Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I told the social worker today that I wanted to talk about pursuing legal guardianship for Gary. I don't know that it is the best thing for him or us, but it might be and I want to find out what it would look like. The social worker says that often the parents are supportive of it because it means that "at least their kids aren't in foster care."

I don't know how his dad would react. I would want to present it as something that does not change his status as Gary's father, but does allow us to take better care of Gary. It also means that state social services would be out of our way. It would mean that Gary would have a stronger sense of permanence with us.

I hope it would not mean losing services from the agency. I expect it would mean losing some, but I wouldn't want Gary to miss out on many of the opportunities they provide. I confess to that I don't want to lose the reimbursement money. That money allows us to do a lot for Gary, and I don't want to give up material supports for Gary in return for legal rights. I want to do what is best for him.

I don't know how his dad would react. Currently his dad has practically abandoned him. I am sure he would fight any attempt to adopt Gary. Though I don't want to get into a conversation about the ethics of adoption in general, I find the idea of Gary getting a new birth certificate with our names and not his parents to be an almost violent act. For it to be legally as though they were never his parents just feels wrong. I don't mean to imply that it is always wrong, I don't think it is. In Gary's case though I just don't think adoption would be the right thing.

Increasingly though asking for guardianship does feel like the right thing.

Although I won't know whether to pursue it until I find out more about what it would look like.

And no, I haven't mentioned anything about it to Gary. I won't until I know that it is something that we are ready to do and have a good chance of succeeding at if we try. Gary is good at dealing with disappointment, but there is no reason to put him through that.


  1. The state I am in there is a way to have guardianship and reimbursement. It is called something like Substained Legal Custodianship. Worth asking the case workers about.

  2. It weirds me out that a birth certificate can be issued with essentially 'false' info. I'd rather be issued with an adoption certificate, but of course, there'd be issues with that too.

    I hope you can find away to give Gary more permanency without impacting on his relationship with his Dad.

  3. If you pursue legal guardianship make sure all of the parties who have standing before the court agree, otherwise you risk disgruntled people making allegations and your hours spent with the state social worker are just beginning...

  4. We were just talking about this last night with our adoption worker. Why in the world can't they just ADD the adoptive parents name and do an ammended birth certificate? It goes back into a 1950's mindset where adoptions all need to be secretive. I am going to request it with my boys since they were given a suspension of parental rights instead of a termination (tribal thing).

    A federal law was recently passed that, I believe, touched on funding for legal guardianships. I believe you would get something similar to adoption assistance in lieu of the foster care stipend. This is usually 1/2 or 1/3 of the foster care payment in most states. It was JUST passed a few weeks ago so many people are not aware of it yet.

  5. Thanks guys, this is good info.

    I certainly wouldn't want to do it if his father didn't agree to it. Gary is in our home and part of our family. Nothing is threatening that. If appealing for guardianship would upset people in his life, then it wouldn't be worth it.

    Whatever happens with reimbursement and services will probably depend upon my agency. They off a lot of services to kids who have exited their program, either because they went to treatment centers or emancipated. They do far more than the state would, so we will see what happens here.

    And Torina, I read The Baby Thief this summer. It really is time to stop falsifying birth certificats.


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