We did something very, very important over the weekend. The very important thing culminated this morning.
We filed papers to give me co-guardianship over Julia.
This is the closest thing to an adoption that we can do here in Utah. It's a slight bend of the law. It's completely up to the judge to grant and isn't guaranteed. We could have done it any time after Julia was born, but we waited. We waited because of the ambiguous legal standing co-guardianship has in Utah right now.
But mostly we waited out of fear.
See, co-guardianship is something that you can request without the help of a lawyer. And the lawyers here who specialize in queer legal issues are EXPENSIVE. And we just don't have that kind of money. So we had decided to do it ourselves and then got hung up in insecurity over doing it wrong. We were afraid that we would do it wrong and have wasted our time and money. But I was also afraid for another reason. I was afraid that if I stood in that courtroom and asked for guardianship of my daughter, and the judge looked and me and denied my request, that I would be devastated.
It's been a really long, hard year and a half of loss for me (Julia's arrival excepted!) and I've felt so fragile at times. There were times when I would look at our stack of guardianship papers and thought that I would shiver into dust if it wasn't granted. Even though having the guardianship denied wouldn't result in any material or practical change to the status quo. It's not like the judge would order me out of the house. Or that my picture would be published in all the papers under the headline, "Mama poseur." No. None of that. Just the emotional blow.
So we held off. We dithered. The papers grew dusty. No longer.
After a false start with a lawyer that we thought could help us for substantially less than the $5000 going rate, we dusted off our papers, filled them out, and had a friend notarize them last night. This morning Kristin stopped at the courthouse to file them.
And that's where we came across our Angel. Kristin told me that she got the dykiest court clerk around. And that dyke-clerk looked at our papers and told her that we had done them wrong. And then she sat there, with white-out and pen, surrounded by signs that read, "Court Clerks Cannot Give Legal Advice" and fixed our papers for us. Then she assigned us to Judge R. who, she said, is extremely liberal and does these guardianship requests all the time. Our court date is August 23rd in the A.M.
Goodby fear. Hello semi-legal semi-parental status!