My husband and I are perhaps going to be adopting our great-niece who is 3 1/2. It's been a long battle for this little girl. The last straw was that she broke her arm a few months ago and had pins put in, but her mother (a heroin addict and prostitute) refused to take her to the hospital to have them taken out. She also had to get her four front top teeth pulled due to rot. We live 130 miles away and didn't know exactly what was going on, but trusted our extended family (my MIL, BIL, SIL) to take care of our niece and ensure she did not stay in a dangerous situation. This obviously didn't happen.
We have reason to believe that it is her mother that broke her arm, as this is not the first instance of abuse. And she has people around her who are telling her she could get disability if her daughter was ill or disabled in some way. There are more stories, more trauma. It makes me ill and upset we didn't do something sooner.
My DH mom finally filed for temporary custody, and she is going to court Wednesday for permanent. I hope she gets it, even though she did allow some things to happen under her roof and she makes me very nervous about her judgement. We are going to move them out to live near us in the next two weeks and eventually take my dear niece under our roof. I hope.
We have a 3 1/2 year old DS and 15 month old DS. And they love her, and she loves them. I am anxious about the issues she will have, and I am looking for resources to help with this process. I also just want to air my fears, as I am afraid that we may lose this little girl to the system. I don't trust the government to take care of things and I don't want to put my babies at risk. I am in a custody battle with my eldest sons dad. There is no way I can let this little girl disappear. My heart will not let me.
We just had the greatest Christmas, took her on the Polar Express train, got her a bike, clothes, all sorts of wonderful things. The whole time, I had to tell myself to have no attachment to these things, have no attachment to the outcome. How I wish what my heart wishes would occur.
That sounds like a pretty intense situation. Thank you for your devotion to your DGN (dear great niece).
Some general advice, I'm sure others who have BTDT will be able to be more helpful:
1. Make that court date if you can - it may go smoothly, but if not, you are in for another round with the child welfare system and you want to be front and center on DGN's worker's radar. If this case is going to drag on because MIL is not appealing to the authorities for whatever reason, make sure that when the worker thinks "adoptive resource," you and DH are the faces that pop into her mind.
2. Moving MIL to your town if she obtains permanent custody of DGN is probably a very good idea.
3. Adoption is preferable to permanent custody, and while you don't need to extract promises from you MIL this week, she should know pretty soon (if she doesn't already) that you and DH expect her to allow the adoption if DGN is to move into your house and become one of your kids.
4. You already know that your MIL hasn't been able to stand up to DGN's mother as much as she should, and this is a really common situation in kinship care scenarios where a grandma-aged relative is trying to deal with a person she knew as a child who has grown up to be an abusive parent. If she's awarded custody, then you need to become Captain Boundaries and make sure that your DGN is safe and secure in her home and doesn't have the woman who broke her arm dropping by. Moving towns should really help with this, but you've already learned the hard way that you can't assume MIL is keeping DGN safe. You and DH need to lay eyes on her every day for awhile, and keep yourselves informed of her mom's movements for awhile, until you feel confident that MIL isn't enabling further abuse.
I will try to write more later, but I just wanted to offer a :hug We adopted our daughter from foster care. She is the birth child of my brother's ex-girlfriend and that qualified us as a kinship placement. I have to say, one thing that struck me from your post is that you sound ready to protect this little girl :) It is so hard in a kinship adoption, since other adults are always trying to parent the birthparent and often make excuses for them. My own mother is suddenly best friends with my dd's birthmother and making excuses for every bad mistake she makes :(
My only suggestion is to make 200% sure that the social workers in the case know you are serious. So often kinship placements back out, so they often don't take calls seriously. Call often. Show up to every court date you can.