Michael and Keli are seeking to adopt their niece. They all need closure and permanency, particularly the now 14 year old who openly states that she never wants to go back and wants to officially be a member of the family.
The cost of the home study alone is estimated at $2,000-$2,500. In addition is lawyer fees and other associated court costs. Support services such as tutoring have cost thousands of dollars as well.
It all begins in July of 2004. Keli received a phone call that her niece had been born. Keli was 11 years, 11 months, and 3 days old.
Keli was purposeful in trying to keep in touch and have a relationship with her siblings, niece, and nephews. In middle school she spent a week visiting before attending summer camp. In high school she spent her spring break visiting and met her new baby nephew.
Keli's mom brought her niece down for a week one summer.
Her mom gave them a ride to Keli's high school graduation.
After her first year in college, Keli visited her siblings and niece and nephews. The next Christmas she visited again, bringing her siblings together for the first time in a decade, likely for the last time.
Keli saw her niece and nephew the following February due to a funeral she was attending that was in the area that they had recently moved to.
Keli saw them again as they stayed overnight on their travels to move again. A couple of months later Keli received a message that they were homeless and they were back in her home a couple of days later.
Keli enrolled her niece in school, who hadn't been enrolled in the last state they had stayed in. She ordered her nephews birth certificate so that he could be enrolled in school.
They left the day the birth certificate arrived, without further communication (save for some harassment via social media).
The following spring, Keli found out that her niece had been left in one state while the others moved back to Colorado. She contacted her niece as quickly as she could.
That summer she was alerted that a court hearing would take place for guardianship of her niece. Keli spent her 23rd birthday driving to be at the hearing, where she testified to her knowledge of events and living conditions, which had only deteriorated since her first unsupervised visit as a 12 year old.
Keli and husband Michael are expecting their first child in about 10 weeks. Keli receives a phone call that her niece and nephew are going into foster care.
Keli drives 6 hours and stays with her brother, sleeping on his couch to attend the court date; she returns home with her niece. Her nephew remains with his guardian.
Approximately 10 days later Michael and Keli drive 6 hours back for a second court hearing. They are granted legal guardianship of their niece.
18 months later. No support has been received as ordered by the court. The case has not been through the foster care system so no support has been received through the state for kinship fostering.
**Some details have been omitted for the dignity and privacy of the children.
- Alexs Myers
- Alex Myers
- Alicia Baker Roderick
- Lauren Stafford
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