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.