Believe it or not, I'm BACK in Mayberry! We drove from Mayberry to Gilligan's Island Monday evening and on the way, I got a call from a birthmom I had worked with almost a year ago. She had decided to parent her baby and left the adoption program. Well, long story short, she called Monday and said she could not take care of her now 7-month-old daughter any more and wanted to place her for adoption.
We did the paper work yesterday afternoon and late last night, I was on the road with both Tank and the baby. Because the birthmom had not selected a family yet, the baby went to stay with one of our fantastic temporary care families. Unfortunately, the only one available was about 6 hours from Gilligan's Island. These wonderful folks met me at 10:00 last night to get the baby and take her home and love on her for a few days, until the new family can come.
If you don't know a whole lot about domestic adoption, here's a very simplified snapshot: in Georgia, a birth parent signs legal surrenders to their child and then has ten days to revoke those surrenders. Because birth parents do frequently revoke, many adoptive families elect not to travel from other states and meet the baby, begin bonding, etc., until the ten days are up and they know the baby is free for adoption. In this case, we haven't even contacted a family yet, because the mom needs to select the family she wants. Because this baby is 7 months old, some families will not be open to her: they want a newborn. Which is their loss, because this little pumpkin is ADORABLE!
Anyway, back to Domestic Adoption for Newbies: Typically, when a mother places her child for adoption, a lack of support from the father is one of the main reasons. So, the birth mother usually makes the adoption plan, contacts the agency and selects the adoptive family. Once the mother's ten day revocation period is up, the agency contacts the birth father. He can voluntarily surrender his rights, like the birth mother, or he can simply ignore the papers he is served and if he doesn't make any move to fight the adoption, his rights will be terminated in court after a lengthy process. The other option is for him to gain custody of the baby. This last option is the one that is most rare. Nothing against all the great dads out there, but sadly there are many men who aren't the least bit interested in the children they father. I've worked with some birth mothers whose ex-boyfriends threatened to fight an adoption, but when it came to committing time, money and energy to showing a judge that they would be good parents, they didn't follow through.
Whew. Long-winded explanation of one of my jobs, huh?
I didn't want this blog to be about my work in the adoption field, but the truth is, there's a lot of misinformation and prejudice out there related to families created through adoption. So, I'm violating my own blogging rule and opening that door. I'd rather answer questions and try to offer some information than have more folks walking around with antiquated ideas of adoption and "baby-stealing."
So, anyway, since I had to meet the wonderful people who will be caring for the baby, I ended up driving 3 hours from Gilligan's Island. I just re-packed my clothes and Tank's and brought him with me and we came on the rest of the way to Mayberry...it's only about 40 minutes from where I met the family. I'll try to maybe meet another plumber or get some small project scratched off the list while I'm here.
Luckily, my OTHER job was very nice about this emergency and I am able to just go back to the island on Saturday and handle what I need to do there.
More later, but I am too pooped to write much at the moment.