TPR question - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 12-26-2009, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, I'm hoping someone here can offer some btdt advice, words of wisdom or just commiserate. I was foster mom to a little girl with some mild special needs for close to a year. She left my home to transition back to life with her mom (or so I thought) a few months ago. I've known this little girl and her family for over six years. Little girl was a toddler when we met her. Through my work with children with special needs I became a regular caregiver for this child until she was spending a week out of every month with my family for the past two+ years. We are very close to her. Her mom struggled with depression and various mental health issues which as it turned out were not her only issues. when teen big brother ran into legal issues he was removed from the home. This led to increased cps involvement with the mom. When I was called with the request to foster this child mom was under the influence, the house filled with truckloads of trash and floors covered with animal feces. I should add here that mom never allowed ANYONE to enter her home so for the 6 years or so that I worked with this family the extent of moms issues were hidden from me and pretty much anyone outside of her family.
Anyhoo, while in my home little girl BLOSSOMED. She required oral surgery because her teeth were so damaged, her behaviors at school dramatically improved and by all proffessional accounts she made huge improvements socially, physically and academically. ..Fast forward to December. I found out that Mom was still having issues which led me to believe ffd was back in state care. As it turned out she had never made it back home but has been with a third foster home. fortunately her current foster mom is very caring and is meeting little girls needs. With encouragement from the foster mom and permission from the social worker we've been able to arrange for little girl to stay with us a few days during this Christmas break. We are all so excited.! I was also told that tpr hearing is scheduled for early next month as it will have been a year for little girl in care and mom isn't any better. Dad has a restraining order against him-he beat little girl up in front of witnesses two years ago. He has been recently allowed two supervised visits but has agreed to give up his parental rights if mom loses hers. I was told to formally write to the person at cps responsible for child placement to state my intent to adopt should tpr occur. Foster mom, worker etc. all approve of this but of course cannot make any commitment to placing her with me until tpr has officially occurred. Legally the goal till then needs to be reuinification.
Here is my recent worry. Mom has repeatedly failed at previous treatment plans and reaching goals for unsupervised, overnight visits. Until yesterday when she called to wish her dd a merry christmas she had not attempted to contact her dd for over three months. My worry is that she knows tpr is coming up and is going through the motions just to hold things up. Do any of you more experienced moms know if this one contact with her daughter after months of none at all, along with repeated failures to give up substance abuse and her history of severe neglect will be enough to stop tpr? I'm so stressed out and worried for this kiddo! It doesn't help that abusive, drug using Dad insists on retaining his legal rights as long as mom has hers(power struggle between the two is motivating him-not love for dd IMO). He doesn't want to "lose" if his ex wife doesn't "lose."

This makes so little sense to me!
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#2 of 10 Old 12-26-2009, 10:57 PM
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Not in our case. Our dd bio parents tried to play" parent of the year" in the 11th hour. The judge wasnt falling for it, and granted the TPR.

Good luck!! It sounds like you already have quite a bond, an would make a great forever family

 Waldorf Mom to 8 blessings ~6 by birth and 2 by fost/adopt~
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#3 of 10 Old 12-27-2009, 01:17 AM
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I don't have any experience with this, but I just wanted to send some hugs your way! I really hope you're able to adopt your foster daughter - it sounds as though you'd be changing the course of her life forever. Good luck.
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#4 of 10 Old 12-27-2009, 04:13 AM
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What you describe is really common, and in my personal experience, the judges I've seen have for the most part seen right through it. There are no guarantees. Fostering is all about expecting the unexpected, but if mom has not made *real* progress, TPR is a relatively likely event.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#5 of 10 Old 12-27-2009, 04:17 AM
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Sounds like a pretty good case for TPR to me. My fs' parents have done most of the work on their caseplan and there is still a good chance TPR will go through. But you never know until the judge hands down the final decision.

Good luck!

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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#6 of 10 Old 12-27-2009, 10:56 AM
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I agree with the previous posters. But I do have a question, has the goal already been changed to termination? Has a termination trial been scheduled? If the goal really is still reunification, that might affect the situation.
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#7 of 10 Old 12-27-2009, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your replies. You've made me breath a little easier but I do understand we are all far from the finish line. Polliwog, I'm not entirely sure how things work but I do know that TPR proceedings are scheduled to begin right after the new year. Jan 3 is the one year deadline for mom and as I said in my op she has not done well. The supervised visit with bio dad went o.k for little girl. They had not seen each other for two+ years( when police took her from his home and straight to the ER ) and they literally didn't recognize each other. The supervising person escorted her into the room and when dad didn't react to her, had to lead her up to him by the hand and introduce her. Worker said he didn't speak to her for most of their visit.
Her current foster mom is absolutely wonderful-a truly warm and caring person. Little girl is with us for a few days and we are just loving on her. Her foster mom told me she'd welcome us having visits every 2-3 weeks. We'll have to make sure DCF is o.k with that but I don't see why they'd object. At least we'll be able to remain constant in her life and she'll know that we continue to love her. If TPR goes through as we hope I'm thinking it will look favorable to the judge that we've maintained our relationship with her.
I'm just so nervous that Mom will once again claim to be getting her act together (and I wish that were true but after a year I'm very skeptical) and the judge will give her yet more time. Little girl NEEDS stability and a forever home. These sporadic visits and uncertantly are so stressful to her-particularly with her special needs. At this point I'm just trying to be grateful for the time we can spend with her and trust that God is watching out for her.
It's hard tho'
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#8 of 10 Old 12-28-2009, 01:47 AM
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What I'm wondering is why was your foster daughter removed from your house and taken to another foster home. Was somebody concerned about how she was doing in your house? Does someone within the system "have it in for you?" Could whatever was the reason she was moved be used against you?

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing and living as gluten, dairy, and cane sugar free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
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#9 of 10 Old 12-28-2009, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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No, no one "has it in" for me and she wasn't "removed" from my home. She is in my home now for a visit with the encouragement and consent of DCF and her current foster parents. All are agreed that continued contact between my family and little girl are in her best interest. I live an hour away from her school district. When she was with me I fought to keep her in her own school so she'd have continuity even though it meant my driving 2-4 hours with her each day to get her to her school, visits with mom and her therapist. Because she was physically living out of her own district those responsible for school funds were threatening to disenroll her if she wasn't back in her own district by the time school started in Sept. They didn't want to continue funding her special services if she wasn't in their district. At the same time DCF was forging ahead with plans to return her to mom in part because mom was appearing to make progress and in part because the law states mom gets a chance to TRY to parent within 12 months as long as she was following treatment. Mom has repeatedly started/stopped treatment and relapsed but at that time she'd gone a couple of weeks at least appearing to follow the plan. With the impending reunification Mom became increasingly jealous and hostile of my family as it was brought up over and over in meetings how her child had thrived in our home. Previously mom had blamed the child for everything that went wrong in her life but it was obvious to everyone now that little girls behavior problems were environmental and not due to her special needs. when removed from the environment she shared with her mom little girl bloomed. Mom was telling little girl awful things about our family-that we weren't good people, that we didn't care about her and overall trying to undermine our relationship. It was extremely painful because #1 I had been nothing but encouraging to the mom and only became licensed as a foster parent specifically because Mom begged me to take her child in hopes of keeping her with people she knew and #2 My family had provided the only stability this child had known for years. It was cruel with all little girl had been through to make her feel guilty for loving us. With only two weeks to go before little girl was to be returned to her mothers home(school was starting then too) I asked that a mutual aquaintance whom little girl knew and had stayed with before, be allowed to help with that transition. They lived in her school district and it was presented to little girl as something fun she got to do while awaiting going home. In this way Mom could no longer take her hostility out on my family and wouldn't feel the need to continually try to turn her child against us. She also couldn't acuse us of trying to steal her child as we had voluntarily reliquished her. Little girl left our home to spend two weeks with a family she enjoyed being with while she transitioned to her own home. This was done to protect little girl from the emotional damage her mom was causing AND to keep her place and funding in her own school district. As it turned out mom failed again to remain substance free and
little girl ended up in her current foster family. Because of the moms previous behavior and my homes distance from her district little girl was not returned to my home. Emotionally, I don't think I could have put my children through that roller coaster again if the offer had been made. When I learned several weeks later that she was still in care I contacted her worker who put me in touch with her foster family. If TPR happens as far as I and the foster family know my family is first in line to adopt. We will continue to have visits with little girl as often as allowed. I cannot realistically foster her again but should she need a permanent family we hope to be that family. With the way her case has gone from the beginning I'm trying not to count on anything but I can't help but be a little hopeful.
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#10 of 10 Old 12-29-2009, 01:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
There are no guarantees. Fostering is all about expecting the unexpected.
Ditto. And be cautious about the "one year mark." In our case, not much had genuinely improved at one year, but it wasn't solid enough to tpr, so the case went on. Even now, a year and a half into the case, I have evidential reason to believe we may be coming to a close, but nothing is final. Until a tpr petition is accepted and a trial date scheduled, I won't believe it's actually happening. Until the trial succeeds and ends, I won't accept this phase is over.

There is so much that the law makes it seem is "cut and dry," but rarely is it. Our case was supposed to be pretty straight forward, and yet we've veered and meandered for a year and a half.

But most of all, don't give up hope for her or stop fighting for justice for her. I may be doubtful, but I will still be my dfd's loudest advocate right through reunification and back into the system, if that's what it takes. Never stop fighting.



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