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Utah adoption, have Temp Custody as part of process....guardians now resisting.

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  • Utah adoption, have Temp Custody as part of process....guardians now resisting.

    My daughter's great-grandparents (my cousins) were given guardianship due to her birth-mother's lack of....care. Suffice it to say there were very extenuating circumstances, and as part of the adoption process we have since had her parental rights terminated.

    The great-grandparents/guardians placed her with me for adoption...she came to me 2 weeks after their guardianship hearing/order. I petitioned for adoption, and began to wait the 6 month period. As part of the process, I also was granted an Order of Temporary Custody.

    So...the great-grandparents have guardianship (which would terminate upon the adoption being ordered), while I have custody (which would also dissipate upon the adoption being ordered as she'd then be my daughter).

    They are now resisting the adoption (will not sign the waiver of notice...I have not yet chosen to send the actual Notice of Adoption Proceedings due to it being such a heavy/ominous sounding document and must be actually served, and did not want to heighten the great-grandparents already tense emotions) due to demanding divorce-style visitation 2 weeks each year to be written in to the adoption decree. Legally this can't be done in Utah (judge would not sign an order including visitation). Also, they want her to return to visit them without me and won't consider her feelings on the matter (she's 7, and refuses to go...she's terrified they're going to "take her away again" as they've done this several times in the past when it was correct to take her away to put her in a better environment, but she doesn't correlate the difference between taking away from the bad place & taking away from a good...they just "take away" as far as she's concerned).

    She's been with me right at 6 months, and everything I read (books, adoption experts, adoptive families, etc) talk about how extended time away from the new family is not a good thing...and frankly, she even winds up being unmanageable for a week just when she visits with them during the day on a day trip. Total reaction to having seen them.

    Setting my emotions aside (the great-grandfather officially threatened to remove her from me last week due to me not giving them what they want...my atty says I have my custody order, so she's fine until the adoption is either finalized or vacated by the courts), I probably should just send the notice...ominous sounding be ****ed and get the clock started for that 30 day period. But emotionally, while my 1st priority is to do what is best for my daughter...I also hope that we can do this more kindly in order to preserve relationships. I'm not so sure that's an option anymore.

    Also...while I know I'm a good placement for my daughter...if the great-grandparents/guardians challenge it (which is what the 30 day notice allows for if necessary), that doesn't mean the courts won't lean toward the idea that the great-grandmother is her bio great-grandmother, while I am a distant cousin through marriage. Basically....I recognize there's a risk the court could lean familialy. It may be a small risk, but it exists.

    Anyone have any thoughts they'd like to share? I appreciate your time.

  • #2
    You are going to have to send the document sometime and putting it off isn't going to improve the situation or suddenly make these great grands happy about the arrangement. Delaying it unnecessarily just makes you appear uncertain about the adoption and making it final.

    I would strongly suggest you get the child some counselling as she should not have a week long reaction to a day trip to see a relative. By 7 a child should understand the difference between being someplace for just a day and being taken away forever. Her behavior is not typical and indicative of some deeper emotional issues which really require the assistance of a professional. Once these issues have been addressed, you can work out with the family how she might still be part of their lives. That doesn't mean she goes for 2 weeks with them every summer. Perhaps it might mean a joint vacation or you visiting with her or hosting the great grands at your home. For now I'd do what you need to do to finalize the adoption and give that child the security of knowing she can not just be taken away again. Explain to the family that as a result of her tumultous early years the child has developed some insecurities and is under the care of a counselor and for the time being is not up for extended visits with anyone. These great grands must have at least some concern for her general well being to have "rescued" her in the first place. If you explain it in terms of the child's well being they will surely take it better than a personal attack or simply being told their own relative can not spend any time with them.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Thanks, Elle.

      Yeah...I've already tried/am trying exactly what you're suggesting. She's been in counseling for 5 months, and had been in counseling (where great-gma sat in the sessions WITH her...not private) prior. The great grands have made it clear they don't have any care for how to help secure this child's future, and give her the security she's seeking...in any way but they way *they* see it. They just want visitation, 2 weeks each year, their way...or no adoption. Regardless of what she wants. Regardless of my opinion as her mother.

      Great gpa says they view my suggestions and preferences as just a way for me to separate them from her, that I think they're not good enough for her, that I think the great gma has a 'disease she'll give' the child (direct quote). I've spoken directly to both, sent a letter through attys (which was ignored & rejected outright prior to ever reading it...it spoke of taking family vacations together, doing weekends once a month together either there or here, and some relational things regarding my children and their child whom they expect to be actual siblings relationally ...I support their child and mine to have amazing relationships together...but I've still yet to figure out how to create a functionally "sibling" relationship amongst children who don't live in the same home), and spoken w/great-gpa just this week (which is when I started reaching out for more ideas if there are any).

      They don't want family vacations, view it as an insult that when she calls them it's on speaker-phone (SOP in my house...the kids speak fast & too close to the phone...2 years before she ever arrived, I started doing that so I could interpret unintelligible kiddos to the person on the other end of the line & help the kiddo stay focused on actually speaking TO the caller instead of being a kid and getting distracted), refuse to consider she doesn't want to stay overnight at their house right now (she won't tell them directly...she's terrified of hurting their feelings, and of great-gma's tendancy to stay mad at something for a long time especially if she has to go back to them), and have flat out refused to sign the waiver of notice until they get what they want in writing...which...what they want (as outlined above) is unenforceable by law so can't go in the adoption decree.

      I've spoken to them on multiple occasions that my offers are only a base start and are wide open to change & flexibility as we grow & mature together, and the 'family vacation only' type time is solely due to her need for stability & a home-base due to her years of instability & moving around from family to family (same reasoning about bonding w/her new family & giving her security, etc was included in the letter they rejected). That we'd absolutely consider 'child only' vakays in future WHEN it's appropriate. The question is always "well...when will that be?" My answer is...I don't know...it'll be when it's comfortable for her, and when it is you'll be the first to know.

      *sigh* Tired mommy these days. I'm pretty clear it's time, just had hopes if there were any other options to try I hadn't considered ("forest for the trees" and all that).

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