Adoption Day

After having legal custody of Shantel for thirteen months, I knew it was time for us to move for full adoption. I also needed to get Shantel on my insurance plan at work.  I approached my daughter, Katie, with the subject and she agreed. We hired a lawyer to handle processing the necessary paperwork, and Katie signed away her parental rights. We were instructed by the court to post a notice in the newspaper for one month to advertise the planned adoption. This needed to be done  in case Shantel’s biological father, who left the scene when Katie was eight months pregnant with Shantel, wanted to lay claim to Shantel. He had been in and out of prison because he liked to take things that didn’t belong to him and sell them. When people would ask me about Shantel’s biological father, I didn’t want to say he was in prison, so I would just say “oh he has a real good job with the state, in fact, it looks like he might be on the pension plan”. I mean, who wants to tell people that the biological father of their grandchild, is every mother’s nightmare man for their daughter, and he lives in prison? Once the necessary time lapsed for the adoption notification, we were given a court date to finalize the adoption and change Shantel’s last name to ours.

The adoption date was set for June 19th, 1997. We were all very excited and began to explain the court proceedings to Shantel. We told her we were going to go a see a Judge soon, who was going to ask us a few questions, then sign some papers that would make her our daughter legally for the rest of her life.We explained that the Judge would have a wooden hammer, called a gavel, that the Judge would hit on a piece of wood to make the adoption official. We also told her to celebrate this great event, Bill, who she now called Papa, and I, who she now called, mama,  were all going to go to Disneyland for our first “real” family vacation, as soon as we leave the courtroom. We told her all about Disneyland and how she would meet all the fun Disney characters that lived there. Shantel was so excited she wanted to leave right then!

Not long before all the adoption proceedings took place, I found out Bill’s daughter, Katie, was pregnant. I am very particular with having a place for everything, and keeping everything in its place. I am also very particular about how I like my house cleaned, which is why I have always done it myself. Well, let’s just say I started noticing little signs here and there that didn’t seem right. I noticed things that needed to be used weren’t. So, one day when Bill’s daughter, Katie, came home from school, I asked her if she was pregnant. She looked at me with the most surprised expression on her face and said yes, how did you know? I told her it didn’t matter how I knew, but that we needed to let her dad know right away. Katie was so scared to tell her dad that she asked me if I would. I agreed.

When Bill came home from work, I welcomed him with a beer and said have a seat honey, we need to chat. After I told Bill about Katie’s condition, Katie came out of the room and began to cry when she looked at Bill. They hugged and cried and then we all sat down to discuss a plan for moving forward. We told Katie she could continue to live with us if she stayed in school, and we would do all we could to help her with the baby. Katie agreed. We even set up a crib in her room so she could begin to “get use to the idea of becoming a mother”. Things were going as well as they could under the circumstances. But, then, Katie decided she really wanted to be with the father of her baby, and moved out.

When the court date for the adoption arrived, we entered the courtroom with many other parents who were also seeking adoption. The Judge spoke to each family one, by one, asking them why they were there seeking adoption. When it came our turn we explained that we were Shantel’s grandparents and that we have had legal guardianship of her for the past thirteen months, that we loved her very much and wanted to make her our daughter legally. The Judge asked Shantel to come and stand real close to her then asked her if she wanted us to be her parents. Shantel said yes, now can you hit that hammer so we can go to Disneyland! The Judge laughed, gave the gavel to Shantel and said “I’ll do better than that, I’ll let you hit it to make this adoption official, then you can go to Disneyland”. And ,so.  we sealed the deal and left for Disneyland!

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen Kaufman
    Feb 16, 2012 @ 21:31:57

    That is so funny. Shantel had humor back when she was so young. What a great place to take a child after that ordeal, off to Disneyland. I bet she loved there.

    Reply

  2. Gotham Girl
    Feb 17, 2012 @ 03:15:28

    Love the “hammer” story! xoxo

    Reply

  3. Megs
    Feb 20, 2012 @ 19:46:27

    I have to agee that I love the “hammer” story too!

    Reply

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