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#1 of 127 Old 04-01-2012, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband and I are trying to get custody of his three and a half year old son, who is currently in foster care, his mother is facing felony charges of endangering the welfare of a child (three counts) and leaving an infant unattended in a motor vehicle (2 counts). We recently found out that his mother's parents are trying to also gain custody of my stepson, but the caseworker said that the goal is to place him with a parent, so I'm not sure what thier chances are looking like. Neither one of us have ever delt with the foster system before and are not really sure how it works, when a parent is trying to gain custody of the child who was placed. We have a bedroom set up for him, I put his bed in the same bedroom as my 6 month old son, have a place for his clothing, all that stuff, I put my girls (ages 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 ) in the same bedroom my oldest in her regular twin size bed, and my middle in her toddler bed. I'm not sure what else there is to do right now to present our case in a manner to show how much we both, not just his father, but both of us want him here.

 

 

 

 

As I said above, No negative comments, or attacks or i will block and report, that is not why i posted this and I will not put up with it

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#2 of 127 Old 04-01-2012, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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also what kinds of things should we be asking? i've never dealt with the foster care system before nor have i ever been part of an investigation

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#3 of 127 Old 04-01-2012, 04:35 PM
 
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Once he is placed with you (which is likely), he won't be in foster care anymore - he will be living with his dad. That will change things dramatically.
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Once he is placed with you (which is likely), he won't be in foster care anymore - he will be living with his dad. That will change things dramatically.


That wasnt true for my son. He was removed from his bmom and placed with bdad after a short (one month i think) stint in a regular foster home. Dad was then given a plan HE had to follow too, psychological testing and such, he was given rules to follow (such as the baby couldnt see bmom outside of agency visits, but the agency did suspect they were living together at times or at least having contact)....he was supposed to bring baby to agency every week for bmom (and half sib) visits, but rarely showed. Because HE wasnt the one who had charges leveled against him (that happened later) there wasnt much they could do though to enforce his compliance. But i think the goal was to get the baby back with the mom and sister. I'm not sure what they do if she completed her plan and retained rights (in the end he lost him to, baby came to me, parents TPRd and i adopted.)

 

So, they MAY not just wash their hands of it if the dad gets him. Or they may. Depends on the policies in that state/county.


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#5 of 127 Old 04-02-2012, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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the mother is facing felony charges of endangering the welfare of a child, and leaving an infant unattended in a motor vehicle, i doubt they want the children back with her
 

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That wasnt true for my son. He was removed from his bmom and placed with bdad after a short (one month i think) stint in a regular foster home. Dad was then given a plan HE had to follow too, psychological testing and such, he was given rules to follow (such as the baby couldnt see bmom outside of agency visits, but the agency did suspect they were living together at times or at least having contact)....he was supposed to bring baby to agency every week for bmom (and half sib) visits, but rarely showed. Because HE wasnt the one who had charges leveled against him (that happened later) there wasnt much they could do though to enforce his compliance. But i think the goal was to get the baby back with the mom and sister. I'm not sure what they do if she completed her plan and retained rights (in the end he lost him to, baby came to me, parents TPRd and i adopted.)

 

So, they MAY not just wash their hands of it if the dad gets him. Or they may. Depends on the policies in that state/county.



 

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#6 of 127 Old 04-02-2012, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i understand that will change things dramatically but right now he is in the foster care system and neither my husband nor i have ever dealt with any foster systems at all and we are not sure how to approach the caseworker with our questions and concerns and are not sure what things we should be asking to push us trying to get custody of him
 

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Once he is placed with you (which is likely), he won't be in foster care anymore - he will be living with his dad. That will change things dramatically.


 

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#7 of 127 Old 04-02-2012, 01:18 PM
 
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I think what most caseworkers want is to know someone is open and willing to work with them at Child Protection. Regardless of the legal status of the birth mom, they will have an open case for her and they will need to have case goals for her. Many cases start with Reunification as the goal, even if it doesn't seem to make sense to the rest of us. After a while if the birth mom doesn't do what they are asking her to do to get her child back, they will change the case goal to Termination of Parental Rights or Adoption. It really depends on your state whether the caseworker will also allow the child just to go to her father. They are obligated to make sure the child is safe once he is in their care, so they will need to check out any potential caregiver. It will be important to stay positive and open and ask a lot of questions about the child's needs.


 
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#8 of 127 Old 04-02-2012, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok not to make myself sound completely stupid but does anyone understand what all this means?

 

 

 

the child is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional health, or morals; a determination that there is a lack of proper parental care or control may be based upon evidence of conduct by the parent, guardian that places the health, safethy or welfare of the child at risk, including evidence of the parent's guardian's or other custodian's use of alcohol or a controlled substance that places the health safety or welfare of the child at risk

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#9 of 127 Old 04-02-2012, 03:53 PM
 
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I could understand it, but taken out of context it's just jibberish. Where is it from? It sounds like a statute, but without knowing where it is from and having the full statute, it makes no sense.
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#10 of 127 Old 04-02-2012, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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taken from a certified letter he got in the mail about it, all i got is jibberish too... i dont know why they cant make crap easy to understand lol

 

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I could understand it, but taken out of context it's just jibberish. Where is it from? It sounds like a statute, but without knowing where it is from and having the full statute, it makes no sense.


 

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#11 of 127 Old 04-03-2012, 03:04 AM
 
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I think they are quoting in the letter the statute (or law) that they used to justify their removal of the child(ren) from her care.--- That the child(ren) were without proper care, food, control (as in discipline), that they would need for their physical or emotional development, that she placed him/them at risk,  and that this lack of care may have been related to her use of substances. That's what I glean from it.

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#12 of 127 Old 04-03-2012, 04:58 AM
 
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What to expect from a caseworker is really hard to say.  Some are incredibly compassionate and others very no-nonsense.  Either way, expect them to be professional and be acting in the best interest of the child.  

 

That being said, I'd suggest that you and your husband prepare yourself for whatever they may require and do it to the best of your abilities.  That may include taking the baby to the prison to see his mother if they deem that to be in the best interest of the child.  If you and your husband are always doing the right thing - then chances are (no guarantees of course) that the courts will see him and you as the best option for a productive future for the child.

 

I'm really happy to see you both stepping up and doing what's best for this innocent child.   I wish you both the best of luck and hope to hear happy toddler stories soon.


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#13 of 127 Old 04-03-2012, 07:31 AM
 
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My daughter's birthmother was in prison for neglect, but her goal was reunification part of that time.  It wasn't until months after the conviction and our daughter was placed with us that her birth parents' rights were terminated.  The goal will almost certainly be reunification at least until she faces trial.  If she is found guilty, then the courts may seek to terminate her rights.

 

Either way, as others have said, you will be expected to foster a relationship between the child and the birthmother until (or if) her parental rights are terminated.

 

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the mother is facing felony charges of endangering the welfare of a child, and leaving an infant unattended in a motor vehicle, i doubt they want the children back with her
 



 



 

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#14 of 127 Old 04-03-2012, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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the meeting with the caseworker this morning went very well, i liked the way she explained things and helped us understand more.

 

 

 

also, i've been thinking if my husband does get the full custody that he deserves, in which case i hope he does, how would i go about trying to find out how I can adopt? his mother hasn't relinquished her rights yet, and im not sure if she will, but it is just something i have been thinking about alot, i haven't brought it up to my husband yet i was waiting to see how her trial goes first.

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#15 of 127 Old 04-03-2012, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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right now the caseworker changed the goal to adoption, because its the most permenant placement, but she said she is looking for a permanent place for him with preferably a parent. so if thats the goal does that mean they are looking to terminate her rights because the goal is permanent not with her? this stuff is so confusing im ready to bang my head against the wall lol

 

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I think what most caseworkers want is to know someone is open and willing to work with them at Child Protection. Regardless of the legal status of the birth mom, they will have an open case for her and they will need to have case goals for her. Many cases start with Reunification as the goal, even if it doesn't seem to make sense to the rest of us. After a while if the birth mom doesn't do what they are asking her to do to get her child back, they will change the case goal to Termination of Parental Rights or Adoption. It really depends on your state whether the caseworker will also allow the child just to go to her father. They are obligated to make sure the child is safe once he is in their care, so they will need to check out any potential caregiver. It will be important to stay positive and open and ask a lot of questions about the child's needs.



 

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the meeting with the caseworker this morning went very well, i liked the way she explained things and helped us understand more.

 

I'm glad the meeting went well.

 

also, i've been thinking if my husband does get the full custody that he deserves, in which case i hope he does, how would i go about trying to find out how I can adopt? his mother hasn't relinquished her rights yet, and im not sure if she will, but it is just something i have been thinking about alot, i haven't brought it up to my husband yet i was waiting to see how her trial goes first.


I don't have first hand experience with adoption, but unless the mothers rights are terminated by the state - you will not be able to adopt. If the child is living in a stable home with his father (I say "if" only because he isn't yet - but sounds like he will be at some point hopefully soon), and your husband is granted sole legal/physical custody, and the mother has supervised visits, the state may not see a reason to pursue terminating her rights. Parents are generally not allowed to voluntarily terminate their rights, unless there is a step parent willing to adopt (which is you) - but if the state is not pursuing TPR, she would be under no obligation to terminate her rights. Parents don't generally allow step parents to adopt, even if there is a good reason to (its an ego thing).

 

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right now the caseworker changed the goal to adoption, because its the most permenant placement, but she said she is looking for a permanent place for him with preferably a parent. so if thats the goal does that mean they are looking to terminate her rights because the goal is permanent not with her? this stuff is so confusing im ready to bang my head against the wall lol

 


(we cross posted)
If the goal is a permanent placement, your DH is a good fit for that because he is a parent, and he has a legal right to parent his son. If TPR is pursued, adoption would be the case plan (but that will take years - not months, and definitely not weeks). The state may not pursue a costly TPR case if the child is living with a parent, who has sole custody, and who is fit to parent. It wouldn't be necessary, like it is when the case plan is adoption and not placing the child with their non-custodial parent.

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#18 of 127 Old 04-03-2012, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i know it won't be easy and she probably won't let me it was just something that i have been thinking about alot, and would really like to see how this all plays out, i'm not going to bring it up to the caseworker for a while, just to see where the case plan goes, and if it heads in that direction, but i do want to bring up my thoughts on it thursday night to my husband after my kiddos are in bed and see how he feels about it and what he thinks. I just wanted more information on the process because if it becomes an option for me, i would definately love to persue it, because to me he is not "oh yeah thats my husbands kid" but the way i feel towards him is like he is one of my own, i would love more than anything to be able to be able to make him one of mine too. but i think part of the problem is that i am starting to feel like the caseworkers and lawyers and stuff aren't really including me in anything which i think is ridiculous, because who do they think does 99% of the childcare?? my husband works overnight from 10 pm to 7 am, and sleeps all day until around 8 pm, and then leaves around 9:30 pm, which no i am not saying anything bad about him at all not what i am getting at, but all the childcare responsibilities are on me, excpet like his days off i may leave a kid or two with him while i do laundry or something but im talking everyday, i just dont see where im not included in anything when i have just as much to do with how his child is going to be taken care of, as much as he does. it just doesnt seem fair to me to place his son here with us, but leave me no real details about the trauma he has endured so that if situations with behavior or anything like that come up, i'll know how to handle it and what to do. i only know bits and pieces of the case that my husband has told me, but truth be told he didnt tell me that much because thats how much everything that she did to the children involved, and everything she let her boyfriend do to them, pissed him off. (sorry for language couldnt think of a better way to put it)

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so i just checked my husbands email his ex wants him  to call herso i called to see what she wants shes calling back at 10:30 tonight.... im not playing games hope she knows it

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the mother is facing felony charges of endangering the welfare of a child, and leaving an infant unattended in a motor vehicle, i doubt they want the children back with her
 



 


It may or may not matter. Reunification is almost always the initial goal. My son came into care because he was left alone in a car too. I dont know if charges were pressed against the mother (baby was not with her but a friend when he was left), but you really never know what the judge is going to do. My other son's bmom lost two prior children for abuse (she set one in hot water) and had been charged (dont know if convicted) with child abuse, and while they did not let her take the new baby home, reunification WAS the *initial* goal (and was changed to adoption quickly when it was clear she did not want him and would not return calls.)

 

 

 


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#21 of 127 Old 04-03-2012, 05:02 PM
 
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I have heard in many places if the other parent takes custody the state will not pursue TPR on the first parent so the custodial parent can still pursue child support.

 

If i were you I would not even broach the subject of adoption at this time, its very premature. Has there been a court hearing yet? Do you have a lawyer? Its not the workers who usually make the decision on what the goal is, it is the judge. Who has the other kids?


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Brascos, do not get in the middle of this. Your husbands ex is his problem. If you get into arguments with her, (or even talk to her really, because then she can say what she wants) you could make this more difficult. You should really limit any back and forth so that there is an intermediary (like a lawyer, or the social worker). Just my .02.
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I know it is early in the case, but I feel like I have to say this.  Raising a child who has faced trauma may be the hardest thing you will ever do in your life.  You and your husband will face huge trials.  If you can't talk about it now, it is going to be even harder later.  If your husband knows the details and can't share them with you, that is a problem.  The system is not keeping information from you, your husband is.  I understand that this is emotional and very hard, but it will get harder. 
 

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 it just doesnt seem fair to me to place his son here with us, but leave me no real details about the trauma he has endured so that if situations with behavior or anything like that come up, i'll know how to handle it and what to do. i only know bits and pieces of the case that my husband has told me, but truth be told he didnt tell me that much because thats how much everything that she did to the children involved, and everything she let her boyfriend do to them, pissed him off. (sorry for language couldnt think of a better way to put it)



 

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 but i think part of the problem is that i am starting to feel like the caseworkers and lawyers and stuff aren't really including me in anything which i think is ridiculous, because who do they think does 99% of the childcare?? my husband works overnight from 10 pm to 7 am, and sleeps all day until around 8 pm, and then leaves around 9:30 pm, which no i am not saying anything bad about him at all not what i am getting at, but all the childcare responsibilities are on me, excpet like his days off i may leave a kid or two with him while i do laundry or something but im talking everyday, i just dont see where im not included in anything when i have just as much to do with how his child is going to be taken care of, as much as he does.

 

 

 

.....it just doesnt seem fair to me to place his son here with us, but leave me no real details about the trauma he has endured so that if situations with behavior or anything like that come up, i'll know how to handle it and what to do. i only know bits and pieces of the case that my husband has told me, but truth be told he didnt tell me that much because thats how much everything that she did to the children involved, and everything she let her boyfriend do to them, pissed him off. (sorry for language couldnt think of a better way to put it)


on the first part, let it go. Step parents don't have legal standing. It stucks, it isn't right, but getting hung up on that isn't going to help this child. Just focus on what is most important and not on yourself.

 

on the second part, knowing the exact details most likely won't be helpful to you. Raising a child who has been abused is  difficult, knowing the nitty gritty details doesn't necessarily make it easier. People react to the same things differently. You'll need to deal with the child in front of you, not with a case file.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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I have heard in many places if the other parent takes custody the state will not pursue TPR on the first parent so the custodial parent can still pursue child support.

 

If i were you I would not even broach the subject of adoption at this time, its very premature. Has there been a court hearing yet? Do you have a lawyer? Its not the workers who usually make the decision on what the goal is, it is the judge. Who has the other kids?



There is the ability to do TPR for a step parent adoption, but it is very very premature at this point for Brascos. If there was no contact for more than a year, and the mother wasn't even trying to make contact - then it might be possible depending on the states laws. Right now, it shouldn't even be on your radar, as it is possible (depending on the state, it may even be likely) that the state will try to foster a healthy relationship between the child and his mother, through supervised visitation and the like. Brascos, since you do most of the childcare you're going to have to be willing to take the child to visitation with his mom. You will not be required to supervise, and probably shouldn't supervise it, but you do need to be able to do that - or your husband is going to have to step up and do more of the child care.

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Brascos, do not get in the middle of this. Your husbands ex is his problem. If you get into arguments with her, (or even talk to her really, because then she can say what she wants) you could make this more difficult. You should really limit any back and forth so that there is an intermediary (like a lawyer, or the social worker). Just my .02.


yeahthat.gif  I know you mean well but you are over stepping here.  While it's fine if you read your husband's emails (well, as long as he's okay with that), it is not okay for you to call the ex.  She can make all kinds of claims to make your life miserable.  I think it's wonderful that you want to step up and help this child but you need to take a few steps back first.  As others have said, parenting a child who has experienced trauma is an incredibly difficult (but rewarding, I'd imagine) endeavor.  Please please please do your homework.  Google "trauma parenting".  Find resources, line up a wonderful therapist for yourself, one for your husband, one for your son and one for the whole family.  You have to consider your daughters here too.  The social worker will hopefully have lots of services for all of you - take advantage of whatever they have to give.  Anything that will make you and your husband better parents is always worth the time.  My favorite trauma parenting blog is www.lastmom.blogspot.com.  While her daughter is much older than your son, you can pick up some amazing parenting tips from her.


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There is the ability to do TPR for a step parent adoption, but it is very very premature at this point for Brascos. If there was no contact for more than a year, and the mother wasn't even trying to make contact - then it might be possible depending on the states laws. Right now, it shouldn't even be on your radar, as it is possible (depending on the state, it may even be likely) that the state will try to foster a healthy relationship between the child and his mother, through supervised visitation and the like. Brascos, since you do most of the childcare you're going to have to be willing to take the child to visitation with his mom. You will not be required to supervise, and probably shouldn't supervise it, but you do need to be able to do that - or your husband is going to have to step up and do more of the child care.


Oh yes i know its possible, i just meant that i have heard that states might be willing to NOT proceed with TPR of just one parent in order to preserve the other parent's ability to fight for child support. (Because frankly it wouldnt be fair for the state to just get the other parent off the hook and leave the custodial parent hanging with no support yknow?) But obviously if the custodial parent did not want the first parent involved and there was a spouse willing to adopt, there is a way in which to TPR but as you said i think its usually if the parent abandons the child, refuses to support etc. I was just trying to point out the OP should not count on the county proceeding with TPR (if that is even the plan) and her adopting, because once the child is placed with the father they MAY decide "case closed" and let HIM deal with the mother.

 

(Sorry, im probably either repeating myself or being as clear as mud. Hope you know what i mean!)

 


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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#28 of 127 Old 04-04-2012, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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it is fine with him that i read his emails, becuase he does not have the time, and when i told him i called his ex, he was fine with that too. and no kidding i have to consider my daughters here too, we already have if we felt like there was any reason at all why my stepson shouldnt be around my kids we wouldnt be going through with trying to get custody of him. and as far as i'm over stepping here, to us it is not overstepping, we have no overstepping issues at all, if he wanted to call my ex and chat about my son that i have with him and what happened and what he wanted if my husband were to see an email from him id be fine with that, we are married we have no boundary issues with each other, he is free to check my email, go through my phone, whatever we are very open with each other and have no trouble proving that to each other. so before you tell me im over stepping my boundaries know the relationship.

 

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Originally Posted by SpottedFoxx View Post



yeahthat.gif  I know you mean well but you are over stepping here.  While it's fine if you read your husband's emails (well, as long as he's okay with that), it is not okay for you to call the ex.  She can make all kinds of claims to make your life miserable.  I think it's wonderful that you want to step up and help this child but you need to take a few steps back first.  As others have said, parenting a child who has experienced trauma is an incredibly difficult (but rewarding, I'd imagine) endeavor.  Please please please do your homework.  Google "trauma parenting".  Find resources, line up a wonderful therapist for yourself, one for your husband, one for your son and one for the whole family.  You have to consider your daughters here too.  The social worker will hopefully have lots of services for all of you - take advantage of whatever they have to give.  Anything that will make you and your husband better parents is always worth the time.  My favorite trauma parenting blog is www.lastmom.blogspot.com.  While her daughter is much older than your son, you can pick up some amazing parenting tips from her.



 

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#29 of 127 Old 04-04-2012, 10:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post



There is the ability to do TPR for a step parent adoption, but it is very very premature at this point for Brascos. If there was no contact for more than a year, and the mother wasn't even trying to make contact - then it might be possible depending on the states laws. Right now, it shouldn't even be on your radar, as it is possible (depending on the state, it may even be likely) that the state will try to foster a healthy relationship between the child and his mother, through supervised visitation and the like. Brascos, since you do most of the childcare you're going to have to be willing to take the child to visitation with his mom. You will not be required to supervise, and probably shouldn't supervise it, but you do need to be able to do that - or your husband is going to have to step up and do more of the child care.


Oh yes i know its possible, i just meant that i have heard that states might be willing to NOT proceed with TPR of just one parent in order to preserve the other parent's ability to fight for child support. (Because frankly it wouldnt be fair for the state to just get the other parent off the hook and leave the custodial parent hanging with no support yknow?) But obviously if the custodial parent did not want the first parent involved and there was a spouse willing to adopt, there is a way in which to TPR but as you said i think its usually if the parent abandons the child, refuses to support etc. I was just trying to point out the OP should not count on the county proceeding with TPR (if that is even the plan) and her adopting, because once the child is placed with the father they MAY decide "case closed" and let HIM deal with the mother.

 

(Sorry, im probably either repeating myself or being as clear as mud. Hope you know what i mean!)

 


I'm in complete agreement with you! I also think its likely that it will be seen as a "win" for the child - because the mother would still be able to fight for visitation (supervised most likely, knowing what the potential charges are) and the child would be able to maintain a relationship with his mother. Which has been shown to be in the best interest whenever possible (obviously, its not always possible, and not always in the best interest, but in this case we don't know that). In other words, the county doesn't have to fight for TPR, because the child won't be in "limbo" anymore (he'll be living with his dad, won't be in foster care, and will have a permanent situation - foster children don't have that until they are adopted or reunited with their parents).

 

And yeah, the support is a big issue that states really don't like cutting a child off from potential support - which is why voluntary TPR is ONLY available in a situation where a step-parent is available and willing to adopt. Because, in that scenario, if the adoptive step-parent, and the parent divorce there are still 2 parents responsible for support. When the supporting parent is a single parent, and their isn't anyone available to adopt, the states primary interest is with financial support of the child and making sure that the state doesn't have to pay for the child. Either way, you're completely right that it is very premature for Brascos to be thinking about this.

 

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#30 of 127 Old 04-04-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrascosPrincess View Post

it is fine with him that i read his emails, becuase he does not have the time, and when i told him i called his ex, he was fine with that too. and no kidding i have to consider my daughters here too, we already have if we felt like there was any reason at all why my stepson shouldnt be around my kids we wouldnt be going through with trying to get custody of him. and as far as i'm over stepping here, to us it is not overstepping, we have no overstepping issues at all, if he wanted to call my ex and chat about my son that i have with him and what happened and what he wanted if my husband were to see an email from him id be fine with that, we are married we have no boundary issues with each other, he is free to check my email, go through my phone, whatever we are very open with each other and have no trouble proving that to each other. so before you tell me im over stepping my boundaries know the relationship.

I think you misunderstood. I don't think any meant to imply that you were stepping on your husbands toes or overstepping boundries with him. I think everyone meant to imply that you might be overstepping your boundries with the courts and with the Mother. The mother can make this easy for your guys or hard for you guys and if she is upset by having to deal with you rather than her ex she can make things harder than they need to be. Many, many exes would be upset by having a request to to their child's parent answered by anyone other than that parent. She may be most expecially upset by being contacted by her ex's wife. Same holds true of the courts and the social workers. If you insert yourself into this situation in a way that offends or irritates those who have the control in this situation they can make this harder for your husband than it needs to be. They need to work things out with your husband (legally), they don't have to work with you. Trying to insist they do work with you may just piss them off.
 

 


Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
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