J and P were long time foster parents. They were about to be empty nesters as their youngest child had just gone to college when they agreed to be a respite short term foster placement for a child who needed temporary care. Little did they know that this decision would change their lives forever.
I had the honor of helping J and P complete their adoption journey with this lovely child. What began as a temporary need turned into something much bigger when J and P realized that this child desperately needed a forever home. As with many adoptions, the journey was not always easy. What began as a simple yes, we will help turned into four years of litigation expense and stress.
Navigating the adoption journey was stressful but I was able to guide them and advocate for them. Ultimately, they entered into an open adoption with the Birthmother. The beauty of open adoption is that when a birth parent knows in their heart that they cannot take care of a child it gives them a way to stay connected to the child.
Adoption laws are complicated especially when you have a situation where there is interplay between fostering and adopting. My job was to guide advocate and protect J and P interests. They trusted me even when it was hard and never wavered in their desire to give this child permanency. J and P sacrificed tremendously both financially and emotionally but ultimately in the end they finalized their adoption and, in navigating an open adoption with their birthmother, enabled their child to always know his culture and his background and never feel abandoned.
Their case is like many cases that I see in my practice. People with a desire to help children who make sacrifices and put their own needs aside so that they can provide stability and permanency one child at a time. For those who are struggling in the adoption process, have faith because just when you think you are at the end often a door will open and he will go down a path that you never expected and end up in a really good place and have the family you always dreamed of having.
— Sherriann Hicks is a Trustee and Fellow of AAAA. Her adoption practice is in Georgia. Learn about her practice, www.sherriannhicks.com.