From: Sarah Cole
To: Jim Dabakis, Gene Davis, Jani Iwamoto, Karen Mayne, Wayne Harper, Deidre Henderson, Brian Shiozawa, Wayne Niederhauser, Lincoln Fillmore, Howard Stephenson, Daniel Thatcher, Mark Madsen, Margaret Dayton, curt, Peter Knudson, Ann Millner, Scott Jenkins, Jerry Stevenson, Stuart Adams, Todd Weiler, Ralph Okerlund, Lyle Hillyard, Kevin Van Tassell, David Hinkins, Evan Vickers, Steve Urquhart, Scott Sandall, David Lifferth, Jack Draxler, Edward Redd, Curt Webb, Jacob Anderegg, Justin Fawson, Gage Froerer, Jeremy Peterson, Dixon Pitcher, Brad Dee, Mike Schultz, Paul Ray, Curtis Oda, Brad Wilson, Steve Handy, Stewart Barlow, Timothy D. Hawkes, Raymond Ward, Becky Edwards, Doug Sagers, Susan Duckworth, Sandra Hollins, Rebecca Houck, Joel Briscoe, Angela Romero, Mike Kennedy, Brian King, Lee Perry, Fred Cox, Sophia DiCaro, LaVar Christensen, Craig Hall, Johnny Anderson, Mark A. Wheatley, Patrice Arent, Carol Moss, Eric Hutchings, Jim Dunnigan, Lynn Hemingway, Daniel McCay, Kim Coleman, Earl Tanner, Bruce Cutler, Steve Eliason, Marie Poulson, Ken Ivory, Keven John Stratton, Robert Spendlove, Richard Cunningham, Greg Hughes, John Knotwell, Melvin Brown, Kraig Powell, Scott H. Chew, Kay Christofferson, Brian Greene, Derrin Owens, Val Peterson, Bradley Daw, Keith Grover, Jon Stanard, Dean Sanpei, Norm Thurston, Francis Gibson, Michael McKell, Marc Roberts, Merrill Nelson, Brad King, Kay Mciff, Brad Last, John Westwood, mnoel, Lowry Snow, Don Ipson, a,
Subject: Fwd: Immediate Attention re: HB377 Grandparents rights
Date: Wed Jul 13 20:49:38 MDT 2016
Body:
Additional representatives,

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns....please make sure the voice of adoptive parents is heard today.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sarah Cole <sarahecole@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 10:10 AM
Subject: Immediate Attention re: HB377 Grandparents rights
To: hstephenson@le.utah.gov, greghughes@le.utah.gov
Cc: Brian Cole < brian.cole@ge.com>


Mr. Stephenson & Mr. Hughes,

We are writing to ask for your help regarding HB 377 (Grandparent rights).  It will be part of a special session in the next day or two.  Because it is a special session, we do not have the opportunity to publicly voice our concerns, so we are asking for your help as our Draper representatives. The governor smartly vetoed it in March; and we do not see enough improvements in the bill to suggest going forward.

This bill is a bad idea for adoptive parents -- it discourages adoption by limiting the rights of adoptive parents.  It suggests that we are not capable of deciding what is a healthy relationship for our children (including involvement with their biological families and grandparents). 

We are adoptive parents.  We adopted two sisters (private adoptions) and then adopted their older sister later on (it was classified as a kinship adoption through the state.)  Our oldest was removed during a drug raid and was living with her parents, grandparents, and others. We have been through the foster system with her, a year of twice-weekly supervised parent visitation, monthly caseworker visits, ongoing therapy, more court dates than we can count, subpoenaed to testify in a termination of parental rights trial, etc.

There is no shortage of DCFS support for the bio-family in trying to establish a healthy family plan, reunify the family, support visitation while in state custody, etc. We really feel like DCFS and the state gives plenty of support for biological parents to learn the skills to parent a child; and this is very encouraging to us. (The state first looks for FAMILY to care for children when taken into custody INCLUDING grandparents.)  Other foster families only come into play when their is not family willing or able to support children in need.

We started off with a very open relationship with our birth family. Our girls had the opportunity to spend time with their great-grandmother before she died.  There is nothing I would want more than for their biological family to be safe enough, stable enough to have a relationship with our kids. Love is love, and we all love them.  Unfortunately though -- at this time -- our birthparents are both still using, in and out of jail, not safe or emotionally available.  Our kids bio-grandparents are in much the same situation.

As a biological parent, you have the right to determine what is best for your child. This bill undermines the abilities of adoptive parents to do the same.  Please do not support this bill -- it will waste more financial, emotional, and time resources that we would much rather spend on our now 4, 5, and 6 year-old cuties. 

Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.

Warmest regards,
Sarah & Brian Cole
Draper, UT