Christopher and I met when he was a little more than 2 years old. His mother and I were sweet in high school. By sweet I mean, I was a nerdy band guy and she was way too cool for me! Time passed and I went away with active duty military. After about 8 years I moved back to NJ and attempted to win her over again. This time she was accompanied by this absolutely adorable sweet little man Christopher! Him and I were buds instantly. We talked on the phone, on webcam while I was away. When I finally moved home I found myself enjoying hanging with him almost more than his mommy! It wasn't long before a high school crush became a fiance. That was when it hit me! I am about to be a stepfather!! I had no kids of my own and loved the thought of being a father figure to a young boy being that my stepfather did a great job raising me. The more I thought about being responsible for a child the more excited I got.
Over the past 4 years we have been battling the biological father in court. There was little effort on his part for anything other than to block and delay anything we tried to do. Eventually we had a small win and were able to change Christopher's last name. This came shortly after my return from a deployment to Afghanistan and could not have come at a better time. Because by this time we were blessed with our first daughter Hannah. Now Christopher kept questioning why Mommy and Hannah had one last name and he didn't. We were awarded this and he was just as excited as us! A small win in a big and costly fight. At this time Christopher was 4 and things were getting slightly confusing for him but the change helped out a lot.
Around the time Christopher turned 5 the biological father came back and was fighting for rights for visitation. This was the first time in 5 years he had attempted anything pro-active and we were pretty open to the idea. Our only stipulation in court was it be supervised visits until Christopher was comfortable with him. The judge agreed and also ordered some other stipulations. Over the year the visits got bad with broken promises and rude things being said about us as well as the supervisor not properly supervising the visits. Then about 3 or 4 weeks in a row (after Christopher would get excited for the visit) he was continually canceling last minute. This wouldn't be so bad if we weren't already on our 45 minute drive to meet up. Finally we said enough was enough. We took him to court demanding that he pay all back child support and everything he owed. While sitting in court waiting our turn he said that he would sign over rights because he wasn't going to pay anything. We stood before the judge and he told the judge he would sign over all rights as long as he didn't have to pay anymore!
HUGE WIN!!! (kinda)
The judge allowed him to sign over rights and turn everything over to my wife. We inquired about signing adoption papers that day. The judge said that she commended me for stepping up and to all parties for coming to this agreement however she ordered there be legal representation involved for the adoption. This is how we got to this site... Over the past year we have paid and raised some money toward the adoption. The goal set here is the approximate amount still needed to fully complete this adoption. It includes lawyer fees, filing fees for the court, and other fees from the adoption agency. Wait....did he just say ADOPTION AGENCY!! YES!!! YES I DID! The wonderful state of NJ requires that step parents adopting step children in this state also go through an adoption agency. Yup that means more money. There are fees for the agency. This process requires I be fingerprinted (more money). Now I have called lawyers, and seveal agencies to find out with my military and my federal law enforcement careers, my prints are in the system but those apparently aren't good enough. Also paperwork must be sent to any state that I have lived in past the age of 18. Being that I joined the active duty US Air Force at age 17, I have lived in several states. All of them need to be shipped my prints and inquiries regarding my criminal history (I have none). They have to do checks on me in every state to make sure I have no child endangerment, child abuse, or sex offender charges on my record in any state. I advised them that if I had any of that on my record then I would not be employed by the federal government and they said it doesn't matter it has to be done. SO that is where we are at. $1,000 is our goal and it is simply the remaining balance of money we have to come up with to complete the adoption. This does not include money we have already raised or paid out ourselves. I am not a huge fan of crowdfunding but I would do absolutely anything for any of my 3 kids or wife.
Why do you need to adopt if he has your name and the father has no rights?
-My wife has very serious health issues. If god forbid something happened, I would not legally have a leg to stand on and he COULD be taken and sent to the biological father and separated from the only family he knows.
How do we know you're spending the money on this stuff?
-Because when this adoption is finalized you can all come to the celebration. lol I guess you have to trust me, I mean if your making a donation than I hope you trust me.
How much of your own money have you put into this?
-There has been just over $1,100 spent on this already. I am just tapped out. We are fixing credit and working to pay off bills. If this wasn't such an important issue, than I would NOT be on this site!
DonationsSee top donations
- Madeline Clayton
- Janice Torpey
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more