The Paper Chase
We were told after we had custody of baby for EXACTLY six months his adoption file was going to be submitted to the Lancaster County courts, our lawyers would have us sign a lot of papers, the judge would do gavel-related things and the baby would be ours for all eternity.
lack of experience, wisdom, or judgment.
We thought six months meant six months, 180 days, half a year, all those things you tend to believe when someone says a concrete amount of time that equals 24 hours multiplied 180 times. This, of course, was stupid. The same way that we thought 12 bibs was a reasonable number of bibs, this is the level of delusion I’m describing. Here is what 6 months means in the adoption world:
Obtain baby. Unbelievably difficult but necessary step.
Select family lawyer. One with a law degree is best.
Wait until the baby has been in your physical custody for 4,320 hours.
Go to your lawyer.
Prepare the paperwork. Learn that there has been a dispute over what Iowa paperwork and Nebraska paperwork need to include. Wonder why this was never addressed the entire time you have been twiddling your thumbs waiting for the day the paperwork could be handled.
Meet again to have papers reviewed and signed. Notice minor errors in the paperwork that are mildly concerning, like the fact there is no legal record of how the birth mother spells her name. It’s three different ways on three separate documents. Have a panic attack wondering if someone can be un-adopted if the birthmom shows up and it turns out adding a “y” to her name makes her a totally different legal entity with rights over your beloved son.
Take a sedative.
Go back to paperwork and notice that you have all be signing copies showing today’s date as 2012. Wait for everyone to get updated copies.
Wait for a second round of updated copies while everyone tries to remember if the baby needs to be Imes Borden or Borden, middle name Imes. Realize you don’t HAVE to remember, he’s YOUR FUCKING KID AND YOU ALREADY NAMED HIM SO JUST DO IT RIGHT AND WHY HAVEN’T WE BEEN HAVING THIS DISCUSSION BEFORE NOW
Take another sedative.
Be told, for the first time, that after the paperwork is filed (already one month late) the state must hold it between 4 and 12 weeks.
Realize that the tickets you just got to visit the baby’s grandparents in Canada are now $2,300 (CAD) bookmarks. Because baby cannot get a passport without a birth certificate, and he cannot get that without the adoption papers, and those just got pushed back at least another month.
Remove sedatives from bottle and repackage them into Pez dispenser for convenience.
Realize the court date will run into the school year, wonder how we’ll schedule it all.
Ask mother to find outfit for baby to wear to court. Consider the virtues of bowties, tiny seersucker suits and similar.
Get notice to appear in court. Invite family to be there.
Get everyone to court. See another family with a toddler they are about to adopt. Realize we’re about to do something profound and special. Give them the “us, too” nod that only the others of our vast and wonderful tribe get to share.
Explain to squirming nephew what adoption is. Realize the entire concept of “the baby grew in another lady’s tummy but she gave him to us to love forever because he’s our family”, while beautiful and awe-inspiring, sounds a little suspect when you say it out loud.
Go in front of the judge. Remember almost none of it because IT’S HAPPENING.
Tear up when she asks why we want to adopt him. Mac answers “because we love him.” I answer “because he’s our son.”
Put away the Pez dispenser.
Live happily ever after as the Imes Bordens.
Or whatever name they put on his papers.