Monday, February 6, 2012

Months.

20 months ago I got a phone call that would change my life.

Little did I know that it would not only change my life for the next year or so, but it is looking like it will be changed forever.

A little 18 mo. old girl and I set out on a very scary and hard road that neither of us had signed up for. Along the way we went through everything any foster family could. We had other kids come and go...her bio family members come and go...and our little family of four was the only thing that didn't change.

As we traveled this crazy road I documented just about all of it here on this blog. I didn't take notes on paper, I jotted down thoughts and events to share with you all.

And then people started talking about termination.

And our social worker kept changing.

And no one that was allowed to write the Petition for Termination had any real notes to go by. 15 months of this child's journey through foster care was only documented by lost court papers and a few notes in a file.

So, I started from the beginning and weeded through my blog to create a time line of what had gone on in this case, from Bio Mom spending 30 days in jail when Lizzy first came here to the current services that her Legal Dad was being offered but refused to use.

I made copies and gave them to each new social worker...each one asked one of two questions:

"Did you used to be a social worker?"

or

"Have you ever thought of becoming a social worker?"

to which I always answered no.

Then, SEVERAL months later, I sat in a court room and listened to all my notes being read in a court room where a woman in a black robe would decide how much more torture to put Lizy through.

The social worker who wrote the petition for termination had done a good job and I heard many of my own words rolling off the page.

For MONTHS I had felt like nothing I had to say matter...and then suddenly it was all that mattered.

And then she said the word:

Terminated.

And all 18 months of our journey, the good and the bad, was worth it.


I say all of this to tell you, some how, some way, document it all. The dates, the visits, the random issues (like fleas on your child!) - all of it.

It may not matter in the end, but one time it just might.

10 comments:

Kelly said...

I agree completely. My SW, too, called me when she was writing things up for a few dates. And when Jackson needed meds I was able to print out some of the details of his rages so his Dr. could fully understand the heck we were living through with him. Documentation is critical for so many reasons.

Good job and maybe you should be a SW. :)

One Blessed Mom said...

That is wonderful that you kept notes so well that they could be used. I really need to start working on note keeping too. I'm bad at it.
Congratulations on the termination. I'm sure it is in the best intrest of your child. I just started reading your blog,so I don't know the whole story but I'm so happy for you. I hope very6 very soon to have our TPR date set so that we can begin our life as a forever family to Z.

Mandy said...

Thank you for this post. I started keep a journal too recently. I just learned very quickly how things can be lost, ignored, discounted. I am hoping my notes will help me see the progress and also help the others involved see the reality of the situation.

Alison said...

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I hate that I tend to write long posts recapping everything for weeks at a time. I want fost-care stuff to be presented differently and more friendly for me to jot a note as it happens. Afterall, the blog is for me 1st and foremost.

I think this post is def going to push me to just do it! I need to make short posts easier for me so I have it all to go back to. :)

Diane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane said...

Glad you had all that information and were able to provide all the details needed. Good job! Too bad the social workers didn't do THEIR jobs. Happens way too often.

Pipsylou said...

Chills!!!!!

La Mama Loca said...

Definitely know what you mean!! With our younger 2 girls, we lost termination the first time (was only one the older of the 2 siblings) because DCS had not kept a good record of what services were offered to bio mom. Nor did they have that documented when bio mom said she had no idea who bio dad was.

After a year into the case with no one hearing a peep from her, she shows up with bio dad, wanting their kid back.

So even though she was gone and had completed no services, there was not sufficient evidence that DCS had tried to offer her services in that time.

I had to testify. I was the only one with any notes on the case. I had missed visits, behaviors, etc. BIo mom's lawyer tried her hardest to get it thrown out as hearsay, but the judge allowed it.

It took 3 1/2 years, but we finally got TPR and adoption completed.

DOCUMENT EVERYTHING!!!

Debbie said...

Being the only person that has seen our girls with the family member that will likely get custody... I have been doing just that and it was an honor to speak on his behalf to the state recently.

So glad all your hard work and love was able to be used.

amanda said...

Thanks for this. I am new to the system and am learning so much. Your blog today pushes me to do more documenting.