In 2001 I had my son’s biological father’s parental rights terminated. It wasn’t a hard decision as he had never laid eyes on that precious baby (yes he knew I was pregnant) he never sent a dime and all contact disappeared before Ben was even born. I lived in fear of him appearing at any point and trying to lay claim on a child that was only his in DNA. My worrying was fruitless as he not only didn’t show up for the court date, he never showed up at all.
After Matt and I were engaged, there were some rumblings from ourselves and others about whether Matt would one day adopt Ben. At the time it seemed too big so we stuck a pin in it until a later date.
As time went on, and regardless of any formal proceedings, Ben starting calling Matt “Dad” on his own long before we were married. And Matt truly become Ben’s father, more than any piece of paper or DNA could prove differently.
That was then.
A few weeks ago Matt and I met with the same lawyer that helped me in 2001 to start the process of Matt adopting Ben. To say this has made all the hearts in my family and friends swell to three times their original size would be an understatement.
And to say that this will be an arduous task is also an understatement.
Because Ben already has a blank space in the “father” column, our lawyer said we could do this on our own. If we wanted to pay him $500 to do the paperwork for us he would take our money but a lawyer wasn’t necessary. (See? They aren’t all snakes.)
Once I started delving into this adventure, I got confused if I was trying to adopt the entire population of Zimbabwe or was just trying to have my husband adopt my son.
We have to go through an adoption agency (luckily we don’t have to wait for a child. I have a great one in mind who’s available with a room already all set up…) which includes a home visit, a substantial fee, a 46 page questionnaire for Matt, a physical for Matt and Ben, copies of our financial statements, insurance, Eddie’s vaccinations and all our Facebook statuses for the past three years. (I’m kidding about the Facebook stuff… although, shit, maybe I just haven’t gotten to that page in the packet yet.)
None of the above includes the Dane County court paperwork, their court fees and the hearing.
Let’s review some facts, mmmkay? Ben is not an orphan. He’s my child. I have 100% legal custody of him. Matt is my legal husband. We have all lived together in harmony for over two years now.
I understand and completely support protecting our children but I did legally marry the guy without anyone seeming to care there was a child in the mix.
Welcome to bureaucracy!
Sure we could forget about all this hassle and continue to live happily ever after as is, BUT, this is worth it. So worth it to all three of us.
This adoption will mean that Matt is legally Ben’s and Ben is legally Matt’s. Ben will be Matt’s heir, if something happens to me there will be no question where Ben goes and the very most important thing that gives me chills and makes me automatically cry… my sweet boy who has never deserved this Jerry Springer life I’ve brought him into, will finally, after twelve years, have a name in that “father” column. Legally and forever.