By: Tanya Dodd-Hise
Fingerprinting was the step that I took to kick off our adoption process. My next step, which I did the day after my trip to the police station, was to meet with my attorney (aka, BFF Kim). I had filled out the Adoption Intake Form, which I have blogged about previously, to take to her, along with a copy of our marriage license and a copy of Harrison’s birth certificate.
We went over what else needed to be done, and I wrote the first check to her for the first phase.
Once we were past the initial paperwork and the fingerprinting (which I turned over to her), my next step was to get ahold of the social worker that Kim had for us to use for our home study. In the very beginning, when we first started talking and planning for the adoption, I had wanted Kim to petition the court to waive the home study, given that I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that I had to do it in order to adopt my own child. Unfortunately, after speaking with some advising attorneys, she didn’t feel that it was worth it to even attempt a waiver of the home study – after all, we DO live in conservative Texas. With every step I want to stomp my feet and rebel against the system, or go to the state capital building in Austin and scream at Rick Perry while throwing tomatoes at the beautiful, domed rotunda. However, I won’t, since I would rather be granted this adoption instead of spending time behind bars…haha.
I was soon put into contact with the woman who would either become my new best friend, or who could possibly decide my fate in a less-than-positive way. My experience (which has been one time) with a social worker was several years ago, when Noah’s father was doing a step-parent adoption of Nicholas. That home study, with a social worker chosen from a list, was very nerve wracking for me. Hours of tense questions and answers, delving deep into our pasts – and he was MY kid! I wasn’t even the one adopting him! So when I knew that I would have to have a home study for Harrison’s adoption, all I could think about was how stressful the last one was. I spoke with her on the phone to schedule the visit, and she was very warm and laid back, telling me that she preferred to have two visits in order to cover everything that she needed to for a complete report. We scheduled it for a Monday, and I spent the days leading up to it tidying the house of clutter and cleaning what I could, without making it look TOO polished and unlived in. When she arrived, I was instantly put at ease by her capri pants and flip flops, along with her reassuring smile and personality. She took a quick tour of the house, not very in depth at all (which made me VERY happy), then we sat down in the den for almost three hours and talked, just she and I. She asked me questions about my marital history (now THAT was fun to explain), my history with Erikka, and about my relationships with both Noah and Harrison. She didn’t ask very many questions about Nicholas; I’m sure mainly because he is off and married now. It was very relaxing, and I felt like I was sitting and chatting with a new friend. When it came time for her to go, I called Erikka and we scheduled the second visit – for the next day. No time like the present, right?
So she returned the next afternoon, where she visited with Erikka for a bit, and then the two of us together. It was a wonderful experience, with no negatives whatsoever. Within two days, she emailed me her report and asked me to look over it before she sent it over to Kim for submission to the court. I couldn’t believe that the process was going this quickly! This could soon be a reality, one that is signed, sealed, and delivered in court! Our adoption process for Bud to adopt Nicholas took from August until December the year that we did it; this might very well all be done within a month or six weeks. I am simply amazed that it has gone this smoothly – and pray that it continues to do so.
Tomorrow I meet with Kim again to hand over a few more documents that we had to sign and have notarized. She found out at the end of last week that we will have to also hire an ad litem attorney in San Antonio – an attorney who will represent Harrison (also another ridiculous, but required, expense). I will cut a check to Kim for this attorney’s fees tomorrow, and then I believe that we will be done with all of the steps, aside from traveling to Bexar county to attend a hearing in court. She will send off my fingerprints to the DPS in Austin, and then all we have to do is wait for my criminal history report to be submitted to the court, as well as back to Kim. That’s it. Now we wait. I’m not very good at waiting…