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March 31, 1995 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-03-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Priscilla Cheever, an analyst were full of emotional strife be-
for the State Court Administra- cause of Nicole and because it re-
tive Office of the Michigan ally looked bleak for the
Supreme Court, said Michigan pregnancy. I still remember sit-
adoptions have been regulated by ting with Rabbi Nelson and hear-
very strict laws to avoid these ing him say, 'We'll pray for a
kinds of problems.
miracle."'
"In Michigan, the natural par-
Mr. Meisner was not very re-
ents must release their parental ligious as he grew up, yet he felt
rights in front of a judge," Ms. compelled to turn to the teach-
Cheever said, adding that there ings of Judaism for psychological
are legal provisions when the fa- support.
ther is out of state or can't be lo-
"I think the older you get the
cated.
more you see it's important to
There is a 21-day waiting pe- have some kind of spiritual and
riod when they can request an- religious conviction," he said.
other hearing, but it can't be "I really learned the meaning
based on a change of heart."
of prayer and replacing fear
Ms. Cheever said judges go with faith. I used to pray in
through a long list of questions the morning on the way to work
at a hearing to prevent a legal ba- that I would get some positive
sis for reversal.
news."
Joe Kroll, executive director of
Mrs. Meisner, a Methodist who
the North American Council on is beginning to study Judaism as
Adoptable Children, said prob- she decides whether to convert,
lems often can be avoided by can get teary-eyed when she
making sure the birth mother re- thinks about the session with
ceives adequate counseling and Rabbi Nelson. Said Mr. Meisner,
signs away her rights free of "It was like nothing was coming
duress. He urges that the birth easy."
father be identified and given ad-
Mrs. Meisner has tried to be
equate counseling free from pres- optimistic through the roller-
sure before signing away his
rights.
Legal measures must be
explored when the father has
not been identified.
"In any year, we see five to
10 highly publicized, contest-
ed adoptions in a context of
50,000 adoptions," said Mr.
Kroll. This total does not in-
clude stepparent adoptions.
'The likelihood of an adoption
being contested is so small
that people should not have
this fear."
Mr. Greenwald emphasizes
taking special care when at
least one of the parents is a
minor.
It is important, he main-
tains, to see that the minor
has his or her own attorney.
While the Meisners were
facing the difficulties associ-
ated with becoming Nicole's Nicole Meisner
parents, they also were con-
fronting difficulties in be-
coming natural parents of Mark, coaster experiences faced with
who was born nine months after both children, especially through-
Nicole.
out the adoption.
Although Mrs. Meisner was
"Except for one time, I really
going through a series of proce- believed that this was the right
dures at Hutzel Hospital in an ef- thing for everybody involved, and
fort to become pregnant, there it was going to happen," she said.
were no positive results until sev- "I had faith. We had waited so
eral weeks after Nicole was long to have a family, and we
brought home.
both wanted Nicole so much. She
"The percentage of success was our family the second she
with frozen embryo transfers is came home, and nobody was go-
six percent, and I didn't think in ing to hurt that."
my wildest dreams that it would
The Meisners decided to raise
work, although we were still try- Nicole as a Jew, and they asked
ing to have children of our own," Rabbi Nelson to supervise her
she said.
conversion. At five months old,
The pregnancy was difficult, she was immersed at the mikvah.
and at one point there were
Nicole's biracial background,
thoughts that it might have to be which derives from a Caucasian
aborted.
birth mother and a black birth fa-
"We went to see Rabbi David ther, has never been an issue for
Nelson of Congregation Beth the couple.
Shalom," Mr. Meisner said. "We ADOPTION page 20

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