Monday, July 29, 2013

What Day Zero Means

I think everyone who follows this blog is also friends with us on Facebook, but for those who aren't, here's a quick catch-up:

Previously, on The Foggs . . .

Scott and Kelly really wanted a family.  They tried all sorts of things:  Natural solutions, unnatural solutions, the foster care system and lots and lots of prayer.  Just when the light was fading at the end of the tunnel, they received a call from a nurse practitioner friend of theirs who had just found out one of her patients (a giggling, cooing, totes adorbs ten month-old) was about to be put up for adoption.  Their friend stepped out on a limb and gave the girl's custodian Scott and Kelly's number, we got in touch and a few short (despite how long they felt) weeks later, little baby Amelia was living with them.

All caught up?  Good.  Feel free to ask questions.  We're more than happy to go further into detail.

About a week or so after Amelia came to live with us, I started posting a countdown.  It started at 30.  And every day, I posted the next.  29.  People started asking, "what's all this about?"  28.  And I explained, as succinctly and as informatively as I could (on Facebook) that it was our countdown until Amelia was ours.  27.  That wasn't the whole truth, but it was the easiest, best way to explain it from my iPhone while I was eating lunch in my car in the parking lot at work.

Eagle-eyed observers noticed that on July 26, 2013, we reached zero.  0.  Lot of amazing congratulations and cheers came rolling in over our phones and on Facebook and in real life.  Followed with either a "so she's yours now" or "what happens next?"

So.  This is what happened on Day Zero.  Our attorney went to court on our behalf and we became Amelia's legal guardians.  I very much like the idea of creating a business card that says


But it's a position that I shouldn't have to hold very long due to the nature of the countdown.  The countdown started on the day that the biological parents were served papers that said their rights as parents were being terminated (TPR for short, "Termination of Parental Rights").  They had thirty days to contest this termination.  If they did not contest it during those thirty days, their rights would be terminated and we would be granted custody of Amelia.

The thirty days came and went without a peep from either parent -- well, not completely without peep.  The father contacted the attorney to sign over his rights even faster.  He was effectively out of the equation a few short days into The Thirty.  We never heard from the mom.  The reason we are guardians right now, and don't have full custody, is because the next step is the person who served mom and dad the termination of parental rights papers need to file an affidavit saying "I served them these papers on this date."  Once that is notarized and filed, we will have full custody of Amelia.

The step after that is we have to wait about four months for Tennessee to let us adopt her.  The state of Tennessee insists that a child live with a family for six months before the family can adopt her (I think that's a number that's different for every state).  That should happen in December and we cannot imagine anything preventing Tennessee from letting us adopt her.

So that is where we are!  It's exciting and delightful and wonderful and just a little bit exhausting -- but, as I was trying to explain to a friend, even when it's exhausting it's so exciting that you barely notice it.  And then you see her smile or hear her and you forget about any complaint you ever had about anything.


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