Saturday, September 24, 2011


Last night I wanted to write out what happened at the hearing without mixing all my emotions up with it. I have always been very emotional when it comes to our foster kids and their well being and now that I am pregnant I would like to blame some of my emotion on that...but, I have a feeling I would have been just as upset either way.

First I would like to say that a rushed 15 minute meeting at which barely anything is presented on ANYONE's part (social workers, mom's lawyer, dad's lawyer, Lizzy's lawyer) is ridiculous to me. Yet, I assume this is normal. I hate that. This last hearing was pathetic and even though after reading the court documents I see that what my worker had "hoped" for was pretty much been accomplished I am horrified that that is the way in which these cases are treated. I would like to point out that no one mentioned the fact that Lizzy was taken away 18 months ago. Nope, no one cares. With a scroll of the pen she was basically sentenced to 3 more months in foster care when they set the next court hearing for the normal 3 months later. Who cares if she is in foster care for 2 years. Truly, who cares?

Secondly, the lack of ANYONE taking the lead and stating some of the obvious "problems" that are going on was pathetic. My (Lizzy's) social worker did a terrible job and it was only towards the end that Lizzy's lawyer spoke up and laid a few things on the table that NO ONE questioned or even commented on. I am glad that he did make sure people heard them and that they were recorded as being said, but it is amazing that someone can say "Realistically this man has only shown up for 20% of his visits" and basically everyone acts like "What do you expect?" I know they are used to this, but I have still not crossed over into the world of "Being a crap-tastic parent is normal" land.

I walked out of there and called my husband crying. I was so upset, I was convinced that it looked more like Legal Dad could get her than just about anything else and I, after everything else I have seen my other kids go through, was convinced at that moment that these kids are cursed to have the worst fate possible.

I know that is dramatic, but I have to say that so far in my experience I have seen:

-A child returned to a home where she constantly was saying she was being molested.

-A child removed from an abusive adoptive home and then adopted into a family that was rushed, blindfolded into finalizing an adoption that was not a good fit for them and now is just living with it because it is the right thing to do.

-A child that is forced to do visits with a dad even when she is screaming in such terror that her face turns blue.

-2 little girls given back to a mom who didn't visit them for 6 months and literally changed nothing about her life, but because 2 states couldn't get along and work out something to keep them safe they were thrown right back into what they were taken out of.

THAT has been my experience with foster care. I have not seen children "saved", I have seen children hurt. So, forgive me if my out look on Lizzy's case is not good.

After reading through the court report I do see that the court said "Go ahead and write the petition". That is the next step and it will be interesting to see what that leads to. I just don't have any high hopes for a fast resolution to this issue, that is for sure. I was beyond hesitant to even say I was willing to adopt Lizzy, as if me uttering the words would almost seal her fate to be handed to the worst option she had. I don't know what will happen. I am not desperate to adopt this child. I love her and want what is best for her, but I am not where I was 2 years ago. I have seen the worst and have come to the point where I know that it is ok that I don't understand why God puts these kids where HE does, but it doesn't matter. He is God and I am not and I take much comfort in that. I do trust HIM, even if it means me handing this child over to a man I would not even let touch my biological children-ever.

It's not easy, but it isn't about me. It's not about what I think is right. It is about trusting HIM.


Mrs. Bird said...

I'm SO, SOO, sorry! My blogs are shut down right now, but you should email me. You would not believe the #%^$ that's going down right now in our case...

Carol said...

Feel your pain and a so sorry for you. A week and a half ago we drove two kids 60 miles to a new home. They had been with us for 20 months. The younger of them was 20 months old. She had lived her whole life with us. We knew from the beginning that adoption was not an option for us, but no way did we think the case would go this long and they still are not close to settling it it appears. There is a hearing next week that is labeled a review hearing, meaning no permanent decisions will e made. With that in mind, we decided they needed to be moved to a family that could adopt them if that is where the case goes.

Walking out of that house was one of the hardest things I have ever done and watching the baby run after us. We have talked with the new mom and she said that both kids are adjusting well.

Our pediatrician recently said, "it must feel like you are giving away one of your own kids." Insightful on her part.

I think that the system stinks even more now than it did when we got into it 5 1/2 years ago. I am thinking that they are so concerned with the parents rights, they forget about the child's needs. Statistics say that a huge per centage of kids returned home come back into care and are even more messed up than they were before and more time is lost in their healing process.

I will be thinking about you and pray that God will give you the peace that you so desperately need.

Anonymous said...

I worked for DCS in a different state for 7 years. The focus used to be on the best interests of the child. However, due to State funding issues it now seems to focus on keeping families together. I do not know the laws in your state, but we had to make sure we crossed our i's and dotted our t's in the CHINS case so that the termination, if granted, would not be overturned on appeal. The father, unfortunately, has rights and the state will need to prove that they offered services to this man regardless of how many visits he has missed or how much of a screw-up he is. I understand your feelings completely. I truly hope that the Court and CPS are taking this extra time to make sure that the law has been followed and that all the elements necessary to prove-up the TPR are in place before the TPR petition is filed and set for trial. Trust me, I have seen cases where the case manager(s) failed to follow through on necessary elements in the CHINS case and when the TPR was filed it became a complete disaster. It isn't fair to the child that those who should have acted in her best interest haven't, but it's better to make sure the father is offered services so he can't complain about it later. You would not want the TPR to be granted, only to be overturned many months later. I have seen this happen and it is definitely not in the child's best interests! In our state CHINS cases and TPR cases are totally separate with different cause numbers and different judicial officers hearing the cases so as to avoid potential judicial bias. As the foster parent, you really just need to hang in there and do whatever DCS and the Court tells you to do. You may think it's unfair, but the legal process needs to be followed. As for writing to the Judge, your best bet would be to contact the child's attorney and the case manager (and her supervisor). In my state, in most instances any written correspondence presented to the court had to be served on all parties, including the parents. Letters sent directly to the Judge were not allowed as they are an ex-parte communication.

Mama P said...

My heart is really sad and angry with you, and I DON'T think it is your pregnancy hormones. We have been through similar too, and obviously as evidenced above and throughout all of our little blog circles, we're not the only ones.

Your last sentence is spot on. It's not about us. However, Jesus dying on the cross was not about Him, though, either, and it did not stop Him from crying out in anguish to the Father. Sometimes trusting God hurts.

Praying for Lizzy and for you, sweet Mama

Mie said...

Oh, I know how you feel about not wanting to open up about your desire (to adopt) and how sucky it is to be the one standing there, knowing what seems to be the most about the child, with absolutely no voice. It's horrible.

Our #4's 90 days has passed so she's legally free and no right to intervene (well, I mean they could, but no guarantee)...even though there is "no one qualified" to intervene I still rarely say that just because you never know with foster care. We've had her longer than anyone else, she's our "daughter", there doesn't appear to be anything that can stop that but you never know. So I still call her "our little girl" and reiterate "you never know" just in case. It was 3 weeks before I realized the 90 days were up and even then I won't let myself rejoice in that.

I sure hope they get it figured out for Lizzy. It's not fair....

Anonymous said...

So sorry for your heartache.
When I read your part about the kiddo screaming and turning blue not wanting to go to visit it reminded me...
We had a four year old who was the same way, she would cry, scream and hide under her bed begging not to go to visit. The way I understood it she HAD to go but I recently found out from a caseworker that (in Texas at least) if the child does not want to go they don't have to.

Wish I had some words of encouragment for you but sometimes we just have to cry it out. Will say a prayer for you and your little ones!

Penelope said...

So sorry for your turmoil. Through our experience, I sometimes wonder if CASA has the child's interest at heart.

Why not just yell from the rooftops: "I WILL ADOPT HER!", hire an attorney who can bring up topics in court that really should be addressed, especially if Mom will relinquish. The CWs will probably be relieved.

Hugs to you in whatever you decide.

Debbie said...

I actually heard someone say in their state that after 18 months and no reunification plans they terminate the rights. I couldn't help but think about the fact that this state appears to do things for the children's best interest unlike so many others.
So sorry you're having to watch all these precious children return to unstable/unsafe environments.
Praying they do what is right for Lizzy in 3 months.

Alison said...

I understand what you are saying about court 100%. Court is the hardest part of the whole process for me. The parents get "rewarded" (it is a reward in THEIR minds) for bad behavior and we continue to sacrifice so much.

The lack of communication at court is very hard for me to handle. I get very angry and annoyed at court and find it hard to talk to anyone afterwards. You want people to just DO SOMETHING for this sweet child and it feels like all they care about is getting you in and out in 15 minutes and re-scheduled for 3 months later. It's an awful feeling. You are not alone.

Alison said...

Oh and I agree with Carol- They put so much emphasis on the parent's rights that they forget about the kids that are being hurt. That's why I feel sick when they "reward" the parents by dragging these cases out when it is SO clear what needs to happen for the child! Okay I'm done now. :)