Adoption Comes Full Circle for Attorney Keely Smith
Updated: Apr 18
Late last year, and for the second time in her life, Keely Smith walked into the Marshall County Probate Court with a good idea of what was going on but with little to no first-hand experience in the role she was to play. The first time she walked in she was a teenager. She was, at that very moment at least, also in foster care. She walked out, however, with her parents and her forever family. This second time entering that courtroom, mere weeks after passing the Alabama Bar Exam and earning her promotion to an Associate Attorney at Foxtrot Family Law, she walked into that Probate Courtroom prepared to make sure that a family a lot like her own would walk out with the same visceral feeling of love, joy, peace, and resolution that she had years ago.
Q: Keely, what was that like, walking into that same courtroom but as a Lawyer and being responsible for the Adoption process for another family?
It was surreal in a way that I finally had that “I made it” moment. After growing up in foster care and being adopted when I was 13, I always knew that I wanted to do something important with my life and help other kids one day. For me, that meant defying the odds and proving people - and statistics - wrong. There is truly no better and more symbolic way to prove to yourself and to others that you finally made it, than to stand in the same place you once did but on the other side.
Q: Being a family lawyer at Foxtrot has to hit close to home for you on a deep, personal level. How do you remain objective and make tough decisions without getting emotionally involved?
I can see why some people might think it would be hard for me to be objective. My biological parents were drug addicts who could just never kick their addiction. At the time of my adoption, I was old enough to realize that being adopted was the best possible outcome for me. In hindsight, I know that being adopted was the best thing to ever happen to me. So how can I be objective if a client comes to me and is about to lose their kid because of their drug addiction? It really is not that hard. No two situations are the same. No two people are the same. It is important for me to represent my client and their rights and fight for their best possible outcome. I got mine and they deserve theirs too.
At the end of the day, this is my job, but at the same time this is someone’s family. While I agree that it is important to not get too emotionally involved, this job does come with emotions, and I think my emotional connection is a benefit and not a burden.
Q: Keely, level with us, you relentlessly defend several of our Clients against DHR in trying to keep their kids out of Foster Care when you have reaped the benefits of that system. How do you reconcile that?
As I mentioned above, being adopted was the best thing to ever happen to me. I went through years of back-and-forth turmoil but ended up with a great and loving family. Without them, I truly would not be where I am today.
But I also witnessed everything bad that comes with the system too. My little brother and I went to some good foster homes and a lot of bad ones. I am proud to represent and defend clients against DHR - not because DHR is always the bad guy - but because a lot of times our clients just need someone to help them stand up for themselves.
If you would like to learn more about how you, as a Committed Parent or Caring Relative, can stand up for yourself and be more effective in your Child Custody, Divorce, DHR or Adoption case, will you CLICK HERE to schedule your initial consultation at one of our offices?
This article contains general information and should not be construed as legal advice for you and or your unique situation. ~SW, Foxtrot