An Adoption Story: Part Four - Complications and Re-Notification
After our daughter passed away, my wife and I were faced with a really big decision. Should we continue the adoption process with our son? Before this time we were pursuing adoption for both children. But now alongside our grief, we were also trying to determine if we stay the course and finish what was quickly become an extremely complicated adoption, or if we take another path. On one side of the equation was the loss and the realization that our daughter would not be adopted. And if we pursued adoption with our son, would that create some sort of future identity crisis or division, or later burden on him?
Identity is a major factor in our well-being as humans! We draw characteristics of our identity from our family, our relationships, and our community. Our identity is also significantly impacted by the events in our life. It is important to remember that a stable source of who we are (our identity) is our relationship with our Creator!
It is in our relationship with God where we realize that He has given us all unique gifts and talents. There is nobody like you. You are important. You are special. You are loved. He has created us in His image and given us good traits. And His voice reinforces these traits and encourages and reminds us that He is proud of us for being who we are, and that He loves us. God’s love is most easily seen through His grace, which welcomes us each time we take a misstep on our journey.
And so in this process of adoption, my wife and I made sure that our strategy was to pause and pray (and pause and pray) several times to seek God’s will in this process. And as we sought clarity from Him, this topic of identity continued to be the major theme.
God’s plan for our daughter was to adopt her into the Kingdom of Heaven. God’s plan for our son was to provide him with an adopted earthly father who could point him toward a Heavenly Father. God’s plan for our family was to use this adoption as an illustration of His desire to adopt each of us into his family, and to show us that death was not to be feared and that no challenge too big, when we meet it in faith.
We weren’t done with our challenges and though we didn’t know it at the time we were not done waiting either! But, with clarity and resolve and a refreshed purpose from our Creator, we moved forward toward the final steps of the adoption process confident that we would see this through to the end.
Waiting is hard! Before my daughter passed away there was already a waiting period that we were going through. We were given legal advice to wait a year to see if their biological father would make any attempt to communicate with, or to see the children. In March of 2017 that one year period expired with no communication from the biological father or even his extended family.
And now the actual adoption process would begin. We filled out paperwork. And then more paperwork. Paid more legal fees, and sat down to get an overview of the process from our adoption attorney.
The notification process itself would begin with a series of notifications sent out to the biological father and to his extended family. For months attempts were made to notify the biological father. But with no known employer, no known physical address, and a disconnected phone number there were a number of delays in the notification process. And then once a physical location was found it took several attempts for papers to be served and received.
When the extended family received the notification we waited to see if there would be a response or even a legal challenge to the adoption. There wasn’t.
I would also come to find that It wasn’t just a notification process I would soon realize that the actual process was notification, wait 30 days, re-notify and wait 30 days. This particular process happened five times before the biological father finally accepted the certified correspondence and verified identity.
And the final wait? Incorrect paperwork after the entire process was completed meant we needed to re-disclose!
If you find yourself waiting, can I encourage you with this:
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him
Psalm 62:5 (NLT)