Thursday, February 7, 2013

On the Big Decisions to Make

We had our meeting at Bethany last night. I'm not entirely certain how to share this on the blog without giving away information that shouldn't be public yet so I'm just going to edit an email I sent to our family this morning: 

I thought I'd bring you up to speed on what's happening. I know I've kept the blog updated but there are some things I'm not putting online in order to protect Grant Jaden if he does end up coming home with us.

We went to meet with Bethany last night. We found out that unless Grant Jaden's birth father J just has a come to Jesus moment and signs the papers to terminate his parental rights, we're going to have to go to court. Even if his aunt turns out to be an unfit guardian. The big issue here if we choose to go to court will be that Grant Jaden will have to live with us. We wouldn't be the first people to have, basically, a foster child in the home with older children but you know it would be tough if he was taken away after 6 months or a year.

If we choose to go to court, the primary grounds for termination will be wanton disregard for the welfare of a child. There are some other grounds they will add to the case like abandonment and some other harder to prove issues but the wanton disregard is pretty huge. The attorney says he doesn't get grounds that good very often and puts our chances at better than 75%. The staff at Bethany thinks it's even better than that but, of course, all of this is subject to the interpretation of the judge we get. Also, according to a number of professionals and parents who have been through this, many times the fathers either don't file the proper paperwork or don't show up to court.

One concern that has come up a few times is whether or not J would try to hurt us if we succeed in taking Grant Jaden. I asked our friend about that. She said in her years of practice as an adoption attorney, she has never experienced that nor heard of it happening. Of course, we all know anything can happen but she suggests not making this decision based on fear but on what the Spirit leads us to do. She also says that the $15-20k in lawyer fees that Bethany's lawyer gave us as a worst case scenario is extremely rare and only happens in cases like the Anna Mae He case that some of you will remember from a couple of years ago in Bartlett.

We are planning to spend some time in prayer before making any decisions—we have a few days so we'll take advantage of them. We are also going to start researching attorneys to get a neutral opinion. In the meantime, please feel free to ask questions. I'll keep the blog updated with general information and we'll do the same on facebook. Thank you so much for everything these last few weeks!

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