Niece is in foster care...help! - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 09:42 AM
 
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The laws about concurrent planning require adoption to be talked about relatively early in a case. Planning for possible adoption is done at the same time the goal is still reunification. This helps prevent children from languishing in the system long after a termination has taken place if it does. It doesn't change the status of the case goal but it's the Plan B.

We could actually have a whole thread on the topic of self care while in foster care placements. There are so many things that young children learn to do often in a really short period of time. Learning to use the toilet is one of them. If I had a child in my home who was that age, I would offer the toilet. If they wanted to keep using it, I wouldn't stop them. It's a life skill that the child seems ready for. If not, I would still offer, just like I offer a table knife for children try cutting soft foods.

But, for MANY children, there is a huge difference between bottles and the breast. Many children aren't all that attached to their bottles and if they were offered a cup, they'd be excited to ditch bottles (at least much of the time) and use a sippy or open cup. As part of my former work, I've been in hundreds of infant and toddler classrooms (where cups are introduced) and done related workshops for hundreds of early childhood teachers and parents. It's not like weaning from the breast (for many, many, children.)
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#92 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 09:44 AM
 
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That's wonderful. Hopefully, the child will be able to go with her father and not have to go far away from her mother. If it's temporary care that's needed, it would be far better for the child to have regular visitation with her mother than be placed far away where that couldn't happen.
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#93 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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"The man who came out of the woodwork earlier claiming to be the baby's father, is actually her father! I'm shocked honestly. We had never heard of this guy before. SIL gave dh his number, and he was able to get a hold of him last night. He wants custody, and is just waiting for a background check to clear. Dh said he sounded like a totally normal guy...who knows."

A "totally normal guy" who had a sexual relationship with an active heroin addict? I dunno. I'd definitely keep those cards and letters coming to the social worker, reminding her of the continued existence of a stable kinship placement.

Maybe this will all have a very happy ending. I'm just saying, a little skepticism is a healthy thing when a stranger shows up claiming to have slept with your SIL while she was still using and suggesting that this makes him an excellent candidate for custody...
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#94 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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"The man who came out of the woodwork earlier claiming to be the baby's father, is actually her father! I'm shocked honestly. We had never heard of this guy before. SIL gave dh his number, and he was able to get a hold of him last night. He wants custody, and is just waiting for a background check to clear. Dh said he sounded like a totally normal guy...who knows."

A "totally normal guy" who had a sexual relationship with an active heroin addict? I dunno. I'd definitely keep those cards and letters coming to the social worker, reminding her of the continued existence of a stable kinship placement.

Maybe this will all have a very happy ending. I'm just saying, a little skepticism is a healthy thing when a stranger shows up claiming to have slept with your SIL while she was still using and suggesting that this makes him an excellent candidate for custody...
We had a foster kid once with that same history, and yes, dad was a totally normal guy, who made a bad decision once.
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#95 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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I'm not saying it isn't possible, I'm just saying it's not a slamdunk, and that I'd be inclined to be very nosy and stay completely in the loop with the social worker if my own niece were going to be handed over to one of my heroin-addicted SIL's former sex partners. I'm not saying he's not the real biodad, or that he's not a decent human being, I'm just saying the scenario doesn't thrill me right off the bat.

<-- not a huge fan of previously utterly uninvolved biodads being viewed as the best resource for kids who have been taken into care. I mean, where was he last month?
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#96 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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You're right! She has been on methadone since she found out she was pregnant. Ever since she's had this baby in her life she has been working her butt off to stay clean and out of trouble, and she's been pretty successful. Her main problem has been hanging out with some shady people and allowing those people in her house. There have been a few very unsafe situations that have occurred as a result, and I've reported every one of them to CPS in the past. SIL still lacks judgement in a lot of ways. The reason why she had the methadone at all in her house was because of the snow storm. She usually went to the clinic everyday to get her dose, but since there was a huge storm, they gave her a 3 day supply so she wouldn't have to travel in the bad weather. She was packing to move to a new apartment, left the meds on the table, and baby got into them. The rest is history.

It seems like people just assume that since SIL is on methadone treatment, she must be a horribly unfit mother. I'm actually very proud of her. She's come an incredibly long way. She still has a very long way to go though.

The man who came out of the woodwork earlier claiming to be the baby's father, is actually her father! I'm shocked honestly. We had never heard of this guy before. SIL gave dh his number, and he was able to get a hold of him last night. He wants custody, and is just waiting for a background check to clear. Dh said he sounded like a totally normal guy...who knows. He lives near his parents and siblings, so there would be a lot of support. Maybe this will have a happy ending afterall.
You sound more supportive and in better hopes now! good for you!

And I agree, to take the step in getting on a drug regiment makes someone brave. I am a drug counseller at my local church. I know the heartaches addicts AND their families see from drug abuse. XO

Mom to the best 4 little men ever! chicken3.gif
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#97 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I never said we weren't going to continue pushing our case to the social worker and whomever else we can get a hold of. It's not over until the fat lady sings in my book. I was just saying that there is at least a bit more potential now for this to work out. There's one more person who loves this child.

SIL always said she had no idea who the father was, so this man didn't even know the baby existed. He told dh that he heard from friends that SIL's baby was in foster care, and he just had a gut feeling that he should get tested. I have no clue how he and SIL were ever together, or what his history is, but he claims to have a stable job, his own house, and wants to take care of his daughter whom he's never even met. Hopefully the background check will pull anything up that should be known. The paternity test came back positive...he's the father...if he's cleared by the state to have his kid, then that's that, right? We can only hope for the best and just try to continue to stay involved in our niece's life as much as we can.

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#98 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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The paternity test came back positive...he's the father...if he's cleared by the state to have his kid, then that's that, right?
Assuming the state determines that there are no issues, yes, that is that.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#99 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 05:09 PM
 
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if he's cleared by the state to have his kid, then that's that, right? We can only hope for the best and just try to continue to stay involved in our niece's life as much as we can.
Not necessarily. Not here at least.

If you mean by "thats that" , will that get your niece out of a foster home and into HIS home? yes, likely.

If by "thats that" you mean that your niece will no longer have the involvement of the court/state/sw in her life and that the dad just gets to keep her....maybe not. I know in my fs' case, he was removed from the care of his mom, placed into FC, a month later given to his dad (who was not w/ the mom)...but he still had to bring the baby for visits with the mom and half-sis at the agency regularly, and the case was still under the jurisdiction of the court. The goal was still reunification with the mother. Then, months later, there was some criminal activity and fs was again brought into care, this time placed with me.

So, i think it just depends and you'll need to wait and see what they do.

Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
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#100 of 112 Old 01-22-2010, 06:19 PM
 
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If you mean by "thats that" , will that get your niece out of a foster home and into HIS home? yes, likely.

If by "thats that" you mean that your niece will no longer have the involvement of the court/state/sw in her life and that the dad just gets to keep her....maybe not. I know in my fs' case, he was removed from the care of his mom, placed into FC, a month later given to his dad (who was not w/ the mom)...but he still had to bring the baby for visits with the mom and half-sis at the agency regularly, and the case was still under the jurisdiction of the court.
Right, sorry, that's what I meant in my response too.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#101 of 112 Old 01-28-2010, 12:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The social worker called us back!!!

She was very helpful and talked with us for over 45 minutes. She gave us a lot of information, cleared up a lot of things, and really put some perspective on the situation.

You all are right. According to state law, they won't place our niece out of state unless parental rights are terminated. They see no incentive for SIL to get straight unless she has steady visitation with her daughter. The social worker said flat out that she doesn't see any posibility of SIL getting her daughter back unless she went to a hospital to detox. There just isn't enough time for her to wean off slowly. The state terminates rights after 15 months in care. If she detoxes at the hospital, she's far more likely to relapse...plus, I honestly don't think SIL would try that.

The social worker said that SIL is in really rough shape. She's failed her last 6 UA's, and falls asleep while talking to her. I'm disgusted at hearing this. I knew she was bad off, but not that bad. She also set us straight about the father. He in fact does NOT have a job, and does NOT have his own house. He pretty much just couch surfs from home to home. The social worker held little to no hope that he would be cleared to gain custody. Man, addicts really can be convincing!!! It's so horrible knowing that you can't believe one single word they tell you. Everything has to be questioned.

We were given the names, professions, address, and phone number of the new foster family. We're calling them tomorrow. They're both teachers and are seasoned foster parents. The last home our niece was in, she was the first child they had ever had in their care. I feel like this home is a really great place for her right now.

So basically, we won't be able to gain custody of our niece until parental rights are terminated. That is unless we can convice SIL to give us custody before then. Dh thinks he can do this...I personally don't see that as very likely. The social worker encouraged us to visit our niece and the foster family as often as possible. We're of course going to do everything in our power to do that. We live over 10 hours away, so it's going to take a lot of work. We're fully invested though.

We emailed the social worker rfe-stating our intentions and everything we discussed, per the advice given here

I'm feeling like we have a direction now, and a path. It's very sad though to think that our niece will very likely have to wait in foster care for over a year before she can have her forever home. If we could move up there, we would in a heartbeat. Dh is really tied up into his Phd program here though, and needs to finish asap. I worry what must be going through our niece's mind right now. What can she possibly be thinking? Will she be able to truly bond with us after all of this? It's all so so sad.

Enjoying life with DH since 05/04 and our two boys Oliver 02/07 and Theodore 07/10 
        
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#102 of 112 Old 01-28-2010, 01:32 AM
 
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I'm so happy there's been some good news for now, please keep us posted and best of luck with all of this!

GOOD moms let their kids lick the beaters. GREAT moms turn off the mixer first!
Humanist Woman Wife , & Friend Plus Mama to 6 (3 mos, 2, 9, 13, 17, 20)
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#103 of 112 Old 01-28-2010, 02:22 AM
 
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That is very encouraging! I mean, obviously it is disappointing that your SIL is in such bad shape and the father is as well, but it sounds like you talked to a good worker who has a clear picture of the situation and was able to convey that to you. It also sounds like the first foster family probably really wanted to adopt, and this probably wasnt the best "first foster" situation for them since if the little girl is TPR'd you really want her. Maybe they will wait for a situation that is more appropriate for them (if their goal is in fact adoption)....even though you live far away, perhaps you can make a photo book for your niece so she can be familiar with who you are, and make occasional visits? I do think that even after a long time in care, she will still be able to bond with you....after all, many people adopt kids who have spent years with foster parents, and they bond and become a family.

Katherine, single homeschooling mom to Boy Genius (17) geek.gif  Thing One (6) and Thing Two (6) fencing.gif and one outgoing Girl (12) bikenew.gif and hoping for more through foster care and adoption homebirth.jpgadoptionheart-1.gif 
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#104 of 112 Old 01-28-2010, 09:23 AM
 
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If the foster family is willing to Skype with you, that might be a good possibility. You could always buy your niece a webcam if needed.
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#105 of 112 Old 01-28-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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Our dd was 22 months when she went into care the last time. She was with that foster family 9 months until the TPR was done. I had flown out and had 1 visit with her in that time, and called and spoke to her daily. I also sent pictures of our home, my other kids, etc.

She is 5.5 now and totally bonded

This time should now be used to get your background check done, and your kinship homestudy, so if TPR is done there will be no delay. I flew out the next morning after TPR.

*~Kelly~*
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#106 of 112 Old 01-28-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Oliver'sMom~ I just caught up with the thread and I want to give you big s. I'm so sorry this is happening to your family and your niece, especially when you're pregnant. It's not easy to deal with something so stressful when you're also trying to keep your family, body, and mind as healthy as possible.

I hope you're able to get custody of your niece, and that your SIL is able to see clearly enough to either sober up or give you custody.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#107 of 112 Old 01-28-2010, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the encouraging words!! This thread has been a life saver for me. Just being able to write out my thoughts/feelings, and the events as they progress is very helpful.

Skype is a fantastic idea! I'll ask the foster parents if they're open to that when we call them tonight. I also like the idea of a photo album. We'll for sure be calling regularly and maing as many visits as we can. I think in many ways it will be easier to maintain contact with her now than when she was with her mom. Often times, SIL's phone would be disconnected, her electricity would be turned off, or she would move and we didn't know where they were. It's amazing to think that we may never have to worry about all of that anymore. At least not with this niece.

We're moving to a new and much nicer house in June. Should we wait to get our kinship homestudy done until then? Is there a way I can find out the criteria needed to pass a kinship homestudy? If we had it done now, would we have to do it again after we move? Sorry for all of the questions. We'll for sure start the background check right away as I know those can take several months.

Thanks again!

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#108 of 112 Old 01-28-2010, 07:19 PM
 
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Call about scheduling the classes. In my state you basiclly have to take the foster care classes. They did our finger prints and collected all the info at the class. The social worked did the home visit/home study. I'd explain you were moving in June and the fire marshal and social worked can wait to visit then.

Jeana Christian momma to 4 sons Logan 18, Connor 15, Nathan 6, and bonus baby Jack 1
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#109 of 112 Old 01-28-2010, 11:14 PM
 
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so happy to hear your niece is in a foster home that will be conducive to you adopting her if mom and dad are TPR'd. so sorry to hear that your SIL isn't doing well.

after having seen a few of these situations happen on this board, I'm wondering if you might want to think about making your identity a little more hidden on here if you're going to be posting specifics about the case. especially since you're dealing with your own family, there is a pretty high likelihood of *someone* coming on here and reading what you're writing, and what others are replying.

best wishes, and do keep us updated as you can...

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#110 of 112 Old 04-29-2010, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to give a final update. Our niece was placed with her father yesterday. He was granted full custody. She's been having regular extended visitation with him over the past couple of months and has really bonded. We made a visit to see our niece and everyone last month, and met the father. He seemed like a totally good person. So it looks like this story has a happy ending!

Thanks again for all of the advice and support!

Enjoying life with DH since 05/04 and our two boys Oliver 02/07 and Theodore 07/10 
        
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#111 of 112 Old 04-29-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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Oliver's mom, that's great news, hoping he does turn out to be an awesome dad. will you be able to keep in touch with them?

We're Tiffani , Mark , Lucy (9/99) , Dexter (8/01) ,and Zachary Marvin (3/07) and Naomi Rose (6/09), home 11/10, by way of Ugandan adoption.

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#112 of 112 Old 04-29-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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Terrific news!
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