Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ian's Story

I admit, I'm having a tough time sitting down and writing this story about my older son, Ian. I briefly mentioned in my previous post about getting pregnant and about his birth-father. The beginning of my story isn't all that great but the ending has turned out much better then I could have hoped for!

I'll only be referring to Ian's biological father as his birth-father. We don't say his name nor talk about him in our house. The only good thing he ever did was provide the other half of the dna needed to create Ian.

When I was 17 I met Ian's birth-father in church, of all places. I was young & foolish & fell for his lies. He was older, by 6 years. (I'm not saying an age difference is a bad thing, as my husband is 5 years older than me, but in this case Ian's birth-father used our ages to take advantage of me.) He was a big talker & not long after my 18th birthday I got pregnant with Ian.

Around that time he began confusing his stories and trying to create more lies to cover up his mistakes. This is when we (meaning my parents & I) knew something just wasn't square about him. He became verbally abusive a week before my high school graduations. I remember locking myself in my room with him beating on the door yelling at me to let him in. My parents got home just in time & he left before they knew what was going on. That was when I knew I had to leave him & I asked him to not come to my graduations. He came anyway. With his whole family. I couldn't force them to leave, I was just too nice & I didn't want to cause a scene.

I will skip over a few details here but quickly mention that his family, especially his mother, are all just like him. Manipulative, controlling, pathological liars. I finally left him when I was almost 5 months pregnant.

I got emails.

I got phone calls.

I got letters.

I got threats.

He just wouldn't leave me alone.

In the mean time I began seeing an unwed pregnant mothers counselor through a great Christian organization & began planning a closed adoption. The families who wanted to adopt were put through a rigorous process to be eligible to adopt. They had additional requirements to go through the organization. They had scrap books about their families, beliefs, wishes, hopes, dreams that I was able to look through so I could pick the best family. In a closed adoption I would have no contact with my birth-child as apposed to an open or semi-open adoption where letters, pictures & such are exchanged.

I thought that choosing to give Ian up for adoption & doing a closed adoption would be the best & easiest thing for the both of us. The catch was that I had to get Ian's birth-father to agree & sign a legal document terminating his legal claims to Ian.

He refused. He said he wanted to take 'responsibility' for his actions. He said a lot of things. I knew better to take his word for anything.

After that I didn't him contact again & began planning for the birth of my son. I don't think anyone will ever understand how great my parents were in all this.

Ian Xavier was born December 2, 2002 from a planned c-section. He was 9lb 2oz and breech. My doctors tried to turn him several weeks before but he refused to budge. He came in to this world a happy healthy big baby, albeit a bit backwards.

I hated having the c-section. It was tough recovering. It was even tougher with the stress of Ian's birth-father. The hospital had strict orders to not admit him if he did show up. Luckily he didn't. He didn't even call to find out about him until December 24, 2002, Christmas Eve, during my families huge get together. My dad let him have a piece of his mind.

Things were quiet until Ian was 3 months old when his birth-father began demanding visitation rights. We'd already expected this & had been seeing a lawyer even before Ian was born. When visitations began we required them to be in my home where he would have strict supervision from me & my family. We didn't hover over him but we stayed in the other room so he could have a little privacy.

It wasn't long before he began demanding more & the lawyers were brought on board to mediate. Ian's birth father had to undergo a psychological evaluation & a deposition. The evaluation showed he wasn't unfit but that he 'missed the trees for the forest', whatever that means. And during the deposition we learned he refused to call Ian by his name but the name he had picked out. My lawyer ripped him a new one, if you know what I mean. He began calling him by 'Ian' then.

We eventually settled on a visitation schedule. It worked for awhile but his family came to every single visit. It wasn't long though before he began changing the schedule or the location of the meetings. There was even a time he didn't show up but his family did. They told me he was in the other room but I later learned he wasn't even there. I began requiring me to see him before I left Ian with him.

Visitation came to a screeching halt when Ian was 18 months old. His birth-father changed the visit location, yet again. I requested to go in & check things out & make sure it was safe to leave him there & he refused to let me in. Something about it didn't feel right & my mom & I refused to give Ian to them. We said we needed to contact our lawyers again & rework the visitations. He got in big trouble for that.

The last time visitations ever took place were at a highly supervised location. I can't remember the name of the place but a police officer was always on location. I would bring Ian in & sign him in then I'd go wait in the other room while he visited with his birth-father. He wasn't allowed to take Ian out of the visitation room, let alone the building. These supervised visits are set up for abusive parents. Only 2 visits took place there & then visits no longer took place.

Throughout this whole time I was supposed to be getting child support. I got it sporadically & when his wages were garnished he'd change jobs. I think I got about $2000 in child support, total. I was supposed to be getting over $500 a month, which was then lowered to around $375 a month. I won't even try to do the math. It's just not worth putting a dollar amount on my son. I didn't even care about the money but when I got it sure did help!

We didn't see or hear anything from Ian's birth-father after Ian was 18 months old. We were worried he was up to something but hopeful he had moved on.

When Justin & I married, when Ian was 2 1/2, we still hadn't heard from him.

After another year had gone by we began researching step-parent adoption. Justin had already been raising him physically but now it was time to make him Ian's legal father. We learned that if the biological parent 'willingly & knowingly abandon's' their child for a full 6 months then the adoption will be able to take place. We'd fulfilled the time requirement so we began the process.

We did all the required paperwork. We had a social worker come inspect our home and our refrigerator. She wanted to make sure I wasn't starving him or something. How awful! And Ian even had his own lawyer, a court-appointed guardian ad litum, who was fully unbiased, and who recommended the adoption to take place. He ended up being on our side in the end.

Ian's birth-father was notified & the court date was set. We were all required to show up but he never did. He had been really angry when he found out & talked big about contesting the adoption. The judge set a second date for which he again didn't show up. When he didn't show up for the 3rd court date the judge had had enough & legally severed all his rights to Ian. Papers were signed that very day!

Justin is now Ian's dad in name & in the eyes of the law! It was finally over a few months after Ian's 4th birthday! We couldn't have asked for a better outcome.

Ian is now a happy, healthy 7 1/2 year old (albeit ornery) boy.

I will be truthful with you though, this put a huge financial strain on us but we still somehow managed for me to stay home (even though there was a short time when I bounced back & forth between staying home & working- mostly working for my mom as the secretary in her accounting firm).We relied on & are grateful for many, many family members during this whole ordeal too. We couldn't have managed without you!

Also, Ian is non-the-wiser to what has gone one in the above story. As far as he knows Justin is & always has been his dad. He has no concept of who or what his birth-father is. One day, when he's old enough to understand, we'll talk to him about it. But for now, ignorance is bliss.

And that is Ian's Story...


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