A Very Special Day

February 12th, 2013 posted by Jennine Knight

Courthouse

He seemed to know it was a special day from the start as we dressed in our finest to appear before the judge for the adoption ceremony. We had been waiting three and a half years for this to take place so you can imagine that my emotions were at a high level and everyone was pretty excited. He was wearing a little white shirt, black tie, black slacks and I slicked his hair back just a little. Boy was he a handsome little guy. It was also his birthday the very next day so we were to have an “adoption/birthday party”. I had streamers up, pinwheels along the walk, big fancy cake, and balloons everywhere. Everyone was invited. It was a very special day. It had been a long and rough road finally getting to this point though; a road that seemed to have never ending turns in it which would try the patients of a saint. A road that finally came to an end as we go before the judge and he makes my grandson mine. He will become mine on paper, as he was already mine in heart and home because he had been with me since he was seven months old. The parents signed a form that severed their parental rights in March of this year, but opted for an open adoption that means they have the right to see him two hours of each month and they may also call and write to him. This agreement was reached after a recommendation from Child Protective Services (CPS) as they were in charge of the case and had been guiding me through the adoption process. Looking back to the beginning, I remember it being a complete surprise to me when CPS asked me to take in Damon when he was released from the hospital. It was a surprise because for one, I could not believe we were even going through this and for another, I assumed he would be released to his maternal grandparents. But CPS determined this not to be the case as the maternal grandparents were also a large part of his life during his “accidents” which landed him in the hospital in the first place. Placing him in the same environment was not a good idea. The maternal grandparents were only allowed to see him when the parents allowed it on their visit days which typically ran three to four hours a week, monitored and usually at the CPS office. The nature of his “accidents” was strongly suspected to be a disease “Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy”. This disease causes people to hurt another to get attention for themselves, usually a mother to a child. This is a fairly new disease to the public, but actually has been around awhile as recognizing the symptoms are not easy and it is even harder a disease to prove. My son, the father, denied it at first, as does the mother vehemently. Now, he is just having a hard time accepting the facts and has decided to distance himself from the whole affair and unfortunately from us, his family, also. CPS workers noted this behavior disease in the mother right away and recommended testing by psychologist. She was tested and evaluated but her overall denial of the situation only created more problems. From there began the rocky road as denial, evasion and placing blame elsewhere was the parents response whenever questioned by the doctors, counselors, psychologist and CPS caseworkers. To this day, no one really knows what went on or how Damon received his injuries. Neither one is talking. We may never know. When he was placed in my care, he was a thin sad little boy of seven months old, just out of the hospital, who could not sit up or roll over. After the first couple of months he wouldn’t let me out of his sight but he quickly transformed into one of the cutest, most polite, healthy looking young fellow I have ever seen or known. He is very smart and is showing some artistic talent that I believe came from his very talented and gifted father.

The Essential Grandparent : A Guide for Making a Difference With divorce rates skyrocketing and parents spending more time at work and less at home, grandparents more than ever play an essential role in shaping the lives of their grandchildren.

Now back to the ceremony. Since I live only two blocks away from the courthouse we walked. Imagine, one little boy all decked out in his finest with tie and all with three balloons in the front, one grandmother (all smiles and a few tears here and there), two uncles, and four precious family friends all in a row walking towards the courthouse. It was a festive occasion, a rare occasion that judges looked forward to and smiled throughout. Now I had seen this very same judge many times during the three and half years but never did I get to see him smile. It was a wonderful feeling to see him smiling just as we were. The caseworker, my attorney, Damon and I were presented before the judge and the ceremony began. I placed Damon on the high bench beside me so he could see and be seen by the judge. He wasn’t a bit shy, I don’t know why, as he usually is but like I said earlier, he seemed to know this was a special day. I said “I do, I will, I am” and all the right things at the right times and then the judge looked at the CPS caseworker and asked if she had anything to add. At the same time, Damon, who had been hugging and kissing me throughout the whole ordeal had placed a stuffed Pooh Bear that his Guardian ad Lidem had given him for his birthday on my head. The judge then added, “I bet you can’t top that!” The caseworker stated that she couldn’t top that and that she didn’t have anything to add except that it was a mutual agreement by all parties involved he be adopted by me and then it was over. We cheered, I wept, my supporters gathered around me and we all cried tears of enjoyment and finality. It was finally over. And now – I am officially mommy to the cutest, most loving and lovable, talented, smart little whippersnapper in the whole world – in my eyes! next article


about the author Jennine Knight is a single mother of three teenagers with one grandson at home to raise as her own. She works full time as an Administrative Assistant/Webmaster and has a Virtual Assistance Secretary business on the internet on the side.




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