Tuesday, November 10, 2015

ABCs of Adoption: J is for Judge

A judge issues a decree to terminate parental rights, a judge also issues a decree that an adoption can be finalized.   Without a judge an adoption would not be possible   For adoptees that are in foster care, the judge can be a larger than life figure.  This is the person that is deciding who they can and can't live with.   Junior was told from early on that the judge would decide if and when he could see his birth mom.  Even though he had never met the judge he talked about her frequently.   

When he got mad at us he would frequently say things like "I'm going to ask the judge for new parents."   It didn't matter that he had never spoken to a judge, he just knew the judge determined who he could live with.

To make adoption day a little easier we decided to go visit the courthouse and see the judge a few months prior to finalization.   We thought if he had a chance to see the courthouse, a courtroom and meet the judge it would be less scary on finalization day.   I don't know whether it made a difference or not, as he didn't say much on either of the days.   

I have heard that judges will petition to perform finalizations, as it is a happy moment in a process that is filled with sadness.  Based on our experience, I would say that is true.   The judge that presided over our finalization specifically requested our case as she had been involved in junior's case early on and for a short period of time.   We had to agree to allow her to preside over the proceedings and ensure there was no conflict of interest.   We thought it was great that she wanted to participate and be involved so many years later.   

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