Grace’s Story Part 3
The next day was Wednesday; We woke up early and took Kaylee to play with her cousins then we headed to Salt lake to get our criminal background checks and to meet with a lawyer. We got our background checks with no problem, then called our lawyer to set up a meeting. After hearing more about how the adoption needed to work, he decided this was to much for him to handle at the moment so he referred us to Derek Williams and sent an email to see if he could fit us in that day. While we were waiting to hear from Derek, I talked Mitch into going to a store to pick out some coordinating outfits for the girls. That was a fun distraction.
Soon after we got a call saying that Derek would call us as soon as he was out out of court. We headed home to wait. Derek called around 1pm and explained how everything should work and what we were going to need to do. The first thing was to get our home study started and our DCFS background checks in the works. Next we needed to hire a social worker for the birth mother, someone who would be on her side and help her through the process and ultimately take relinquishment of Grace. Afterwards, the social worker would give her post placement counseling and help.
We hit the ground running. The Girl hired to help our birth mother was a go and was headed over to meet with her that night. We were excited and nervous because it was possible she could sign the baby to us in just a few hours!
Around 8pm we got a call from our lawyer saying things weren’t what we thought. Our birth mother had placed Grace with another couple, who had taken her home from the Birthing Center! We were told that Grace was staying with a daughter in law until the birth mom figured out placement. We had no idea that Grace would have to be taken from another couple, I don’t think there was any way we would have agreed to the adoption if we had known. To give some background, here’s what we were told had happened up to that point:
On Wednesday, after we decided to adopt, the birth-mother asked for Grace back and told the couple she was revoking custody. When the other couple got the news they thought the birth mother wanted to parent Grace, they didn’t know she was planning on placing the baby with us. Because they felt the Mother was not fit to parent Grace, they filed for Court forced custody. They said they were ready to fight this to the end to make sure Grace didn’t end up with the birth-mother. Typically in Utah, when a motion like this is filed, the petitioning lawyer will meet with the judge within 24-48 hours and present the evidence why they feel the child’s welfare is at stake. After hearing the evidence, a judge will then either set a court date or deny the petition. We were told by Derek that, if we continued to pursue adoption, that this could take weeks or even months to play out.
We told Derek that we didn’t want to have any part in taking Grace away from the other couple. That if the birth-mother felt she was going to take Grace back and place with another couple no matter what then we would be willing to continue with the adoption BUT that decision would have to be made by the birth-mother.
After hearing this Mitch and I were in complete shock. We had no idea what to do. My body shut down. Tears ran down my face and my arms felt so heavy. I couldn’t move, I just sat in the car and cried. Mitch took me home and I walked to bed not saying a word. I just lied there until I woke up the next morning. In the morning I told Mitch I needed to figure things out. I have a great friend who is a family counselor so I went downstairs and called him. He was so great to sit and listen to me and validate my feelings. He said it is completely normal for you to feel this way, not only are you trying to process having a baby (most people have 9 months to process) you have a lot of other stresses! Your body is in shock trying to deal with it all.
After I got off the phone with him Mitch and I had a good talk and decided we liked our decision to be ready to adopt Grace after/if the birth-mother worked things out with the court and the other couple.
The next 24 hours were a little crazy. Our birth-mother texted us and begged us to forgive her and asked us not to give up on this baby because she had lied. She said she knew this baby was supposed to be with us and that she was going to fight to make it happen.
We watched as she would call us from courthouses giving us updates and we watched heartbroken as she struggled to get the help she needed so badly (at that point she had no counsel, and no legal aid). What she was doing at the courthouses was waiting and hoping for someone to explain what was even going on.
We could see and feel the love this mother had for her child. She had just given birth and instead of staying at home recovering she was going all day to try to do what she felt was best for her baby. That what happened all day Thursday.
Friday morning the other couple’s lawyer met with the judge and presented their case. The judge dismissed their petition, saying that he saw no evidence that Grace’s welfare was at stake. That decision fast-forwarded everything by, potentially, months! At that point, the birth-mother was fully in the drivers seat to do whatever she felt best. After hearing the news, the birth-mother called us and asked to meet that night at 6:30 at our lawyers office…. after she had taken back possession of Grace. She didn’t exactly say that she was placing with us but eluded to it and said that at the office we would, “Figure out what we are going to do.”
To Be Continued……
If you missed the first part here are links to read Grace’s story from the beginning…