Friday, January 24, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
My husband and I got married close to 20 years ago. My daughters were almost 3 and a little over 5. They took to him immediately and even told my parents that they liked him and thought he was cute! I was a step mom to his son who had loyalty issues to his own mother and never bonded with me. My girls bonded with my husband in spite of some very difficult times. What they tell us now is they see us as any other family. We had some problems and bad times; but we also had a lot of good times. They do not, much to my surprise, hold him hostage for those bad times.
Their biological father was fairly absent. He sent me the requisite very low child support on time and visited them once a week usually. There were many weeks he missed visits or was late. He never knew who their doctor was or dentist. He never brought them to a school event; never saw them play soccer or volleyball claiming he was out of town working. He did manage to go to award ceremonies so he could brag that his daughters got this award or that award I believe.
He took my older daughter on a short camping trip when she was about 5; he took them to California once and in spite of having little money to give me for child support managed to take them to London and Paris. However that was over the course of 20 years. Rarely did they spend the night with him. When they were little and I was a single parent he refused to help me out by taking them for a weekend or even a night. I warned him that one day he would regret it and that day has come.
A couple of years ago my younger daughter told me she wanted to change her name. We are not mind readers and had no idea she was talking about adoption. In September of this year my older daughter was home for the Jewish holidays. During this time we light a candle for loved ones who have died. It was then that my husband asked my daughter if she would light a candle for him when he died. She said of course she would and then asked him if he would adopt her and her sister. My husband answered that he would be honored and thrilled. They wanted this to be a symbolic gesture of appreciation for all he has done for them they said.
He did not want to be seen as the one who initiated the process so it was left to me. I started on the Internet. I spent hours looking for information on Adoption. If you type in adult adoption in Google the first thing that comes up is Adopting a Dog. There were times I thought I was getting close to having the information I needed to go forward. I came across a website that told me that adult adoption is a noun meaning the adoption of a person over the age of majority (as defined in State law).
There was some interesting information I found out but I still did not know how to go about doing what needed to be done.
I was told that the reasons for adult adoption include formalizing a parent-child relationship (True in our case); inheritance (not an issue in our case); for perpetual care in terms of insurance if the adopted adult needs it (not our case); for a new birth certificate (This issue came up later but I did not pay much attention to it when I first read it because I was focused on the process.); name change (Ditto that last comment).
I continued to be frustrated when I read that adult adoption is handled differently in all states.
In any case I will leave you some links to websites that will give you information that is helpful. However I will tell you the process I have gone through so you do not have to re invent the wheel.
If your child is over 18 years old the biological parent does not have to be notified. That is in Massachusetts. During my research I found states where the age was lower but I never found any where the age was higher. In spite of their father's absenteeism he would never have agreed so you might want to be fairly certain of where he or she stands before going through the process if your children are somewhere between 14 and 18.
I finally discovered that I had to go to the courthouse to get paperwork. I had no idea what paperwork that was or how complicated it would be. I did learn a couple of important things you will need to know.
1. You want to go to the Probate Court. If Probate Court is in the same building as Criminal Court then fine. In my town it is not so I was sent from one building to another.
2. In my town there is a lawyer available two days a week. I discovered this after my third trip to Probate Court when I finally asked Ann Maire, the adult adoption clerk, what people who do not speak English or have no education do. I was having trouble so they would not have a chance. That is when she told me about the free lawyer.
I was given two sets of paperwork and after filling them out in a way I thought was complete went to Ann Marie only to be told that they was not. This is what you will get:
~You will get one form that you and the person adopting your child or vice versa will have to sign and have notarized. My bank notarizes forms for free which is true in many banks. This form states that my husband and I (separately) agree to this adoption. My husband is the petitioner. Although I had my own forms I am the spouse.
~What I did not realize was that another form had to be sent to my children and they had to have their signatures notarized saying they agree to be adopted. Looking at this paper it just seemed to make sense that if they showed up in court it could be signed then but no such luck. So I sent them the forms indicating exactly where it had to be signed and they sent them back to me. To illustrate just how confusing the forms actually are, in one case the notary did not sign her name as a witness. She stamped the signature of my daughter only. Ann Marie said it would be fine. The judge could always witness her signature. (As it turned out the judge never did.)
~We then each had to fill out a CORI (Criminal Offense Record Investigation) form. As a social worker I am well aware of these forms and have been coried often. The sense this makes for adults is beyond the scope of this essay. We complied of course. After we filled out our CORI forms I learned that my girls had to file CORI forms. Finally all the forms were ready to be handed to Ann Marie so she could process them. We now had a docket number.
During this time Ann Maire kept asking if my girls were changing their last names. I said they were not. The only reason they were not was because my younger daughter, who is in medical school, was very concerned that her Board scores, etc. would get lost with a name change but she was reassured by her medical school that she could keep her biological name while in medical school if she wanted. So both my children legally changed their names. In my state a change of name done at a later date costs $150.
Ann Maire also wanted them to know that this was the only time their birth certificate would be altered. If they decided in 3 years to change their names they could do so but their birth certificate would remain the same. They both want their birth certificates changed so they went ahead with this.
I was told by Ann Marie I would get a letter giving me a place to put in whatever date I wanted this to happen.
I got the letter and was horrified that the court only does adult adoption the first two weeks of the month. My daughters were coming home the 3rd week of the month. They could not leave school for a day, especially medical school even for this important event. I called Ann Maire and she said not to worry about it and just write in whatever date will work and the judge will work around us.
This did happen. This could perhaps have been the judge who agreed to do the adult adoption on a day he normally does not; it could be I live in a small town; it could be that by this time Ann Marie and I were really good friends. The adoption clerk is a good person to have on your side.
With help from Ann Marie it did not take more than a month from start to finish to have a court date.
Other things you should know:
~Our adult adoption was free.
~The biological parent will not be notified although he or she is asked on the form what his name is and address. I just put down his name since I do not know his address and that was fine as well.
~You will have to have the social security number of your child and an original birth certificate. This cannot be a copy so if you do not have one you will have to get one. I had a copy only for one of my daughters so I just e-mailed Boston City Hall, sent them a check and in a few days got her original birth certificate.
~You and your spouse must have original birth certificates as well.
~In my opinion if there are step siblings they should be told before the event takes place. My stepson questioned why my daughters would want to do this considering their father is alive. I think he felt a bit threatened by them. They will legally be his half sisters, perhaps in name only. I doubt their relationship will change. Still it is something to consider. Some siblings may have a very hard time accepting your spouse adopting other children. I cannot tell you what to do if they object. I can only hope they do not.
December 27 at 9:00 we appeared in court. Our Judge was a wonderful man. He was warm and welcoming. I am sure having a happy event first thing in the morning was a bonus for him. He signed a few papers; had us sign a couple more papers and it was done. Surprisingly no questions were asked such as "Are you doing this of your own free will?"
The Judge even suggested a picture with him behind his bench. We were told we could bring a camera and invite friends.
I hope I have helped you through this process. If anyone has been adopted as an adult or adopted an adult I would love to know what your experiences have been. Although I was a bit overwhelmed at first with the paperwork it really was not as difficult as I think I made it out to be. However if I worked full-time, I would have had to do this by mail which made me very uncomfortable. Ann Marie kept telling me to mail the forms in but they were too important to me. The Probate Court is not far from my house so I was just as happy to hand them to her.
My husband wanted "his girls" to have special gifts. Some suggestions from our shopping: tote bags (from L.L. Bean) with their new initials; frames (Things Remembered) that say their new names, adoption and the date; and leather portfolios with their new names on them. We are all very excited that he will be their dad not just in behavior but in the eyes of the law. That means so much to all of us.
Thanks honey, for all the years you have taken care of my children; provided a roof (and a nice one) over their heads; took them on all the amusement park rides that I would not go near; took them to their doctor and dentist appointments; helped them with school work; provided them with health care; helped them with their college applications and listened to them and gave advice when asked about a broken heart. I love you for what you did. Our eldest daughter said that she would light a candle for you; paperwork was not necessary and I know she meant it. I would love you if for some reason you had said no. The fact that you said yes with tears in your eyes was heart wrenching for me and made the last sometimes very difficult 20 years fade away.
© Jo Levy
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
Sunday, January 12, 2014
|Jo, Elliott and Kai!|
Sunday, January 5, 2014
We decided to stay here one more night so we will head to the east coast of Florida on Tuesday.
Jan. 4 was Jo's birthday. We went to Dennys where jo got a free grand slam, took the dogs to the beach, where they much prefer being held than interacting with dogs and then went to our favorite buffet Crazy Buffet in Tampa where jo got their $20 buffet for free.
It was another day on the dog beach. We will post some pictures of our last couple of days which are pretty much dog pics. Zoey is doing a lot of barking (:
See my new board at Pinterest. Made in the USA
Saturday, January 4, 2014
We think because the girls have each other they prefer not to play with other dogs...just people. Having said that Hanna was an only child and she would not look at dogs or people. This is Cloey and Zoey asking daddy to pick them up. You can see a little dog very close by.
We decided to post pictures rather than add to our st. Pete post. DeSoto is so special. We love camping here (electric and water), going to the off leash dog beach and the girls played in the beautiful fenced in dog park.Probably the nicest one we have seen. Hanna hated it. We do realize that the girls are afraid of other dogs but zoey will let them run after her. They both hide behind our legs. They love people though,!
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
For those who haven't heard there is an addicting, fun, and illuminating site called Pinterest. These are a handful of the top pins of 2013. Click here to see them all.
Meatball Bubble Biscuits
Wrap refrigerated biscuits around purchased meatballs for a super-easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer.
- 1 can (12 oz) Pillsbury® Grands!® Jr. Golden Layers® refrigerated buttermilk or flaky biscuits
- 10 frozen cooked Italian-style meatballs (about 5 oz), thawed, each cut in half
- 2 sticks (1 oz each) string cheese, each cut into 10 pieces
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup marinara sauce, heated
|For the recipe for this Philly Cheesesteak click here.|
|Save the date card baysidebride.com|
Shape Up: The Off-Limits List (to Your Bikini Body)
We actually had fun at the campgrounds new years eve party. We talked to some friendly people and although many were our age we still didn't find anyone like "us" and only people who really know is could understand the complexities this entails.
It is a gorgeous day once again and back to the beach. Tomorrow we head to Fort Desoto state park, which is one of our very favorites and where there is an off leash beach. We'll add on to this post tomorrow.