Soldier was Adopted

Calling From Iraq

It was two years ago that my nephew called me. It was the first time he had made contact with his birth family.  He was in the U.S. Military; he was on his second tour of duty in Iraq.  He made his first contact with me, with his family while he was still in Iraq. That first phone call lasted for about one hour.

Ring, ring, r-i-n-g! I awoke, looked at the clock. It was 2:45 a.m. in the morning. It was unusual for me to receive a phone call at this time of the morning. It would ring only if there is an emergency. Well, I answered the phone, “Hello?”   He asked to speak to one of my nephews. I would soon find out my nephew was asking to speak to his brother. I told him that he was not in, not home at the time. However, I understood by his questions and tone that he was not sure who he was asking for. He did not know whether the name was his brother or his father.  I was wondering WHO it really is on the other end of the phone. Is this a crank call? Is he really my nephew?  I would soon find out.

Then he tells me his name. I recognized the name instantly. I am the one who named him when he was a newborn. I asked my sister if I could name him after he was born and she gave me permission to name her handsome son. I named him after my son, Michael. So, of course, I recognized the first name right away. But is this person on the other end of the phone my nephew? By now, I am all excited and did not know what to think. Was this really my nephew or a crank call? My next thought was to ask him his birthday. He told me his birthday. I knew he was correct and I felt that he was who he said he was. Of course, his surname was different. He still had his first name that was given to him at birth.  Apparently, his adopted Mother did not change his first name.

I knew this: That I had nephews and nieces who were under the care and control of Social Services. My sister no longer had custody of her son. I don’t remember any family member being considered for custody or adoption of my nephew.  There was a  few court hearings.  My sister and family was in court  without an attorney.  Much of the legal talk was difficult to understand.  The Court told Social Services to set up a schedule for my sister and family members to visit my nephew.  We would visit my nephew for only a few months.  The next thing we would hear is  that  my nephew had a new foster Mother, out-of-town.  So there were no more visitations and we never saw my nephew again; nor did we hear anything  else about my nephew.   However, we continued visits with his siblings; they were older and remained  in foster care.  Of course, when my nephew called me, it was the first time I heard from him since he was a baby.  He would follow that call up with others while he was still in the U.S. Military in Iraq.

My nephew told me that he was seven years old when his mother passed.   He would then be raised by her family. My nephew told me that upon the passing of his adopted mother, her family informed him and showed him the adoption papers. He told me the adoption papers disclosed some information that he found useful in his search for his birth family. I told him that we, his birth family, thought about him often and that we had tried to search for him.   I told him that we had inquired about the costs involved in hiring searchers and attorneys; that our minds were of the same, that we also wanted to find him. We were short of the fees being charged. I thought about him two days before he called my home the very first time.

After graduation from high school, my nephew told me that he entered the U.S. Military and did a tour in Iraq. He was now on his second tour of duty; he would be deployed in about two months.

My nephew told me that he had gotten married; that his wife was also in the U.S. Military. In fact, she was in the Military when they first met; then they decided to get married. My nephew told me his wife was on her tour of duty in Iraq. He stated that they would both be deployed the same time. He said he expressed to his wife that he wanted to find his birth family. However, sometimes he got frustrated after he did not make a successful search. He would stop searching. Even while he was in the U.S. Military he told me he still wanted to find his birth family. The desire was still there to find his family.  His wife encouraged him to continue his search for his birth family. That’s what he did. With the information he had, including the telephone number, my nephew made that call.

Of course, we the family made plans to see them once the U.S. Military deployed he and his wife to the U.S. What a wonderful reunion! My nephew and his family visited us in December during the Christmas holidays. It was our first Christmas we shared. There were many hugs and kisses! We ate dinner and took many photos. I will always cherish the memories! We cannot make up for the lost years, but we still enjoy ourselves as a family. You know what? I also give tribute to my nephew for serving our country; I give that honor to he and his wife. What a reunion!

Not Giving My Baby Up!

Have you ever heard that “If you don’t bond with your baby immediately after birth,” is a major reason that your baby was given up for adoption? Well, that was a statement to one of my nieces within one day of her giving birth to a handsome baby boy. Before my niece went to the hospital, she was with her mother.

After her hospital stay, she had opted to come live with me. She was my oldest niece and a favorite niece of mine. Over the years, I have been in her life in one way or the other. I would always treat her as if she was my daughter instead of my niece. We were very close to each other, just as we are today.

Getting back to when my niece was in the hospital with her newborn: I went to the hospital to visit my niece and her baby. My niece was holding her baby and nursing her baby. I washed my hands and put on a hospital gown. I was all ready and set to hold my niece’s baby.  For a newborn, he was a big baby and he had lots of hair. What a buster!

Then on the second day of my niece being in the hospital, I went to visit her and her baby. Now, this time the baby’s father was there also. All I knew is that my niece was a fifteen year old who just had a baby.  He said the baby was his; my niece said the baby was his. However, other family members told me differently, that he was not the baby’s father; that someone else was. However, I took him at his word; my niece said he was the father. I felt that surely she should know he was the father.

The third day that my niece was still in the hospital, I got a telephone call from her. She was crying and telling me the hospital  was telling her that she would not be allowed to take her baby home. I asked her did they say why. She told me that they are saying that I am not bonding with my baby; that I may have to give my baby up for adoption. “Auntie, I want my baby! I don’t want to give my baby up for adoption!” I wondered if I was hearing right, that she would have to give her baby up for adoption. I was not getting it. I knew my niece was very young, that she was a minor but that was not an acceptable reason; nor was this bit about my niece was not bonding with her baby. So I inquired of the hospital as to the reason they refused to let her bring her baby home. The real reason WAS NOT this thing about “not bonding with her baby.” For a moment, I thought about it. To this day, I believe the father was trying to take the baby away from her while she was in the hospital. He signed papers; his name was on the baby’s birth certificate as its father. My niece told me that she agreed with him that he could take the baby home for fear that the hospital would take her newborn away from her; she did not want to give her baby up for adoption.

Initially, I was not going to intervene in this saga, but I was finding that I had to intervene after the baby’s father made threats to my niece. My niece came home from the hospital. The baby’s father took the baby to his home. My niece went to visit the baby and she brought the baby with her to my home. The next thing I am hearing is the baby’s father saying to my niece, “I have a bullet with your name on it.” I remember those words. He yelled them to her while talking on the phone. I picked up the other telephone and I heard his voice on the other end. He was making this threat to my niece. There was no reason in the world for him to threaten her. He was a man 26 years old making this threat to a minor. He had raped my niece and was not in jail. But here he is making threats against her. I did not know he was 26 years old. He looked about ten years younger; he was short and small in stature, about 135 pounds.

It became obvious that I would have to intervene on behalf of my niece and the baby since my niece had received this threat from the baby’s father. Why would he say such, “I’ve got a bullet with your name on it”? I did not know but I called the police. They also advised me to go to court and request a protection order against the baby’s dad  for making the threats.  Well, I did do so. Also, guardianship of my niece and her baby was necessary. That was just the first hurdle involved in helping my niece keep her baby. Now, the baby’s father was trying to TAKE the baby away from her. He was trying to get full physical custody of the baby. I had no idea that he would try doing this since she was a minor, but he did. What’s more, I felt he was getting away with being a rapist of a minor.

I petitioned the court for guardianship of both my niece and her baby. After the court gave guardianship of my niece to me, I ended up in court having another  legal battle. Many times the father would bring the police to my home trying to take the baby from my niece, but I would show the police court papers. They told the baby’s father that he would have to go back to court, that there was nothing they could do. So the police left with the baby’s father. And, of course, we ended up back in court over the physical custody.

In the meantime, I discussed with my attorney whether anything legally against the baby’s father could be done since my niece was a minor.   The baby’s father allegedly raped my niece. Well, my attorney did bring that up in one of the hearings we had and the Judge surprised me with his ruling. The Judge stated that she must have consented even though she was a minor. Of course, I felt the baby’s father should have been behind bars, locked up in jail. Why? I felt he should have been in jail because he had raped a minor, a child. I could not see how the ruling went in his favor. The Judge did not throw the book at him and lock him up. As I think about it, now, perhaps, we filed the criminal action in the wrong court. We were in court with a petition for physical custody of the baby. So we just left that alone after the Judge stated that my niece must have consented to the relationship. How could she consent being a minor? She was only fifteen years old.  She is now sixteen years old and I am fighting on her behalf for full custody of her son.

Of course, I requested of the father to voluntarily grant physical custody of the baby to my niece and he refused. So we were in court battling over physical custody of their baby. Finally, after months of court hearings, the Judge granted full physical custody to my niece.

This whole scenario makes me think about other young girls who face similar challenges early on with their newborn in a hospital. The hospital tell them they cannot take their baby home because they are not bonding with their baby. Well, my niece was crying and I was hysterical. I felt they had not contacted any member of her family to make any suggestions for keeping her baby. I had never heard of this in my life where a hospital would make a request of a minor to give her baby up even though the mother wants her baby. What’s more my niece had family support.

The hospital did not ask the family anything. They told my niece that she would have to give up her baby to adoption since it appeared to them that she was not bonding with her baby. After hearing this, my niece turned to the baby’s father. I picked up the paternity papers for him and he filled them out. He then filed for paternity. Then he signs the baby’s birth certificate at the hospital and takes the baby home. What’s next? He threatens the Mother’s life and one thing leads to another. The Court granted full physical custody to my niece. That nephew is now eighteen years old. I often think about where he would have been had we not the family support and fought to keep him when he was a baby.

Daddy, Don’t Go! Don’t Leave Me!

[Read more…]

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

All text for, "My Roses"

Remember the saying that something is or is not “like a bed of roses? Or a rose by any other name smells just as good”? My red roses are special to MY roses; my neighbors does also. My roses brought big smiles to my neighbors as I shared with them beautiful rose bouquets. My roses blossom in May each year; they will continue to blossom for at least a month. In the early mornings, I see my roses seem to blossom just for me. I don’t have a knack for gardening but I give them some love the best I can. I sprinkle them with water, not knowing just how much they really need.  It is okay because by day’s end, I have done the pruning.
I look and see what I have done in a year that stand out, blossom like my roses. Life is a bumpy road.  I  will give it my best and  I hope to come out smelling like a rose, my roses, that is. See, I look forward to my lovely roses. They will not let me down.
Take a look at my roses! I look for them religiously about the time I think they are going to blossom. I wake up each morning and out the door to My Roses. I anxiously await them to blossom. Wow! They are there the next morning, my bed of rolling roses! They will be here for a few weeks, about a month. Of course, I take my camera and snap many photos of them; I do this each year after they are in full bloom. They make my whole day! My roses are tops because no matter, my roses will bring out the best in you. You have no choice but to make a big smile! My roses are in abundance, so I share them with my relatives and neighbors. This one neighbor, I knew she had a knack for flowers. Well, a year later she has rolling roses, too. They are hanging on her fence just as mine were.

%d bloggers like this: