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Thread: She's staying but court SUCKED!

  1. #1
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    Default She's staying but court SUCKED!

    Court today was horrible. I've been upset ever since it happened and can't get it out of my head.

    First off, fictive kin grandma did the right thing and she withdrew her petition. That was good and that's why she's staying.

    Secondly, mom wasn't there. She's still in the mental hospital and isn't doing well at all and right now it doesn't look like she'll be released any time soon.

    Thirdly, bio dad was such a piece of work today it just burned me up. After the SW testified, they gave him time to go up and give his testimony. He is so full of crap I can't stand it. He cried and said he just couldn't care for her right now basically taking him out of the running as a possibility. Then they asked him if he wanted to sign away his rights and he said he just couldn't turn his back on "the child" like that. That he had never turned his back on any of his kids (who he has NEVER had custody of and there are 3 of them). Never turned his back on them? Are you freaking kidding me? This guy is just ridiculous! Anyway, he tells everyone that he just can't do it and that his mom can't either. Apparently neither of them want baby girl. So then our lovely (yeah right) judge asks him if he has any other family. Oh and this is AFTER he tells her he wants baby girl to stay with us! She proceeds to make him really think about anyone else in his family that could take baby girl and raise her. Then the prosecuting attorney, I guess for DSS, asks him FOREVER about family and who else he can think of. He had to list everyone on his mom and dad's side. The judge even went as far as to find out who kept family records at family reunions so they could contact her to get a full list of all family. Baby girl will be 8 months old NEXT WEEK! She's been in care all of her life with us, and the judge is just now starting in on this. I'm furious!!!

    So after he lists everyone, he mentioned they're all elderly. The judge then starts asking about first cousins and anyone around his age. He said maybe there was someone who would be interested and promised her he'd get to calling them right away. I have a hard time believing that. After court was over, he tells the SW that he wants to set up a visit and she asks him when he wants to come. He says it has to be after 4:30pm. She tells him that's not possible since DSS is only open Monday-Friday 8-5. So he asks if he can just have 15 minutes or something. She says yes, then he asks where he has to go. When she tells him it's at the DSS office he says that it's too far away from his work to get there in time and tells her which road he works on. It's literally down the street. I pass it on the way to DSS. Then she offers to bring her somewhere on his lunch break so he can see her, and he says he'll have to get back to her. I doubt that will ever happen.

    The only good thing really aside from the obvious...that baby girl is staying for now is that the GAL spent the last part of court saying how great we are and how wonderful baby girl is doing. He says she has to be the happiest baby he's ever seen, and talked about how healthy she is, how much weight she's gained, how she's just started crawling, etc. The judge was forced to pay a little attention to us instead of ignoring us as usual. I appreciate the GAL saying all of that. I still think, even if someone comes forward they aren't going to recommend her leaving, but I can totally see this judge going against their recommendations. I'm really upset about it now and am freaking out worried that she will end up leaving us after all.

    Anyone ever heard of anything like this? It sounds insane to me! I know that dad's family is basically crap so I doubt any of them are likely to step forward and do anything, but still the worry is there. We have 5 months before the next court date which is the permanency plan. If no one comes forward before then then the plan should change to adoption and we would have a chance. It depends on that though. Honestly, if no one comes forward we're probably good to go. It's still terrifying though. I suppose even if someone does come forward it doesn't mean that they'll pass the home study, complete it, etc. Still...it took me by surprise how the judge reacted today.
    MMC 4/12
    Leah (27) DH (30) Diagnosed PCOS and Stage 1 Endometriosis/Diagnosed CVID 2007

  2. #2

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    I don't understand either. It seems like you are the obvious choice here. So glad she is staying with you.

  3. #3
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    How frustrating. I did take a fostering information class, though, and the first goal of the court is to reunite the child with family. Therefore they will exhaust all family options first before looking at the foster family or another family. They expect the child to flourish in the foster family which is why the judge isn't paying much attention to you right now.

    That being said, I do really hope that at the next court session they will decide that that little sweet one should be placed on the adoption track.
    Jessica (32) and Ryan (32). Madelyn born August 5, 2009; Malachi born December 23, 2010 and Nathaniel born July 19, 2013. Lost a loved baby 02/29/12, 05/14/12 and 07/05/12 all due a serious allergic reaction to fabric softener.
    My Ovulation Chart

  4. #4

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    Hopefully the Judge is just making it very clear that they followed all the correct steps so once you get to adoption no one can cry foul. Fingers crossed!

    ~*~Katrina~*~ Momma to Xander, Hayden & Lily (6) and Jericho (3 1/2)
    Trying to complete our family...My Ovulation Chart for my LAST try !

  5. #5
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    Seems like it's possible she was just making sure that every possible person was considered who wanted to be considered. I know they're required to do this by law but it just seems to me she took it a bit too far. I think I've calmed down a little after a shower and a foot rub from DH. I was just such a mess all day and I'm sure I'll be worried as all get out for the next 5 months. It would be pretty hard at this point for someone to come forward and complete a home study and everything in 5 months. The CPS background check alone is taking 3 months so it's not easy to do all of the paperwork and get it moving. Everyone dad listed today is elderly and not in good health and he said he didn't want her to go with them anyway so I'm hoping he just leaves it alone. The thought of this little girl leaving us now is so heart wrenching I can't let myself think about it for more than a second. Thing is...either way, she'll be a year old before the next court date. To take her at a year old after living nowhere else seems so fundamentally wrong. Typically they try to identify relatives before this stage but I'm hoping the judge was trying to say "this is your last chance". One day at a time...
    MMC 4/12
    Leah (27) DH (30) Diagnosed PCOS and Stage 1 Endometriosis/Diagnosed CVID 2007

  6. #6

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    Wow. This living in limbo just seems terrible. I hope that at the next court date you get some closure to all of this and that baby girl gets to stay with you forever. You're her family.



  7. #7
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    I think that it is pretty common to drag this out like this. Generally at least a year. But the GAL is still on your side knowing that is best for baby girl.

    Is it always the same judge? I think some are especially harsh when it comes to terminating rights. In my state birthmom's have to go to court to terminate (unlike the majority they show on TV doing it at the hospital). Our first social worker said sometimes the judges are really harsh asking them over and over if they are sure that they want to terminate rights and place baby for adoption. That there are some judges that they really dislike getting because of that.

    Jennifer, 35, DH 36

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJorn View Post
    How frustrating. I did take a fostering information class, though, and the first goal of the court is to reunite the child with family. Therefore they will exhaust all family options first before looking at the foster family or another family. They expect the child to flourish in the foster family which is why the judge isn't paying much attention to you right now.

    That being said, I do really hope that at the next court session they will decide that that little sweet one should be placed on the adoption track.
    I think this is probably 110% correct. As painful as it is to go through, I think the judge is covering all the bases and ultimately setting you up for a good "happily ever after" once you are free to adopt baby girl.
    Dorcas (35) DH (36) 3/13



  9. #9
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    We do have the same judge each time. I've heard a lot of bad things about her over the years. A lot of the teachers I work with DO NOT like her because they've seen her return kids to some really bad situations. I heard of a child today that went home after 7 months of being with her foster parents (from birth) only to come right back into care. She's almost 3 now and they're still trying to get her back to her mom for a second time. That doesn't happen very often I don't think but the fact that it happened here under this judge scares me. Now, there's probably no way baby girl will be able to go to mom or dad, but I do worry the judge will make a stupid decision about a relative who is less than perfect for her.

    It's definitely possible she's just being very hard now in order to cover all of her bases. I hope that's all it is. It just came across so harsh. If it hadn't have been for the GAL I'm not sure we would have walked out there feeling any hope at all. He forced the judge to pay attention to us the way he went about it. I don't know if it just worked out that way or if it was his strategy all along. He had nothing to say until the end. I'm very thankful for him though because it was the last thing said before court was adjourned. So hopefully that's the last thing sticking in the judges mind right now.
    MMC 4/12
    Leah (27) DH (30) Diagnosed PCOS and Stage 1 Endometriosis/Diagnosed CVID 2007

  10. #10

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    How frustrating! I hope things continue to go your way though! And congrats!!!!!



  11. #11

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    I've been thinking about this a lot since your post this morning. And I certainly don't want to add to your stress or give you the impression that I think baby girl should be anywhere else but with you guys (because I don't), but being the person who signs off on severing someone's parental rights must be a VERY difficult job. I know that baby girl's birth mother isn't in a position to take care of her, but can you imagine someone severing your rights as a parent? Wow ... that's huge.

    I also can't imagine the difficulty of being on your side of this process, always wondering if someone is going to come in and sweep her back out of your life.

    It's a lot of difficult choices and feelings going on. I hope that you can try to keep your focus on the positive, baby girl, and try to push out the scary what-ifs that have to be lurking around. I know it's easier said than done, so when I say "hope" it's like a prayer that I'm saying for you.

    Tough stuff, Leah!
    Dorcas (35) DH (36) 3/13



  12. #12
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    !!!

    Praying your pg keeps you distracted and your next court date brings great news!
    Dh (39) Me (37) 8bio 1adopted, 14 angels






  13. #13
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    Thank you so much for the support everyone! I've calmed down and am feeling better now. We're just taking it one day at a time and trying not to worry unless there's something to worry about.

    Quote Originally Posted by khadijavye View Post
    I've been thinking about this a lot since your post this morning. And I certainly don't want to add to your stress or give you the impression that I think baby girl should be anywhere else but with you guys (because I don't), but being the person who signs off on severing someone's parental rights must be a VERY difficult job. I know that baby girl's birth mother isn't in a position to take care of her, but can you imagine someone severing your rights as a parent? Wow ... that's huge.

    I also can't imagine the difficulty of being on your side of this process, always wondering if someone is going to come in and sweep her back out of your life.

    It's a lot of difficult choices and feelings going on. I hope that you can try to keep your focus on the positive, baby girl, and try to push out the scary what-ifs that have to be lurking around. I know it's easier said than done, so when I say "hope" it's like a prayer that I'm saying for you.

    Tough stuff, Leah!

    I completely agree with what you're saying. It is huge, and I can understand, after calming down a little, how dad can admit he can't care for her but not sign away his rights. I think sometimes parents prefer them being taken away so they don't have to make the choice themselves. It is a very big deal. However, mom's situation has gotten to a level of bad that's just scary lately and dad well...I'm sure his other 3 children could explain how well that worked out. Most of what I hate about it comes from a fierce desire to protect baby girl. She hasn't been hurt by this yet and while she'll always need to be aware of it and we need to be open (if we get to adopt) to her knowing her parents someday regardless of rights being terminated, she can be okay. She can grow up without all the hurt that the others have suffered. Mom's oldest son just turned 13 and he's just been through so much. I found out at court from his grandma that mom tried to abort him when she was 7 months pregnant (with drugs I guess?) and then his dad dropped him on his head. He has a lot of issues because of these things and I just hate the idea of this baby being hurt the way all the other kids with these people have been hurt you know?

    TPR is a really big deal though. I think judges have to deal with it a lot though so it seems like most of it is all business to them. I just worry that this judge will lose sight of what really matters more than anything here, and that's baby girl, and her life. She is the most important thing and sometimes with all the people and all their problems involved I think she's forgotten.

    I have decided today though to take a deep breath and not worry until there's something to worry about. I don't want baby girl to pick up on my anxiety so we're living life as we always do and just hoping that everyone involved makes the right decisions for her and no one else.
    MMC 4/12
    Leah (27) DH (30) Diagnosed PCOS and Stage 1 Endometriosis/Diagnosed CVID 2007

  14. #14

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    I think that's the best choice to make right now. Hoping/wishing/praying for strength for you all.
    Dorcas (35) DH (36) 3/13



  15. #15

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    Of course your anger comes from wanting to protect her. That makes you a good mother to her (and that's what you are). I really hope that this turns out the way it should for her. She's clearly in a good situation with you.



  16. #16
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    I don't think I could say anything different or better than the ladies already have, just wanted to offer my support.
    Natalie [31] DH [40] 9/01, 1/06 NaturallyNatalie's Hair Accessories!

  17. #17

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    I second Natalie. I'm so sorry, Leah. I just want to shake that judge! Grrr. Many hugs to you!

  18. #18
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    It's always blood relations first, anyone else second, as crazy as that may be.
    Our oldest that we had is 14 and has been in foster since 5yrs old, returned home twice, returned to the tribe once and is in process for legal guardianship with the family he's currently with. The person he considers his sister, same age, since they lived together almost that whole time was just adopted last year by the fostermom she's been with exclusively (but doesn't consider her to be her mom. She does count the other kids and other young adult as her siblings though). His half/full siblings who we also had will spend their entire life in the system until they age out. The expectation and as crazy as it sounds, desire for in some situations, permanency just isn't there. The whole system is just crazy when coming from state care. I understand that there needs to be regulations and procedure but seriously, major reform is soooooo needed.



    Hope the next date goes a bit more smoothly.
    Julie, DH: W, DS: Mason, GGB Trips Amelia, Ellanor & Noah
    FFS "Baby C" disrupted fost/adopt of sibs Q,Z,J & K 9/10-3/11

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by As Is View Post
    It's always blood relations first, anyone else second, as crazy as that may be.
    Our oldest that we had is 14 and has been in foster since 5yrs old, returned home twice, returned to the tribe once and is in process for legal guardianship with the family he's currently with. The person he considers his sister, same age, since they lived together almost that whole time was just adopted last year by the fostermom she's been with exclusively (but doesn't consider her to be her mom. She does count the other kids and other young adult as her siblings though). His half/full siblings who we also had will spend their entire life in the system until they age out. The expectation and as crazy as it sounds, desire for in some situations, permanency just isn't there. The whole system is just crazy when coming from state care. I understand that there needs to be regulations and procedure but seriously, major reform is soooooo needed.



    Hope the next date goes a bit more smoothly.
    I agree a reform is needed desperately! The next court date is a permanency hearing and the judge did tell bio dad that this was pretty much his last chance to get family involved or for them to get involved because the time is almost up. In VA they get 12 months and that's it. Seems like there isn't a lot of room to play with past 12 months. That's from what SWs and GAL have told me though. Experiencing the way this judge does things though makes me wonder how any case heads to adoption under any circumstances. Our CW who did our training says in our area we never have the cases that are drawn out for years unless the kids are over 10 years old. She said something about the state of VA not even trying to adopt them out at that age which I think is sad.

    My guess now though is that, if someone comes forward, it's going to delay everything. We've already had two petitions filed and no one ever finished their paper work and it still dragged on longer than 6 months with their continuances. They both ended up dropping them anyway but still. All we can hope is that no one steps forward. A lot of people think they won't because they haven't yet, but I'm not too sure that everyone in dad's family knows about baby girl. We'll wait and see though. It's all we can do. And love baby girl every second along the way of course.

    Oh and even though she drove me nuts sometimes, I feel I have a really good relationship now with fictive kin grandma. I never thought, when I first met her and with all we've been through over the last few months, that I would be sitting next to her in court with her patting my on the leg for comfort while they were putting dad through the ringer about even more people. She's been a great support for us recently and is making it clear to everyone that she's in our corner. I really appreciate that and am glad it's all worked out this way so baby girl and her brother can hopefully have a great relationship some day.
    MMC 4/12
    Leah (27) DH (30) Diagnosed PCOS and Stage 1 Endometriosis/Diagnosed CVID 2007

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