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A happy step parent adoption story.

16 years ago

I came across this board by accident while googling for information about a news report I came across; after reading about some truly ghastly situations here thought this board could do with more encouraging stories (I imagine most people come to these boards because they have questions or problems, not because everything is going well. :-)

When I met my wife (Sarah), she had two daughters by different fathers (our case was somewhat unique in that both men deserted Sarah before the girls were born and she didn't declare paternity). The older was about 30 months and the younger about 10 months. We lived in different cities and kept in touch through phone calls and letters and got married about 9 months later.

About two months after we were married, a police officer showed up on the front porch to serve summons; the father of the younger had sued for partial custody (unprovoked, I intended to eventually pursue adoption but hadn't taken any steps apart from marrying the girl's mother). We changed venue and counter-sued to begin proceedings to terminate his rights at which time he disappeared (he was never officially served).

Meanwhile, the father of the older was getting married and voluntarily relinquished his rights, noting that he did not mind being contacted by her in the future. Eventually the other also relinquished his rights (we're still fuzzy on how the paperwork actually made it into his hands when he was never actually served the summons) and asked that he not be contacted in the future.

I imagine that state laws vary, but in California, birth certificates are reissued when an adoption is finalized so I am now listed as the birth father on their birth certificates.

The older is now 12 and the younger will be 11 in April. Both have always known about the adoption and neither has expressed a wish to contact their birth fathers (The older once asked if she could do so and then changed her mind when my wife told her she could - just testing evidently).

They both regard me as their father, and most of the time I'm not really even aware that their standing differs from that of their siblings biologically (it helps that all parties share similar phenotypes).

I know that no one's situation is the same, and I would never say that our solution would work in all cases (trying to terminate the rights of a living parent in circumstances other than abuse or abandonment would require extraordinary mean-spiritedness) but it can be a viable option and we are thankful we did so, not least because they share my name with their younger siblings.


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