This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

An experience in family law

Every once in awhile in law, there's a big payoff. Today I got to see a big payoff.

My officemate and I got to attend an adoption hearing today. One of the attorneys in our office practices family law and has been representing a couple in their adoption of a little boy, which was finalized today. It was really an incredible experience. It was as beautiful as a simple wedding ceremony. This sweet little boy, about two years old, went from being a ward of the state, to being a permanent part of a real family. Two parents who love him, grandparents, and family friends all there to share in the event (and video tape!)... along with two law students who stood by teary-eyed in the sweltering heat of the judge's office to observe. The couple has been fostering the boy since he was 5 months old, and he is just so sweet. Although it was miserably hot in the office (you'd think since it's a new courthouse it would have adequate air conditioning), and there were lots of strangers around, the child did remarkably well and even mustered a "Thank you, Judge!" before we left. Precious!

It's made me reconsider my extreme aversion to family law. I learned today that not all family law is the drama-filled misery of divorce and custody battles and removal of children from terrible homes. Sometimes it's getting to see a family become complete. I was especially moved by the adoption because the couple is gay. Unfortunately that means only one parent can legally adopt the child. It made me think about how far we've come with gay rights, and how far we have yet to go. It made me think that it's something I might want to be a part of -- helping people complete their families. It's a definite possibility for the future.


Andrea said...

What a sweet story. I know what you mean about family law - doing divorces sounds draining and miserable, but it's great to see a family come together instead.

Shelley said...

That must have been a great moment!

I've practiced family law and do a lot of contract work for an attorney who does family law. If you have good boundaries, it's not bad, emotionally. Still, it's not usually happy work, except when someone "wins." Even then, it's very obvious that someone else has "lost." But it is one of those areas where you can make a huge difference in people's lives.

Zuska said...

I worked as a paralegal in a family law office prior to law school, and did an internship with a family law judge during my first summer of law school.

In both settings, I saw numerous "second parent adoptions." Living in CA and then Massachusetts, the possibility and reality exists. I loved the feeling of watching families come together with the help of the legal system in CA - we used to develop family plans, including wills and guardianship documents and adoptions.

In MA, LGBT couples can just get married, and can adopt each other's biological children.

tom slade said...

That's a nice story to hear. So far I'd only heard negative things about family law. Not just the divorce and misery stuff, but as far as having your day split up by tons of clients and spending hours just doing billing/paperwork.