We live in one of those states some people term "adoption-friendly"--meaning the adoption laws are completely lopsided in favor of the adoptive parents. Think short minimum times before consents can be signed, no revocation period, and few legal rights for fathers. The laws in our neighboring state are even worse. Most infant adoptions here are essentially final before anyone has even left the hospital.
This is the state we live in and it is the state Ms B's baby will be born in, so these are the laws we have to work with. We feel that we shouldn't just blindly follow them, though. Legal is not always the same as ethical, and our hope is (obviously) to do things legally but go beyond the legal minimums. It was something we talked about before starting the process, and something we discussed with the agency during our homestudy. (Every time we start talking about our messed-up adoption laws, T says he's going to run for the state legislature. It amuses me.)
We're at the point now where we need to arrange legal counsel for the possible adoption. So we spent some time on the phone today interviewing lawyers. We always opened by asking about their usual procedures, to get a sense of where they were coming from. It pained me how quickly some touted the state's "great" adoption laws. They were so eager to assure us they could get that baby permanently in our arms as quickly as possible, so sure that would be our primary concern as the potential adoptive parents.
We told them some of our discomforts with the current laws and that we hoped to find someone who would help us to find creative ways to work around them. (Hm, "around" sounds like we're trying to evade the laws. It's more "beyond" them.) It was discouraging how most just tried to talk us out of our convictions. One guy straight up lied to us about the law.
We just finished a conference call with a lawyer who seems promising, though. He generally represents more first parents than adoptive parents and understood our perspective. He was animated when brainstorming options. He had some good points that we hadn't considered. He seemed excited about trying something new and potentially using it with other clients.
In all of this, I can help thinking that it shouldn't be so much work for us. Not adopting a child--obviously that's not a process that someone should breeze through on a lark. But the work of trying to do this in a way that respects us and Ms B and her daughter and the father. A way that tries to acknowledge the harder aspects of adoption. A way we can feel good about twenty years from now. Sometimes that feels like an uphill battle.