DH and I have decided to send flowers to the funeral home when J's body is released to them. We hope it will help L when he gets older to know that we/he did this for his biological father. We talked a lot with the social worker today about how to process this with L when he's older. She suggested making sure that we talk about it all along. If a friend's grandmother dies, for example, she said we could mention how J and R (L's biological mother) are in heaven, too. The big idea is to make sure it's not secret or shameful since L has nothing to be ashamed of in regard to the circumstances of his birth or of his biological parents' deaths. I'm also not sharing details of his parents' deaths so we can share that information with L when he's ready and it doesn't come from a cousin who overheard the grownups talking.
This whole situation has created a strange mix of emotions in me. J was not someone who made good choices in life and there were safety concerns for all involved in this case due to his past behavior. There was no chance of an open adoption in this situation because of those safety concerns. I certainly didn't wish J dead, but a part of me is glad that I won't have to worry about L being tracked down by J as he gets older and that we won't have to spend the next 2-3 years in court. I wish J had just realized that he couldn't care for L and terminated his rights voluntarily. I also realize that J was an abused child at one time and was failed by the system. He was like L, but he kept being moved from foster home to foster home or returned to abusive parents instead of being adopted as a young child. In many ways, the system messed him up, or allowed his family to mess him up, and then stepped in to take away what mattered most to him because he was too messed up. Again, I'm just so grateful that cycle is broken for L.