# 10: I HATE HER!

PAGE # 10

3:30 pm

Shelley, the adoption attorney, tried to move past the issue of the birth father:  

"We have a lot to accomplish in the next few days.  If this adoption is going to happen, you guys need fingerprints, criminal background checks, a home-study, and..."

"Hold on.  Hold on," I interrupted.  "I'm still not clear on the birth father part."  

"Does he want to father this baby?"  Tom asked.

Shelley rolled her eyes.  "Now, why would he want this baby?  According to the birth mom, he doesn't even have a job.  Why would he want to be saddled with child support payments?"

"Well, if it's his baby," I pondered, "maybe he'd want his own baby?"

"He'll never get this baby!"  Shelley practically scolded me.  "Under the law, he has no rights.  Pay attention, Jennifer!  I've already explained that."

Shelley tried to rein herself in.  She slowed down, smiled at my husband, and said, "Oh, your wife is getting so excited.  She's having a hard time keeping track of things."

Tom didn't reply.  His face was blank.  There was no evidence that he shared my impulse to get up, jump over the dying dog, and run for the exit.  

But Shelley tried a new strategy:

"Look, I'm not in this for the money.  This is a labor of love for me.  You have to meet my own adopted daughter.  My special needs daughter."

Shelley called out for a young woman.  I already knew the back-story; I had Googled this attorney prior to our meeting.  Shelley had adopted her daughter over twenty years ago, when no one else would.  Her daughter was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.  

"This is my daughter," Shelley introduced us.  "She works here in the office.  Today's her birthday."

"Happy Birthday," I said.  

"Nice to meet you," Tom added.

Shelley dismissed her daughter.

"That's why I was late for this meeting," Shelley explained.  "We were having birthday cake when you guys arrived."  

But she couldn't distract me:  

"I'm still trying to sort out the birth father thing.  What if you're wrong and he does want the baby?  You're saying he has no rights, but you also said that he could contest the adoption.  If he wants his baby..."

Shelley didn't let me finish.  Instead of talking this time, she handed me a piece of paper.

"That's the mug shot," Shelley said.  "Bio dad was arrested for beating up Kendra, the birth mother.  There were witnesses and everything.  She's pressing charges."

I studied the picture.  I saw the birth father's name.

"Am I supposed to see his name?" I asked.

"You're not going to tell anybody you saw that," Shelley instructed.

I tried to commit his name to memory, so I could Google him later, but I was too troubled by the attorney's unethical manner.  

If this attorney was untrustworthy, I did not want to work with her.  I waited patiently for the meeting to end, barely hearing the long list of tasks we'd have to complete in order to move forward.  Tom, on the other hand, was on top of everything; he made a list and kept track of all documents and paperwork.  An appointment was made for a social worker to come do our home-study the next morning.  We would meet the birth mother the following afternoon.  

I must have been having an outer body experience when all this appointment making occurred; truly, I cannot even recall leaving the attorney's building.  I've tried but my memory always skips ahead to the drive home.  

"I hate her.  Let's forget it," I told Tom.

"Oh come on babe.  She's a lawyer," he argued.  "We can't reject an innocent baby because of the lawyer."

No comments: