Friday, January 13, 2012

O My Word.

Court was everything I thought it would be and NOTHING like I thought it would be.

I pulled into the parking lot and who should call me but bio mom.

Her: "What is Lizzy doing?"

Me: "She is at home with my husband because I am at your trial."

Her: "Oh, was that today? My lawyer called me, but I didn't answer because I told her I was done with this."

I assumed she wasn't coming before this phone call, but the "Oh, was that today"...that kinda annoyed me.

I arrived quite early and watched all the lawyer and social workers trickle in. I sat in the waiting room and chatted with both workers that came from my agency (they were early! I was thrilled!) and then a little after 10 am, when the trial was supposed to start, someone on the loud speaker called all the lawyers into the court room. 40 minutes later (10:40 am now) we found out all that time was to try to reach there clients (bio mom and legal dad) who had not shown up. As we found out what was going on we could hear bio mom screaming on the phone on speaker phone. We were in the waiting room-she was on the phone in the court room and we could still hear her. Her lawyer asked her if she would like to participate by phone.

Mom said: "Will you guys reimburse me for all my phone minutes because I am not using them up for this trial. My mom is dying right now and no one cares. I didn't have a ride up there. Can we reschedule this hearing? I did everything I had to do and you won't give my kid back."

...and then hangs up on her lawyer.

Legal Dad's lawyer tries to call him, but his phone has been disconnected. She said she has tried to call him before the hearing, but could not reach him at that time either. She sent him letters in the mail, but got no response. Bio Mom and Legal Dad were both served in person with court orders to appear in court so there is proof that they were made aware of what was going on.

So, we all go into the court room. I assumed that Mom's lawyer and Dad's lawyer would just stay and represent them. Instead, the judge said that based on their clients actions they had the option to withdraw from the case if they wanted...and they did. They left the room two minutes into the trial and are no longer representing them at all. (from what I hear this is good because if they want to appeal they will have to get their own lawyers-don't quote me on that).

Then, the DHS worker called his first witness, Lizzy's worker that wrote the termination petition. They went through the WHOLE petition and verified everything that was written in it. Then, they had the current worker on the stand verify all the current information. It was very detailed. Lizzy lawyer verified a few things just to make sure they were put on record.

The two biggest things that "made the case" was the lack of consistent visitation on both of their parts even when the agency provided transportation to both of them and their lack of stable housing. Mom has been moving from house to house and dad's house is in foreclosure.

There were MANY other things brought up.

Mental Heath
Use of Drugs
Volatile Temperament
Lack of Completing Services
Refusing to take Drug Tests

Lack of Relationship with the child
POOR Hygiene
No Income
Lack of Completing Services

It went on and on. My favorite was when the judge specifically brought up Lizzy having fleas on her after her visits with her Legal dad and a dead mouse being found in a bag of clothing he gave me for her. She said, "What kind of house IS this?!?!"

So, after they heard from both social workers the judge went over Petition to Terminate AGAIN word for word (all 4 pages) and the Judge corrected about 4 sentences in it. Then she brought up every law that pertained to this case and why it would apply in order for her to go ahead and terminate the rights of each parent.

She then said that it was BEYOND reasonable doubt that both of these parents should not even be alone with this child, forget about returning her to them. She went as far to say that even letting them see her in a room supervised by another person present some risk of harm to the child...and then she terminated their parental rights.

And I got all teary.

It had been hard for me to listen to all of it. We have been through so much. For it to all be over was just too surreal.

She then asked if we would like to end this trial and have the Post Termination Hearing right then and there. Everyone said yes.

She asked me if I would come up front by her and as I got up from my chair, 7 months pregnant and all, I started crying. I apologized and said I was sorry I was so emotional. She offered me a tissue and smiled at me and said she understood.

She then chatted with the social workers about what needed to happen in order for us to adopt Lizzy, and about how she didn't want it to take long. I asked how long they had to appeal and it sounds like if a few months we will be safe and sound. I guess in 14 days they start the adoption process even if anyone wants to appeal or not.

At the end I told her thank you. She said, "No, thank you. I would have never let this drag out if about half way through it looked like mom might pull it together, but now it is done. Thank you for sticking it out."

I have seen this judge in court three times. She is a total Judge Judy and I wouldn't want to be on her bad side. Seeing her face change as soon as we were talking about adoption was priceless. You can tell she likes that part of her job. She was so sweet and told me that I didn't need to drive out there for the hearings anymore, but I was always more than welcome in her court room. She said that they will let me be on speaker phone for the other hearings if I want and she wants me to feel free to tell her any concerns I have with how the adoption is progressing. She was so sweet to me.

It truly was amazing.

Lizzy has been set free.

And I know God did that.


Justine said...

In tears for you and Lizzy! Thank you for telling the whole story. I am so happy for her and for your family.

Rachael said...

I'm sitting in bed, holding my brand-new one-month-old foster daughter, who arrived yesterday, and crying a little about how wonderful that is. Thanks so much for the detailed version. Lizzy is a very lucky little girl.

Mrs. Bird said...

Yay!!! So happy for you guys!

Pam said...

crying happy tears for you all!
God is good :)

StarfishMom said...

AMAZING! NOW, you can pray for my Sprout to be set free too!!! xoxo

Allison said...

Congratulations, I'm so happy for you all and Lizzy especially!

Alison said...

That is amazing!!! I can't believe her mom asked to have her minutes paid for. :(

Who cares though!? Lizzy is all yours forever. :)

aka. Mimi said...

I knew I shouldn't have read that here at work. All teary-eyed here too! So happy that there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel here for you guys (and especially for Lizzy). She gets to have the security of "Forever" soon!!! :-)

shelley said...

So happy for your Lizzy & you!

Cherub Mamma said...

Thanks for the detailed report! I can't imagine the drama of not showing up, yelling at the lawyer on the phone and then hanging up -- all the while saying you did what you needed to do to get your kid back.

I'm so happy that Lizzy is in a much safer and more loving place FOREVER now!

Julie said...

I am all teary eyed for you! :) I am so happy that Lizzy will be safe and protected. That justice has been dealt. :)

Tammy said...

Tears. I know how hard foster care is. It is hard but love never fails. So glad Lizzy has been set free but sad for birthparents that are so broken. I will be praying for a smooth adoption process, Lizzy to be completely healed and generational curses to be broken and for the birthparents.

Mandy said...

I am so happy for you. I am so happy for Lizzy. I was praying for you on Wednesday night. It's like the story of the Starfish. Maybe we can't save them all, but we can make a world of difference for someone.

Stacey said...

Congratulations! Sending love your way!

The Author said...

Definitely have tears streaming down my face! I am so happy for Lizzy and your family. Now you can finally move on from this! Praise God, He is good and gracious and merciful! Everything you did to fight for Lizzie has concluded with such a joyous outcome! Much love and hugs are being sent your way.

Created For His Glory said...

Praising God with you!!!!!

Mama P said...

I've been crying about Lizzy since yesterday!

What a wonderful feeling to sit here and think about the future for this little girl and not have to worry what life has in store for her!

the johnson crew said...

so now i'm crying... praise God for a happy ending. will she get to finalize your adoption? we loved our judges... in fact our kids our kids climbed over them for pictures at our adoptions. - you are such a good writer... - I am so happy.

Endless Foster Love said...

God is Amazing!!

Beck G. said...

I am so ecstatic for you guys! God has worked some miracles in that little girls life and I cannot wait to see what He has planned for her (and for you!) Congratulations!!

Unknown said...

Precious! Tears for you and for Lizzie. And lots of prayer :)

Sunnysideup said...

Praise God! He is so mighty and awesome! I am so teary-eyed reading this amazing story. I am ecstatic for Lizzy, you and your family!

Kelly said...

God is so faithful. Thank you for sharing. Prayers for the adoption to go quickly. I am just so happy for you and Lizzy.

Valerie said...

I found your blog some how and went and started from the very beginning to read your story. Your an awesome mother and I'm so happy that Lizzy gets to spend forever with you and your family. From an adopted kids point of view you are a truly amazing woman!!

Plexus Prosperity Pipeline said...

I am so excited for you guys!!!! YAY!!! You guys have been through so much! Praise the Lord!

After reading that you could hear mom screaming on the phone in the courtroom while you were in the waiting room...when I read under mom's list volatile temper I example right there in court.

2 (offical) daughters in a year! God's got big things for your family in 2012!

Aspiring Foster Mama said...

OMG! Totally crying tears of joy for you and Lizzy! God is good!

The House that Jak and Nick Built said...

TEARS. I've followed Lizzy's story on your blog and I'm so so so happy for your whole family. What an amazing thing God has done! Thank you for loving her, fighting for her and showing her Christ's love. YAY!

CandCFamily said...

Amazing, what a wonderful to happen. So happy for you and Lizzy.

Unknown said...

eeeeeeeeeek! :) I knew it happened, but it was so cool to read!!!!!!