So... adoption news. It's not much, but it is something.
I have received an update on the agency. It appears that they won't just pay their lawyer to do it, which they would if the boys were still in the program. However, they are doing some investigation into how much it costs and then will probably offer to reimburse me for some of the expense. We will do it anyway, but I am happy to accept help if they want to give it. Given that the boys are actually men in their twenties, I'm fairly confident that there is no tax benefit involved.
I emailed my family lawyer friend who does adoptions. She is the one will will hire if things go the way I expect with the agency. I did learn a few interesting things.
Standard practice, at least in the court that includes The City, is to require permission of living biological parents whose rights have not been terminated. She would like to tell me that that is the practice in my county, but she will make no predictions. Judges here have a reputation for being lax about such things as court room procedure and just about anything else not spelled out in the law. Still, I can tell Evan that it is standard practice, though not legally required, and therefore I can only adopt him if his mother gives her permission. She won't, which is half the reason I didn't want to do it anyway. The other half is that she is part of his life. I don't know if we would need her permission for Roland to adopt him. I hope not. I try not to say bad things about my children's parents, but she has a past pattern of manipulative behavior. I think it would be very unlikely to get her to actually agree as long as saying that she MIGHT agree would give her power over anyone.
Anyway, though I think Evan might be disappointed that I can't adopt him, I am relieved. To be clear, I would love to be his mother if he didn't already have one. If the law/standard practice allowed me to adopt him without his mother's permission I know that ultimately I would not be able to say no to him. I was hoping to persuade him that it was a bad idea.
That won't be an issue for the other two boys. Carl has a father who is probably still alive, and probably lives somewhere in North or Central America. I am hoping that standard practice includes not requiring permission from parents who haven't been heard from in 17 years.
Given this, I think I will talk to the state social worker about pursuing termination on Gary's father. It looks like it will make the adoption quite a bit easier later. I don't know if they will agree, but it is worth asking. If they say no, I will ask if I can have a report of everything that they did in their attempts to get his parents to respond to the TPR notice, or anything.