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.