I swear I've had such a hard time understanding the petitions and visitation with them and all of that. We've had two home visits this week and when I asked how the case was going there's not much to say.
Looks as though mom is doing worse than ever. I have no idea what she needs to do in order to get visitation back but she had her appt. with the Psychiatrist last week and we haven't heard a word about it being changed so I'm assuming it hasn't been. She's convinced we have other foster kids and that's why we bring the wrong child and wrong pics to her. When they tell her that baby girl is our only foster child and the only one we've ever had, she tells them that she has out of body experiences where she can come to our house and that she's been here and seen us with our other kids. She also thinks she's not spending a lot of time in her body. They said she looks down at her feet and says they aren't hers and talks about vanishing scars and birthmarks or something. She also has mentioned not wanting baby girl to be around her sometimes because she's afraid "they" (the voices) will hurt her. So...doesn't sound promising at the moment. I'll be scared if they give visitation back knowing what kind of mind set she is in.
Anyway, about the petitions. I asked our CASA advocate what was going on with that and she said that she has gotten no info from anyone. Either there isn't any to give, meaning that the people filing have done nothing, or DSS is just being difficult to communicate with and she's not able to get the info from them that they have. She said she asked about it again this week and they told her "it's the same". She said she has no idea what that means, but that the petition that we're worried about (grandmother of oldest sibling) she had no info on and didn't even know it existed until we told her. They're required to give her any info they have so she can make a report for court and either they haven't done that or there's been nothing to give her. I hope it's the latter and that the lady decides not to try. She's older and has taken care of a million kids and I think it's time to just let it go but...not my choice to make.
Today we had visitation. It's every other week for the petitioners. They both missed the first one. No call, no show. They started showing up every other week after that, but this week the one we're concerned about didn't show up. The other lady told me she wasn't coming so I don't know if there was a good reason, but we had already had to reschedule it twice. I had the flu last week and tried to schedule it for the end of the week. We had it scheduled and she said she couldn't do it then so we schedule it for this week (normally an off week) and she still didn't come. Anyone have any clue how seriously they take this? Seems to me a court ordered visitation should be taken pretty seriously unless there's a family emergency or something. They made it sound more like she was busy and couldn't make it. It's hard for me to understand how someone can commit to a child for the next 18 years when they can't commit to an hour every other week for visitation now.
I hope this is all taken into account. We were told if nothing changed in the next week or so, the recommendation will be for her to stay in foster care. With the info they have now, they say there's no reason for her to go anywhere. I hope it stays this way. We love our little sweetie and I've been a nervous wreck about court coming up.
Leah from all you have said, it seems like it's pretty certain she will not be going back to her birth mom. And I would think that it would not look well that the others have missed visits. Seems like it's going about as well as it could for you right now.
There is court again in April, right? I wonder at what point they start a termination and get her out of the system?
Hang in there Leah, sounds like baby girl's best interest would to be placed with you and your DH and hopefully that will happen ASAP. :hugs:
Thank you ladies. I really hope things work out here but it scares me to death every day. Termination probably won't be considered until December, if then. Mom is not doing well and I doubt she'll improve enough for her to go home to her but there are a lot of other factors and a lot of unknown and it just feels like everyone is dragging their feet in trying to get those questions answered.
I get so frustrated with the lack of support from other foster parents in general. I've tried to post in other places (out of desperation for support or answer mostly) and everyone is so freaking mean! I mean yes, I'm attached, yes I know I'm a foster parent and not her adoptive parent no matter how it feels to me, but people could be a little nicer about it. I just need to stop posting in other places I guess, but it's so hard to not just go crazy trying to get some answers and explanations. You'd think just about everyone going through this type of situation would be supportive and understanding and kind but I'm told all the time that I'm an idiot for trying to adopt this way and that I have no business doing it because I care so much about her staying her...it's not a competition, we don't have to be against anyone who wants her...blah blah.
Of course it feels like a competition and of course part of us hates anyone who could take her from us (bad as that may be)! Especially since our main "threat" is an old woman in such bad shape she can't run with her or get down on the floor and play with her and isn't super likely to live to see her graduate high school. I mean, these are basic things and I want the best for her. GRRRRRR! I hate having no control over what's happening or being able to make sure for myself that someone is okay before they take her. I think it would be easier if we just knew what the answer would be and then we could deal with it but being in constant limbo just sucks and some days are just hard.
When I saw that the lady didn't show up at visitation, I just got upset. I mean she may have had a good reason and I do think she called to let them know, but I go through hell sometimes to get her there and this is supposed to be her "bonding" time with her and it's only an hour every other week. If she can't show up to that then how is she going to ever get to know this child? I just hope it means she isn't really that interested in taking her. Sometimes I just feel like we'll never have a baby that's ours and ours alone.
Big hugs Leah. I absolutely remember my aunt feeling this way with my cousins. It absolutely can happen....I have seen it twice. It just takes a LOT of time for termination to get going, especially in systems that already overworked. and of course you feel the way you! I don't think it would be normal if you didn't. And if this doesn't work out, something else will. Maybe not going foster again...unless it was someone already terminated (we have seen a few adoptions happen that way here). Or maybe it will be saving the money for a few years and going private.
But we will all be holding out hope that she gets to stay with you guys!
Thanks Jennifer! We definitely have plans to consider other things after this. I have an appt. with my RE next week to discuss surgery to see if we even have any options there. If that doesn't work out then it's either save for private adoption or do a different kind of program where we won't get a child unless TPR has already happened. We may continue to foster but I don't think we'll ever foster with hopes of adopting ever again. It's just too much. It's absolutely worth it for this little girl though whether she leaves us or not. She's too innocent and precious and in so need of the love we have to give.
I've been on most of the available forums out there for people looking to foster-adopt and I wouldn't say they are mean. I would say they are honest to a fault and experienced. They've loved and lost and yet they jump back in and do it all over again. That takes guts but it also makes one hard. They may not tell you what you want to hear but they have a lot of truth. From my perspective Grandma sounds like she's got a really good shot. I wouldn't trust anything anyone on the case says. Until papers are signed saying she's yours, everything is just a guess at most or workers giving you wha tyou want to hear.
I do so very much hope this works out for you and like Jennifer I've seen it happen to others (My MIL has 3 adopted besides my husband and still gets called for babies all the time that would amazingly go straight to termination (and I'd never place a child with her)) but it's rare. It's rare for a first placement to end in adoption and it's rare for a foster placement to terminate before a year. I hope with all the hope in the world that you are one of the lucky ones. I really want to see this end in your favor.
I am hoping with everything in me the right people will make the right decision and she gets to stay! (((Big big hugs)))...I genuinely can't imagine and my heart goes out to you :hugs:. Praying for a good outcome!
My aunt took in two babies and adopted both but she might have just gotten really lucky. She had a great social worker and was clear she wanted to end with adoption so was only placed with the two that stood the greatest chance. She has turned down a lot of placements.
Even with both of hers, adoption wasn't until almost 2 for one and something like 18-20 months for the other. The entire time was stress and worry. Neither of those had anyone asking for them and the second had a few visits with birth mom but she was in jail and agreed to terminate....why his adoption was faster. The first never had a visit with anyone, nobody was even attempting for custody and it still took that long.
It is HARD to get advice on the forums though because things like this are so local. It just varies so much by state. And even by county. I know I looked into this at first because well it's just a lot cheaper. But my local area, not much need for babies. Now if I lived by my aunt, we might have gone this route as there is just a lot more need.
Thank you everyone for your comments. I suppose it's true that no one is really being mean or at least most of the time they aren't but sometimes it sure feels that way. I've been told repeatedly though in a sort of nice way that I'm an idiot for getting attached to baby girl at all. I feel those are people who have just been through too much. I asked DH what he thinks about a lot of the comments and he agreed that they sounded cold and hardened to the system and asked me if I thought we were any different. Lol. I guess we're not since we've already said we won't do this again. I can see us fostering just to foster but not to adopt. DSS is pretty misleading in the way they describe it to you. They make it sound like it's not really that difficult, that everyone supports you and doesn't put you in difficult positions with birth parents, etc. None of that is true. Foster parents are definitely shut away and rarely spoken to unless they demand it or unless there's a need for any of the workers to interact with them. That's been my experience anyway. I can't say I'd recommend this to someone either though I'd never take it back, if that makes sense.
As far as the petitions go, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Sometimes that about eats me up and other times I feel like I can deal with it. Last week was a particularly bad week with so many home visits and visitation. I didn't have a single day all week where I wasn't nervous about one visit or another and trying to deal with that. It helps to get some distance which usually isn't a problem but last week was dang near impossible. Anyway, after her not showing up to the visit last week, neither petitioner was able to come today and they ended up calling and cancelling it. They said that the grandmother petitioner was out of town and the other lady was sick. They said they'd try to reschedule. Our SW kind of sighed when she mentioned rescheduling. I think she's a little sick of it. So that's three visits the grandmother petitioner has missed now and two in a row. Seems to me she isn't showing a lot of interest but it could be she had a family emergency or something. I'm not sure. I still say (barring family emergency or something like that) that it seems hard to believe that she could commit full time to a child and 18 years at that when she can't commit to every other week right now.
Anyway, a quick question for anyone who may know...when someone files for a petition, if you're married do you have to file with your spouse or can you file alone? I'm just curious because grandmother petitioner (can't think of anything better to call her lol) filed by herself, and she's married and she has visitation but her husband doesn't. I wonder how that works. The thought just occurred to me the other night. Just curious.
I don't have any advice or experience, but I come to APA just to follow your story and see how you and baby girl are doing, so I am here to give you hugs! :hugs: I am praying she gets to stay with you. I cannot even imagine for a minute being in your position.
From my experience anyone in the house who is over 18 will have to be fingerprinted and have their background checks. He should have to be on the petition, I'm surprised he is not.
Big hugs!!! This seems like such a emotionally draining situation. I hope you get some real answers soon. How long does bmom have before they terminate her rights?
Thank you ladies! Your endless support is so greatly appreciated!
I thought the petition thing was weird too. If I can remember I should ask my cousin about it. She works with a social worker in FL (I'm in VA) but she has insight on a lot of these things if I can remember to ask her. Lol.
Biomom gets 12 months typically. Baby girl has been with us for over 4 months, but I don't think they officially started counting it until the last court date. Assuming things go according to what they say, if baby girl is still with us for the whole time, TPR would be around December. I believe there's a three month waiting period after that before adoption can take place, but the plan is changed to adoption at that time. I'm not sure I understand it fully but I think it's something like that. So we have a LONG way to go!