It felt like the death of a loved one as I hung up the telephone from my brief conversation with the judge’s secretary. Over the years, I’ve had to learn to suck up the pain, but every once in awhile, I must put my life on pause. This was one of those times. Asking my husband to come home early from work, I needed his reassurance that I was going to be okay. As it turns out, my adult adoption had been a farce too, not much different than my adoption at birth. Apparently, my parents had hired a lawyer to start the process of my father adopting me as an adult, but the honest truth added insult to an injustice—the file only contained incomplete documents lacking credibility that had been sealed in the court of law.
After numerous times of having to petition judges to open up sealed court documents, I wondered if they ever read the nonsense on the records that had their signatures on them.
Over and over in my head, I had walked through what transpired in such a short period of time. A clerk on the phone in the Probate Department had suggested I come in person to petition the judge to open up my Adult Adoption file. I had driven over an hour away with my completed petition and a heartfelt letter addressed to the judge explaining my dilemma. Attached was a copy of my only birth certificate still listing me as my birth mother’s child. I clearly spelled out to the judge that I needed the paperwork that had amended my original birth certificate because of my Adult Adoption. No matter how hard I tried, I never did find anyone that could tell me why an “adult” adoption would be sealed in the first place as well as being handled in the Probate Department.
The judge’s secretary, the one who had called me on the phone, originally got short with me when I was in the court house. Bursting into tears, I remember feeling like we all do at times, “I was just a number again, not a human being.” Down-trodden by the woman’s choice of words in such a delicate matter, I just handed her all my paperwork and muttered something to the effect that it would explain everything. As I quickly went to leave out of embarrassment for crying, the judge’s secretary reminded me that it would take a few days; the micro-fiche is in a different building. I remember her asking me if I was going to be okay, and, as usual, my pat answer has always been, “I will be fine; thank you.”
One more sore spot…calling the lawyer’s office that had handled my Adult Adoption. I had stated in our phone conversation with his secretary that my parents were both deceased and that I needed to know if their firm had any records indicating the status of my amended birth certificate. And I added curiously, “Would your information possibly provide me with the reasons for my father wanting to adopt me in the first place as an adult?” The secretary had to call me back to say they don’t have my file any more. I highly doubt that’s the truth if the so-called adoption was to ever be contested in the courts after my father had passed away. Well, I am sure the lawyers didn’t come up empty-handed when it came to being paid generously. For what? Was it for a lawyer to amend the untruths and inconsistencies with the incomplete court documents twice?
The courts had sent me a copy of the records they had on file for my adult adoption. No wonder my parents had never provided me with a copy of the legal documents. It appears as usual mom and dad were trying to curtsey around the facts, but this time apparently someone was questioning the validity of their statements.
Oddly, I had received two copies of the petition for my dad to adopt me. In looking at each of them separately, the difference in the wording of the two documents has been the root of my frustration. Both Petitions for Adoption should have had stamped across them “DECEPTION.” Even those of you that have just started reading my journey at the first of this month know my last father was not a part of my life beginning at birth. For some reason, the Petition for Adoption was amended with this correction a month later after the initial copy. I would imagine the information my parents provided the lawyer never kept it real. There was still no mention of my first adoptive father. It just stated that my mother (formerly a different last name) adopted me at birth. My first adoptive father couldn’t have been their roadblock. He had passed away when I was 18 years old.
My adult adoption didn’t seem to supersede or make any specific reference to my adoption as a newborn. The state where I was born confirmed that they do not have any records indicating anyone over the years tried to amend or fix the problems with my original birth certificate. The judge’s secretary had been calling to say that my adult adoption with my father that I loved more than anything in this world was considered null and void in the legal system. In other words, my parents for some reason couldn’t finish my adult adoption in the courts, but didn’t ever bother to tell me so.
Did mom and dad’s masquerade covering up with just more lies and secrets have anything to do with them not wanting to leave my “disowned” adopted brother some of their inheritance?