Today was a good day, but it was also a hard one if I’m being honest. I was stressing all day about how this hearing would go today. I was worried that the adoption would be overturned. It wasn’t, but it came really close.
We got onto the zoom call and we were all on. Mary’s lawyer, my lawyer, Mary, the Judge, and myself. The judge opened it up to Mary’s lawyer first. The Judge asked him why we were here today.
Mary’s lawyer explained that we were here because Mary wanted a chance to say a few things. The Judge pointed out that she never filed a formal filing, and asked if the plan was to sign on to zoom the day of the adoption and state her objection. Mary’s lawyer said yes, he also stated that she had wanted him to file motions but he couldn’t do so without knowing why. She wanted him to remove the judge from the case was one of the motions. The judge said she wanted me to recuse myself? The lawyer replied yes. The Judge said ok, I’m not sure why there are no grounds for my to recuse myself but ok.
The judge asked to hear from my lawyer next. He explained that Mary came in two days before the original hearing. Well out of time and objected to the adoption. Then the court ordered a case conference. On the case conference your honor asked for a hair follicle test, and medical records to be released. Mary is still in violation of these court orders, as she never has done these. We set up the times for the mediations and the trial date on that case conference. Then Mary didn’t show for the first mediation. She came to the second mediation and a third and she agreed to the adoption. She emailed the court saying she is withdrawing the objection to the adoption. Then after she signed the agreement she then said she wants to object to the adoption again. The court informed her that she needed to file a formal filing and that she could appear via zoom on the day of the adoption. She was given the wrong time, yes she was. We were all set to do an adoption on that day. However, if she has shown up on that day she would have just stated her objection to the adoption. Without a formal filing would you have not done the adoption? This is what the child wants, and if Mary truly just wants to know this is what Carter wants then your honor can release the transcripts under protective order and have that part read to her by her lawyer.
The judge said that she wanted to give Mary a chance to address the court. Mary said that she didn’t agree to the hair follicle test and that she didn’t know she could file a motion to not have to do that. The judge interrupted as she couldn’t remember ordering that. It took a few minutes and my lawyer reminded her of the situation in which is was ordered and then the judge said. The judge addressed Mary asking her to be in the zoom with the camera on at all times, she said she really needs to see her. This is why zoom is bad, it was good during the pandemic to keep things moving, but it really should be in person now. Things are open now so we really should not be doing zoom. She addressed the lawyer and Mary and I saying, that is for my team that is not your fault. The problem is being turned over on appeal, we could be right back here. I know you are going to be upset when I grant this motion Mr. Walton (my lawyer). My heart sank, I felt the tears start to fill my eyes. How was I ever going to explain to Carter what just happened.
My lawyer addressed the judge again saying that Mary had plenty of chances to make a decision before the adoption hearing. Was it really the place for her to be there that day to say she objected? My lawyer then said not for nothing judge but Mary has been doing her hair, vaping, moving away from the camera, and turning the camera on and off. She has been told to stop and yet she still is doing these things. She doesn’t seem to be respecting these proceedings. Then my lawyer continued let her appeal if she wants. She would have to hire her own lawyer in order to file for appeal, it wouldn’t be provided by the court. The judge nodded her head, and then said ok I’m going to hear from Mary now. I interrupted her and I would like to give her a chance to tell me what she wants to say.
Mary started by saying that she has been blocked from seeing her son at every point and that it’s not right she should be able to see him. The judge asked by whom she was blocked and Mary said not by you judge. The judge asked her if you called the program for therapeutic visitation. She stated that she had three times. That she never gets through and no one ever calls her back. She said the adoption happened and she was trying to call but then she was in the hospital for 10 days. The judge asked her why she was in the hospital. Mary said I don’t know and it’s none of your business. The judge said you don’t know why you were in the hospital. Mary said no I don’t. The judge said that in 10 days no one once told you why you were in the hospital. Mary said no. The Judge said I’m going to deny this motion. I exhaled, and couldn’t believe my ears. The judge continued you are playing games and I find you not creditable, you are going to sit there and not answer my questions. You were in the hospital for 10 days someone must have told you why you were there.
The judge continued and Mary started yelling on zoom but we couldn’t hear her over the judge. If we overturned the adoption you would have to answer harder questions than this. Your son wants this adoption, he has made that clear in so many ways. He made it clear to me the day of the adoption. You have had plenty of time to file a formal filing or set up visitation with your son. That still has not been done. Mary interrupted and said you wouldn’t let me answer your questions you kept interrupting me when I was trying to speak earlier. The Judge said and I apologized to you I was trying to understand what you were talking about with the drug test. I needed reminding of the situation, and I came back to you and apologized and gave you a chance to tell me what you wanted to tell me. The judge then said but you won’t even answer a simple question and I’m going to deny your motion for reconsideration at this time. Mary said f*** you and disconnected the zoom call. The judge said let the record show that Mary cut herself off from zoom, we didn’t disconnect her. The Judge then addressed Mary’s lawyer. I know that you have been assigned as Mary’s Pro bono attorney. You have done a good job, and I thank you for your help. Your client seems to be playing games and won’t answer a simple question. She says she called the program three times, she may have done that today. That program has been in this court during the Covid shut down, maybe they are only in three days a week but I know they are servicing clients. As I have people in the court room using them, they are testifying here as well. It can’t all be everyone else’s fault. I’m sure she loves her son, and I feel bad for her I really do. Mary’s lawyer said well she wanted to be heard and she was.
The judge then addressed me. I’m glad you didn’t tell Carter about this hearing, it would have only caused him more turmoil that he doesn’t need. I then added and it would have likely ruined what little is left of their relationship together, possibly making Carter unwilling to want to do therapy with her. The judge thanked me for adding that as well.
The judge addressed all of us and asked if there was anything further. Mary’s lawyer asked if he could motion to be removed as Mary’s lawyer. We all laughed a little. The judge said so granted, and thanked him again for all he did. We all signed off the zoom call.
This was hard, really hard. At the same time I’m glad it happened this way. For Carter the adoption day is one day he will remember for the rest of his life, not a day his mother tainted by showing up and contesting that adoption at the last minute. This is the way God preserves this day for him. It was a good day, and he has no idea any of this other stuff has been going on. He got to be protected from all of that. For that I thank God. Carter has had so much instability in his short life so far. The adoption was grounding for him, he has been doing really well since it has been finalized. I’m so grateful that it wasn’t overturned, that his peace wasn’t disrupted. This is what we do for our kids though isn’t it. We shield them from problems that they don’t need to worry about. We let them be kids a little longer, let them not have to worry but enjoy their childhood as much as they can. Thank you Lord, for your provision over this whole situation.