We finalized our adoption on March 6, 2014, exactly seven days before our home study expired. Three matches, two disruption, and one baby boy in eighteen months (less one week)…it seemed to fly by some days, and other days it seemed like an eternity.
We brought him home on September 28, 2013. He was four days old, and we were out of practice with all things baby. Never mind that…it really is like riding a bike…you don’t forget how to pedal, but you do forget how tired it makes you when you’re pedaling 24/7.
Our post-placement visit happened on October 24, 2012, on his one month birthday…also the day we requested the finalization application from our local juvenile court office. We got it, filled it out, sent it in (along with our identification documentation), and waited. The paralegal assigned to our case called fairly shortly thereafter to schedule an appointment to sign the documents and present (yet again) our certified identification information.
Once everything was signed, the juvenile court office could start requesting the documents from our agency. Since our entire file had been previously presented to CPS, it puzzles me why it could not be then passed to juvenile court, but I don’t work in government (Thank God!), and I clearly don’t understand the convoluted, complicated way that government works. But I digress… The day we signed our application was also the day that our paralegal submitted a motion to expedite our paperwork, since our home study expiration date was looming…in four(ish) months…which in government time, is basically tomorrow.
We also got the sheaf of paperwork from our agency to fill out (again). Here again I wonder why, as they had all the information already, and CPS had received it once already, and the process could have been expedited by eliminating this repetition. But I digress…
In the midst of this, we went out of town, forgot to take the paperwork with us, so came home to 1) a notice that our court date was set for March 6, 2014, and 2) our paperwork needed to be filled out and returned to our agency YESTERDAY. It was also at this point (less than three weeks prior to our court date) that the agency told us that CPS must approve us again. I thought that was behind us, but no. So I scrambled, got the paperwork completed that day, and it was hand delivered by a sweet, sweet friend that evening.
When I called our agency the next day, I spoke with the president/director. If there is anything you might not want to leave a lasting impression with clients, it is a snippy attitude from the big boss, but that is exactly what happened. She confirmed receipt of the paperwork, but stated that it was unlikely that we would make our court date, that we would probably have a continuance, because it was not probable that CPS would rubber stamp our paperwork in time for our hearing. This ticked me off.
Just a note…good customer service needs to start at the top.
Giving clients – in particular, paying adoptive parent clients – attitude,
right at the end of your otherwise good relationship with them, does not
bode well for a recommendation from us to other potential adoptive parents.
I asked her if there was a contact person at CPS that she, or we, could call to try and rush the paperwork through so we would not end up with a continuance, which would force us to renew our home study (and potentially cost us a lot of additional money). No, she did not have a contact person. What about a phone number? No, CPS doesn’t have a phone. Yes, those words were actually uttered to me. I know she meant that they did not have access by phone to CPS, but seriously…some basic kindness would have been nice.
Here is where the angel of a paralegal (whom I previous mentioned) came into play. She did have a contact number. She could call and try to push the file to the top of the pile and get our rubber stamp. She could and she did. Within a couple of days.
Our hearing went without a hitch. Our parents were able to attend, along with our birth mom’s social worker, with whom we had become friends by this time. It was quick, and fun, and our (now two) sons got to sit in the judge’s chair for pictures. We are finished, and this month we will get a new birth certificate with his new name and my husband and me listed as his parents.
There are many, many, many things our agency did right. This last detail, the one that would make our final memory of them a positive one, was not one of those things they did right. I hope this is not the case for any other adoptive family. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, because the outcome was perfect, but it is part of our story.