Raising a Blended Family

We’ve begun the long process of Second Parent Adoption… a documentary of sorts.

on August 29, 2012

So back in April I (Shorty) called my HR department at work and told them that my wife was pregnant and I would be adopting the baby, and needed to know what I needed to be able to get approved for FMLA after the baby was born so that I could stay home with Amazon and Baby. The HR lady told me that all I would need would be for Amazon’s doctor or the pediatrician we planned to use to fill out the FMLA paperwork verifying that Amazon was pregnant and her expected due date. This all needed to be done 30 days from her due date. Then when the adoption was finalized, I just needed to turn in a copy of the court documents. This needed to be done within the first year of the baby’s life. Great, I said, I can do that. I was then told to have a nice day, and we disconnected the phone call.

Amazon and I then decided that we would start the second parent adoption process after the first of the year next year and use our tax return to fund it. If you’ve gone through a second parent adoption you know they can be expensive. So we went about life and baby preparations.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, where I again called my HR department to receive the paperwork to have the doctor fill out. This time, however, I was told that I do not qualify for FMLA because the adoption hadn’t been finalized. I calmly notified the HR lady that the adoption could not be finalized any sooner then 60 days AFTER birth, which had not happened yet, and that I do in fact qualify because I am going to adopt the baby.  The FMLA is for bonding time, home studies, attorney visits, court dates, and anything else that I have to do within the adoption process. So she then told me to call the main HR department because she had never dealt with a case like this and didn’t quite know the procedure or policy. I called the main HR Department, which didn’t know much more about the adoption policy then the other lady. The main HR Department told me that I had to have a statement from my attorney stating that I had in fact hired her to proceed with the adoption after the birth, and a statement from Amazon’s doctor and this all had to be turned in within 2 weeks. This was a BIG FREAKING problem- we didn’t have an attorney, and we weren’t planning on hiring one til after the first of the year, because of what I was told 4 months ago.

I then went to my boss, and asked him if I could just use 2 weeks of my vacation time after the baby is born to stay home with Amazon and baby, he then asked my why I needed to stay home for two weeks when my ROOMMATE had HER baby. I calmly repeated that she is my wife and this is MY baby. He then repeated back that I did not need to take 2 weeks off just because my roommate had a baby. At this point and in pure frustration I came home from work and broke into tears and panic.

Amazon and I decided that for all of our protection and so that I could have bonding time with the baby we would go ahead and hire an attorney. So we called an attorney recommended to us by a friend who did her second parent adoption through her, and set up a consultation.  The next day we went in for our consultation and the attorney agreed to help us and let us know what was all involved.

We left the consultation without completely committing to start the adoption process at this time. The process is both exciting and overwhelming. This is exciting because after 60 days of the babies life I will legally be recognized as his momma, my name will be on his birth certificate, and no matter what happens no one can take him from me. It was a bit overwhelming because there is a lot of stuff that has to be done between now and then and all these things have a price tag attached. Just to give you an idea,

  • the attorney is $2500
  • $1250 goes to filing fees and having her draw up 3 documents: Medical Power of Attorney for me over Amazon in case something happens to Amazon, Medical Power of Attorney for me over the baby, and temporary guardianship for me of the baby until adoption is finalized
  • $500, to have her draw up the Donor Consent forms, which we had to send to the donor to get his consent for me to adopt
  • $500 when the baby is born she will go and file the paperwork with the court
  • And all of this is in addition to the home study fees of $700, and background checks $40 per person.

All this has to be paid ASAP and definitely before the adoption is finalized. For our modest income, and having Thing One to provide for on top of having a new baby, this is a lot of money to come up with in 90 days! It’s overwhelming. 

We came home with mixed feelings of really really wanting to get the adoption process started and fear of not being able to financially commit right now. We were able to pull some strings though to make it happen, and so we quickly called the attorney back and told her that we wanted to go ahead and get the process started. We then set up another appointment to meet with her.

So this is where we are at now, last week we went in to meet with her and signed all the papers that will be filed with the courts when the baby is born. We emailed the donor the consent form and waiting for him to mail it back. YAY, that’s the easy and non-frustrating part!!

So what is the hard and frustrating part you ask, well I will tell you, that is the thing called a Home Study. Basically I have to fill out paperwork after paperwork, about my personality, what kind of parent I am, why I want to adopt, give a financial profile, have 5 references from people who know me well and know my personality, have a medical physical, get a reference from my doctor, have a national background check, a state background check, and a local background check, then they are going to come to my home to make sure our home is safe- all of this to decide whether or not I will be a good parent to my child. To me this is extremely frustrating considering I already have SOLE legal and physical custody of Thing 1, granted to me by a judge during my divorce. On top of this is the obvious fact that Amazon, the birth mother of the baby, is saying I want Shorty to adopt my baby. Somehow all of this does not have any bearing on the decision made, we still have to have a stranger who doesn’t know me or our lives come into my home, and based off of what we put in our application, what the references say, and what they observe while here, decide if I’m a good parent and if allowing me to adopt the baby is in the baby’s best interest. But as frustrating as this is I will complete all the paperwork, cross all my T’s and dot all my I’s to be able to have legal rights to my kid.

So for now, we are busy getting the mountains of paperwork filled out, sending out references, waiting for the donor to send the consent back, waiting for the baby to decide to be born, and preparing for the home study,  because in the end having the legal protection and rights to my child will be all that matters and all the other frustrations and loops will be a thing of the past.

Keep us in your thoughts as we go through this long complicated process and I will keep you posted along the way!



9 responses to “We’ve begun the long process of Second Parent Adoption… a documentary of sorts.

  1. X says:

    We also dealt with work issues – though not like yours, your boss sounds like a winner – and I found this info from The dept of labor; check out the “in loco parentis” definitions http://www.dol.gov/WHD/opinion/adminIntrprtn/FMLA/2010/FMLAAI2010_3.htm
    Essentially, if you plan to parent, you should be covered by FMLA, regardless of formal adoption status. Also sorry about the home study; I think they are ridiculous, too!

  2. zunzunbobo says:

    i’m STEAMING with rage. STEAMING about your stupid fucking asshole boss. WHAT A DICK.
    anyway, i’m so sorry this is all thrown at you on such short notice, and so sorry that the process there is so involved and expensive. so fucking backwards. UGH. i’m just really sorry.

  3. Jessie says:

    I hate it too the home study sucks. Ours is dragging on and won’t be completed until he’s 8 months old. Ugh

  4. Meela says:

    What an arsehole. Talk about stress you really don’t need right now. It’ll be great to have it all legal and finalized in the end but it would have been nicer to do it on your own schedule and not under pressure. I feel for you. Hopefully it’ll all go smoothly. Good luck!

  5. allison-lee says:

    Wow. Your boss sounds like a douche. Can you go to HR and file a discrimination charge against him? (Probably not, eh?)
    Hope the SPA goes smoothly. As I’ve said to countless others, I HATE that you have to do this.

  6. Wow. That is unbelievable! It’s situations like this that make our same sex laws in this country unconstitutional! Best of luck to you and yours.

  7. Isa says:

    oh, honey! I am so sorry to hear about your crappy boss and all of the money and all of the stress! I agree that you should be covered, easily, under FMLA, but I can also understand not wanting to get into a huge confrontation about this, especially since the adoption is something you’ll want to do anyway. At least (unless i am sorely mistaken) you will be able to claim back the adoption costs on your taxes so next year’s refund will be bigger than usual. This whole thing blows so much.

  8. Oy. I’m sorry. This sounds like a lot of crap making an irritating situation (having to adopt your own child) much worse. I’m lucky that my boss when Critter was born never did anything worse than make jokes about my pa-maternity leave (because of how I was like the “dad” *and* the “mom”, or something. I pointed out that just because I wasn’t giving birth to Critter didn’t mean I wasn’t his mom, but I don’t think he got completely got it). And he wasn’t being homophobic, just… clueless. I don’t know your company’s anti-discrimination policy (assuming it has one), or what the laws are in your state, but I think allison-lee is right, and it might be worth at least considering making a complaint against him. Because that’s just b.s..

    The whole homestudy thing is total b.s. as well. Fortunately, our state doesn’t require one, but friends of ours had to do one (even though their state recognizes domestic partnerships), and it just sounds like a giant, invasive, pain.

    On the plus side, having our second parent adoption done for Critter was great. I always knew he was my son, but it was wonderful to know the law took the same view. So congratulations on getting yours under way!

  9. SotOhana says:

    I cannot believe your boss! I literally said “What the F*ck” like 10 times after I read what he said to you. I am in just complete and utter shock…..
    Shorty, ugh…I’m so sorry you had to go through that experience on top of everything else that you have to do to adopt your own child.
    F*cking A. this is why I fight for legal protections like I do. People just don’t know that this kind of thing still happens. Even I am shocked…

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