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An Adoption Mess

February 11, 2008 at 7:31pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

Here’s a nasty little adoption-related scenario playing out in Nebraska:

An adoption agency [Nebraska Children’s Home] and birth mother want to take back a 3-month-old baby boy from a couple who wanted to give him a home, after learning that the adoptive mother was pregnant.

The 22-year-old biological mother says in court documents that she wanted the parents who adopted her son to not have their own biological children. She wanted them to either raise her son alone or adopt more kids if they wanted to expand their family.

But Jason and Angela Vesely say they didn’t purposely hide Angela’s pregnancy when they applied to adopt a child. They say they were never asked if she was pregnant by the private agency and didn’t know it had rules against applying mothers being pregnant.

Yikes, talk about a situation with no winners. It isn’t unusual for Nebraska Children’s Home to have a policy regarding an adoptive mother’s pregnancy status or the adoptive family’s number and age of current children. That’s all par for the course. What would be unusual is if NCH didn’t make its policies crystal clear.

There was no mistaking our agency’s policy: if The Missus were to get pregnant before the placement, we would be dropped from the waiting list. It’s not intended to be a punitive policy, nor is it to prevent families with biological children from adopting. It’s simply about ensuring that a newly adopted child receives the attention he deserves; it’s very difficult to give that attention if two new children are battling for the parents’ focus.

Unfortunately, the LJS article creates more questions than it answers. Was it an open adoption? (The fact that the mother’s name appears in the article leads me to believe that it was.) Has the adoption been finalized? (If so, that was very speedy.) I could go on and on.

Child custody cases are rarely pretty, but they are often fascinating. I, for one, hope to keep an eye on this case because the end decision could potentially have interesting implications for all adoptive parents. Any case that is perceived to hurt adoptive parents has a chilling effect on adoptions. The biggest losers are usually domestic and open adoptions, two areas that most adoption proponents are trying to strengthen.

Yakkity Yak

February 8, 2008 at 2:45pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

I don’t think I’m ready for Robbie to speak.

In some ways it’s great. I ask, “Robbie, what would you like for lunch?” And he responds, “Pea buh” (peanut butter). How handy is that?

But in other ways, it’s not such a good thing. I can’t even think words like “damn” or “stupid”, much less the fouler nouns, adjectives, and verbs, without Robbie picking up on them. Sure, it’s hilarious for a few moments to see your son walking around the house saying “damn damn damn damn”. But then you realize you’re leaving for your parents’ house in five minutes…

It really is amazing how quickly his vocabulary is expanding. For a long time his only recognizable words were “uh oh” and “Daisy”, not to mention the dreaded “No”. Now he uses new words every day. Like “skiving” (Thanksgiving), which he uses to refer to a certain photograph on the wall. And today for the first time he referred to the hand mixer as “beats”. Every time my mom watches him for us, she asks, “When did Robbie learn [some new word]?”, and more often than not, we didn’t even know he knew that word. It’s incredible.

It’s also amusing to watch Robbie begin to test his boundaries. He might try to put his feet on the table while he’s eating, for example. We’ll say, “No no, Robbie. No feet on the table”. So then he tests us. He’ll hover his foot over the table, or he’ll graaaadually lower the foot off the table until he gets the sense that he’s in the safe zone. The little turkey loves to find the boundary between allowed and forbidden.

Robbie is beginning to sing as well. So far “EIEIO” (Old MacDonald), “round round bus” (The Wheels on the Bus) and “ba ba BEANS” (Beans! by The String Beans) are his favorites. I especially love it when he tries to sing the Beans song. Unfortunately, it has not spurred an interest in eating beans.

Physically, Robbie has been near the head of the class. He keeps up with older kids at the playground, at the YMCA, and elsewhere, and they seem to really enjoy playing with him. As a result, it’s easy to compare Robert to older (2 and 3 year-old) kids. It’s difficult to believe how much Robbie is going to change in the next few months. We’re going down to Albuquerque in May for my sister-in-law’s un-wedding (long story). Robbie will have just turned two. Even though it’s only 3 months away, I can tell by watching other kids that Robbie will be much different by then. Grandma and grandpa will be shocked.

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