I just wanted to share my story and hopefully it helps someone going through this scary similar process. I share a child with this man named (let’s call him) Gary. I got pregnant when I was very young and from the moment I had my child (let’s call him) Josh , I knew being a mother was the most important thing to me in the world. Gary and I fought constantly and sometimes unfortunately it would turn physical. You see it’s hard for me to say Gary actually ever cared about being a father, because to me it was more of a means to control me. I won’t bore you with our complicated past.. anyways after fighting in court and having his family hire an expensive attorney against me we had to come up with a parenting plan. Gary was to see Josh two days a week at his parents house and pay the lowest amount of child support possible. Gary also had to summit clean urine samples when the court asked because of his drug court orders. (Oh yes, he also has a drug and alcohol issue) . Anyways, Gary stopped coming to visits. Never paid one dime of his court ordered child support and moved to an other state without even notifying me. It has been over 6 years since Gary has had any communication with Josh. I happily got married a few years ago to a wonderful man who loves Josh as his own. So after hearing Gary had yet an other fail with his rehab I decided it was time to take action. I was terrified but knew it was the best thing to do for Josh. I hired an attorney and I suggested if you are going this rout you hire an experienced attorney with step parent adoption and TPRs. Also be prepared because it does get expensive, but completely worth it in the end. I knew Gary was not going to consent the adoption because he is a person that needs to be in control. He is all fine for someone else to raise his child and take care of him physically/emotionally/ and financially.. but in no way does that give them the write to be called his father (the world he lives in is a Delusional one). So we started the process back in February. It took a few weeks to find him because he did move to an other state but once he was served half the battle was already over with. Once he was served a hearing was scheduled. He had a little over 3 months to figure out how to come back to our state and hire an attorney of his own. In my case I was lucky... he put more effort to request to appear by phone than anything else. He never hired an attorney because people like Gary like to think that they are a lot smarter than what they really are. So hearing was in the beginning of April. My attorney was ready. The judge placed the phone call and that’s when the nerves over took me.
It starts off by the judge swearing both parties in. Since Gary was representing himself he got to talk a lot more than I did. I was restricted to yes and no responses only and to be honest it drove me nuts. Gary went above and beyond. He blamed me for his drug and alcohol problems .
He blamed me on why he moved (even though I hadn’t spoken to him years prior)
He blamed me on why he never kept up with Josh.
He even went as far to state he had given my child support checks, I would just never cash them, and if I did I would bunch them together and cash them all at once to make his account over draft. ( that made me sick to my stomach)
I was being verbally attacked.. and every time my lawyer would try to interject.. she was over ruled. At that moment I was accepting defeat. I looked at my husband with tears filling up my eyes and at this point I had to try my hardest to toon out all the lies that were being said about me. I began to look at my attorney with eyes yelling at her saying DO SOMETHING!!!!
Then the court room for quit. The judge looked our way and asked my attorney why this adoption was in the best interest for Josh. My attorney responded with state law facts on child abandonment in our state. She then focused on Josh’s relationship with my husband. How my husband has done all the work... so why can’t he receive the credit and honor of being his father. The judge asked Gary why Josh shouldn’t be adopted. This is where Gary shot himself in the foot. He began rambling on about how he takes full responsibility for not being there for Josh, but that at the end of the day it was my doing. He kept saying over and over again how he would do anything in the world for Josh and would even move back to the states and take Josh to see a child Psychologist to wein Gary into Josh’s life. At the point the judge then calmly asked him.... then why are you not here now?
At that moment I felt like I could breathe again. For someone who had almost half a year to present evidence and make arrangements to attend an very important hearing .. he spent more time bad mouthing me and filing motions to appear by phone. When the judge overruled my lawyer he wasn’t doing to because he felt Gary was on to something, he did it because he was absorbing all the BS. He saw right through it.
This is the very 1st time that this particular judge waved a biological fathers consent for stepparent adoption.
I was in complete shock. The judge even went as far to thank my husband for everything he has done and he feels that Josh is better off having him as a father. At the end of the day we met all the requirements for child abandonment. Despite Gary saying he was ready now to be a dad.. he was 6 years too late.
Hope this story helps someone in a similar situation. And remember at the end of the day all these judges care about is what’s best for the child. I’m not saying that only because we won. Watching my judge actually Absorbing every single word that was said and giving us a change to explain why both parties feel their position is best for the child meant everything. It’s hard to listen to the terrible things the other parent will say about you.. but remember none of that matters and the more reserve you are, the better for you and your child.
Best of luck.