going to furrow my brow and never forgive you for surfacing such unbearable pain. You cannot hurt my feelings, say the wrong thing, offend, or make me feel bad for myself. In fact, as I mentioned before humor is just the medicine I respond most effectively too.
I am done being alone. Please call me, come over. I am going to move on, ready or not, and realize I can’t do it alone. Just be aware that I am not quite ready to be set up with your attractive-independently wealthy-culinary minded-happy to clean up after me-witty-single (female) friends just yet. I would suggest you not want to be the first in line anyway, undoubtedly the first two or three girls I go out with wont stand a chance and will only help to enable me to get over my marriage. Just good solid friendship will do for now.

One final point I would like to mention. Today is the last day of the year 2006. As I review my 2006, obviously it has been the worst year of my life… but I can’t let that over shadow the fact that it has also absolutely been the best year of my life. I was happily married, became a father, bonded with my son, and was living the dream. If I count the good days and the bad, I am at 307 good 58 bad. That’s 84% good! as I mentioned before that’s probably better than most people can say. That’s definitely better than I did in High School. I am a very lucky man, lucky to have all of you there for me and not to have to go through this alone. I apologize for keeping you all at arms length. I feel a little selfish because I know that Lara and Roe were a big part of many of your lives’. I know that this is a big loss for you too, and that maybe you are having a hard time coping… If there is anything I can do, don’t hesitate, I want you to know that if you need to talk about it I am all ears, I can’t imagine what you are going through and want you to know that I am praying for you… seriously, if you need anything… seriously…

Again pass this on, the more people that read it the less I have to repeat it.

Tomorrow is a new year, a new beginning. I intend to make the most of it.



PS: My home is incredibly messy, I have not made a single effort to clean since losing Roe… if you are planning on just stopping by and have a high opinion at all about me and my cleanliness, you may want to rethink coming over… cleaning up is part of the new beginning so give me a few days if that matters to you. If not, I won’t be embarrassed so consider yourself welcome and warned.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The "D" notice

Friends and Family,

Lara and I are getting divorced.

I have chosen to make you aware of this in this way for many reasons. Mostly because I do not want to relay the information hundreds of times myself, and because frankly I’d rather not talk about it anymore. Other reasons for the blanket email will become evident in the course of the letter. I apologize to those of you who think you deserve a more intimate disclosure. I know this is sudden… and shocking. For me too, I have only known our marriage was in jeopardy for 12 days. Below is what I will tell you about the situation.

- This decision is final
- Lara is leaving me.
- She told me on November 4th
- She has determined through a series of personal experiences that she no longer loves me and questions whether or not she ever did.
- There was no infidelity.
- There was no abuse.
- The decision is not mutual.
- Everything that could be said to change Lara’s mind has been said, in the last many days we have met with our Bishop, Stake President, Marriage Counselor, Social worker, Parents, and a few friends who all have attempted to change Lara’s mind or even persuade her to give our marriage another six months with heavy counseling… she has made up her mind.
- We are going to lose our son whom we adopted 6 months ago.
- There is a six month supervisory period required by law when a child is adopted; this period is a minimum of six months.
- During the 6 month period birth parents have signed away their rights completely and the adoption agency is the legal guardian of the child.
- We were 10 days away from finalization of the adoption in which Roe would have legally become our son.
- Because we are to be divorced we become ineligible.
- He will remain in our care until shortly after Thanksgiving.
- Once a new family is chosen he will be given to them as his new parents.
- Lara is moving back to Oregon to live with her sister and she is leaving tomorrow morning.
- I will be caring for Roe until the adoption agency makes their decision.
- We have already met with a divorce mediator and divided our possessions and assets. Lara is filing for divorce on Monday and it will be official as soon as a judge sees the case.
- I’m not planning on moving out of the house anytime soon.

In light of all that is going on I wanted to mention a thing or two about my feelings, and the etiquette that might be assumed in this situation.
First of all in regards to Lara. Her reasons for what she is doing are her own. I do not want to be asked about details as to why she left or made the decisions she did make. (not to say that I wont volunteer some info sometime) I will say that I have been hurt more by this and her than I ever imagined possible. I will also say that I do not agree with her reasoning at all. However what’s her business is her business, and I would ask of you that whether or not you agree with her that you respect her. You can call her anytime and ask her yourself, if she feels compelled to talk to you then you can find out more – but I will note that she has two versions of her story, one is bull and the other true. One is her justification and the other her reason, she will not tell you both; it will be one or the other.
I don’t agree with my soon to be ex-wife that everything happens for a reason. I think that this is a choice she has made, not fate, and it’s a really really bad choice. A choice that leaves me without any choices. I have no say as to whether or not she stays and no say as to whether or not Roe gets taken away from us. These are all consequences of her choice. I feel very much like a victim and it hurts, really bad. I do have one choice though and I have faith that things will get good again. My whole world fell apart in two weeks and I don’t know how long it will take to rebuild it but I know that I will. I have faith that Roe will go somewhere where he will have all the opportunities he would have had if he was my son… and that’s all you’re going to get, I really don’t want to talk about my feelings with any of you and hopefully that’s okay. Last night I was able to sleep soundly for the first time because I know for certain that I did everything I could to save this marriage.
Regarding the etiquette that you may think is required when dealing with your divorced friend. I know that this situation sucks, I know you feel terrible, I know how sorry you are, I know you wish there was something you could do or say, and I know that if I need anything or if there is anything that you can do all I have to do is ask. So please don’t tell me that… especially over and over again. I don’t need pity, I just need support, and as my friends and family I already know that you will do a great job of supporting me in this trial. If you feel like you have to say something, remember that I am a funny guy and seldom serious. I would prefer some loving mockery like “It’s not like she didn’t know you were ugly when she married you.” or “look on the bright side at least you can sleep with your dogs again.” Please keep the slander in reference to me though. I still love Lara and may have difficulties with you making fun of her. So I reserve that right to be the only one making slanderous comments about Lara, at least for the next year or so.
One final note, I know how gossip works… oh yes, and this is some juicy info too. I would ask that you not spread rumors especially if you heard something second hand from someone else, because I doubt you heard it from Lara or me and if you didn’t it could very well be out of context or untrue. Instead print out or forward this letter on to whomever and it should do the trick. I would prefer that too because that is less people I will have to awkwardly inform, that somehow didn’t find out. You know, I could avoid comments a year from now like, “Hey John how about you bring your wife and son over and we can have dinner sometime”. So what I am saying is, anything in this letter is fair game. Spread the word, spread it like you’re a Mormon Relief Society President and the Bishop just did something really bad. However anything more or less than what is in this letter is gossip. Cruel, ignorant, and uninformed gossip. If you feel unsatisfied with the reasons or the what, where, why, and who, with the whole story, my reply is - that is because it is not your business. Keep Lara, Roe, and me in your prayers for the next little while, we are going to need all the God we can get. Thank you for being there for me as I know you all will.


Here are answers to some questions I have heard most from those who have heard what is going on.

1) Couldn’t you just pretend to be married for a couple more weeks so you wouldn’t lose your son?
Certainly, that option was fought over and discussed at great length. However in the long run we determined that honesty was the best choice and that should there be an opportunity to keep Roe we would have done our best to raise him.

2) Did you ask the adoption agency if you could adopt him yourself?
Yes. The agency we went through is “LDS Family Services” and they have a very clear policy about adoption that they make all parties aware of in the very beginning. That is, that there mission is to place all children in a family where they will have a Mom and a Dad, who they can be sealed to in the Temple. So it would be impossible for me to adopt him as a single father, after all, they are the Boy’s legal guardian.

3) Have you thought about taking the adoption agency to court to fight for Roe?
Yes. In moments of weakness (of which there have been many) I entertained fighting legally for Roe. Aside from the hypocrisy of trying so hard to convince the Birth Mother and Birth Father in the beginning that Roe deserved to grow up in a family with both Parents at home. I spoke to a few attorneys whose advice was all very similar, “yes, you can make a case for the child, but it will cost you thousands and your chances of winning are less than 10 percent.”

4) What about having someone in your Family adopt Roe?
The hardest part of all of this is realizing that Roe is priority number one. The agency wants a solution quickly; it could take months to approve someone who is not already in their system. They want to find a family who is ready and waiting, which can take custody of him

5) What about the Birth Parents?
The agency has already made them aware of what is going on, and they are allowing the Birth Mother to be the main voice in choosing the Family that will eventually take Roe.

6) Will Roe Ulysses Maxim’s name stay the same?
That is up to his new parents. In fact, his name legally is not changed until finalization. Since we never got there, his name technically is Bryson Lee, what his birth Mother named him. I will always refer to him as Roe though, but imagine that his new parents already have a name ready for him.

7) Will you get to keep in contact with the new Parents, and get updated on how Roe is doing?
No. That courtesy is extended to the Birth Parents and not to us. Which is one of the hardest parts about this. It’s as if I will be coping with divorce and the death of a child at the same time.

8) Can we see Roe this week and say goodbye?
Yes. Feel free to stop by. I will be taking the week off work next week to spend as much time with him as possible and would be fine with visits.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: The End

We arrived at the LDS Family services building today to already find everybody there. My Parents, Nikki’s Parents, the caseworkers, Nikki, Aaron, Aaron’s girlfriend, and Aaron’s girlfriends friend. It was nothing short of a full house. Sometime was spent passing Roe around and letting everybody hold him and love him. Then Nikki wanted a little more alone time with him which we gladly granted. We all kind of hung out with Aaron and his family in the waiting room for about half an hour making small talk and pleasantry’s. Then our case worker Sharon came out and asked Lara and I and my Parents to join her in a conference room. We went unsuspecting of any bad news and Sharon dropped a bomb. Nikki was having second thoughts. You know that sick feeling you get when you see the lights of a police cruiser on behind you while speeding? Multiply that by 100 and you’ll have a glimpse of how I felt in that moment. The problem? Luckily Nikki wasn’t thinking that she wanted to not adopt at all, she just wanted to change the deal a little bit. Nikki desperately wants to be a part of the baby’s life as he grows up. I remember specifically that she asked us how we would handle that issue. Lara and I told her then that I thought that a child really and truly becomes conscious of what’s going on when they are 2, and that we would be fine with meeting her and allowing her to visit him two or three times a year, but that after he turned two, that we would want those visits to end. Me and Lara’s position is that we not only want the boy to not be confused or have confusion around him, but that it will be easier for Nikki to let go and move on with her life with less contact. It’s really nice to be married to a woman who has been in Nikki’s shoes through all of this. It gives us a perspective I think would be impossible to have without Lara’s insight. Anyway, after being told we were the ones Nikki had chosen, she agreed to the two years. Today she is rescinding that agreement and trying to get us to agree to something more. Today! Minutes from when she is supposed to be signing her rights over to us. I was livid! Lara tells me that Nikki is stressed out with the regular taxing effects of post-pregnancy, the stress of constantly fighting with Aaron, and most importantly coming to terms with adopting out her son. Sharon (our caseworker) was advising me all kind of things about how lots and lots of kids have prolonged exposure to their birth parents, and how there are new studies that showed it was healthy and stuff like that… which was all contrary to what Lara and I had read and even what we learned when we went through those foster care classes. I felt like she was working on commission or something and that she would say anything to get this through. Lara had this look of concern on her face that I will never forget, I knew what was going through her head, “What if this doesn’t happen?” “What if Nikki changes her mind.” Lara thought we should rethink it. I did not. My parents were very supportive but both of them made it clear that they thought we should just take the path of least resistance. Sharon was all for the change. I did not like it, not at all. The truth is, that there are no agreements in writing about our obligation to the birth parents after they sign their rights over to the adoption agency. We could promise Nikki the world, and then never speak or even write a letter to her and there would be nothing she can do. No one said it out loud but I felt like it was implied that on this point we should do something of that nature. I was so angry… I am embarrassed to say how angry I was. I felt like I was being hustled or strong-armed into doing something I wasn’t comfortable with. At the time I just thought Nikki had lied to us the whole time fully planning on doing this at the last minute – though looking back I don’t think that was true at all. I didn’t know what to do, Lara suggested my Dad give us a blessing. She’s great like that. We sat in the conference room, my parents, and my wife. Lara and I held hands as my Dad laid his hands, one on mine and one on Lara’s head and gave us a blessing. It was really hard to focus on what he was saying, as my mind just spun with what I was going to say to Nikki. I specifically remember however these words, “Heavenly Father has a plan for your family and he knows that you are ready to raise one of his children, I bless you with the wisdom to that the right way.” That was it for me, it was like an answer. The look on Lara’s face was 180 degrees from what it was prior to the blessing. Lara and I met alone for a few minutes and we just decided that we were going to stick to our original agreement because we both honestly thought that was best for Roe. We went and met with Nikki, in another room, her case worker and her Mom were there. She was holding Roe and told us the same thing Sharon did. I told Nikki that we were not comfortable with that, I said something to the effect of, “You picked us for this adoption because you think that we will do the best for your Son in any situation. If this is our first act as his parents then I am telling you the truth, we don’t think it is a good idea to agree to visits after he is two. Maybe two years from now we will think differently and I want you to trust us, trust that we will let you see him if at the age of two we think that is best for him. We could tell you right now what you want to hear and then just do whatever we want. You know all about that, that is what your Sister went through. So we are being completely honest with you now, and hope that by us being honest you can trust we will always do what is in Roes best interests.” It worked, she agreed to sign the paperwork and did. I was a little triumph that wasn’t at all satisfying… We meant every word of it though, and I am way more comfortable being completely upfront about all this. We said goodbye to everyone, I think I hugged pretty much everyone there twice and a few of them three or four times. Finally it was over, we overcame obstacle after obstacle to the very freaking end. Now the only thing we had to do was make it past the next six months without either of us dying! That is the only conceivable obstacle that could take him away from us. Roe was strapped in and asleep in the backseat of our car, Lara and I sat there for a moment or two both looking like we had just had the longest day of our life. We hugged and started kissing, we made out over the car console for a minute or two like we did when we were dating. It was pretty much one of the greatest moments of my life thus far. And then, we, me and my family, drove home.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: Dizzy

Yesterday, we went to the hospital to take Roe home. It was the most bittersweet experience of my life. Nikki, was having a really really hard time letting him go. I cannot blame her, seriously. I am a way more selfish person then she is and were our situations switched this adoption wouldn’t even be happening. I think this was also the first time that I have actually looked up to someone younger than me. We gave her as much time as she needed and Lara and Nikki were connecting on a plain I could never ascend to. There was much crying from all of us it was really really hard. Finally, we drove home with a baby! I was so overcome with emotion I was dizzy and having a difficult time driving home. If it weren’t for the slight stress of having Aaron and his family opposed to this arrangement I probably would have passed out with Joy. On that matter, we got a call from Aarons Sister. She explained that her and her mother really wanted to see they’re Grandson/Nephew. With all that had gone on in the past months, I did not think this was a good idea. However, I felt terrible even thinking of depriving them of this opportunity. So we arranged a meeting. I told them I thought it should be in a public place and they suggested the Arby’s in Murray. We went there tonight. I was really nervous, legally this child was more theirs than mine. Nikki and her Mom were certain that this woman was crazy, what if she tried something, what if they had people waiting around to jump us and take the boy. I decided to take some precaution, I called my best friend Cameron who lives only two houses down from me and is a probation parole officer who had access to a state vehicle. I suggest to him a plan, that he would arrive a little bit before us off to the side of the road nearby the Arby’s. That he would turn on the flashing lights in the state car and just sit there. Then Lara and I would arrive and meet with them. I told Cameron that I would call him as soon as we entered the Arby’s and leave my phone on with it in my pocket so that he could hear if anything was amiss. My reasoning behind this was that with a police car so close by if they were planning something dastardly, that they would forgo their plans for fear of being caught. We executed this plan exactly as described, and it worked perfectly. Except that after meeting Aarons Mom and Sister I realized that my fears were completely unfounded and that my genius little plan was taking things incredibly overboard. Were they to find out the lengths I went to I think I would be embarrassed. They were extremely pleasant and cordial. It was possibly the best thing that could have happened. We met for just under an hour, they took some pictures and we exchanged emails. Aarons Mom said she would let Aaron decide what he was going to do, and even apologize for being so “meddlesome.” She told us that Aaron had told her that day that he was going to allow us to adopt and that he wanted to be there when the handoff was made. We were so worried about this meeting tonight, we almost didn’t let it happen. Had we given into fear and not done the right thing, I don’t think that this would be happening the way that it is. I can see Lara is in the other room with our son, she is singing softly to him and swaying as she feeds him. Tomorrow is going to be a big day, we will get full guardianship, Nikki’s in and now Aaron is too. It makes me cry to think about all of the miracles that have gotten us to this point. I never cry.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: Email Announcement

At approximately 5:30pm today “Roe Ulysses Maxim” was born. A healthy 8 lb 5 oz baby boy.

Most of you may be asking, "John, I didn’t think your wife was pregnant…" well, as many of you may or may not know we have been looking to adopt for some time now, and finally it seems to have worked out. We will definitely be bringing this child into our home, and though we have a few small trials and battles still to face we are confident enough that things will work out, to make this announcement.

I also wanted to briefly apologize to everyone; this has been a very stressful and time consuming endeavor. So we apologize to friends, associates, and clients, for being a little out of it lately.

Stay tuned for an in depth explanation of all that has transpired over the last many weeks.

Just thought you would all like to know, Love you all.

John Maxim
(801) 541-0849

The Adoption Chronicles: The Birth

Today, I didn’t go into work. Lara and I went to St. Mary’s Hospital to hopefully witness the birth of our new son. We spent almost the whole day there; I can’t even explain how lucky we are to be here I doubt that many adoptive parents get this chance. I worked on a blanket that I was crocheting for the little guy. Nikki, her Mom, and her Sister, along with Lara and I were there all day. With me crocheting I was just like one of the girls. It was good to be able to spend that much time with Nikki. We mostly just talked all day about things. Nikki really doesn’t love the name Roe. She wants to name the baby Bryson. So it was a little awkward every once in a while because Lara or I would refer to him as Roe, and Nikki would refer to him as Bryson. A couple of times it was almost like a competition, as though the last one who said the name would get to be right. After lunch Lara and I talked about it and decided we would just call him Bryson. We decided that this was Nikki’s time with him. After spending the day with them I felt certain that this was going to go off without a hitch. Nikki was induced sometime in the morning, but it was taking forever. But after being there all day she finally went into labor… I remember “The Simpson’s” were on the TV, and Lara stood and held one of Nikki’s legs. Nikki had invited me to watch the actual birth, but I wasn’t really comfortable seeing what one see’s when they witness a birth. I was fine just being in the room, not able to see all the gory details. I sat off to the side; there was a lot of commotion, a lot of coaching from the Doctor. Nikki was in pain, but it wasn’t anything like what they show on TV. It happened pretty fast, it was very much a blur. I first saw Roe amidst a forest of adult arms and legs. I stood up to actually see. His tiny gray body seemed lifeless to me, and for a moment I was very concerned, I thought he was dead. The doctor massaged his body violently, I remember thinking if Roe wasn’t dead he would be they way they were handling him… but to my surprise he suddenly started to cry. And his teeny body turned flesh colored really fast. The nurses quickly cleaned him up and Lara got to cut the umbilical cord. They put him in a little tray, and then I’m not sure what happened for the next little while. Lara and I stood there watching him and we both cried. It was… literally, it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. This little person just like came to life. He hardly cried at all, he was wide eyed and just contently looking around. The sensation was overwhelming. I was able to collect my emotions, and notice Lara had already stopped crying. We didn’t say a lot, we just smiled at each other. I got to hold him a little while later. I was nervous, he seemed so fragile, and I was afraid he would cry once I had him or something, but it went really well. Nikki hogged him though, and I can’t blame her for that. We left about an hour ago (8:00pm) and even knowing that he is over in the hospital makes this possibly the most surreal night of our marriage. Nikki is going to keep him at the Hospital as long as her insurance will allow, which means till Tuesday morning. The plan for now is that we will be taking him home then. We did it!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 30

Nikki’s doctor will be inducing her tomorrow morning! This thing is really going to happen. Nikki has invited us to be there when it happens. I am so nervous this is like the biggest Christmas Eve ever! A couple weeks ago Lara and I decided on a name. We want to call him Rowe Ulysses Maxim. I want to spell the name Roe, and Lara wants to spell it Rowe… we’ll see what happens. I’ll tell you later where it all comes from, but let’s get back to the birth. I can’t believe we are actually going to get to be there. I hope Aaron comes and that he just decides its okay for us to adopt his son. That would really make my day.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 29

Let’s break it down. Nikki is having a baby in the next week. She has chosen me and Lara to be the adoptive parents of her son. Aaron, the birth Father even though he liked us has not said “yes” you can adopt. His Mother who is really the decision maker is seriously opposed to the adoption and is telling her son, Aaron, that she and he will legally fight to stop it. It is the opinion of Nikki, the Birth Mother, Nikki’s Mother, and the mediator the met with a week ago that 17 year old Aaron is apathetic about the whole thing and were his Mother left out of the situation that he would simply sign over the rights and let us adopt. Nikki, will not allow them to adopt. She has decided that should Aaron and company fight the adoption that she will let us take guardianship during the legal process. Which could take anywhere from six months to two years. I have gotten everything ready for us to fight Aaron’s family for the right to adopt the child. If we end up having to go that route the adoption agency, LDS Family Services, will not help us or even handle the adoption. This means that all of the work we have done would be in vain. The Home Study, which we have already paid for, is specific only to LDS Family Services. So we would have to order another Home Study, and do the process privately through an attorney. On top of the costs of the legal battle which have been bid at between 10 and 20 thousand dollars the adoption itself would be another 13 thousand. Lara and I have made the commitment to fight no matter what the cost. Regardless this is all hanging on by a very thin thread.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 28

Today was fast Sunday. My whole family and Lara and I fasted for this adoption to work out. I threw in a bunch of thanks for last nights little adventure. I found out that the girl who was drunk driving didn’t die, which was a relief. I also felt good about the adoption. That little boy is supposed to be born any day now. With how easily it dawned on me yesterday that I take my wife for granted I realized today that I take all kinds of things for granted. I won’t bore you with the bulk of it, but I definitely haven’t thought much about Fatherhood. I have been so focused on getting the baby, I haven’t spent anytime thinking about what’s gonna happen when he’s here. Am I really ready for this, granted it’s a little late for second thoughts, but this is going to be a big responsibility. I’m excited fatherhood, that’s been evident for years… for the first time, I’m a little nervous.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 27

Tonight was crazy! Lara and I had gotten into a fight about something trivial in the morning. We didn’t take care of it early in the day, we just let it fester. She had planned to go see a movie with Nikki and April this evening. I planned on playing video games while they were at the movie, something I haven’t been able to do for a really long time. Well, apparently I had over charged our bank account when I was at Wal-Mart the night previous. Lara called because the debit card was not working, but I was on the phone with my Dad cause I missed his birthday yesterday, and I didn’t switch over. She left an irritated message, and since I was being an idiot, I just thought to myself, “April can spot her the money.” The night went on and I was feeling really relaxed, I was having a good time playing Nintendo. At about 10 the phone rang, I could tell by the ring that it was Lara. I was at a part in the game that was paramount to its successful completion, so I didn’t answer, and I just planned on calling her back. I forgot. The phone rang again about 15 minutes later, it was Lara, I answered.
JOHN: Hey, Babe.
LARA: The car is out of gas, and we don’t have any money on our card. I need a ride. What have you been doing all night?
JOHN: Can’t you just borrow some money from April.
LARA: (yelling) I already borrowed money from her to go to the movie. Do you know how embarrassing that is? What are you doing? You better be getting in the car right now to come get me.
(I was still sitting in my banana chair)
JOHN: I’m headed out the door where are you?
LARA: (frustrated to the point of almost crying) I’m at the chevron by the theater. Where have you been, why haven’t you answered the phone. Nikki and April went home and I got stuck at this terrible gas station, and I’ve been here for 20 minutes what have you been doing?
(Like an idiot I tell the truth)
JOHN: I was playing Nintendo.
(There was silence)
LARA: (Screaming) Hurry up!
(Then she hung up)
I got dressed and got in the car to go meet up with her. When I pulled into the Chevron, she didn’t even get out of her car, she just sat there. I started pumping gas and walked around to the driver’s side window to talk to her. The door was locked. I tried talking to her through the window, but she just kept looking forward. I said, “I know I deserve this but would you please talk to me so I can apologize.” In response she turned to look at the gas meter to see how much longer she would have to wait before she could leave. I gave up and was kind of mad, though in retrospect I probably didn’t have any right to be. No sooner had I shut the gas door she started the car and without a word sped off. I got into my car, a little upset and tried to catch up with her. My hopes were that I would be able to get home as close as possible to when she got home so that I could try and calm her before we went to bed. You know, the whole “never go to bed angry” advise that everyone likes to give out at weddings. So anyway I am driving on the freeway, and its dark out. I think I see what appear to be her car a few lengths ahead of me. I hang back a little bit because I don’t want her to see me following and speed home faster or something. After a couple of minutes off in the distance, I see what appears to be headlights’ coming strait at me. I saw cars ahead of me swerving to get out of the way, but I distinctively thought, “there’s no way a car is coming at us.” Then before I can react or even think about it further I see the two cars in front of Lara’s swerve and she had no time to react. I see her car slam head on into the on coming car. All I could discern was that the force of the collision swung the back of her car into the air to where I could see the whole bottom of the car. I slammed on my breaks and the horror of what just happened sunk in. I pulled over and was about to get out of my car to run over and see how everyone was doing, but I noticed car after car speed right at the wreck and then dangerously swerve to avoid hitting them again (keep in mind this all happened in less than a minute. It was like 11:45 at night, so traffic wasn’t terrible, but I reversed my car and then when the opportunity presented itself I pulled my car into the same lane as the wreck about 100 yards back, stopped, flipped on my hazards and got out of my car and ran towards the wreck. My thinking was that it would be better for someone to hit an empty car then to hit the one that had my wife who was probably already seriously injured in it. As I ran toward the wreck I noticed for the first time that this car was not my wife’s car, it was a pick up truck, and it was nothing close to my wife’s car. I was as overjoyed as I could be under the circumstances. Lara hadn’t been hit after all. I was the first to arrive at the scene, and this part is weird. As I run up to the truck the driver climbs out of the window and who is it but my best friend from middle school Phoumixay Chounlamany. I say hi to him and we both marvel for a second at the fact that we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other for two years, and that we would meet in this way of all ways. He then goes to help his passenger out of her seat too. Both cars are pretty destroyed and I am amazed that Phoum and his lady friend just walked away. The driver was not so lucky. I went over to see if she was okay. She was totally out of it but awake. She was trapped under the steering wheel and had hit her head pretty severely. There was blood everywhere. She saw me and reached out to me and called me Jeff. I tried to talk to her and keep her coherent; I was kneeling by her car, a late 90’s brown Ford Contour, holding her hand through the driver’s side window. I tried asking her her name? She looked at me and her mouth tried to form some words but her response was an incoherent groan. Her eyes were spinning like she was drunk or dizzy. I said its going to be okay and then her head, which was holding itself up until now, flopped violently to the side, and her hand went limp. I tried to check for a pulse to see if she had died. I could only feel my own pulse pumping… I couldn’t tell, I had this horrible pit in my stomach I thought she died right there as I held her. I tried to arouse her, but she didn’t move. The Highway Patrol should up then and started debriefing everyone. To cut the story down, the block the whole freeway and had Life Flight land directly on the freeway to take her to the hospital. As I was giving my report the Highway Patrolmen told me he didn’t think she was going to make it but that she was definitely alive when he got there. Apparently she was drunk, and got on the freeway at 600 S going the wrong way. She had traveled nearly 24 blocks before hitting my friend Phoum. I had tried to call Lara, through out this experience which took an entire hour from the time it happened to when I got to start driving home. She was not answering. I was really concerned because the Officer also told me that three cars had ran into the cement medians in an effort to miss the on coming car, and that all of them had been taken to the hospital. There was about 60 seconds where I thought Lara had been hit by a car and it was perhaps the most terrible experience of my life. I drove home hoping she wasn’t one of the three who had wrecked. When I pulled up to the house I saw her car parked out front. I started to cry. I came in side and she was asleep. I woke her up and told her the whole story. Luckily she forgave me for the days events. I had to write this down because I have never been so aware of how much I love that woman! I have been taking her for granted, I would do anything for her, she is the only thing that really makes me happy in life. I hope I read this story and that I can remember the feeling I had running from my car towards what I thought was hers. I love my wife. I love her!

Friday, May 5, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 26

We went to Applebee’s today to meet Aaron the baby’s father. I did not feel like Nikki had represented him in a very accurate light. This boy of 17 was very concerned with the welfare of his son. He was asking very adult questions and really showed me genuine concern that the best thing for his son happen. Sure he was very arrogant; he showed up with his girlfriend and was dressed much like other 17 year olds of the time. I remember when I was 17 I thought that I ruled the world. This kid was no different than me. Aaron explained that he was not opposed to adoption, but that he wanted to be part of his boy’s life. He didn’t understand why Nikki wouldn’t entertain adopting within their own families. Of course, I am obviously biased, but I think that that is a fairly valid or at least understandable position for one to make in this situation. One thing is definitely for sure, Aaron was not being unreasonable. I felt really good about our meeting. I think we made a pretty good connection, I think it helped that there were only 10 years between us and we had a lot of similar tastes and likes. He didn’t make a decision one way or the other, but some good ground was broken. He and Nikki are meeting with another family too today. Speaking of being arrogant when I was 17, Right now, at age 28, I am feeling pretty confident that we are cooler than the other couple they are going to be meeting with, so maybe Aaron and I have more in common then I think. Nikki, called Lara tonight and said that Aaron really liked us. She said that she thought the other couple was “weird” and Aaron thought they were “boring.” Unfortunately even though it seemed like we won the contest, Nikki said that Aaron still “wanted to not decide.”

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 25

I can’t sleep. My wife and I are planning on adopting this little baby boy within the week, and we aren’t even sure it’s going to go through. If this was a regular old boring adoption, I am sure there would still be uncertainties. I know I have heard that some girls change their mind at the last minute, and right now I would welcome that being the biggest concern. I can’t pray enough to have this work out for the best. I keep trying to pray for the baby’s best interests. I know deep down what I want. What my wife wants. It can’t be wrong for me to ask for this adoption to work out despite the monumental obstacles. I do concede to the Lords will, especially because I recognize that alone I cannot get this done. So I guess what I am saying is that if God would rather we learn from the loss (which is what it would be) of this child in our lives, rather than having us adopt and raise this child… well then I will accept that and attempt to grow… I am not praying for it though. “Ask and you shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you” right? It doesn’t say “Ask for what you want but end every sentence with - whatever you want will be cool Lord” That seems more like lacking in faith. Anyway I am rambling in my own journal. I just look at this situation and think that if this doesn’t workout it will be seriously discouraging to both me and my wife. Ugh, I need to go to sleep! Tomorrow, or rather today, is a big day, we are meeting Aaron. I’ll try and read my scriptures - that always knocks me out.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 24

Nikki’s due date is coming up really fast, and still nothing is exactly certain. The rift between Nikki and Aaron seems to be unsurpassable. They hadn’t spoken really since the mediation; I seriously doubted that choice when Nikki called today with some news. She said that Aaron called her out of the blue, and wanted her to meet with this family that works with his Mom. Nikki agreed to the meeting so long as Aaron would meet with us. This made me very excited. I knew that Lara and I always made good impressions I figured it was the only chance we still had. Nikki could have her baby at any moment. We set the meeting up for tomorrow.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 23

Nikki, Aaron and there Moms have met a total of three times since Thursday. Nothing has been accomplished. The mediator met with them separately and together and they all spent hours in “a waste of time” as Nikki puts it. She is supposed to have her baby in two weeks or less. I just don’t know anymore. LDSFS got the last bit of our information today and aside from our final home study visit we are ready to go.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 22

Today, the birth parents of our hopeful new son met for 6 hours. My friend Russell who is a member of my ward and also on my soccer team acted as the mediator. Because of his license and the ethics that go along with it, he couldn’t give me a lot of information, he simply said that it did not go well, and that they would have to meet again. Nikki and her Mom were full of info though. It was the same story - Aarons Mom was as they put it “unreasonable and belligerent.” Russell did tell me in confidence that he thought that Aarons Mother was the definitely the driving force behind their objections. Nikki was pretty pessimistic about it, and I couldn’t blame her. Six ours without making any headway had to be frustrating. Aarons Moms position is simply that she wants the baby raised by someone in her family either her or someone else in her family. Nikki's position was that rather than have the baby raised by them that she would raise him herself. The impasse is really discouraging to me. How can I really take either side in good conscience? I know what I want, I know how I have felt as I have prayed about it. I don’t know however that the way I think things should play out is the right way. I am more discouraged today then I have been through this whole process. My sweet wife reminded me that we were deferring all of the things we couldn’t control to the Lord. Even though I know she is right, it’s hard to continue in that faith when the odds against us keep getting bigger and bigger.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 21

I have been so absent from everything else in our lives because of this adoption fiasco we are experiencing. Lara has been so supportive and so optimistic. Though I have been the mouthpiece and ambassador of “us” in this whole adoption process I could not have done it with out her. She is such a wonderful person, she makes me so happy. For the first time today I realized if none of this works out, if we are unable to adopt that I would be happy living the rest of my life with just Lara. Today we started wondering if Danger would still be the best name for him, we have a hard time coming to an agreement on that, but we’ll get the baby first and then welcome the stress of naming him. Tomorrow, Nikki and Aaron and their Moms will be going to mediation to discuss their positions, I can’t sleep tonight I can only think about the many endings tomorrows meeting may have.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 20

A good friend of mine is a divorce mediator. At church today, I was explaining to him the many issues that we were dealing with and he suggested we have Nikki and Mom and Aaron and Mom go to a mediation to discuss this. As he explained it to me I got very excited. I called both Nikki and Aaron and discussed with them the idea and they agreed to it. They are going to meet on Thursday, and hopefully we will have a peaceful resolution to this problem, and more hopefully it will involve me and Lara adopting.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: The Letter


Hi, this is John, the hopeful adoptive parent of your soon to be born son. I wanted to write you a quick letter, from one man to another. I don’t envy the position you are in, 16 and already faced with some pretty hard life choices. I bet it’s pretty difficult to weigh all of the pros and con’s that come with which ever decision you make.
You are young and you have a lot of life to look forward to. I’m only 10 years older than you, some of the greatest and best times I have had were in my late teens and early twenty’s. I’m a little jealous that that is what you have to look forward to. When we spoke on the phone briefly, I could tell by the intelligent loaded questions that you were asking that you have given this adoption thing a lot of thought. I doubt I will say anything in this letter that is new or that will sway your decision in any way. I figured however I would offer a couple of things for you to consider again.
This decision you have to make, which takes a lot of things into consideration, foremost the child’s best interests and future. Let’s not forget however your best interests and future and Nikki’s best interests and future. Now, it seems that Nikki is not very high on your list of favorite people right now, but obviously she has some redeeming qualities if you spent enough time with her to be in this situation.
What are the child’s best interests?… that’s tough to determine. Should he be with his Mom and Dad who were not planning on having him, who don’t like each other and still have so much of their own life to live and things to learn? Who will also not be living together and not be spending much time together with him. A boy who will probably grow up with a step father and step mother with step brothers and sisters, and have to deal with all of the relationship issues that come with that. People playing favorites in the family, wondering if he belongs. Although on the other hand they are his blood parents, they will love him there is no doubt of that, and they will try their very best to raise him properly. He may never feel like he wasn’t loved or abandoned, never have to wonder who his parents are or feel awkward about what he will say to them the first time.
What are the best interests for you, a father that may only get to see his son occasionally? A Father who will have to pay hundreds of dollars a month in child support for a few hours, maybe a weekend or two a month of quality time. A father who will always wonder worry and probably have to defend the things said by the boy’s mother, grandmother, and step father. Who could possibly be competing with a step father for affection and love? Even competing for the title “Dad”? Although on the other hand a Father that will know and have a relationship with his son. Something that he helped to create. A father that will get to impart of the many life lessons he’s learned and teach his boy how to be a man.
What about Nikki’s best interests. I think a lot of people think you don’t care what happens to Nikki in all this, but I think different. I think that you understand she is in a difficult situation too. She a mother that will have to work the life of a single mother, limiting the time the child gets with her. A mother who will have a difficult time completing high school and college so that she can offer the best lifestyle to her son. Who may never get to pursue her dreams because of a decision she made one night with a boy she really liked at the time. Although on the other hand a Mother that will know and have a relationship with her son. Something that she helped to create. A Mother that will get to impart of the many life lessons she’s learned and teach her boy how to be a man.
What about adoption then. Well I can only tell you the life he would have with us. The boy will be loved; will know that his birth parents were young and unprepared for the task of raising a child. Will know that his birth parents set aside their own wants to selflessly think only of him, because the really loved him! He will know what kind of people his birth parents are, and when he is old enough and ready, he will be encouraged to pursue a relationship with them. You will still get to see him grow up; I will send monthly letters and pictures, updates on how his life is going. Although on the other hand, he may be wondering one day if he was really loved, he will have to deal with the issues all adopted kids do. There may be times he will be confused and feel like he doesn’t belong.
Yes Aaron my friend, a difficult difficult choice lay ahead of you. I only hope you realize and really truly realize that this is your choice to make. Not your Mom’s, not mine, not Nilkki’s Mom. Just you and Nikki. You and Nikki made the choice to have sex all by yourselves; I think that means you also have the right and responsibility to make this choice all by yourselves. Free from other influences.

Best of luck to you. You know we realize that if we don’t get to adopt your son, another family will come along and pick us to be the adoptive parents of their child. I mean we are pretty cool, once you get to know us. There is something special about your son though. Some special connection that I can’t really explain, I’m not very superstitious or spiritual, but there is definitely something there. That’s why we are willing to try a little harder to get this one to work out. Again it’s not our decision. It’s yours, be a man, be mature and do what you think is right.

Thanks for reading, if you actually made it this far.


PS Should you change your mind, and think that adopting to us would be a acceptable compromise to you and Nikki’s differences, we would really like to meet with you and get to know you so that we can let your son know what kind of Man you are.

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 19

Yesterday I wrote a letter to Aaron. I sent it to him hoping to hear great things back from him. Alas, no new news. In any event as of now I am less sure about this working out than ever before. It’s as though the stars have to align perfectly for this to happen.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 18

Here is a question, should we fight Aaron for the ability to adopt and A) have the baby stay with Nikki for 6 months to a year, paying all of the legal fees, and then chance losing the suit, or winning and then having Nikki, having bonded with the Baby for the past months, change her mind and decide she could not then give him up. Or B) have the baby live with us in a foster capacity for 6 months to a year, then chance losing and have him taken away from us after we had had a chance to bond with him. After giving this much thought and discussing it with Lara, we decided that we have received enough of a spiritual confirmation that we are supposed to pursue this specific adoption that money is not a concern and that even if we did only get to have a relationship with him for six months or a year it would be worth it. So, as you can no doubt surmise, in my meeting today with Les England about the adoption this is what we have to look forward to if Aaron or rather his Mom sticks to their guns. I am going to try to appeal to them and hopefully persuade them otherwise, as this will also be very costly for them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 17

Today Nikki called us frantically and told us that Aaron had changed his mind again and that he would not be willing to sign off on the adoption. Nikki is blaming this on his mother. I had a conversation with him and I must admit it still seems to me like he is cool with the whole thing, but that his Mom is extremely opposed to the idea. It seems like he is only saying no because he wants to make his Mom happy. Regardless of his intentions, he is saying not only that he will not sign off on the adoption, but that he will fight it. So I got in touch with another attorney, Les England, (not that moron I paid a “G” for nothing) to see exactly how it all works if this ends up being a fight. According to three adoption agencies, Les is the states foremost authority on adoption. He said that basically both the birth Mother and the birth Father have equal rights in the matter at the time of conception, however every day after that the Mother carry’s the baby, and so the Birth Father must be supportive, financially and emotionally. If Aaron can prove that he was supportive, and that he is capable of caring for the baby then he has a pretty good case. Now obviously from Nikki’s standpoint he has not been supportive, they didn’t even speak for the entire second trimester. However, to hear Aaron tell the story, once their Mothers began to disagree, Nikki pushed him away, and wouldn’t answer him or his mother’s phone calls or talk to them, and then planned to adopt the baby out from under him without his knowledge. So I talked to the attorney and he said that though we have a very good chance of winning a lawsuit, and that we could have custody of the baby during the court battle, it would be long and arduous and cost a large amount of money. Like an additional ten to twenty thousand dollars. So, just as we get the agency obstacle figured out now we have another major problem.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 16

Earlier today we met with the agency’s Salt Lake branch director and with our case worker about us finally adopting Nikki’s boy. I thought that the meeting went well, but Lara is really upset. Apparently she felt really uncomfortable about the whole situation, she felt like both of them were looking down on her and that they didn’t like her and didn’t think she would be a good mother. Granted their questions were fairly pointed and they were asking a lot about our pasts and motivations. I really think the stress of all this is wearing down on Lara. I don’t know what to do except for be extra positive, and worry about the let down of not getting this adoption to work later.

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 15

After paying a lawyer over $1000 for expungment's that he did not only not complete, but that were not even needed. I was able to resolve all of Lara’s criminal altercations. Two just needed to have fines paid, which were somewhere around $200 each. The other two just had never been recorded correctly. Then with my criminal issue, which was when our dog, Vodka, got out and attacked our neighbors cat last May (see journal entry in May 8, 2005) anyway, after meeting with our BCI agent she said a letter from the victim saying that the dog was only after the cat and that she did not feel threatened. I got all of that done, and we got our BCI cleared. I called LDS Family services and brought the clear BCI into them… they couldn’t believe it, they were astonished and finally I felt a small amount of support from them. We went into their office today and met with the director and our case worker to plead our case. Up until this point, the Sandy office would not allow Nikki to use us as an option and kept telling her that she needed to pick someone else. Lucky for us, or rather I should say thanks to the Lord, she hasn’t found anyone else or wavered in here desire to have us adopt her son. So, finally this week (3 weeks from the due date) the adoption agency has agreed to expedite our application and get us going. I filled out a bunch of paperwork, and we scheduled the first inspection in our home study for next week. I also sent letters out to all of our friends and our Bishop to get references.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 14

Last night after I wrote in my Journal Nikki called Lara and told her that she didn’t know what we had said, but that Aaron had changed his mind and told her that he liked the idea of us adopting their son. I woke up excited for the new day. Because it’s a Saturday no one is working so I actually got some things done today that were not adoption related. I fixed the lawnmower and sanded the table down. Lara and I went out to eat tonight and went to a movie. It was a nice evening. We talked only about the baby and the adoption, but it was about all the wonderful things, like how we were going to get to name him, and see him grow up. It was so great, my wife is incredibly adorable when she is excited like that. It made me realize just how worth it all this garbage we are dealing with is. For now we are planning on naming him Danger. I know, I know, it’s a little out there, but it is 2006, I think that it would be a great name, and surprisingly Lara really likes it, more even then I do. I have a feeling that a lot of people aren’t going to like it, but then I think about all the names other people pick that I think are lame, and realize that I don’t care.

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 13

I lost two big deals today… with the costs of this adoption escalating that is not something we can afford. I just have been spending all my time on this adoption, that I can’t seem to get any work done. It’s terrible, I am neglecting people, and I can’t really blame my clients for bailing on me, but this whole trust in the Lord thing will have to do for now. Earlier today I ran over to the BCI office and tried to see the agent who did Lara’s first BCI. A new woman had just started there doing the same job and was assigned to our case. At first I thought this would just cause more delays. Apparently though she was hired to lighten the load of the agent previously working all these cases. She was very friendly, and informed me that our case was the first one on her desk. I visited with her for about an hour. I discovered that we were spinning our wheels and that not only did the agency not know what they were talking about but neither did those blasted lawyers who are charging me an arm and a leg. The BCI has a specific matrix that it follows for adoption. Any misdemeanor which does not involve violence to others that is over three years old is automatically passed up. All of Lara’s hits were misdemeanors, but none of them were resolved is the problem… all I needed to do was provide proof of resolution and we were in the clear. I was ecstatic, and I got all of the info I needed and started working on these. Two of them I was able to resolve today. They had been resolved, but just never recorded correctly. I called LDS Family Services who had not been calling me back for a while, this I found out was because my case worker went on vacation – convenient. So I demanded to speak to someone and they put me in touch with the director of the Salt Lake Office. I told him the news and that we may be able to have the BCI cleared in a week, I asked him to start the home study process, and get all of the other things moving since we were under the gun for time. He said “No, John, I appreciate that you are trying so hard for this, but you will not be looked at to adopt this baby. There is not enough time, we cannot help you with this we have to think about what is best for the baby and the birth mother.” I obviously was diffused but I told him that I was not going to stop, and that I felt the Lord would open up a way for this to work. I asked him to please just humor me and get the process started I said that if we didn’t get it done in time that at least we would be ready shortly thereafter for something else. He said “We will not move forward until your BCI is clear, on any adoption especially this one.” Lara was with me during this entire conversation. She was crying, I got done and I started crying. We held each other and cried together for the first time in our marriage. Then a little while after we had spent a good couple of hours being hard on ourselves Aaron called us. He had a couple of questions for me. Most specifically he asked what I would say, were I to adopt the boy, and at the age of say, 12 he asked me if he could meet his real father. I hadn’t thought about this exactly and I was taken back by the question. I didn’t want to cop out or avoid it, as I knew this answer could be paramount in determining the ease with which we could adopt. I said one of those instant prayers and decided that honesty would probably serve best in this situation. I said “I will probably always feel that he shouldn’t seek out his birth parents until he is at least 18 years old. I am sure that this will be discussed before he asks me in a determined way that he wants to meet his father. I think that part of being a parent is allowing information and experience to enter a child’s life at an appropriate time. Another part of being a parent is knowing when that time is and realizing that maybe the child is ready for something sooner than originally thought. So if your son tells me that he really wants to meet you when he is twelve years old, I will talk with him about it, and if I honestly feel like that is a life experience he is ready for then I would encourage it. Probably though I would have him start with a letter or other correspondence rather than just throwing him in the deep end and seeing really and truly how this thing affects him.” Aaron didn’t give off a positive or negative response to my answer he just thanked me for answering his questions. Lara was upset, she told me I should have just told him what he wanted to hear, that we would call him right up the first moment his name was mentioned and arrange a meeting… I felt like she was right. I regretted my answer and wished I would have handled it differently.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 12

Today, our attorney James McConkie called and said that it would take two to three weeks to get Lara’s record expunged. That is completely unacceptable. I called the BCI office today and pretended to be our attorney. I found out that the state BCI office is on our block. Unfortunately, by all indications it appears that even if we do get Lara’s records expunged then the BCI will take 3 months… I have been praying today that Lara and I will be okay with whatever happens, and that the Lord will take this issue in his hands.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 11

Aaron, the birth father, found out today about us and the adoption. He agreed to meet with us tomorrow night. Also today we went and met with an attorney to help us get our criminal stuff sorted out. Supposedly this guy is an expert, but he sure didn’t seem to know too much about what we needed done. I felt like I was the most educated person in the room. At $200 an hour I hope he figures it out as soon as possible… especially since if there ever were a situation where time is of the essence this is it. Nikki is due in 4 weeks and the feeling is that we are no closer than we were three weeks ago.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 10

Wow, so much has happened in the last couple of days. First I will mention the adoption agency. Lara has a few altercations on her criminal record from 9 years ago. This is the reason she has failed her BCI. The more I learn about the adoption process the more frustrated I become. Lara has lived in Utah for 4 years and 9 months. The adoption agency does a BCI for 5 years within the state you live in, however, if an individual has lived in the state less than 5 years then they do a National BCI all the way back. So If Lara had moved to Utah 3 months earlier we wouldn’t even be dealing with this. She hasn’t though, and so we are dealing with it. This has reinforced the agency’s position of us not being eligible to adopt Nikki’s baby. I spent over two hours on the phone today and found out that we would have to expunge those things from Lara’s criminal record. Further problems arise from my criminal record too. The whole dog attacking the cat thing that is on my record has been called into question. I also found out that once we get those items expunged the turn time to get a new BCI is 3 months! I am becoming more convinced that we are going to have to do this adoption privately, but again I am afraid to push that too hard cause I don’t want to scare Nikki so that she changes her mind.

Friday, April 7, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 9

We went to the temple today. I really needed to go because the last week has been nothing but discouraging. We got Lara’s BCI and she failed. Nobody seems to be able to tell us what exactly that means, or how it can be remedied… so that is going to be a major obstacle to overcome. Anyway, I don’t know what we are going to do, it seems as though all things are mounting against us. I am really glad that we went to the Temple today. I have been fasting today, and hoping that I could get some answers or revelation in the Temple. I prayed that I would know how to proceed. I didn’t get a specific answer, but I felt very happy and peaceful. I had this overwhelming feeling that we had already succeeded… I felt like I just needed to trust the Lord and do all I could and he would make it all work out. Tomorrow is going to be a good day, I can feel it!

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 8

If the fact that Lara and I aren’t cookie cutter adoption candidates isn’t compounding the situation enough we have another major problem. Today, we learned all about the soon to be Baby’s birth father. His name is Aaron, he’s a 16 or 17 year old boy. He and Nikki are on the outs, and Nikki doesn’t even want to tell him that she is planning on adopting out their child. The reason she doesn’t want to do it is because he is completely opposed to it. Apparently, the early in the pregnancy Nikki and her mother, and Aaron and his Mother tried to work together to find a solution to the little bundle of joy who would soon be joining them. They didn’t see eye to eye, and the way Nikki tells it Aaron doesn’t care about anything but his mother is really the one making the decisions and has threatened lawsuits if Nikki try’s to adopt the baby. So they stopped communicating, Nikki and her Mom say that Aarons Mom is insane and that she will do anything to keep this adoption from happening. Why did Nikki decide to tell us this? Well Aaron filed for a paternity test, and she just got served notice. He is supposedly doing it so that he can “invoke his legal rights” and stop Nikki from adopting. Nikki says that she is refusing the test, and that she thinks this will go away, because she doesn’t think Aaron’s family can afford the test. I can kind of see where she’s coming from but it seems to me that if the birth father doesn’t want is kid to be adopted that he would have some more legal recourse than what she’s giving him credit for. This makes me really nervous, and Lara has been stressed out to the max lately with the prospect of not having this adoption work out the way she is planning. I don’t feel comfortable keeping anything from anyone… right now this is looking pretty grim.

Monday, April 3, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 7

Here is what needs to happen for us to be able to adopt through LDSFS. We need what is called a home study. This costs a non-refundable $1000. It entails a social worker coming to our home and making sure it is sufficiently kid proof and ready, and interviewing us to make sure we are capable prospective parents. We also need reference letters from people who are not family. These are form letters that are fairly extensive. Lara and I need to fill out a packet of questions. And we have to pass our background check. LDSFS won’t even give me the packet or let me pay the thousand bucks. I contacted them a week ago and they have been so obstinate that I am about to start cussing at people. I followed up on the BCI (background check) last week, because I was told that this takes the longest of all of the items needed, and it is a State run thing and not directly affiliated with LDSFS. So, I called a few other attorneys today. All of the adoption attorneys I spoke too were a little more hopeful, but all agreed that no matter what, we would still need to pass our BCI’s before any kind of actual adoption would be possible.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 6

Even though Nikki has told LDSFS that she has picked us to adopt Nikki’s case worker is making her look at other family’s saying that we are not going to be able to do it in time. Nikki told us she is pretending to look but that Lara and I are it… This could all end up really bad if things don’t work out. We are going to try our best though either way.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 5

I had found an attorney that will help us do the adoption privately since LDS Family services has made it clear that they will not help us. I offered this information to Nikki though, and she really wants to go through LDSFS. Another major obstacle is Lara’s criminal record… because she hasn’t lived in Utah for more than 5 years they are required to do a National check on her. This is called a BCI which stands for Background Criminal Investigation. Luckily when we were entertaining adopting three months ago through the State as “foster to adopt” parents, we ordered a BCI. It hasn’t come back because Lara lived out of State previously and she had to get a National check. Mine sort of failed because of an altercation with Vodka (the dog, not the liquer), but back then they said that was an easy fix and I was going to wait till Lara’s came back. Hopefully it will come in soon.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 4

I have spent so much time on the phone with them that it is hurting business. They are adamant that Lara and I will not be able to complete the application process for adoption. Sharon, the case worker who will be dealing with us said that the fastest she has ever seen someone go cold turkey to adopting was 3 months. We have a little less than 7 weeks.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 3

Today we met with Nikki again about adopting her soon to be born son. I was thinking that the meet just went okay. My wife was even more certain that it was our final interview, and that we had passed. I will say that I think Lara and Nikki have a connection that it just wouldn’t be possible for me to have. Lara, having given up her own son for adoption 8 years ago, has enough in common that when she says “I understand” it carries a whole lot more weight than when I say it. A little after 10 o’clock Nikki called Lara on her cell. Lara was pacing and walked out onto the porch so I didn’t hear the conversation. But after the conversation Lara ran into the house and jumped on me and screamed “she picked us.” We embraced and kissed, it was an awesome moment. I will have to figure out how to make this work since the adoption agency Nikki is using, LDS Family services, have told me that they would not help us with the adoption.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 2

Both Lara and I were really impressed by Nikki, and her mother. I think that the meeting went really good. Of course Lara thinks that it was excellent and that she is going to pick us for sure. I am inclined to be a little bit more reserved as we had felt good the about others before and nothing happened. Either way it’s hard to imagine now that we could be parents in two months! Also today, I had a really long conversation with someone at LDS family services. I mentioned to her that we may be adopting someone in two months and she told me that there was no way possible to get it all done in that amount of time. Seeing as we haven’t been picked yet that shouldn’t be a problem, but I got the ball rolling for future adoptions.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Adoption Chronicles: volume 1

Today we set up an appointment to go and meet with another birth Mother to see about adopting. Her name is Nikki. She is a really cute 16 year old girl. Her baby is due in 2 months… she had another family picked out, but they fell through and she is now frantically trying to find someone in time. We haven’t even started the process, and may have problems adopting this baby, but if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be I suppose.