This week I had the chance to take part in a variety of the aspects that makes Gladney a wonderful and successful agency. On Tuesday I got to attend a court hearing with Heidi Bruegel Cox. The hearing concerned a family who was doing a CPS adoption through Gladney of 5 year-old and 7 year-old brothers. Three months after the boys had been placed in their home, the parents felt that the aggressive nature of the older child posed a threat to the younger child and felt that for the safety of both children, it would be best to adopt only the younger child at this time. CPS removed the children from the home once the request for separation was made. The court hearing was petitioning the adoption of just the younger child at this point. The case has not yet concluded and will continue next month, but I already learned so much from attending the hearing. Both sides of the case do believe they are protecting the best interests of the children and everyone’s hearts are in the right place; there’s just disagreement over what is right and best.
Yesterday I had the chance to serve as a witness to a potential birthfather signing a waiver. It was interesting to learn how that process goes. The birthparent caseworker first talks to him about the adoption process in general and what her role and Gladney’s role is in this case. He is then asked if he would like to see the profile of the adoptive family that the birthmother has chosen. He is also invited to receive pictures and letters throughout the baby’s childhood. Then the caseworker goes over his and his family’s medical and psychological histories. That way, the adoptive family will be able to provide the child’s doctors with insight into the child’s biological medical history. Finally, he is sworn into oath by the caseworker (who is a notary public) and reviews the waiver for accuracy and asks any questions he has. He signs the waiver in front of two witnesses and it is notarized.
Following witnessing a birthfather sign his waiver, I got to observe a birthmother sign her relinquishment documents. In this case, her deposition was taken by a court reporter and she was also sworn into oath. She was reassured that she does not have to go through with this relinquishment today and may wait or choose to parent. She is asked if she has friend and family support in her adoption plan and asked if she chose to parent would she have support in that decision as well. The birthmother provides a written statement as to why she believes that the adoption plan is in the best interest of the baby and finally signs the relinquishment documents. It was a very emotion-filled event. It was wonderful to see what a thoughtful and bright young lady she is.