An Update on Palmer

The last few days have been very difficult for our family. We really do appreciate the love and support we’ve felt from so many people. The situation seems like it’s been evolving with every conversation we have so we wanted to update everyone and let you know where things stand.

Unfortunately, we don’t have good news. I’ll do my best to explain…

In some states it’s required for a woman to inform the biological father if she intends to place her child for adoption. In Texas that’s not the case. The woman is not required by law to inform the biological father. However, in Texas a man who believes he is the biological father has thirty two days from the time a child is born to sign the Paternity Registry in order to pursue his parental rights. If he doesn’t sign the registry within that thirty two day window, his rights are automatically terminated.

In our case, Palmer’s biological mother chose not to inform Palmer’s biological father about her plans to place Palmer for an adoption. We knew this before we ever met her. We also believe, based on his history (which I can’t tell you much about), that it was a wise choice for her to keep this information from him.

In order for an adoption to happen both biological parents’ parental rights have to be terminated. Palmer’s biological mom relinquished her rights forty eight hours after he was born. There are two options for pursuing termination of parental rights for a father…

1.) They sign a document relinquishing their rights.

2.) Thirty two days pass without them signing the paternity registry and their rights are automatically terminated.

At this point, it’s important to point out that this choice lies solely with the birth mother. In fact, it is illegal for an adoption agency to speak with an alleged father without the permission of the biological mother. The agency helps, supports, and advises the women they work with but they do not make decisions for them. Ultimately, Palmer’s biological mom made the choice, we believe a good choice, not to tell Palmer’s biological father about her intent to place Palmer for adoption.

It’s also important to point out that we went into this situation with our eyes wide open. We knew the risks involved with adopting a child whose biological father wasn’t aware of the adoption. Palmer’s biological father knew about the pregnancy and showed little to no interest. We thought the thirty two day window would pass without hearing anything out of him because he had no idea when Palmer’s biological mom was due because their communication was so limited.

Unfortunately, Palmer’s birth father signed the Paternity Registry last Wednesday. This came as a shock to us considering what we know about him. After meeting with the agency and then Palmer’s biological mother it’s clear that he is determined to stop the adoption. Unfortunately, adopting Palmer is impossible without his consent and there’s no reason to believe that a judge would terminate his rights if it came to that.

We are in a very difficult position. If we (our family and Palmer’s birth mom) continue fighting for the adoption, the chances are very likely that Palmer’s birth father would end up with custody of Palmer. As I mentioned before, he is absolutely determined to stop the adoption. Since he hasn’t done anything worthy of having his rights terminated, and since Palmer’s birth mom relinquished her rights, it’s likely that if it went to court he would end up with custody of Palmer.

We can’t share many details about Palmer’s biological mom and biological dad but we know it’s much better for Palmer to be with his biological mother as opposed to his biological father. Obviously, we want him with us. We believe he’s a part of our family. But, it’s become clear that it’s impossible for him to stay with us. We’ve been advised by an attorney that the longer he stays with us the more likely it becomes that Palmer’s birth mother will lose her parental rights.

As heart breaking as it is, at this point, we have no choice but to return Palmer to his birth mother. Tomorrow will be our last full day with him. Palmer will go back to his biological mom on Wednesday morning.

We have said so many times over the past few days, “I can’t believe this is happening.” We are shocked and heart broken. Please pray for Katie, Eden, and myself. I know the next several days, weeks, and months are going to be difficult.

Thank you, again, for all of the love and support so many of you have shown. It means the world to us.

  18 comments for “An Update on Palmer

  1. Bettie Lawrence
    September 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I AM SO SORRY OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!! AND OUR HEARTS ARE BREAKING FOR YOU!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL LOVE YOU!!

  2. Karen Hicklin
    September 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    We are so sorry to hear about the sudden change of events. It seems so cruel. We will be praying for a the biological dad to have a change of heart or for a devine intervention. ( I think that is what they call it if he were to end up in jail or disappear all together) And, we will pray for Palmer to be returned to you where he belongs. Faith, Hope, Strength, Peace and Love

  3. The Fricks
    September 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Neil, Katie, Eden – Our hearts ache for you now, we love you and will be praying for God’s comfort. Palmer was and is a blessed little boy to have your love and be part of your family. .
    Steve and Donna

  4. kim
    September 3, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Prayers for all involved

  5. September 3, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    IF the bio father changes his mind again would you and Katie be able to get Palmer back?? Also, since he will not let the adoption go through does that negate the fact that she relinquished her rights and therefore allow her to keep Palmer or will the bio dad ultimately have a chance to get him? We are praying for all of you.

    • September 3, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      If he were to change his mind again, yes, we would likely get Palmer but he’s not going to change his mind. If that were a possibility at all we would not be doing this. By returning Palmer quickly to his biological mother the agency can file a non suite on the adoption, the biological father won’t pursue custody, and Palmer will spend the majority of his time with the mother with occasional visitation from the father, most likely.

      • September 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

        This was exactly what we worried about so much when our daughter, Kelsey, became pregnant at 18. She KNEW in her heart that she was not ready to be a mother and wanted a better life for her child but also KNEW that her ex was a spiteful person and would fight adoption just to hurt her………..so, when the potential adoptive parents changed their minds Kelsey decided she would raise her child (with our help at first, of course!) Now, we cannot imagine not having Landen in our lives! While it has changed her life and helped her to become a better person it has NOT been easy and was not how she invisioned her life. Our prayers will be for peace for your entire family, prayers for the young woman who bravely and selflessly looked out for the best interests of her child and chose you and Katie and Eden to be his forever family and also prayers for the young man that God can change his heart and turn him around so he will think more about the child than himself. God is good all the time, All the time God is good.

  6. Charles & Laura Bender
    September 4, 2012 at 7:54 am

    We are so sorry to hear this. We will keep your family in our prayers. Don’t understand why this has to happen to anyone, much less to a family that would love and raise that sweet baby in a Christian home. Praying for you and the grandparents, and little Palmer.

  7. September 4, 2012 at 8:01 am

    It’s so hard to see the big picture in all of this, but I know God’s plans are much better than what I can see or even comprehend. I pray peace for you, Katie, and Eden as you begin this final time with Palmer. He was so blessed to know your love for even a short amount of time. And I especially pray for his mom as she begins a life she had not anticipated.

  8. Janet Jeffcoat
    September 4, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Our hearts are broken for you. Know that we care.

  9. September 4, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Neil, I can’t imagine the rollercoaster you guys are riding. Praying you feel God’s presence throughout!!!

  10. September 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Neil, I can’t imaging the rollercoaster you guys are riding!!! Praying you feel God’s presence in each bump along the way!!

  11. Mary Reid
    September 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

    But is the really the biological dad??? Is there proof? I don’t trust him.

    • September 4, 2012 at 11:16 am

      Mary,
      He is the biological father.

      • Mary Reid
        September 4, 2012 at 11:27 am

        Well, I was hoping that it might be a loop hole. Still praying for all of you.

  12. Joni Blair Beckwith
    September 4, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Neil,
    Praying for you guys and Palmer. I’m still believing for a miracle for your family.

  13. Larry and Cheryl Runyon
    September 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    We send you (((HUGS))), prayers, and peace. Our hearts are with you. Larry and Cheryl

  14. September 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Praying for you on this very difficult day. God be with you.

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