The .26 Hearing

Since we are adopting Maddie through the foster care system, there are many more legal hoops to jump through this time around. Warren’s adoption through LDS Family Services was fairly straightforward and we didn’t have to wait very long for it to be finalized.

Maddie’s story is different. Although her serious medical conditions led us to believe, in the beginning, that the case would be clear cut and faster than others, it soon became apparent that we were in for an emotional ride. Namely, we would have to wait on her birth mother’s decision to proceed with the adoption. We felt fairly confident that all would be well and that she would ultimately decide to go forward. But, for a time, it was uncertain. It took several months of agonizing visitations and constant contact to arrive at a place where she felt ready to relinquish her parental rights.

But on November 5th, she finally agreed. The .26 hearing took place and her rights were terminated.

We are relieved and grateful for this step. We’re now required to wait a 60 day period to allow for appeal before the parental rights can be completely severed. After that, it’s a matter of presenting the completed paper work to the judge for his approval, which can take up to 2 weeks. At that point, our adoption will be final. So, we’re hoping for some time around the beginning of February.

I should be jumping for joy that the hearing finally took place (especially since it was postponed from July because of a clerical error in the county office), but my experience has been strangely bittersweet. Of course I am thrilled that Maddie is that much closer to becoming a legal part of our family, for she’s already a permanent one. But I also feel a great deal of sadness for her poor birth mother. Her pain was so real as we hugged goodbye at our last visitation. How can I so quickly move past her sacrifice and suffering at giving up a part of herself to celebrate my own gain? I can’t. And I won’t. Adoption is an amazing gift but one that comes at a great price.

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