Tuesday, January 4, 2011


If you ever have to deal with family court, my best advice is to not expect anything to happen quickly.  One day the judge will decide to go to the dentist – and they reschedule you for 6 months later.  The next time you go, one of the attorneys won't make it for one reason or another, and the case is put off another 6 months or so.

Beyond the court system, DHR social workers around here leave before you’ve even had time to learn their names.  Autumn had at least 8 DHR social workers in 4 years.  Some were very good at what they did.  The system is just so overloaded.  That is why when anyone asks me about foster parenting, I always recommend they go through a secondary agency like we did with ABCH.  In addition to the many DHR social workers, we also had one social worker at ABCH who was always available when we needed someone.

One of the difficult things for me during this time was that Criss was not allowed to keep Autumn by himself due to one of ABCH’s policies.  While it is perfectly understandable, that did not make it any easier to implement.  The rule was put in place to protect male foster parents from any false allegations.  So, any time I needed to go anywhere – to the store, to a meeting, etc. – either Autumn had to go with me, or someone had to come to the house to sit with Criss and the kids until I got back.

So, in addition to all the medical stuff that was going on, we had monthly visits with the social workers, court dates, and visits with the birth family.  And then one day, the end was in sight.  Family rights were terminated, and we were transferred from the foster system to an adoption worker.  We signed a mountain of paperwork, and Autumn was one step closer to being ours forever.  We were now considered the adoptive parents, and the only regulation was that we couldn’t leave the country with her.  I wish I could describe to you the weight I felt lift off me that day.  Then, on September 23, 2009, Autumn became an official member of our family.

It takes longer to walk from the parking lot to the building than it does for the actual court hearing to take place.  We were accompanied by all of the grandparents and others who were involved in the process.  Afterward, we had a special dinner with family at our house to celebrate!

"...But you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba!  Father!'  The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs - heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."  Romans 8:15-17


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