Posts Tagged ‘adoption’

Adoption update.

May 24, 2013

So, are those kids finally adopted yet, you ask?

Here’s the deal. We submitted the application to court about a month ago. You need three months between the submission of the intent to adopt and the actual application. Through colossal screw ups that were not our fault, the time requirement had not been met. So everything was returned to us.

I went last Monday to submit everything again. The legal team needed TMD to go in to sign something they’d missed spotting the first time around. And now we wait.

The next step is the final hearing, which we are not expected to attend. I guess it is when the judge goes through everything and issues the adoption order. After that is the celebrationary hearing, which is when the adoption certificates are issued. This is when the judge makes a big deal out of it, you can invite your family and friends, and it is like a party in court. For normal adoption proceedings, I think this is nice.

For our particular circumstances, I think it is shit. We don’t want two almost four year olds to have to question things – they are very observant and curious. It would be nightmare. We want to explain things to them organically and in our own time, not because a judge arbitrarily says TMD is now their mother. That’s crap.

So we have talked to the court and elected to not attend the celebration hearing. We will need to confirm it nearer to the date, but our plan is to have all of our documents and the certificates mailed to us. In theory this should all go without a hitch.

The adoption process has taken much longer than we expected, but all in all it has been smooth and easy. Nice social workers, friendly court people, straightforward process. Looking forward to it being done, though! Maybe I’ll host a blog celebration when it happens, which will hopefully be within the next month. We shall see.

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Thinking of you.

May 22, 2013

Lately I am mourning that third (and fourth?) child we didn’t get to have. As we enter the warmth of the year, when TMD’s belly should have been swelling and almost ripe, suddenly I am thinking about those babies that didn’t grow. The ones in her belly, the ones in that petri dish, the ones from four years ago.

We are entering a new stage in life. The kids are taking their own clothes off. That doesn’t sound like much, but oh, how much it portents. The independence. The ease at going out with them. The trust I have in their good sense and wide hearts, which grows deeper every day.

I know a baby or two would complicate that.

But I miss that baby.

Adoption.

March 17, 2013

Since I know there is at least one other lesbian family that reads this blog and may choose to do a step parent adoption, let me outline our process:

First, we contacted social services to get put on their wait list. After an eternity, we were finally allocated a social worker and also gave permission for a student social worker to help. Our expectation was that it would be a fairly brief process, since this social worker needed to complete the work in under two months. Meetings were every fortnight.

First meeting: the social worker and student came to our house. This was really just an introduction to each other and the process. The kids interrupted loads! Ha. The plan was laid out – the main objective was completing the adoption report. It was divided into manageable chunks; we would complete and email it to them prior to each visit, and the visits would be spent answering any additional questions.

Second visit: The student came on her own. Spent about an hour answering her questions, chatting,etc. This time we sat round the table as we thought the kids might interrupt less….it sort of worked. Ha.

Third visit: the student and social worker came. Again, they only had a few questions about the paperwork (as by this time we had Sussex they liked long, chatty essays for each question!). We discussed the next steps – they are chasing up various references (whoa, TMD needed a lot. Every position where she’d ever worked with children, three personal references, info from the fertility clinic, police check, etc)…. The fertility clinic, in particular, are being an ass. The lady in charge of the sperm is always shocking at getting back to people, but this time I’m seriously annoyed as if we can’t prove the donor has no legal rights, TMD can’t adopt. Ugh. Gave the social worker the contact details as I suspect an official request may bear more weight.

Next step is waiting to hear from the social workers regarding submitting our official application to the court for the adoption. The court then schedules a hearing within three weeks or so. Social workers want us to wait till the report is totally finished so we have no delays before court.

Fourth and final planned visit : cancelled as they don’t need to see us. Our last visit was actually really nice….they told us they may not need another, so I made sure to say a warm thank you for how respectful they have been of our family. We could not have asked for two nicer workers, particularly the student, who I suspect is actually the one doing all the work for our case! The social worker said it was really nice to just ‘get to see a really happy family for once.’

I will say I also asked about the process to foster or adopt further children from the care system. Got a detailed answer and this is not entirely off the table. This would be something we have to think very deeply about, as well as the impact it would have on Snort and Coconut. The average placement age is three years – and by that age, the potential for attachment disorders is just massive. Also not sure how the home educating stuff may influence their willingness to place a child with us. All stuff to think about for the future…

Will obviously update you all as things move forward. Maybe we will have a virtual adoption party! You can bring the streamers and balloons, I’ll bring the dressing up box and the cheese. Deal?

The longest post ever?

February 28, 2013

I have been sort of AWOL, lost in my own misery of intense chronic pain and the accompanying fears and despondency. It’s fun.

I am back in the land of the walking, but am in pain every second of the day. It’s not excruciating anymore, but it’s not great, either.

So that’s me.

We spent a lot of time at home last week, as I felt I needed a break (maybe I knew my body was about to collapse?), which sort of sucks as this week we had to spend a good chunk inside as the pain has been so bad. But as I said, I’m mostly physically functioning. We even went swimming yesterday.

I am scared, though. My last lot of pain injections were on the kids’ second birthday. I think they must have worn off by now, but recent pain is making me worry that they have only just worn off, and this is my true pain baseline, and I’m going to be like this forever.

I feel like this every single time I have a relapse. Like crippling hopelessness, terror, deep exhaustion from coping with the pain. Every single time I worry that this is forever.

And every single time I recover.

This painful blip has been going on for almost two months. It’s the longest it’s ever happened. I’ve also had recent pelvic instability – we are talking my pelvis full on wobbling around, with the gross accompanying clicks and cracking noises. I’ve not been like this since pregnancy.

So my blues are a little more blue this time. I think that’s okay, I think that’s expected.

But it sucks as I have little to no motivation to do things that need doing, especially as it exacerbates the pain. Tomorrow is our third social worker visit, and normally I’d spend a Thursday morning cleaning bathrooms, clearing the dining table of the assorted crap it collects, randomly dusting, etc. It has become an ongoing joke that if we had a social worker visit a week, the house would always look fucking amazing. Though I must say, as nice as the social workers are, I can’t wait for this shit to be over.

The forms are incredibly discriminatory and insulting to families like ours. Questions about what makes TMD qualified to raise children, asking other people and herself how she keeps them safe, and on and on and on. I am only angry about this in small doses, and the social workers are apologetic and very understanding, and on the whole the process is very smooth and straightforward. Hopefully we have tomorrow’s visit, then just one more (four in total)- excepting the court date where the kids get formally adopted. Maybe we will go out for cake afterwards.

But right now, the bigger picture for ME is thinking about how I hope I can walk into court without crutches, without pain, without having to always be conscious of how my body moves.

This afternoon we are going over to a friend’s house. We have started a tearaway rebellious new home education meet, a small group of families who rotate houses on Thursdays. We want our younger children to build up good friendships and have regular contact with the same kids, especially as these children will be some of the ones they grow up with and attend various classes and groups with. It’s an interesting group as two of the children have Asberger’s, one more severely and probably leaning towards full on autism. All in all, I like all the people, children and adults alike, and look forward to all our friendships growing. I’ll probably write more about this group in future, especially as I need advice on what to do if a fellow mama steals a toy from your house. Ha. No shit.

But today a family is ill, so it’s just us and this other family. I love the mum, love her to bits, and it is always a quiet relief to hang out with like minded people. Especially when they are all creative and shit, and there is no tv in their lounge, and you can see water from their back windows.

Country B lesbians or step parents…..

February 1, 2013

Did you need a solicitor to write to the court of your intention to adopt, or did you do it yourself? The social worker reckons we need one, but I am doubtful.

Tomorrow.

January 31, 2013

Tomorrow afternoon is our first visit with the social worker. Nervous.

Aaaaand adoption kicks off!

January 10, 2013

Holy crap, you guys, we have a social worker!!

For those not in the loop, here in Country B if a lesbian couple who is legally partnered go through fertility treatment at a clinic, both are automatically listed on the birth certificate. This was not always the case. In fact, the law changed to this more equality and reality driven model a scant four months after we conceived. This means we have had to do a lot of shit to protect our family – wills in case I died in childbirth, a brief court trip and some paperwork to get TMD parental responsibility, etc. we have also been on the waiting list for TMD to officially adopt Snort and Coconut since they were infants.

Once they are adopted, their birth certificates will be amended. We view this as rectifying an error and not as traditional adoption, seeing as we are the only family unit the children have ever known. It will also offer us more security and possibly affect immigration issues. So it’s a big deal.

I’ve been desperate for this to happen before they were school age for many reasons. The major thing I am concerned about is the confusion or distress the process may cause them. TMD clarified our situation with the manager today and hopefully the worker and her student will be sensitive to our unique family needs. The second reason is the slight chance we may slip through the net and be able to remain unknown as home educators. It doesn’t really matter too much if we become known, but there are potential pains in the asses I would like to avoid.

So last week I wrote a letter explaining all of my concerns as a parent and a professional (I’m a trained, qualified, and eligible for accreditation counselor, for those who don’t know). I sent it to two friends to have a read and elicit opinions. All I needed to do was hunt down the addresses for the main point of contact and some other influential bigwigs so we could post this thing next week.

Anyway, I got a text from TMD saying, ‘The universe read your letter. We have a social worker!’

And it gets better.

She needs to begin work with us immediately, as the whole thing needs to be wrapped up in SIX WEEKS. There may be a delay in our court date, but all the meetings and paperwork will be done. A-fucking-men, am I right?

Now that this whole thing is starting, I’m a bit angry we have to go through it in the first place. Also a bit anxious, despite knowing we will fly through. Despite my negative feelings, I am super excited this is finally happening for us. We were told before that there are no concerns for our children’s welfare, so we were unlikely to ever be allocated a social worker as we were not priority. I reckon this woman is going off on maternity leave or has handed in her notice or something, so she needs short pieces of work that are really a matter of ticking boxes.

So YAY.

I sometimes like to think my blog can help other families or individuals in similar situations to us, but I suspect in this case we are the last lesbian couple in Country B to need to undergo this process, due to the law change. Still, I guess if any of you get knocked up at home with donor sperm, or you marry a new partner who wants to adopt your children, the following weeks may be of help to you. Anyone who has undergone this process, we welcome info.

The manager today said we will be going through observations as a family. Uh, okay. Observe us, people, because WE ARE AWESOME.

Fin.

Not having a computer sucks. Truly.

July 18, 2011

Having one of those times I wish I could blog, blog, blog. Know it would help me figure things out.

We also need to write the adoption people and say, ‘Yo. We have been on the wait list since our children were babies. They will now be 2 in a few short weeks. Can you please pull your finger out of your ass?’

Sigh. I miss having a computer. I can’t write the way I need to on my phone.

A reader suggested I ask for paypal donations; the grand irony is that I can’t modify my blog to add a paypal button without a computer. (if anyone wants to sort that for me – someone who I have chatted with as passwords are involved – just let me know.)

In the meantime, I will probably be kept up nights a little because all the words are stuck in my head, not poured into the wide, wonderful internet.

Lesbian adoption. (aka, all the shit we had to do to be a legal family)

July 13, 2010

Well, I slept last night!! Despite the cat jumping over the fence and being unable to get back at ten – so I had to come back from the edge of sleep to watch babies while TMD chased the cat around. Then at midnight was double teething pain – 20 minutes of rock concert howling from both babies. Etc etc. I managed to fall back asleep through all these obstacles and feel like a different person today, though there’s no denying I’m still tired.

But the babies fell asleep reeeeally late last night – 10 pm. They normally sleep sometime between 6-7, 7:30 at the latest. This meant they slept in, which was super duper awesome as we had to leave quite early to meet with the adoption social worker about TMD adopting the babies.

For those not in the know, things in the country we live in are pretty good for the lesbian squad. If you have IVF in a fertility clinic, as we did, both mums get named on the birth certificate. Unfortunately, this law came into force when I was four months pregnant and there was no ‘backdating.’

That meant we have had to take a certain number of steps to protect TMD as their parent, and make sure our family is iron clad, legally. This is one of the reasons we chose to use an anonymous donor through the clinic rather than a known donor – known donors fuck up birth certificates, parental rights, and adoption proceedings.

So, what did we do?

When I was pregnant we both had extensive wills made. At their birth TMD had no real legal rights over them, so we needed to make sure that if I died in labour (morbid, but these things do happen and we needed to protect our family) she would get custody of the babies. These wills required us to think about who would get the babies if we both died, and other nice things to think about when you are heavily pregnant and very emotional. I’m glad we made them, though. Our wishes are in black-and-white.

Our next step was to get TMD parental responsibility. This means she has full legal power in regards to Snort and Coconut – she can make medical decisions, educational decisions, etc etc. It’s pretty powerful, legally binding (though very easy to get  – you just fill out some paperwork and get it stamped by a court officer. Anyone needing more info, I’m happy for you to get in touch and I’ll help you out…), and essentially makes someone have, well, the responsibility of a parent.

This has been useful because TMD has had to take each baby to the doctor’s on a few occasions without me there, and in theory she wouldn’t legally be allowed to do that without permission from me unless she had parental responsibility. In practice, her position as their mother has never been challenged. Our main doctor knows we’re a two mom family and is very pro-gay families, but even among other professionals it’s never been questioned. I am grateful for this, because it would hurt me to have her considered some sort of second class non-parent.

The final step is adoption. What this does is get TMD’s name put on their birth certificate.

Lots of people who are against the change in law are very upset about the whole two moms on the birth certificate thing. They say birth certificates are records of ‘natural’ parents and putting two women on them is against the will of god…and the queen….and the aliens watching over us. These are people who don’t understand the function of a birth certificate, in this country.

The names on the birth certificate are the legal, forever, iron clad parents of the child. Having your name on the birth certificate means you have all the rights and responsibilities of a parent, and it cannot be challenged. Ever. (I mean, assuming you are a good parent and not endangering your child.) It’s not just a piece of paper, it is a powerful document granting you the right to legally parent the child you love.

So we had an initial meeting with a senior adoption social worker today. The wait list for the process to get started is ‘well over a year.’ The process sounds like it will be very straightforward for us – no other party (aka known donor), etc etc. That being said, ‘straightforward’ will be five or six home visits from the social worker, a visit to me from a court worker to find out, essentially, if I really want to give TMD these rights, two visits to court, etc. We don’t anticipate any problems, but it is a bummer to think they might not be adopted until they are approaching three years old. That sounds so old to me right now.

We are going through the same process a step parent would, and in fact, it’s called ‘step parent adoption.’ The fact that we had a civil partnership (separate but equal, sigh) in effect when the babies were born did give TMD ‘step parent rights’ over them from birth, though neither of us knows what that really means.

There is no process for families in our situation, when they are being adopted by a person who has been their parent from the second they were conceived. And that’s unlikely to change, as the new law means future families won’t have to jump through any of these hoops.

Neither of us was nervous today – both of us have worked extensively with social workers in a professional capacity, so it felt quite natural to go into a big ass social services building for an initial interview. What was weird was going into a client interview room rather than into the staff section!

Neither of us is looking forward to a social worker coming into our home to evaluate the sort of parent TMD is, or to offer judgment on our family or parenting perspectives. Again, we have no reason to think things won’t go well, but it’s still an invasion into what is already a happy and functioning family. The senior worker we saw today kept remarking on how happy and settled the babies were, and complemented us for being such loving parents. That was nice. I hope the social worker we are eventually assigned (you know, in some time ‘well over a year’ away) is as cordial and friendly and accepting.

The babies having both of our names on that certificate is the first step towards us moving. We don’t know where we will move, or for certain what country we’ll end up in (country z?), but we know we’re not moving until TMD’s name is on that birth certificate, next to my name, right where it should have been from day one.

I ain’t afraid of no ghost. Oh, wait, yes I AM.

November 21, 2008

Tomorrow we’re going to buy real, live artwork.

I went to a craft fair with my mom and she got us a lovely picture, but it’s on paper. We came this close to buying a big, chunky painting. So TMD and I are going back tomorrow to get it – and possibly another smaller one if I can convince her.

Pics will be posted here because these paintings are so cute and yet compulsive it’s hot. Zesty. Spicy.

No, they aren’t sexual.

I’m so pleased it’s the weekend. Am having a semi-tough time at work in regards to a child I’m working with. Was just told by another professional that no one wants to adopt older children and so that option won’t be considered. If my life was a made-for-tv movie, I would adopt this child myself. I tell you, it’s made me rethink things a bit.

TMD and I have always known we wanted to foster teenagers at some point when we had a bigger home. Now I wonder about adopting a child as well. Time will tell, I suppose.

Off to eat, watch that ghost hunting show (judge not lest ye be judged!), and possibly upload some pics. I usually copy and paste pictures here from Facebook, but I am not Facebooking about IVF and think it could be hard to explain why I have 6,000 syringes in my lounge. Going to explore WordPress and see if they can host a picture or two.

See you soon. Sort of.

(You know the Ghostbusters theme tune? Do do do do do do, do-do-do-do-do-do. Well, when you type f-l-a-i-r and hit enter, it’s the exact right number of beats for the second part. Thought you’d like to know.)