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#1 of 112 Old 12-16-2009, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just found out that dh's sister's daughter has been placed in foster care. His uncle just told us in an email like it was no big deal at all . Dh is on the phone right now with his sister trying to get some more information.

His sister has been in a lot of trouble with drugs, prostitution, etc. for a long time now. I've called CPS a number of times in the past, and now finally something has happened.

We want our niece (26mo) to be with us, but we live in a different state and have no clue how to go about the steps of bringing her home.

Any help/advice would be much appreciated!!

TIA!

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#2 of 112 Old 12-16-2009, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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dh just got off the phone with his sister. She said that she left her methadone on the table and the baby got into it. She waited to call the ambulance because she wasn't sure if the baby had eaten any. Well, she had . She spent three days in the hospital on anti-narcotic meds.

The good news is that she's doing fine now and is in a very loving home and is well taken care of. Her mom gets to see her twice a week, and call her everyday. She says she doesn't know how long she'll have to be there, maybe a couple of months...we'll see

It's infuriating that we're just now finding this all out. We just talked to family there and they didn't mention anything.

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#3 of 112 Old 12-16-2009, 09:37 PM
 
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Edited to say: I wrote this while you were writing your second post with the update. Glad she is in a loving foster home right now, and perhaps it is better for her to just settle in there if her mom is serious about getting her stuff together. My dd was bounced around in her early life, and it was really, really destructive.

Yikes! I am glad you heard. Some steps I would take:

1. I would track down the child's social worker. If the family is not forthcoming with a name, you can call the foster care office and let them know that you've just learned your neice is in care and want to speak with the social worker about her coming to live with you.

2. I would immediately inquire with your own state foster care office about local licensing requirements and start getting everything in order right away. They might hear the story and put you off, so be persistent and get the information and paperwork you need. If your neice is going to come to you, it will likely be through an ICPC (interstate agreement) and the state where you live will be responsible for verifying your suitability and probably managing the case. Things can get really delayed in the homestudy process, so act fast.

3. After that, I would send a letter to the social worker, perhaps via certified mail, stating in writing that you believe the best placement for your neice is with family and that you would like to care for her for as long as necessary. Having things in writing may end up being critical.

In most locations, family is a high priority for placement, and there may even be a legal obligation to place with family if at all possible. That said, if the goal is reunification, and you don't live in driving distance from dh's sister, you won't be in a position to support visitations, etc....thus you may not even have a chance of getting her in your care unless or until all possible avenues to reunification have been exhausted (which can take a VERY, VERY long time).

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#4 of 112 Old 12-16-2009, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for the reply!

I agree. I think she's in the best place for now. She's in a city that's quite far away from where her mom lives, and her mom has no car, so I don't know how often she'll actually get to see her though.

I think for now, we're just going to have to keep in contact as much as possible and be ready to take her in if circumstances change.

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#5 of 112 Old 12-16-2009, 10:11 PM
 
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I would want to contact the social worker in any case. Changes sometimes happen quickly, and there could be more to the story than you have heard. If you get your name (and interest) into the file, they should let you know if there are any major changes in the plan.

Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#6 of 112 Old 12-16-2009, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you. Do I contact her social worker by calling her local CPS? Family isn't giving us any names.

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#7 of 112 Old 12-17-2009, 12:34 AM
 
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I also highly advise you contact the local CPS office where your sister lives. Ask to speak with caseworker for your niece. I would also attempt to maintain some fairly regular contact (like once a month or every other month) with the caseworker. This way if things go bad for the SIL, and she is not able to regain custody, the caseworker is fully aware that there is a family member who is more than willing and able to take custody of the child. Otherwise, if they get to the statutory deadlines for permanent custody, you might be able to put in to stop it and take custody.

I would also contact the Court if the Court is involved and find out who the GAL is.

The State she lives in can request an interstate home study on your home. It generally takes about 2-3 months to get completed once the paperwork is done and submitted.
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#8 of 112 Old 12-17-2009, 09:41 AM
 
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If the goal is reunification at this point, they probably wouldn't do an interstate home study on the OPs home, but I agree with what the rest of the posters have written.

Social services will help the baby's mother have visitation. Either the visitation location will be close to where she lives with someone transporting the baby (social worker, transporter, or foster parent) or they will help mom get to the visitation site (cab or bus fare, social worker driving her, etc.)
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#9 of 112 Old 12-17-2009, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We tried contacting CPS in her town, and they wouldn't give us any information whatsoever. We just asked for her social worker's name, and they said that was confidential . We tried telling them that we are family, etc...they just took down our number and said they would call us back. Yeah right. Now what do I do?

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#10 of 112 Old 12-18-2009, 12:03 AM
 
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Its likely that if your SIL hasnt started visitation yet, she will very shortly...ask her to write down the name and phone number of the worker who is in charge of the case. Here, many children are placed through private agencies, so contacting "CPS" might not help much. Also, your SIL should be going to court soon if she has not already and she should be notified of those court dates, as well as being appointed a lawyer to represent her during those dates. Here, i believe they have to go to court within either 24 or 72 hours (cant remember which) of removal, and then again at another point shortly after removal and then i believe every ninety days (minimum) thereafter. If you find out when a court date is, if its not too much of a hardship, you could attend...that is how my foster son's half sister ended up with relatives, she was in a foster home for a few months, but the relatives showed up in court and as soon as the judge was made aware there were willing relatives she was moved to them within a couple of days (they've since returned her to foster care, grrr) ---i realize your situation is different due to the out of state thing. But it would be good for the judge to realize there are interested relatives sooner rather than later.

Also, you might start putting all contact in writing in addition to calling, as its harder to "put you off" in writing, i believe it has to go into the file. You could even start with a general letter to "Supervisor of Foster Care, DHS" and send to the address for DHS in her area, explain all details in your letter (including your niece's full name and DOB if you have it, and your SILs full name and DOB if you have it), usually the supervisors take more direct action than just a foster care worker. I think if the foster care worker hears "out of state" they might think "paperwork nightmare"....sometimes you have to keep going up the chain of command. I told my foster care worker for my foster son that i want his sister placed with me but i need to move to a bigger place, and she completely blew me off. I may have to go up the chain.

Just coming from a foster parent perspective, if the case was headed to adoption, i would want to know sooner rather than later if there was a viable relative interested in the child. Sometimes foster workers tell the foster parent one thing, and the relatives another. I know a mom online who worked for nearly a year to get her niece from another state, and yet the foster parents were only told at the last minute and were under the impression they would be adopting.

Do you have any other relatives who live closer to your SIL who might be an option for placement?

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#11 of 112 Old 12-18-2009, 12:50 AM
 
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BTDT. And now we have a beautiful 5 yo dd, that cam to us at 2.5. ( Except bio mom is my cousin)

I called CPS daily until the SW called me back. I let her know we we happy to take her. She was in foster care in her home state for 8 months, until they decided to move her to us for perm placement. Bio mom had visits, and rehab, etc, etc, but never did all she was suppose to do. Luckily we were in place, and set up to take her.

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#12 of 112 Old 12-18-2009, 12:52 AM
 
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Just coming from a foster parent perspective, if the case was headed to adoption, i would want to know sooner rather than later if there was a viable relative interested in the child. Sometimes foster workers tell the foster parent one thing, and the relatives another. I know a mom online who worked for nearly a year to get her niece from another state, and yet the foster parents were only told at the last minute and were under the impression they would be adopting.
Sadly this is so true. Our dd's foster parents were told from the start dd and her 1/2 sib were fost / adopt. We came out of the woodwork 2 1/2 months after they had been placed ( We had just found out) and her sib went back with her birth dad. My heart broke for the foster family. We have been blessed to become friends with them though and they were at our adoption.

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#13 of 112 Old 12-18-2009, 01:09 AM
 
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In Ohio, if the child is removed from the home, they do what is called a Shelter Care Hearing. That must be done within 24 hours (if during the working week) to at most 72 hours (usually happens on weekends). Normally CPS files a Motion for Ex Parte Custody, and if that is granted the Shelter Care Hearing is in 24-72 hours. Otherwise, if it is not granted, it happens I believe in 7-10 days.

After that, within about 90 days there is what is called an ajudicatory hearing, basically the Court will determine if the child is Dependent/Neglected/Abused. After that, the next step, and I believe it is w/in 180 of the initial filing of the Complaint is the Disposition (Temp Custody; Permanent Custody; Protective Supervision).

Just keep calling every couple of days to her CPS, and leaving a message for the caseworker. Even though you do not know the caseworkers name, you can say "I am a relative of Child's Name, DOB, and her Mother's name is XYZ. I would really like to speak to the Caseworker, as we are interested in assisting in any way we can, including taking Temporary Custody of the child if needed."

If after a week, ask to leave a message for a supervisor. I would also address a letter to them, with your information and interest in custody if it becomes necessary.
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#14 of 112 Old 12-18-2009, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all of the wonderful advice. I greatly appreciate it. I will just keep on keeping on then.

The latest update is that a man has come out of the woodwork claiming to be the baby's father. He's currently going through paternity testing, and from what dh's uncle says, if he is in fact the father, they will place the baby with him no questions asked.

There is no family in the area that is in a place to take in another baby. Sadly, addiction runs rampant in dh's family. His mom and brother are in prison, his father is an alcoholic on disability, and his other sister is just like the rest of them and has a baby as well in the same shoes. We have family in yet another state that would love to take her in, but no one near to where she is now.

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#15 of 112 Old 12-19-2009, 11:17 AM
 
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The latest update is that a man has come out of the woodwork claiming to be the baby's father. He's currently going through paternity testing, and from what dh's uncle says, if he is in fact the father, they will place the baby with him no questions asked.

.
Not always. DD's birth dad popped up at the end. He had to go through backgound stuff, homestudy, and court dates. Luckily for us and dd he was arrested the morning of his last court date.

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#16 of 112 Old 12-20-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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If I were you, OP, I would not be inclined to believe anything you hear from your dh's uncle, sister, etc. They might think (rightly) that you are considering getting involved. I can't even imagine how frustrating it must be, but you need to keep those calls and letters flowing until you get in touch with the social worker and get her to give you some info.

Going to court would also be a really great notion if you can get any reliable information about the date and time of a hearing.
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#17 of 112 Old 12-23-2009, 04:04 PM
 
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If I were you, OP, I would not be inclined to believe anything you hear from your dh's uncle, sister, etc.
I second this. With our dfd (the child of an old friend of mine), her sibs were removed a year before her birth. When we found out, she had been placed with a relative. That relative flaked out and the kids were moved to general foster care for a month. We tried reaching the worker but never got a pick/up or call back. We were told by the kid's parents that placement would be for 2-3 months tops, so we were willing to do it. I was pregnant with my second child, but if they would be moved home within a few months, what could it hurt??...

...Well, they signed off nine months later after several noncompliances. I'd be cautious about the notion that foster care will only be "for a few months" or anything that comes directly from them. Still to this day, baby girl's mom swears the case is going fabulously and insists she's getting weekends in two weeks at our next hearing. The truth however.... well that's another story.

Be cautious. Try to reach the worker. Climb further up from the worker if you don't get a call-back. I second the idea of a writing a letter and sending it certified. And best of luck; whenever a child is placed into care, it affects the *entire* family, not just the child and parent. Our baby's family has been rocked for the last nearly 3 years because of foster care placement. It's divided the family from aunts to grandparents to cousins. ((hugs))

 

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#18 of 112 Old 01-13-2010, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We just now (finally!) got the social worker's name. We've called and left two messages with her. If she doesn't call back by Friday, we'll go up the chain of command. Dh is working on a letter too.

Dh's sister says the foster parents have put in the paperwork for adoption. If she can't meet her requirements within 15 months, they keep the baby She has to get completely off methadone to get her baby back. She's on 300mg a day now. She can only cut back 10mg a week...so that's 30 weeks. Once she's off methadone, she has to stay completely off for 10 weeks and prove that she has a steady job, steady income, and a clean and safe home.

We'll keep fighting for our niece and being as supportive as we can to dh's sister. It looks like this could very well end up in us adopting her rather than just fostering her for awhile.

Dh's aunt who also lives out of state, has come forward saying that she would be more than happy to take care of our niece, and that would be a good place for her. I just really hope we can keep her connected to the family.

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#19 of 112 Old 01-13-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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We just now (finally!) got the social worker's name. We've called and left two messages with her. If she doesn't call back by Friday, we'll go up the chain of command. Dh is working on a letter too.

Dh's sister says the foster parents have put in the paperwork for adoption. If she can't meet her requirements within 15 months, they keep the baby She has to get completely off methadone to get her baby back. She's on 300mg a day now. She can only cut back 10mg a week...so that's 30 weeks. Once she's off methadone, she has to stay completely off for 10 weeks and prove that she has a steady job, steady income, and a clean and safe home.

We'll keep fighting for our niece and being as supportive as we can to dh's sister. It looks like this could very well end up in us adopting her rather than just fostering her for awhile.

Dh's aunt who also lives out of state, has come forward saying that she would be more than happy to take care of our niece, and that would be a good place for her. I just really hope we can keep her connected to the family.
They can't put in any paperwork for adoption because the child isn't free for adoption. Termination of parental rights hasn't happened. It doesn't work like that. They may have been asked if they are interested in adopting if TPR happens, but we all get asked that if it looks like reunification efforts will be ceased and TPR filed for. At this point, it doesn't mean that they would be the baby if TPR happens.
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#20 of 112 Old 01-13-2010, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They can't put in any paperwork for adoption because the child isn't free for adoption. Termination of parental rights hasn't happened. It doesn't work like that. They may have been asked if they are interested in adopting if TPR happens, but we all get asked that if it looks like reunification efforts will be ceased and TPR filed for. At this point, it doesn't mean that they would be the baby if TPR happens.
That's good to know. We really need to stop getting our information from family and start getting it straight from the source. Seems like everything we hear is false or skewed somehow. We'll just keep being persistent, then hopefully we can get some answers.

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#21 of 112 Old 01-14-2010, 04:50 PM
 
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Dh's sister says the foster parents have put in the paperwork for adoption. If she can't meet her requirements within 15 months, they keep the baby She has to get completely off methadone to get her baby back. She's on 300mg a day now. She can only cut back 10mg a week...so that's 30 weeks. Once she's off methadone, she has to stay completely off for 10 weeks and prove that she has a steady job, steady income, and a clean and safe home.

We'll keep fighting for our niece and being as supportive as we can to dh's sister. It looks like this could very well end up in us adopting her rather than just fostering her for awhile.
I too wanted to stress that this isn't exactly how it goes. In our state, they were recently sued and have to do concurrent planning now. Meaning, they are evaluating from the beginning what would be the best placement forever. In other words, the goal is RU, but if parents fail, they want to know the child was placed in a home where adoption is a feasible goal. Too many kids have been tossed around too often, so our state is "trying" to plan for adoption and RU concurrently. In fact, we were asked at the placement if we were interested in adoption. I thought it was because they foresaw the future (and maybe, because the worker that day had the last case, that was partly the case), but now I know it was the concurrent planning.

Also, the federal rules do state that at 15 months they have to have a plan. However, bear in mind that "compliance" is very subjective to interpretation, and there will be a LOT of opinions in the case. In our situation, there are three attorneys, one caseworker, and the referee who all have an opinion about how compliant the parents really are. Needless to say, they each feel it's more than the social worker... so the case continues. It's never so black and white.

Keep fighting to get real answers and to get your name known in case of permanent availability. But as a foster mom who's NOT family, do you firmly believe this is in the child's best interest to be moved? Can the foster family provide a great adoption home? These are answers only you can attest to, and just food for thought. I mean no harm, but think long and hard. In our situation, we are the foster parents who want to adopt but aren't family. Each situation is different; just be sure before you move her and uproot her from the life she's learning to love that this is best for her. If you didn't, would the foster family be willing to keep in contact?

I'm sorry; I mean nothing harmful by that. I know you love her. But I'm in the other shoes and see things from the other side too. This little girl is caught in a tug of war, and it's sad.

 

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#22 of 112 Old 01-14-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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do you firmly believe this is in the child's best interest to be moved? Can the foster family provide a great adoption home? These are answers only you can attest to, and just food for thought. I mean no harm, but think long and hard. . . .would the foster family be willing to keep in contact?
Though of course there are many, many reasons that those family bonds are precious and should be preserved in any way possible, these questions are certainly reasonable to at least ask oneself.

Relationship with family can be fostered in many ways.

It is amazing to me how quickly even babies attach, and how deeply they can be affected by instability. Our dd came to us at six months old, and the move from her former foster home had been really really traumatic to her. We ended up needing to do attachment therapy with her at two years old because she had been so traumatized by the moving around while she was six months and under!!

There are foster families who have children in their care for whom they would make a great permanent family, and some would love nothing more than to have a meaningful longterm relationship with extended family. We are so blessed to have an open relationship not only with ds' birthparents, but with several of his aunts, some of his cousins, both of his grandmothers, etc.

When I think about what it would have been like if one of them had decided to swoop in and come "save him from foster care" after he had been with us for several months, my heart races and I get all teary. ds and I bonded very, very quickly when he came to us, and although I tried to maintain some emotional distance since we didn't know the future (I am an experienced foster parent and never had trouble with that before)...there was just something almost spiritual about our connection.

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I'm sorry; I mean nothing harmful by that. I know you love her. But I'm in the other shoes and see things from the other side too.
Life is so full of complexities.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#23 of 112 Old 01-14-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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Though of course there are many, many reasons that those family bonds are precious and should be preserved in any way possible, these questions are certainly reasonable to at least ask oneself.

Relationship with family can be fostered in many ways.
To the op, I want you to know how many times I hesitated in writing my post. I don't even know you, so I don't want it to seem I am saying that you *shouldn't* try to get custody of her. It is just something that crossed my mind. It's so hard to know what right and wrong are in these cases. At this point in time, I think staying in our home is in the best interest of baby. However, if she were sent home and allowed to develop a bond with the siblings she has who live with another relative (whom she has never known), that might be different. At that point, I think keeping her close and in the family upon re-removal may be in her best interest. So many bonds would be broken and so much familiar taken away.

I just wanted to make it clear I'm not saying don't do this. Just really think about it from *her* perspective. I feel like so often in the legal world, everyone deals with our baby's case like she's a piece of property. Her future is on the line. I just wish people would stop to really, really think about things from her perspective.


Foster care genuinely impacts so very many lives surrounding the case.

 

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#24 of 112 Old 01-14-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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I think it's also worth doing a really hard look at how this will affect your relationship with your extended family. It sounds like you have a lot of contact with them, and are genuinely sympathetic to them (not that this is a bad thing). But what if, once you get the facts of the case, it turns out that there was more involved than just what you have been told?

What if your family members don't respect your boundaries with your family, if you get custody of your niece? Are you prepared to put your foot down, potentially enact some safety measures? Will you be able to deal with the fallout that happens a LOT in this sort of situation? (the whole family turning against you, when you are not part of the social system that's taking the baby away?)

Hopefully that won't happen, and there are many times when it doesn't. But I think if you have an ongoing relationship with these folks you need to prepare yourself for the fact that it WILL change (perhaps not traumatically). Do they know that you're seeking custody? I would be open about it, so that everyone has a chance to wrap their mind around that and you can get some idea of the response you'll get, before your niece arrives, if she does.

I think a lot of people don't take that into consideration and they are blindsided by the fallout (even if it's only temporary) that often arises.
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#25 of 112 Old 01-14-2010, 08:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all of the very thoughtful responses.

After reading your posts, I've put a lot of thought into the situation. When I first heard from family, so not necessarily true, that the foster parents were hoping to adopt, I felt that they were taking a member of our family away forever. I know that this is not necessarily true. What I need is firm answers from the right people. If the foster parents do adopt, will it be an open adoption where her mother and extended family can continue to have a relationship with her? If the answer is yes, then I would agree that where she is now is where she would be the best off. If she can avoid being moved from one house to the next, then that would be wonderful. If the answer is no, then I really think the best place for her is with family where she would maintain those ties and have stability. How can I ever find that out though?

I honestly and genuinely want what is best for this child, and I believe that that's stability, love and a connection with her past and identity. If these foster parents can provide that, then she should stay there. From what I've heard, they're extremely loving, have a beautiful home, are well educated with stable carreers, etc. She would have a great life with them. Dh and I are not quite in stable jobs yet, and are poor, and have another baby coming. We're family though, so that has to mean something.

Enjoying life with DH since 05/04 and our two boys Oliver 02/07 and Theodore 07/10 
        
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#26 of 112 Old 01-14-2010, 09:27 PM
 
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Open adoptions aren't formally allowed in many states. That means that families can establish whatever contact they wish, but it's not legally binding. And open adoptions aren't for every adoptive family. We see my son's birth mother (and her family) but not his birth father. We'll see my soon-to-be adopted daughter's birth father (and his family) but not her birth mother. It's not safe or healthy. If your SIL is heavily into drugs and prostitution, openness with her (in the form of visitation,) might not be a good idea. But pictures and anecdotes might be.
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#27 of 112 Old 01-15-2010, 02:07 AM
 
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If your SIL is heavily into drugs and prostitution, openness with her (in the form of visitation,) might not be a good idea. But pictures and anecdotes might be.
This is where we are too. I struggle because in order to keep that distance in our case should adoption happen, I am losing my oldest friend in life. But I appreciate the gravity of her addictions and know that it would be near impossible for her to respect her daughter. She doesn't now. The family that would adopt baby if I wouldn't, or if some freak thing happens and they get approved over us, is in a situation much like you are, op. They are family, but they are "supportive" of mom. Sometimes I think to the jeopardy of the kids who have already been harmed. Not that you would be; it's all hypothetical now.

But do understand that DCFS took this little girl for a reason. They would terminate for a reason. Meaning that she is not safe or healthy to raise her child. The loss will be there no matter what; she will suffer that loss always, as will her mom. But the fault lies with her mom. If you aren't certain you can give her that distance, then think long and hard.

We are in a different situation. I know her mom very well. I have pictures and years of stories. If we are blessed enough to adopt, I will have a connection to offer her. But I will be letting go of that current bond. How severely, I don't know. Perhaps I will email quarterly to inform of progress, perhaps I will mail pictures, perhaps I won't. Perhaps the extended family will still get visits a couple of times per year. But as it stands, they are covering for her, lying in court on her behalf, and enabling her behavior, excusing it away. They mean well, but it's going to hurt baby. They are conflicted because they love baby and they love mom too. But they can't both be helped together when mom won't accept change and admit wrongdoing.

The fact is, it's really early still to be planning exactly how much involvement will actually occur once the dust settles.

 

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#28 of 112 Old 01-15-2010, 02:11 AM
 
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We're family though, so that has to mean something.
It does. And if these foster parents really are great people like it sounds they are, hopefully they will be open to some heart to heart discussions from you. Though it may not seem like it, they too want what's best for this little girl. I think adoptions, overall, have come a long ways and we've learned that slamming the door shut isn't necessarily healthy. You and your husband sound really healthy, sound, and level-headed. Maybe your bond with her, even if she stays in the foster home, could be a strong link to her identity, a bond with her past.

 

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#29 of 112 Old 01-15-2010, 02:50 AM
 
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A mother in my extended family has had several children apprehended under different orders (one was an apprehend at birth, another for non-compliance at 5 months, the next two at birth). She has been declared mentally ill.

1st scenario, apprehended at birth. TPR. closed adoption (so far as we know).

In the 2nd scenario, the baby was apprehended for bio-mom's 'non-compliance' at five months and placed with loving foster parents who decided not to adopt him. Was then adopted by extended family members in a kinship adoption. The extended family members are seniors and would not otherwise have been eligible to adopt. They were not looking to grow their family, but saw a 19 month old hitting the system with no end in site for TPR and knew it might be years before he would be placed with adoptive parents. The extended family members who adopted him began having visits with him in their home (unbeknownst to the bio mom) 3x/week from 6 months on. The child's adoption was finalized when the biomom's court appeals were exhausted - at age 4.

In 3rd scenario, the baby was apprehended at birth and placed with another extended family member (also a senior, also would not have been looking to grow her family/eligible to adopt). This placement was called 'a place of safety', and the homestudy/assessment pieces took place after the placement. The child is nearly 6 and the adoption is not yet finalized, though the court cases and appeals have been exhausted and tpr is pending.

In 4th scenario, baby was apprehended at birth and placed with an experienced foster family, who decided not to adopt the child. The foster placement broke down when the child was 2 years old due to a death in the foster family. The child was then placed with another non-adoptive foster family. The court cases and appeals have been exhausted and tpr is pending. This child is now placed with non family member adoptive parents. So far the new parents are focussing on their new child. I don't know if we will have contact with this child in the future via any kind of extended family open adoption efforts.

Why do I write all this out? I'm not totally sure. I've been in a similar place to where you are now.

From what we experienced/saw here, if the rules are the same where you are:

- there's a chance you could apply to be a 'place of safety' for the baby, even though you aren't in the same city. Where I live, keeping a child with extended family is prioritized. This isn't to refute the benefits of the loving foster-to-adopt placement, just to say fyi, you might be able to do this right away, rather than go through a home assessment. In my story in scenarios 3 & 4 we were asked if we wanted to be an emergency 'place of safety' placement.

- previous poster brought up this also - the kind of boundary setting and related challenges in an involuntary kinship adoption are hugely painful. Even without being the primary caregive to any of the children in my story, simply being a part of the whole extended tangle of openness and grief and love and family network is complicated and difficult. It is hard.

- in addition to making contact with the caseworker (and if the rules where you are are similar to the rules where I am, this should be one of her top priorities to suss out the baby's extended family), you can also request extended family visitation. Even if this is the full extent of your involvement, if it's possible (not sure if it is if you're far away), building and maintaining a relationship helped bridge the attachment of the children in scenarios 2 and 4 in my story, as the children were moved through at least a couple of foster placements, but had a consistent contact with extended family at least once a week through the visits. (more like a babysitter/grandparent kind of relationship).

I wish you the best in this confusing time.

I'm sorry to not be commenting or drawing parallels to the specifics of your neice's situation, I hope this doesn't seem irrelevant or self centred. It seems like with what may be two totally different sets of jurisdictional rules and neither you nor I being experts on the ins and outs of all of these rules, that the best I could offer was my own family's experience.

Good luck!!!
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#30 of 112 Old 01-15-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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If the goal at this point is reunification, they are unlikely to place the baby with out-of-state family. Visitation can't be easily facilitated if the child is living far away (unless, perhaps, the parent is willing to move close to where the child will be.) I'm not saying that it's impossible, but that's been my experience.

Mama Miiteg, wow. That's just crazy. How in the world can a child, placed at birth, still be in care at nearly six?
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