PAGE # 21

4:00 pm

I hadn't checked my emails all day.  After Tom and I arrived home from our fingerprinting appointment, I scrolled through my inbox for any new messages pertaining to the adoption.  There was a note from Shelley, the adoption attorney, from the previous day:
I trust all went well with Paula [the social worker].  I know she will be speaking to Kendra and Johnny in the next few days.  
Kendra and Johnny really liked you both and are so happy you are going to go forward.  They do understand your concerns [about the birth father] and really believe everything will work out.  Kendra's Facebook "spy" said that the birth father posted something that he hurt his knee and needed a ride to the courthouse cause he couldn't ride his motorcycle.  She does not know if that was related to the criminal case or this one.  There were no more postings today.  I did not receive a phone call from him or a lawyer.
The attorney was trying to extinguish my concerns pertaining to the biological father. Sure, Tom and I were proceeding with the adoption plans; however, the birth father had not signed off on the adoption paperwork.  On the other hand, as Shelley noted in the above email, he also had not contacted her.  He had been served papers informing him of the adoption and he had done nothing to try and stop it.  He had exactly 30 days from the date of being served the adoption paperwork.  That meant he had until early January to stop the adoption.  It was only early December, and the baby was due any day now.

The subject of Bobby, the biological father, was one I brought up often, even though it seemed to irritate the attorney.  I'd ask a mere question about the man and Shelley would react as if I were an annoying child who kept pleading for another cookie.  Some examples of her blatant dismissal of Bobby's significance:  
"If this interloper does anything to try and mess up the adoption, it's not because he actually wants this baby!  He's just trying to hurt Kendra!"
"There's no way this interloper is ever getting this baby!  He has criminal proceedings coming up for his assault of Kendra and he doesn't even have a job!  No judge is going to grant him custody of this baby!"
"The interloper has no proof that he is the father.  And he can't get it.  The law protects Kendra's baby from any paternity testing because she is lawfully married to another man."
Shelley would rant and rave about the interloper, while I worried about a man named Bobby.  

Unfortunately, Shelley's language was contagious.  I didn't realize that I'd incorporated the word into my vocabulary until I referred to Bobby as "The Interloper!" during our home study.  Paula, the social worker, had corrected me immediately:  
"You really need to stop calling him that," she gently scolded.
"My gosh, I'm sorry," I said.  "That's what the attorney calls him all the time.  I guess I just got used to it."
"Well, it's preferable that you refer to him as the birth father."
"You know," Tom said.  "I'm not even sure what the word interloper means.  I never heard anyone use it before."
I had to admit--I had never heard the word used before either.  I could guess at its obvious meaning, but we Googled the word immediately.

The following definition appeared at the top of our search results:


A person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.

At the time, I did not give much thought to the topic of adoption language.  I was much too embarrassed, having used a word inappropriately.  

Was Bobby, the birth father, merely an intruder in all this if he contested the adoption?  He was the biological father!  

INTERLOPER.  Just the sound of it makes my stomach turn.

That kind of language dehumanizes a biological father.  It sends a covert message straight into the potential adoptive parents' brains:

He is not the father!  He has no rights!  He is a problem to be overcome!  He's nothing but a meddling sperm donor!

Think about it.  What goes through your mind when you hear the name "Bobby?"  Now, repeat the word "interloper" a few dozen times and analyze what impact that has on you.

Here's what I see when I say the word "interloper" repeatedly:

I see Shelley, the adoption attorney, waving a big red flag in my face.  

I never liked the attorney.  But only now that I am able to process our interactions, without the pressure of trying to get ready for a new baby, am I able to understand the full extent of her unethical behavior.  

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