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#1 of 49 Old 01-17-2011, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm posting anonymously because this is all very private information. Please respect that and keep it private even if you can guess who I am.

 

I've had my FS for his whole life. He was drug-exposed and after birth and his mother left the hospital without him. She has some mental illness, drug addiction, and criminal history. Her other children are also in the system and they have been TPRed. Both his bio mom and dad are AWOL. Grandma would take him but she can't fulfill CPS's requirements (can't pass a drug test or something). Auntie doesn't want to get involved.

 

No one has come forward for over a year. No visitation at all. Nothing. No one wanted my FS.

 

I've always thought I would adopt my FS. There's someone lined up to adopt two of the other children and someone else interested in adopting the oldest two. Only one child did not have an adoptive placement. I considered him, but you'll see why I decided against that if you keep reading. I've offered to adopt my FS and two of his siblings after feeling pressured by case workers. I don't want to disrupt the other placements, but those people aren't as bonded to the children as I am to my FS; they've only had the kids for a couple months.

 

But now there is a fictive kin who wants to adopt all these children. CPS has cleared her and now she's getting preference for adoption over me (and the other adoptive parents) even though she's never met my FS and isn't biologically or legally related to him. The system prefers her because she would "keep the children together". (Even though my FS barely even knows his siblings and has only met them a couple times.)

 

This woman already has 2 children. So if she adopts my FS and his siblings she will have 8. And she's a single mom. And the siblings are not old enough to drive. Only one is old enough to legally babysit. 5 of these kids are age 6 and under. I'm worried that my FS will be neglected in a house so full of children with only one parent.

 

What's worse is that 2 of my FS's siblings have been sexually abusive to other children! One molested/raped his younger brother. That younger brother (the one who doesn't have an adoptive home lined up) molested another younger child. I'm worried my FS will be abused.

 

My FS is still with me but it's looking like he will not stay with me. If he is taken away from me I feel like I won't be able to do this again. I am so angry, so hurt, so frustrated, so worried... The only way I can handle it is by going into denial and just acting like everything is fine. But it's not! 

 

Has anyone else been in a similar situation? How did you deal with it? What was the outcome?

 

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#2 of 49 Old 01-17-2011, 03:46 PM
 
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No advice, just empathy. brokenheart.gif The creation of a fantasy "sibling" relationship between two children who share one biological parent AND NOTHING ELSE drives me buggy. I really wish that these policies could be modified to function as intended (i.e. to benefit children who were being raised together prior to going into the system). 

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#3 of 49 Old 01-17-2011, 03:46 PM
 
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Guest,

 

I'm so sorry for you and for your FS.  It's so unfair to you and horribly unfair to him.  The only thing I can suggest is to ask if he can have an advocate through the court; someone to legally represent him in the court system.  I think you might be able to hire an attorney.

 

Sometimes, the court won't place the kids together if there is a protective issue, or if they haven't been raised together. 


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Find more information and support at www.forever-families.com

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#4 of 49 Old 01-17-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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They are going to place Sexually Aggressive youth in the same home with vulnerable children???? Absurd!!! Blood relation should not trump safety EVER.  Is there a GAL involved?  I am just appalled that they would even consider removing your FS from your care and placing him in a very unsafe situation.  Have they even developed a safety plan?  How can she provide line of sight supervision (which is what she must do with with SAYs in the home, no matter how young they are) ???

 

I am sorry my response is not really any help, but I am just shocked beyond belief that a relative can come out of the wood works this late in the game....

 

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#5 of 49 Old 01-18-2011, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Smithie - Thank you. I agree that sibling relationships without an established bond aren't all that special. I have lots of brothers and sisters myself but I only grew up with one. I think it's important to know who these people are and get to visit them every now and then, but to live with them all under the same roof? Um, no thank you. My siblings aren't horrible people or anything, don't get me wrong. But there's so much I would have missed out on if I had grown up in that environment.

 

Carol - Judge ordered a CASA for the children. No news about who, how, or when that person will get involved. I think we will also be getting an attorney ourselves.

 

Marcee - it's not a relative. It's a friend of the family, fictive kin. The only reason she has preference is that she is willing to adopt all the children together. If we said we'd take all the children, we would probably be given preference because we have a bond established already. But we cannot take all the children. I simply can't handle such a large family with so many special needs.

They will have a safety plan and all that. I'm just still worried.

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#6 of 49 Old 01-18-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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She may also have preference if the actual, biological kin have asked that she be considered.

 

I would check the laws of your state.  In some states, the foster parent has legal standing once the child has been in their home for a period of time.  And in TX (as an example--no clue where you are) it's written as 12mo, but you can get standing at 6mo due to "past substantial contact".  We got standing for a child that we'd had in our home from birth to 10mo and she was back with mom from 10mo to 20mo when she was removed again.  By the time our motion to intervene on the case was heard, the child had been outside of our care for almost exactly one year, but we had maintained ongoing contact, and were granted legal standing in her case.

 

In NJ (where I'm from) that would've been impossible.  Check the laws of your state.

 

Also, contact the child's lawyer, GAL (if they are two different people) and CASA advocate (if one has been assigned).  If CASA exists where you are and one has not been assigned, call the local office and talk to them.  Sometimes, either they can get on a case or they may be on one of the sibling's cases.

 

Don't lose hope yet.  The judges love to preserve blood bonds.  It doesn't mean they always DO it.  make sure you show up to EVERY HEARING and make a statement about your concerns.  That right is preserved by Federal law.  Don't let them tell you that you can't.  They tried to do that to me in NJ where the courtrooms are VERY closed.  The reality is that you wait in the hall, go in when they tell you it's your turn, make your statement, then are escorted back out of the courtroom.  I had to fight with them about it, but that's the law.  Make a statement every time about your concern for this child and your willingness to adopt him and keep the family updated with his progress (or whatever level of communication you are comfortable with--even if it's just visiting with his siblings).


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#7 of 49 Old 01-19-2011, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

 make sure you show up to EVERY HEARING and make a statement about your concerns.  That right is preserved by Federal law.  Don't let them tell you that you can't.  They tried to do that to me in NJ where the courtrooms are VERY closed.  The reality is that you wait in the hall, go in when they tell you it's your turn, make your statement, then are escorted back out of the courtroom.  I had to fight with them about it, but that's the law.  Make a statement every time about your concern for this child and your willingness to adopt him and keep the family updated with his progress (or whatever level of communication you are comfortable with--even if it's just visiting with his siblings).



I have attended every court hearing or CFT or sibling visit that I've known about. The trouble is, I only learn about some of them. Legally, I'm supposed to receive notification of any court dates in the mail, but the reality is that I've only ever received one and it arrived after the court date had passed. And CFTs are supposed to be for all the adults involved in the case, including foster parents, but the reality is the meetings happen and we never even know about it.

 

Does anyone have any tricks for finding out about your foster kids' court dates? 

(I want to do it without annoying the case workers to the point that they deliberately make life hard for us.)

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#8 of 49 Old 01-19-2011, 04:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MDCGuest01 View Post

Does anyone have any tricks for finding out about your foster kids' court dates? 

(I want to do it without annoying the case workers to the point that they deliberately make life hard for us.)

 




A few things:  First, START. ESCALATING! about court hearings and meetings.  Do a google search for "office of the child advocate name_of_your_state" and see if you have one.  If you do--start there.  Also, call the court themselves.  Find out how you should be being notified.  And look for a foster parent support organization locally and see if they have any insights on that.  Call the baby's lawyer and ask.  Our experience is that nobody wants the foster parents in the court room.  Ever.  We bring up information they may not want to deal with.  We offer solutions that they don't want to deal with.  We make their life "difficult".  Keep on keepin' on.  You might also visit the message board at fosterparents.com or the adoption.com forums (they have a foster & adoptive board--possibly for your state) and pitch it there with the specific state so that you can find more specific help.


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#9 of 49 Old 01-23-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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I just wanted to say that I was in a fairly similar situation. We had our FS from 4-9 months and then he went to a rehab facility with Mom and when she left there he came back to us at 14 months old. He had never lived with his two siblings and the siblings were not placed together because they were aggressive with each other. When our FS was 19 months old the plan was changed to adoption.

 

The Foster parents of FS's sister said that they would like to have our foster son as well. Since they were agreeing to keep the siblings together (even though they had never lived together previously) they were given priority for adoption. We countered that we would take in his sister but were told that since she had a history of SA she shouldn't be placed in a home with younger children (except that same reasoning apparently didn't apply to her bio-brother or the other foster homes she had lived in with younger children!)

 

We told our FS's lawyer that we felt he would be better off with us because he already had shaky attachments (from being moved around 4 times in 14 months) and was way more attached to us than he was to the bio-sister that he had never lived with. The lawyer presented in court that she agreed with us and the judged ruled in our favor. So our FS will be adopted by us.

 

I went round and round with DSS and was told that my FS was too young for another move to really affect him and that being placed with a sibling was the only thing that mattered. Speaking directly to my FS's lawyer is the only thing that helped in seeing that his best interests were looked out for by the courts. 


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#10 of 49 Old 01-25-2011, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your input.

 

I don't have any real updates yet. All of this is going to take months or years to figure out.

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#11 of 49 Old 08-09-2011, 07:47 AM
 
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Hi, it's me, MDCGuest01.

Here's the update:

 

- We hired a lawyer who wasn't very good. He made a lot of noise and fuss but didn't accomplish much. So we have a new lawyer now.

- The first lawyer investigated the "fictive kin" (I'll call her A) and found a few bad things. Nothing terrible like child abuse, but he found a warrant for a suspended license and stuff like that.

- CPS doesn't care about her warrant or lack of legal income or undersized home (too small for 8 children). They gave her "waivers" to license her as a foster parent.

- They yanked two of the kids frome their adoptive placement and put them with A. They separated the oldest brothers and put one with A and left the other brother (the older sexually aggressive youth - SAY) alone.

- They went back and forth lying to us about letting us keep our FS, trying to manipulate us into getting rid of our lawyer or changing our plans. They've outright lied to us about legal proceedings, for example, they told us "the judge ruled XYZ" when in fact the judge ruled ABC.

- Two CASAs were assigned to the "sibling group"; both were brand new and this was their first case. They have old fashioned values and literally laugh at the idea of scientific evidence. They admitted it came down to who the "like" better, eg, a child's fate came down to a popularity contest.

- CPS moved the younger SAY into the home with A.

- CPS increased visitaiton with A and other siblings to twice a week. We're never allowed to be present because our FS is scared and "clings" to me too much and so they say it prevents him from bonding with A or the other children (if you're an AP parent then you'll find that idea absurd and cruel).

- We finally had "our day in court". We chose not to drag A through the mud because if we won we needed to maintain a positive relationship with her so our son would be able to visit his siblings (and/or so if that placement disrupts we can be a resource for some/all of the children).

- Our argument in court was that the preference for placing siblings together was intended to maintain relationships between siblings, not to create them when they didn't already exist. That is, our argument was that stability and love is more important than potentialy dangerous blood relationships.

- Our case worker called in sick to the court hearing! She was under supeana yet there's no penalty or rescheduling for her absence. This is completely characteristic of her behavior. I don't know if she's really sick or not but either way, she's almost always conveinently inaccessible. (For example, she's supposed to check out foster homes once per month, but she's only been in our home 4 times in 2010 and never in 2011!)

- The judge ruled against us with the stipulation that CPS had to provide evidence that younger SAY sibling was not a danger to our FS. Another hearing is scheduled for later this month.

- Our lawyer is recommending appeal. We haven't yet decided how to move forward.

- Our son is now over 19 months old and he has never lived anywhere except with us. He calls me Mama and my husband Dada. He loves us and we love him. We are as much a family as any other!

- We've invested about $7k and can financially afford to continue. We're just not sure if we can afford it emotionally.

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#12 of 49 Old 08-09-2011, 10:24 PM
 
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Quote:
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- We've invested about $7k and can financially afford to continue. We're just not sure if we can afford it emotionally.



Suck it up and keep trying. I've been through the legal thing. I know how hard it is, but he NEEDS you to do this for him.

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#13 of 49 Old 08-10-2011, 12:22 PM
 
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No advice, just wanted to say how sorry I am that you have to go through this.


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My angel babies , ~01/08~ (twins), ~09/08~, and ~01/09~.

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#14 of 49 Old 08-10-2011, 12:37 PM
 
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That is sickening, OP.  I really feel for you and your son.  Even as a social worker, I cannot understand how creating a sibling bond with kids who don't know each other is somehow more important than the bonds that children have established with their foster families.  Not to mention the number of placements that fail when siblings are reunited just because the caregiver cannot provide for several kids.  You need to keep fighting.  There should be some expert who can speak to the *danger* of having sexually abusive kids placed with younger kids.  There is no way this lady has the capacity to care for eight children and supervise them in a manner that will protect the younger children from the older ones.  Obviously you know that, so I don't know why I am saying other than to point out that it is important that this is brought up in court by someone who can testify to the fact that it is truly unsafe.  CASAs are a joke.  That should be pointed out in court as well.  What exactly are their credentials?  When I was in college, someone came to one of my classes to ask for volunteers...none of us even had our degree yet.  Is there not a GAL involved?? 

 

Hang in there and continue to fight for your son.  He needs you.  The system is broken and if you don't fight for him, it doesn't sound like there is anyone else working his case who is going to.  Keep in mind that people like "A" frequently are not able to meet the expectations they need to in the end.  There is hope...

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#15 of 49 Old 08-10-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're going through this. I can't fathom how any of this could happen. Don't give up. Think about how you'll feel in the end, when this fight is in the past.. You're strong, you can do it.


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#16 of 49 Old 09-07-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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stay strong, hang in there, as hard as it may be... whatever happens in the end, you all need to know that you did everything in your power to keep your son with you.  I know you probably already feel this way, just trying to offer encouragement and support... hugs to you and your family...


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#17 of 49 Old 09-28-2011, 09:23 AM
 
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UPDATE: We took the issue further and appealed (technically we objected, it wasn't an appeal) and WE WON!!! The judge ruled that the law the CPS cited did not apply and even if it did it was not in our son's best interests to apply it.

 

Other info:

- We finally got the psych eval and it said maintaining placement with us was preferred. Unfortunately we didn't receive that document until after the hearing. So that is evidence that we can use in the future if we need it.

- So for now, nothing has changed. We still have the same visitation schedule and same case worker and everything. What has changed is the longterm goal. Now it's adoption with us instead of adoption with A.

- In the future, there will likely be visitation after adoption (which we have always been OK with), but we will have more say in the matter and we will likely be allowed to supervise visitation (to me, supervision is critical because of the two siblings with sexual abuse issues) and/or specify that visits must occur in a public setting (not a private home with one adult supervising 8 children).

- Hopefully, our win will mean that other children will not have to endure this treatment and will not be passed around like rag dolls from home to home while CPS tries to decide how to place them and inevitably fails to find suitable homes and invites disruptions because frankly, trying to place 6 special needs* children in one home all at once is more than a little crazy. (*drug exposure, RAD, SAY, etc.)

- Hopefully, CPS will make better use of the prospective adoptive parents who are willing and able to offer permanency to some children.

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#18 of 49 Old 09-28-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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UPDATE: We took the issue further and appealed (technically we objected, it wasn't an appeal) and WE WON!!! The judge ruled that the law the CPS cited did not apply and even if it did it was not in our son's best interests to apply it.

 

Other info:

- We finally got the psych eval and it said maintaining placement with us was preferred. Unfortunately we didn't receive that document until after the hearing. So that is evidence that we can use in the future if we need it.

- So for now, nothing has changed. We still have the same visitation schedule and same case worker and everything. What has changed is the longterm goal. Now it's adoption with us instead of adoption with A.

- In the future, there will likely be visitation after adoption (which we have always been OK with), but we will have more say in the matter and we will likely be allowed to supervise visitation (to me, supervision is critical because of the two siblings with sexual abuse issues) and/or specify that visits must occur in a public setting (not a private home with one adult supervising 8 children).

- Hopefully, our win will mean that other children will not have to endure this treatment and will not be passed around like rag dolls from home to home while CPS tries to decide how to place them and inevitably fails to find suitable homes and invites disruptions because frankly, trying to place 6 special needs* children in one home all at once is more than a little crazy. (*drug exposure, RAD, SAY, etc.)

- Hopefully, CPS will make better use of the prospective adoptive parents who are willing and able to offer permanency to some children.


That's wonderful news! I'm glad somebody came to their senses. I hope the children with sexual abuse issues are able to get help. :(

 

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#19 of 49 Old 09-28-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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#20 of 49 Old 09-28-2011, 02:43 PM
 
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That is awesome news. What a relief. I know its not totally over but at least headed in the right direction!

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#21 of 49 Old 09-28-2011, 04:30 PM
 
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Wonderful news!

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#22 of 49 Old 09-28-2011, 08:28 PM
 
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this is wonderful news. congrats


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#23 of 49 Old 09-29-2011, 08:04 PM
 
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I'm so glad.


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. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#24 of 49 Old 09-29-2011, 08:27 PM
 
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Awesome news!!!


Wife of 20 years to my superhero firefighting DH. SAHM to 2 boys and 2 girls (3 babies in Heaven- Baby # 5 5/2010 & Baby #6 8/2011 & Baby # 7 2/1013). Cancer Survivor 2011 ( Persistent Malignant Gestational Trophoblastic Disease)

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#25 of 49 Old 09-30-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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GREAT NEWS!!! So thankful for this good news!


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#26 of 49 Old 10-02-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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I'm so happy for you guys and your son! I was getting so upset reading the thread, and now I'm tearing up at the conclusion.


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#27 of 49 Old 10-03-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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Was following your thread and feeling brokenheart.gif for your. So glad to hear the good news! joy.gif

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#28 of 49 Old 10-06-2011, 04:59 PM
 
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excellent!  what a relief that it turned out to be easier (for now) than you thought it would be!  nice work, mama!


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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#29 of 49 Old 01-20-2012, 09:48 AM
 
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UPDATE:

- Our FS is now 2 years old, he has been in our care the entire time. He knows his colors, numbers 1-10, he knows the alphabet, he is healthy and happy and he has tons of people who love him

- He still has regular visitation with his half-siblings

- There was no appeal of the decision, but the judge was changed (due to unrelated scandal). The new judge appears less likely to appreciate our perspective.

- Our FS's bio mom was granted visitation once a week (and of course they scheduled this at a time that is extremely inconvenient - during naptime)

- At the last TPR hearing she said she that she would relinquish, but that hasn't happened and I'm worried it's just a stalling tactic

- Bio mom requested an open adoption, which we are fine with. In fact, I want that! But again I'm worried this is just a stalling tactic because the judge could and should have simply done the TPR right then and there but chose to delay.

 

Our case has highlighted the very real tension between two, sometimes conflicting issues:

- The rights of biological family members of a child

vs

- The child's actual best interests

 

Siblings and bio parents have a "right" to reunification attempts and visitation, says the law. Yet there is zero evidence that these visitations have any benefit to our foster son. Moreover, they have clear, demonstrable risks in this case, which is WHY our FS was placed in our home separately in the first place! Argh. Two years and counting. It's not over, yet. At the begining I thought visitation was a good thing and I was the one who arranged it. But now, these visits are too disruptive (three different visits with different sets of bio family members because they can't be all together at the same time because they pose risks to one another). It's just insane.

 

I feel like the problem is one of mismanged priorities. These caseworkers obviously do not prioritize permanency and the child's best interests, despite federal legal mandates to do so. Instead, they prioritize recent, vague, state law that prioritizes bio family's rights. They rush from case to case, incident to incident "putting out fires" and can't take a step back to see the big picture.

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#30 of 49 Old 01-20-2012, 10:05 AM
 
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I am so sorry you're going through this. We've had some issues of lesser proportion in the past and have been told we can simply said, "No." It's amazing what power we have as the primary care givers. I suggest you be very clear in your responses, repeat your rationale behind less visits (NOT in best interest of child) and do so in writing. I'd stay away from legal talk and focus on what you're there for- to protect the child. Also, you cannot do so very well if you're schlepping said child to stressful visits every week. Again, we had some say in this by describing in detail our FS responses to visits and any other related behaviors.

 

Best of luick!


Mama to Ru cutie (a. age 3, fall 2006) and foster to adopt  wonder-child (arrived a. 3,  2010) 

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