Well, getting starting seems to be quite difficult.
The agency took a couple of weeks to tell us that they would cover the legal expenses. It turned out that it wasn't a matter of deliberating, just getting the same people into the same room so they could say "sure!" Then the first people they recommended are backed up and won't be able to do anything for at least 3 months.
Then they recommended someone (A2) else who gives them a discount rate and sometimes works as a GAL. They said that if there was a different lawyer that I wanted to work with I could. I wrote to my friend who is also a family lawyer. Working with friends in various capacities is dangerous and she responded that this one might be one of those situations. She sees complications that could end up taking a lot of time which would translate to expense. She can't match the discount rate A2 offers. In fact she is so nervous about A2 that she thinks maybe he isn't very good. She will ask around and get me a referral.
[I should mention here that I have had a cold that has turned into bronchitis. Everyone at home is sick, I hope with the same basic virus even though not all of us have been having the same level of stomach issues. FIL is back in the hospital and we are all trying not to be worried about him. Everyone, including me is tired and cranky and impatient.]
Anyway, I'm not sure that my friend is right to be concerned about this lawyer. My gut response is that someone who works as a GAL might very well have a discount rate for a private, non-profit foster care agency. The rate might reflect his commitment to this population, and the fact that he gets repeat work from them (a possibility my friend conceded).
I'm torn between trusting the agency that has been doing this for a while and has always been trustworthy, and my friend who is a family lawyer. I'm actually leaning more towards trusting the agency and their recommendation. Though my friend has represented some people adopting from foster care and knows about adult adoption, I don't think she knows much about precedent in adult foster-care-alumni adoptions.
The issue that is complicated, from her perspective, is that we are going to at least try to adopt Evan. In her county she thinks it wouldn't fly. Judges there, in The City, don't approve adult adoptions without parental consent. That makes sense to me, in most contexts. If someone were going to adopt Andrew I certainly think I should be consulted. If nothing else I should KNOW as it would mean that he was dis-inheriting himself. I just might want to re-write my will. I might agree ultimately that he shouldn't have to have my consent, but I would appreciate the judge saying, "This affects your parents and they need to be part of the processes."
Everyone I know from foster care around here thinks the judges will do no such thing. This is partly because the judges in my county seem not to care what everyone else does. They are ... um ... informal. Mostly though they think the difference is that it is post-foster-care adoption. Judges even ones in The City, most of my local foster-care-acquaintances believe, will not be inclined to seek consent from parents whose kids were in foster care for several years of their lives. The attitude among the social workers is that one of the reasons to wait until the kids are 18 is so that you can not worry about difficult parents.
(There is a whole post about the ethics of that. I've written before about my ethical problems with adopting Evan. This is not that post.)
My friend is a very careful and diligent lawyer. I respect her concerns and value her advice. Child custody/adoption cases from my county have apparently been over-turned at a higher rate than in other places. She doesn't want me to do something shady.
I don't either.
I'm just tired and cranky.
I want it to be simple. I want someone to say yes or no and move on.
Did I mention the tired and cranky part?