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.