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Adoption plans falling apart because of bio father

Discussion in 'Adoption' started by tjohnson, Sep 17, 2012.

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  1. tjohnson

    tjohnson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    My husband and I are really going through the "fire" right now; there's a lot of details, but I'll be as concise as possible. I'll post my questions at the bottom regarding what we are going through.

    We have been foster parents for almost two years. During that time, we have been blessed to have a few children in our home. Just last month, we were able to adopt our six year old after being in our home for about a year and a half. We have a two year old in our home who has been with us for close to the same length of time, so the two girls are sisters. This is what our situation is about. She came to our home last May as an emergency placement. She was nine months old at the time. We did not know how long she would be with us, as anything could turn around in her home situation. We did the visits, saw her mother progress, then regress in just a few short months. A termination hearing was set for December and her mother lost her rights. Also included in the list for termination was a man's name who the mother thought was the father, as well as all "John Doe's". In January, we began the process for adoption, and we were sooo excited! In our hearts, she had already become our daughter. We just loved her to pieces, and she had come a long ways in her growth and development.

    After the case study was done, we waited to hear for the next step, but nothing came, so I called about it. I was told that they were still trying to contact the gentleman's name on the list to make sure rights were "rightfully" terminated. Well, I don't know how long they wait on these things, (or are supposed to), but we waited, and waited. We just wanted to proceed with her adoption, but weren't getting the help we needed. Then, in May, the caseworker called us and said that a gentleman claiming to be her biofather called and wanted to take a paternity test. Long story short...he took the test; it was positive...now things are moving towards him getting a treatment plan to gain custody. What we know about him is that he knew about his daughter, even though he was not married to her mother, so why now? The GAL and caseworker think that biomom may have something to do with this, but they can't prove it just yet. Things during the summer were slow, but since last month, there have been a few meetings and a couple of hearings. My husband and I have been approved as interveners and have hired a lawyer. However, it just seems as of late, that we are the last ones to hear about a hearing or meeting and it's tricky to get to places when you have a lawyer and my husband has two jobs. We have not been able to really "intervene" as of yet, and we've been frustrated. This week has been an especially emotional week, as I cannot imagine losing my little girl. I am her mommy; we are the only family she has ever known. She is a little over two years old, talking a lot and really knows how to communicate. I can't imagine her being with someone she's never met.

    Now, for the questions and continued comments on this...need some additional advice for our family...

    Anyway, the main argument has been that because he is "John Doe" that he should have never been let through the beginning process of this to begin with. We were told that there was a glitch in the paperwork. The GAL, caseworker and our lawyer all agree on this, but when it was contested in a hearing recently, the judge did not want to listen; just wanted to proceed with what the bio dad wants. Does anyone know of how a "loophole" could have been found in the paperwork to let him in?

    The caseworker mentioned to me today that the judge is pretty fair, but that she goes by the law. For our state (CO), what law states that a bio parent has the right to gain custody if the foster parents have already begun the adoption process (as well as the argument above)?

    The GAL has looked into the court of appeals and found nothing like this in our state, so she is filing an interlocutory appeal. This would finish this case for sure. If this does not go through, we are going to ask for a contested hearing. As interveners, how can we proceed to have our say on our daughter's behalf if it's been so hard to do so already? The judge has not heard us out, but yet, this bio dad gets to be heard and proceed with what he wants.

    Our we allowed to ask for another judge....or have friends/family speak on our behalf as well ("friends of the court"--does it work in situations like this?)?

    Now knowing the main gist of our story, do we as her parents have a chance of gaining custody? How often do foster parents win these kinds of things? What happened to what's in the best interest of the child? We are willing to fight up until higher courts, but we know it won't be easy. We just want it to be done now.

    In my heart, I'm a hurting mother; I feel like I'm mourning a loss that hasn't happened. Our other daughter has no idea this is happening, but she has seen me shed some tears lately. She would definitely remember if little one left and so would the rest of our family and community. While this dad may have his reasons, he is not her true parent. There is no relationship. We are hoping for this to end soon in our favor, because everyone else as well as our little one would say that she should be with us.

    Thanks for your time in answering my questions. Any suggestions and questions back for more details are welcomed. I just need lots of encouragement right now.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Anything anyone tells you would be a guess. Yes, foster parents prevail, others don't. I suggest you seek the counsel of a good, local family law attorney.

    Without one, it only diminishes your chances. Good luck, get a real attorney. This is far too complex for one sentence answers. The other unknown is the attitude of courts in your county. Only a local attorney can advise you about local patterns and practices.


    Sent from my iPad3 using Tapatalk HD
     
  3. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    I understand your pain, however, if you truly love her, you need to recognize her right to have her biological father intervene and determine if he wants his daughter or feels you would be best as her parents.
     
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  4. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    Here's your problem. By law, every single "possible" including the John Does need to be at least notified. And every single one of them who thinks he might be the father has the right to file an objection.

    It doesn't really matter why now. The bottom line is, he's the biological father. His rights supersede yours.

    This must be completely hearbreaking for you. But honestly hon? As a foster parent you should know that foster placement is never guaranteed long term, and nor does it always lead to adoption.


    Believe it or not, she will adjust if given the chance.


    Why do you think that? :confused:

    The purpose of a "John Doe" service is to ensure that anyone who might have slept with Mom (and who she cannot or will not name) has the chance to object to his biological child being adopted.



    I don't understand why you think a John Doe wouldn't be allowed to contest the proposed adoption. But further, I'm confused because further up you say that this gentleman was actually named - that makes him NOT a John Doe.

    It's statewide, to be honest.

    Also, a biological parent ALWAYS has the right to file for custody from a third party. Unless the bio parent is unfit, generally the bio parent will succeed. There are some exceptions to this, for example an older teen who has lived with the foster parents for the majority of his/her life. But this little girl is young enough that she should adapt just fine.

    I'm not sure, to be honest, that the GAL is acting within his/her capacity or that s/he is being clear about the legalities involved.


    Sure you can ask, but there's no reason for the judge to be removed from what you've said.

    You're not her parents. That's the problem.



    He's the biological parent, and he has a constitutionally-protected right to parent his child barring any issue of unfitness.


    I'm sorry, but I can't give you any encouragement really. My heart breaks for you, but the legal reality is that you need to face the possibility of Dad getting custody of the little girl.
     
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  5. tjohnson

    tjohnson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We have already been facing this possibility, but we are not losing hope. There may be more facts and such that we don't know about (we have never met him), but like I said previously, if the GAL, caseworker and everyone else on the case believes she should stay with us, that's really saying something, doesn't it?
     
  6. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    No, it is not saying anything other than their feeling she is thriving with you. It does not negate bio dads rights superseding yours. I suggest you request to meet with bio dad, attempt to build a relationship and see if he decides the child is best with you n hubby ultimately. To be blunt, if you make it a pissing contest you will lose. If you hold out a rose, you may endear yourself to dad.
     
  7. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    As mentioned above, I suspect this was allowed to proceed because the biological father was not properly served notice of the proceedings. If it could be shown that he did know at the time and did not act then perhaps there is an argument to make, but it would be uphill and difficult to prove.
    I don't believe the John Doe argument will prevail, especially since paternity is already established.
     
  8. tjohnson

    tjohnson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We have suggested doing things that would build a relationship with this dad(more than once I might add:), but right now, little one's lawyer doesn't want to go that route. I recently suggested meeting with the bio dad, so we'll see what happens. We are all about building relationships, and it was the way that our other daughter's bio mom backed down from her fight (it was no where near what we're going through now; she had gone backwards in her treatment plan but still thought there was time; the caseworker had to gently tell her there was no time left.) The caseworker had built a relationship with her, and I did, too, at the beginning and ending of the visits for several months. We wrote a letter and sent pictures and this helped her a lot. So, yes, we have always had it in our minds to do something...thanks for understanding.
     
  9. tjohnson

    tjohnson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Yes, we truly love her, but as her (foster) parents, we are here to nurture her and look out for what is in her best interest. With lawyers on our side and as our guides, we are doing the best we can with this situation.
     
  10. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    Then that right there is the big problem - he was never correctly served in the TPR.

    But not everything, apparently :(

    I know you believe that. But this isn't about what we want to be the truth; this is about the legalities. And his DNA is CRITICAL to the matter.

    That indicates that those involved also know that while it not feel right or fair, they do acknowledge that it's legal.


    Yes, she will adjust. Fact of life.

    See below.

    Exactly - that's a HUGE problem. He was NAMED on the original petition, and should have been NAMED in the TPR - he was not.

    Yes, she will adapt just fine. She's 2. You've only been on the scene a year. She adapted fine to you, correct? She will again.

    Legally? DNA or an adoption.

    It could also be argued that what's "morally right" is to allow the child her right to be raised by her natural parents.

    The court will decide.

    Unfortunately that's not even a dot on the radar.

    Not the same rights as the biological parent, no.

    Again, my heart breaks for you. But honestly? I cannot see this adoption going ahead unless Bio Dad gives up.
     
  11. tjohnson

    tjohnson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I know you believe that. But this isn't about what we want to be the truth; this is about the legalities. And his DNA is CRITICAL to the matter.

    It's not what we "want" to be the truth; it is the truth. See my note below.



    That indicates that those involved also know that while it not feel right or fair, they do acknowledge that it's legal.

    No, you are wrong on this. They have said that it is not right and are fighting on our behalf to keep little one. We believe them 100%. Again, read my note below that explains more facts and an ending with this.



    Yes, she will adjust. Fact of life.

    As a former educator and caregiver of little ones, I know the fact that has been proven over and over again: development and training are so critical between the ages of 0-5. She is very much aware of who we are, who she is, can converse in complete sentences and has always been on the high side of development, meaning in many ways, she is more like a three year old.









    Yes, she will adapt just fine. She's 2. You've only been on the scene a year. She adapted fine to you, correct? She will again.

    We have been "on the scene" for 16 months now, more than half her life. She has been in our care more than long enough to intervene on her behalf (and that's the law)...and a lot longer than this Dad has wanted to care for her.

    Legally? DNA or an adoption.

    Of course not, legally, but psychologically, yes. Foster parents have won over cases with being a "psychological parent." We know this from a lawyer who also had fostered children at one time. And again, we have to think about what a real family is; it is more than just the legalities.



    It could also be argued that what's "morally right" is to allow the child her right to be raised by her natural parents.

    It's not morally right if he knew about her and did not act upon it last year.






    Unfortunately that's not even a dot on the radar.

    Oh, yes it is-- a huge one in fact! Not only are we dealing with legalities, but with REAL people, with REAL feelings--including that of a 2-year-old that SHOULD stay with the only parents she has ever known and was neglected by her bio parents. Again, see my note below, because it explains where we are today on the case.



    Not the same rights as the biological parent, no.

    But, we are interveners, and we are fighting for a way to speak (because that is the law).
    Again, my heart breaks for you. But honestly? I cannot see this adoption going ahead unless Bio Dad gives up.[/QUOTE]


    Here's the latest: Our lawyer sent in the interlocutory appeal yesterday.This case is unusual and there have been no other ones like it in our state (court of appeals). It states the law and facts that were on record from court, as well as history from this bio dad. Our biggest arguments continue to be: that all rights were terminated by bio mom, John Doe's, and "all others interested in the child." It is in writing; it's legal.(Somehow, someone at the department let him in solely on the fact that he said he was the bio dad). Secondly, after we were given the right to intervene, we were not allowed (hubby was there) and the judge proceeded with a verdict. Thirdly, this bio dad admitted to child neglect and he knew about her and did nothing about it. That's the main gist about it, and we are now waiting to hear if it gets approved. If it does, this case is closed; if not, we will proceed with asking for a contested hearing (so we can actually be the interveners on her behalf).

    I found this site because I was doing research. Then, I posted this thread thinking that perhaps I could get some advice, encouragement and maybe be a help to someone else in a similar situation. Unfortunately, not many of my questions were answered and although everyone is entitled to their opinion, most everyone has focused on the bio dad's rights and no one else's. It may be the law in most places, but as stated above, as interveners, we do have the right to fight on her behalf. There has been a commenter on this site, that has not looked at the people involved, but solely what they think is law. It does differ from state to state, so I know that, but on the other hand, please understand when people come here, they are looking for help and some hope. People have feelings, too, so I don't appreciate the fact that it is stated that our daughter will adjust just fine. She has dealt with sleep issues since she's been here, and anywhere we go that is new, she is terrified(most likely because of her past neglect)! As her mother, I'm the only source of comfort in her life. As foster parents, we will continue to be advocates in the lives of children we care for. While we support the bio parents when they are actively seeking help to get their children back, we do not believe it is right for children to go back when their parents have neglected them and then "suddenly" decide to come back (especially when rights were terminated in our case) because it is their "right" to do so or because they were persuaded by others (in our daughter's case, she was born out of wedlock and the relationship between mom and dad didn't last too long). Thankfully, we have lawyers who have dealt with similar cases and we are hopeful that she will stay with us forever. I will not be back at this site unless I know I can be a help to others dealing with similar situations. I really don't need someone telling me that everything will be "just fine" if she leaves and that is solely advocating for bio parents, and nothing else. Do you understand, Hon?

    Our daughter is the joy of our lives; she gives our family lots of joy and laughter...now, that's coming from her REAL mother.:)
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If there is a bio dad, and he was never notified, he has rights. You, as foster parents, have no rights. you have a myriad of obligations and responsibilities, a great many, I might add.

    Bio parents are allowed to replicate and reproduce like rabbits. They have rights, a great many rights and generally those rights are almost sacrosanct. They are allowed to treat children as if they were chattel. In fact, our legal system has labelled children as legal incompetents. Remember when it Romney was laughed at for calling corporations people? Well, he was right, corporations are people. Children aren't, any rights children have (and they are few), belong to the parents. Parents can neglect, abuse, torture, maim, molest, and malnourish their children. The filthy little secret is that our society cares very little about children and senior citizens. That's another rant.

    You didn't get the help you sought, because we deal in law. I have practiced law for more than four decades, and I'm observed the law to be useless. It isn't new. Look at how long we took to give women the right to vote, eliminate slavery,permit native-Americans and blacks the right to vote; I'll stop now.

    My point is, the law, much like government doesn't serve or protect her citizen as our founders envisioned. Benjamin Franklin was asked, shortly after he signed the Declaration of Independence, by the wife of Philadelphia's mayor, as to what type of government had the convention given us. He said, a republic madam, if you can keep it. Sadly, we've lost our way. Seniors, the infirm, mentally incompetents, and children are neglected and children have always been treated as chattel. Madam, I feel your pain. I've felt it every time I couldn't produce the desired result for my client in the civil law. There is relief and protection in the criminal law, but it's rare and takes much work and more luck.

    I wish you well. I wish I could reveal a secret, trick, or magic word. Your lawyer is doing the best he or she can under the circumstances he's allowed to litigate the matter. God bless you, that precious child, and our wayward nation. But, most of all, bless our legal system and know that only in His Kingdom will any of us ever know true justice and perfection.


    Sent from my iPad3 using Tapatalk HDe sacrosanct, to
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
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  13. tjohnson

    tjohnson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I said I was done posting for now, but couldn't help but read your note. I'm so glad I did. I agree with you 100%. I've been holding back for fear of what others may add, but I too, believe in the Ultimate Judge and that we all must give account someday. God loves this little girl more than we ever could and He has a perfect plan in her life, as well as ours through this trial. We are praying and doing the best we can with our lawyers to have her in the best place possible. Right now, everyone agrees it's here with us, but know that the courts have to decide. We believe in the power of prayer and that God can change hearts and minds however He wills. We are still hopeful when the law seems against those of us that are advocating for those who can't express themselves in the best manner (like you said, Seniors, young children and the unborn). We'd appreciate your prayers and thanks again for your note.
     
  14. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    Well, there's that whole Constitution thing.

    OP confusing with what s/he thinks is "right" with the actual laws.
     
  15. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    I've just re-read the whole thread several times. And yes, my heart still breaks for you, OP.

    So, you said this:

    This is where I think the problem lies. He has been allowed to establish paternity. The baby is only 2. I KNOW your heart is breaking, and I'll touch more on that in a second, but those two things are your worst enemies right now.

    The State is apparently allowing him to exercise his Constitutionally-protected right and intends to allow him every chance to gain custody of his child.

    Mom, I have some insight here which - though it won't soothe your soul (and please believe me, I do understand) - may help you.

    If you do come back and see this, please feel free to PM me.

    I know you think my responses have been blunt. They have been blunt yes. But this is an incredibly emotionally-charged issue for you and yes, I do feel that you needed to consider the distinct possibility that this situation won't end well for you (I know I wasn't alone in thinking that).

    If kiddo was 12? You'd have a slamdunk case in my opinion. But she's not - she's 2.

    I do wish you peace no matter what. You have opened your heart and your home, and that's something not many people can or will do.
     
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  16. tmac090689

    tmac090689 New Member

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    The truth of the matter is this can go either way. Because you have had this little girl for almost 2 years the judge may see in your favor that u are the only parents the child has ever know and that by removing her from u may cause unneeded stress and mental anguish for the child. However the father can also prevail especially if he didn't know anything about her prior to all these preceedings. Laws vary by state and also rules vary in every courtroom...jus have hope that u wil prevail. And be reasonable. Offer that the father can have contact with the child. No parent deserves to have their child taken. He deserves to c her and have a chance to know her. I personally believe however that she should be provided to stay with u as you have been the only family she has known in the most critical stages of her development. Prayer go ouyt for u
     
  17. tjohnson

    tjohnson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi Prosperpina, Since I haven't been on here in a year, I didn't know how to send you a private message. I won't go into any details, but remember the case I wrote about with the bio dad coming in and changing things up in regards to adopting? Well, in short---WE WON!!!!!! The adoption date for our now 3-year-old daughter is coming upon us quickly, probably around Thanksgiving time. If you would like details on how this all unfolded, please send me a message. Perhaps learning about the last year's events would increase your knowledge in cases like this one. WE ARE SO EXCITED to make our daughter legally ours this year!!!!
     
  18. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    tjohnson, you added the above post to another poster's thread. I moved it to YOUR original thread.
     

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