Local News Story

in the wagonTo our friends and family,

This coming Friday, May 10th, the local Oklahoma City NBC affiliate, Channel 4 is doing a story on our family and adoption of Ashlyn.  We wanted to pass this along in case you were interested in watching.  It will air on both the 5pm and 10pm news.  If you live outside the OKC market you can see the story online at the Channel 4 website – www.kfor.com.

On another note, we did receive Ashlyn’s social security number a couple of days ago.  She is now an official resident of the United States, a citizen of our country and a Towler!

Once again, we can’t thank each and every one of you for your support, prayers and thoughts over the past 18 months.  Hopefully, our story will encourage others to never back down from an adoption.  There are tens of thousands of children that can use a stable, loving, and caring home to grow up in.  These children did nothing wrong. They deserve a chance and a home.  Alicia and I would encourage all of you to get involved in a child’s life.  You can make a difference – a huge difference.

Kindest Regards,

Bill and Alicia Towler

GOTCHA DAY!

Gotcha Day

In the world of adoption Gotcha Day refers to the day that you officially execute your final adoption decree.  This morning at 10 am, Ashlyn Rae Towler is now, and forever, our daughter!   The final decree, executed by Judge Welch this morning means:

  • Alicia and I are Ashlyn’s parents and are noted as such on Ashlyn’s birth certificate, and
  • Ashlyn Rae Towler is now her legal name.

Alicia and I will never be able to thank everyone for all the support and encouragement that our family and friends have provided for us over the last 16 months.  We have literally been touched by hundreds of people.  What an amazing community of support.

The love story continues….

The Towler’s Win!!

We took a huge step forward on Friday when the judge ruled in our favor.  The court found that we had established clear and convincing evidence that good cause existed to deviate from the preferences set forth in Indian Child Welfare Act.  The court was clear that good cause was established by the “unified voice” of the birth parents, the preference of the birth parents and what was in the best interest of Ashlyn.

Alicia and I are could not come up with a better way to end the year!!!  While this is huge hurdle, the process is not over.  The Cherokee’s have 20 days in which to file an appeal.

We are obviously thrilled and overcome with joy.  We can’t thank everyone that has been at our side over the past 14 months enough.  Our family, our friends and our community have been unbelievable.  For the first time in over a year there were tears of joy in our house.

Again, this process will not be complete until we receive the formal adoption decree.  With this victory, however, we took a major step toward that goal.  We’ll continue to post updates as we find out whether or not there will be an appeal, the timing of final decree or any other happenings.

Ashlyn and Sable

Is there any recourse for recovering your legal fees?

Family in MidtownWe get asked this question, it seems like, every day.  In short the anwser is NO.  The counter-party is the The Cherokee Tribe, a sovereign entity.  It is like being sued by another country.  And, they have unlimited resources.  At times it feels rather daunting.

Our lawyers have over 400 hours in this case.  If you are reading this and have ever hired lawyers you can do the math, and we expect the appeals process will at least double this amount.  It is not financially feasible for us to consider adopting another child until this matter is resolved.

I will say this – while the amount of money we have spent is, frankly, outrageous, it does not compare to the emotional trauma and stress that our family has endured, especially Alicia.  Having to go thru each and every day with this cloud of uncertainity hanging over you is something that no loving, caring adoptive couple should ever have to go thru.  I would be misleading you if I did not say that there are some really, really tough days.  And, without the support of Alex and Will as well as the rest of our incredible family and friends this would be impossible.

Through all of this what I marvel at is what an incredible mother Alicia is.  She makes all of Ashlyn’s food from organic ingredients.  She would rather spend the evening with her than go out to dinner for business which she is occassionally asked to do.  She is an amazing woman.

So, while we will never be able to recover legal fees (as financially painful as it is) in the end it does not matter and is worth every penny.

Bill

Interesting Challenges

Ashlyn's 1st BirthdayGoing thru litigation over an adoption poses some interesting challenges that you would never think of until you actually go thru it.  For example,

Try filing a tax return and claiming a deduction without a social security number for your child.

Or, try signing her up for benefits with your employer without a SSN.

In the world of adoption your child is not “official” until such time as an adoption decree is issued.  In our case, Ashlyn is almost 14 months old and, due to the fact that there is not a formal adotpion decree that has been issued (and there will not be until the trial process is over) she does not qualify for a SSN.  In many ways, Ashlyn is not a formal citizen of our country.  This presents a unique set of challenges that we never anticipated.  Of course, tell her that at her first birthday party.

At the lower right-hand side of the site, there is a “Follow” tab where you can sign up to be automatically notified when any new information is posted.

Welcome!

Her first baby pics

Her first baby pics

Hello everyone and thank you for visiting our blog. Please read the section titled “Our Story” for a sequence of events leading to today. We are currently awaiting the ruling from our trial which ended in September, and expect to hear from the court in late Dec or Jan ’13. After this, there is the possibility of an appeals process for the losing side (Towler’s or Cherokee Tribe), which typically takes another 2 years. We have a long road ahead of us, but will do everything in our power to keep Baby Ashlyn, and we fully expect to win in the end.

Also, at the lower right-hand side of the site, there is a “Follow” tab where you can sign up to be automatically notified when any new information is posted.

Thank you.

Alicia