In the United States, one million children live with a grandparent in a home where neither parent lives, according to AARP. For a variety of reasons, a lot of children grow up being raised by grandparents.
"Grandparents have an amazing, unselfish commitment to grandchildren who can't otherwise live with their biological parents," Seth said. "But they often need legal authority and protection so the child can't be uprooted later by neglectful and unfit parents."
Many grandparents want legal authority over the children in their care in order to enroll them in school, make medical decisions, or add them to their health insurance. Adoption also protects the children financially if grandparents become sick or die and allows grandparents to choose an appropriate caretaker in their absence.
Grob & Eirich assist grandparents in adoption proceedings, in both private kinship adoption proceedings and public abuse and neglect cases.
Under Colorado law, before pursuing a private Kinship adoption, the child must live with the grandparents for at least one year. Additionally, it must be demonstrated that the birth parents are consenting to their parental rights being terminated and the adoption or have either abandoned the child for a period of one year or more or the birth parents have failed without cause to provide reasonable support for a period of one year or more. The court must also make a best interests determination based on many factors, including but not limited to, the family stability, the present and future effects of adoption, the child's emotional ties and interaction with the parties, the child's adjustment to the living situation, the child's age, and the mental and physical health and of the grandparents and other parties. The grandparents need to prove by clear and convincing evidence that being adopted by them is in the best interest of the child.
As an infant in Texas, Daniel lived in a home filled with drugs, alcohol, and violence. When he was almost one year old, he was placed in protective services. Then Diane, his material grandmother, began to care for him after his father was jailed for shooting someone.
"Daniel celebrated his first birthday with me," Diane said. "I've taken care of him, raised him, watched him grow and play football."
Diane raised Daniel for nine years, and in 2013, when Daniel was 10, she decided to adopt him. Daniel really wanted to be adopted and to change his last name.
Diane didn't know who could help her with the adoption until someone suggested Seth Grob.
"Seth is awesome," Diane said. "He told me everything I needed to know, what we had to do, even the worst case scenario. I had a lot of questions, and he took the time to answer them. Even through my biggest fear of losing Daniel, Seth kept me calm."
"We searched everywhere for Daniel's biological parents, but we couldn't locate them," said Seth. "That made it easier for the court to terminate the birth parents' parental rights based upon abandonment and lack of support."
With Seth's expert assistance, the adoption process moved quickly, starting in January and completing in June 2014.
Daniel was so excited about being adopted by his grandmother that he jumped up and down in the courtroom and insisted he get a picture taken with the judge.
"Seth would be the best choice for anyone wanting to adopt," Diane said. "He will do everything in his power to help."
Penny and Michael
When Indie was just 18 months old, her mother overdosed on drugs and her father, who was separated from the mother but also struggled with drugs, wasn't able to care for her. Penny and Michael, Indie's grandparents, went to get their granddaughter in the middle of the night and began to care for her.
"When we got her, Indie wouldn't respond to her name," Penny said. "Previous parenting had been by TV, and she was neglected. I was so thankful we got her when we did."
Penny and Michael did not believe an Allocation of Parental Responsibility, where parents not only maintain their legal relationship with the child but also can modify the court's orders, was in Indie's best interest. Rather, they wanted to fully adopt their granddaughter and provide her with the stability and permanency that only adoption could provide.
Tim said it wouldn't be easy to adopt Indie, due to the nature of dependency and neglect cases, but if the parents were not able to successfully complete their treatment plan, Penny and Michael could adopt, and he would represent them.
"Tim told us we could be an 'intervenor' to the court so we would get all correspondence on the case and we could know what was going on," Penny said. "We couldn't overrule anything, but we could vocalize our concerns."
"The grandparents' involvement was integral," Tim explained. "Both parents were substance abusers, unstable, and very manipulative. The mother disappeared, and the father's rights had to be involuntarily terminated. Penny and Michael provided important information regarding not only their granddaughter's needs but also the father's history of illegal business dealings and drugs use. The grandparents credibility was high with the judge due to their substantial history with both parents. Without the grandparents' involvement in the proceedings, the judge would not have had all the information to make an informed and deliberate decision about the child's future."
"Tim was with us at every court hearing and explained everything to us in English instead of legal lingo," Penny said. "He also spoke up on our behalf. One time Indie's father wanted unsupervised visits, and the caseworker didn't say why this was a bad idea. Tim represented our perspective for the court, and the court agreed with us."
Termination of parental rights was finalized in spring 2014 after 18 months of court process. Penny and Michael officially adopted their 3-year-old granddaughter, Indie, on November 22, National Adoption Day.
"Tim was awesome to work with," Penny said. "We've recommended Tim to many people who have nonconventional adoptions. We have complete confidence in him."