Continued from Our Adoption Story Part 2
We consulted 3 different lawyers trying to find one who would represent our daughter. They all said the same thing. We would have a long, expensive, and difficult fight that was likely to end in our loss. Even if we did win, we would then have the issue of another state to deal with trying to get M and T to relinquish custody. More than likely, we would also have to hire another lawyer in New York. All of this could take years. It was suggested we try to work something out privately with our brother-in-law and his wife. It didn’t matter our daughter was on pain pills. It didn’t matter our mother-in-law was acting more-or-less as M and T’s agent and employing coercion to influence Charlie and us. It didn’t matter we told our daughter she should sign because we thought our family would stop speaking to all of us if she didn’t. For what it’s worth, I still believe this to be true.
We pictured the years of fighting and the damage it would do to our granddaughter, daughter and my husband’s family. We pictured our granddaughter being pulled from the only home she’d ever known at age 2, 3, or 4. We couldn’t live with that picture. We couldn’t live knowing we’d be responsible for our granddaughter’s fear or pain.
It’s difficult for me to understand how you could support a family member whose behavior causes other family members so much pain and grief. Even acting as if nothing has happened. Claiming ignorance of a situation that has split your family is not a defense except in your own imagination. How do you claim you love and care for someone yet remain willfully ignorant of what is going on in their life and what is causing them the pain they are experiencing? That is not loving or caring about anyone.
M and T wrote Charlie after Olivia’s first birthday, and she has been allowed to visit her four or five times since. It’s clear, however, she is to wait to be invited and not ask to visit at any particular time. My husband, me, and our other children aren’t allowed any visits.
Even though our story is sad and tragic, I don’t tell it for sympathy. I tell it to try to give people a picture of the other side of adoption. This is the side many people aren’t aware exists. This is the side big business adoption agencies don’t want the general public to know. These agencies and adoption councils have been allowed free rein in spewing their propaganda. The lack of regulation has hurt all of us. We didn’t go through an agency. We are collateral damage. I tell our story to, hopefully, help others avoid the same fate.