Sunday, September 28, 2008

On Not Adopting Gary

Mrs Butter B asks:

Not to put the proverbial cart before the horse, but are you prepared for him WANTING to be adopted by you? Its kinda like picking baby names, better to have an idea in your head of a boy name (even if you're due with a girl) than to be in the delivery room with the little ballsie sucker looking at you crying and you going"uh uh Hi, Annabelle, I mean, uh, uh, crud, what do I call you?"

I don't think I am prepared for him wanting to be adopted.

Well, let me back up. At this point if we were going to adopt the boys, and we have talked about that, we would both adopt Carl and David, Roland would adopt Evan, and I would adopt Gary. Well, we would offer to, and I think there is a good chance they would accept.

I would not not adopt Evan because he has a mother. Roland would not adopt Gary because he has a father. Their parental rights were never challenged by the court. No one ever argued that they were unfit parents. They are both complicated people who have not made the best decisions for their sons but do still love them. Evan and Gary have complicated feelings towards them. Sometimes they may wish they had different parents, but they don't have different parents. Both of them have been angry with their parents, but if I was to adopt Evan or Roland were to adopt Gary we would be asking them to disown the parents with whom they have this complicated relationship.

If Gary were to ask for us to adopt him, I think I would respond to that as an expression of his anger towards his parents and as a need for reassurance from us. I would try to respond to those needs, but I wouldn't pursue adoption. Even if I thought it was the right thing to do, the drama that would arise from fighting his dad for Gary would not be good for anyone. And we would almost certainly lose.

I can imagine a set of circumstances in which I would pursue legal guardianship for Gary. Gary's dad is increasingly difficult to reach. The state worker prefers for us to ask Gary's dad to sign documents before we ask him. So far every time we have had to ask him to sign something we have had to go back through the conversation about why Dad isn't signing. Becoming Gary's legal guardian would mean not having to go through all that. It would also mean being able to give Gary permission to drive. As it stands, Brian may be able to drive before Gary will. Andrew voluntarily put off driving so that wouldn't be the case with him and Evan, but I don't know that will be the best choice this time around.

I don't know if his dad would agree to such an arrangement, but he might. To be clear, no one is talking about that. It is just that I can imagine doing it where I can't imagine [Roland] adopting Gary.

Of course there are "what if's" a plenty. Gary's dad could die. He could move from the "I love you, but have to maintain strict boundaries" to in some way denouncing Gary. If he were to do that, I might change my mind.

Right now though, when I imagine Gary saying, "I wish you could adopt me" the response I expect I would give would be along the lines of, "I understand. We love you too, and you have every right to be angry at your father."

Oh, and Carl and David don't have strong feelings about Gary. They liked him okay when they met him, but I don't think they feel particularly attached to or threatened by him.

1 comment:

  1. I am sure you do as we did. We told our foster kids they will always be a part of our lives. We have their pictures, they are in our videos, our memories and our hearts. Being a part of family is much more than a legal paper. Loving someone matters the most.


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