Should we be hopeful? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 05-30-2012, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We have been fostering a beautiful baby for almost 2 months now in our home, plus 2 1/2 weeks in the hospital.  The baby went into custody at 5 days and was placed with us a few days later but stayed in the hospital for almost a month because of some medical issues.   We are in MA and are a pre-adoptive placement, meaning that they placed the LO with us and not a foster family because they are preparing for adoption and for reunification at the same time (concurrent planning).The baby has only had a few supervised visits with the mother during this time because of the mother's plan, which right now she is working.

 

There is a hearing in a few weeks.  The social worker told us we don't need to attend this hearing and that it is going to be a formality, everything will stay the same.  We have never met the bio mom.  For those of you with experience with this, is it helpful to go to court?  Does it help to meet the bio mom?  The last visit was a disaster- she doesn't have the basic skills to parent but she is trying to get clean for the first time in her life to keep the baby. She did ask questions about the baby and the care we are providing. The SW took the LO back and forth from the visit so we didn't see the mom.  There is no other kin- can't identify father, her family is not suitable according to the state.  We would consider an open adoption because we believe it is better to remove the mystery around her circumstances. The LO is considered special needs and needs more care than a normal infant  (its really not that bad- its all stuff she should grow out of).  Does it help you to meet the birth parents if the baby eventually goes back to them?  Does it put your mind at ease? Does it help facilitate voluntary relinquishment?  Should we be hopeful?

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#2 of 9 Old 05-30-2012, 09:15 PM
 
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My story is similar. My 2-year-old was our first foster placement, placed with us because we indicated we were interested in a baby whose plan was likely to be termination. He came home with us at 3 weeks old, parental rights were terminated just after his 1st birthday, and we finalized his adoption last month.

 

We always went to court. I always wrote a one-page report about how he was doing for the court file, submitted through the social worker. I don't think anything would have been different had we not gone, but I was attached to him and wanted to know I was doing everything I could. There was a chance his case could have gone to reunification (as with any foster child) and I wanted to know everything that was going on. That was all for me.

 

We never had interactions with the birthmother. Like you, our social worker met us at the back door and took the baby in to her for visits. This was recommended by the agency as the birthfather had a criminal record and she didn't want us identified for our safety (I also was bringing my bio kids along for visit drop-offs and they didn't need to be exposed either). Once I decided to go to court, I knew I'd be blowing our cover. Our names were still private, but they knew the faces of my husband and me. I decided it was worth it, and realized the birthparents didn't have anything against us or any reason to come after us. After I saw the birthmother in court a few times, she became more of a person to me and less of a monster. I'm sorry to say it, but previously I couldn't think anything but negative feelings about a person who was making the decisions that were made that put the baby at risk. I think this was healthy for me, and will be healthy for my son as he grows up and asks about her. Now I can truly say she wasn't able to make decisions to keep him safe, rather than she was a terrible person. After awhile I started to fill out journal pages about how he was doing each week and put them in the diaper bag for visits. Simple things like smiled today, got an owie, ate lots of applesauce, got to pet a goat. Part of me figured the birthmother deserved to know this info. The other part made me worry it would make her more attached to him and she'd fight harder for him. A couple times she wrote notes back, very brief notes about how cute he looked in that shirt or that he liked the mango she offered during the visit. I will save these for him forever.

 

The birthmother ended up doing voluntary termination, though it was really more of a plea bargain to get the birthfather out of some criminal trouble. I would like to think she did it because she truly wanted what was best for the baby and because the fact that I smiled at her in the courthouse hallway and provided the journal pages gave her a sense of trust that I'd take good care of him. Maybe not. I'll never know.

 

I have a relative adopting children through foster care right now, as well. Their birthmother also did voluntary termination, and not to get out of criminal trouble. She approached my relative afterward and said some positive things about knowing they will do a good job raising the children she birthed. In that case, I think their meeting the birthmother did make a difference.

 

Our little guy has special needs, as well. Hopefully you are having good success in helping your little one with what is needed, as it sounds like you are.

 

Good luck.


Raising and educating free-range kids in our farmhouse at the maple woods. In March, find us in the sugarbush making pure maple syrup.

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#3 of 9 Old 05-31-2012, 07:28 AM
 
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I adopted my daughter from foster care in MA too!  We finalized 5 years ago, so a lot may have changed.

 

I think that if there was a lot of doubt (there is always some doubt!) about the baby staying with you, then the social workers would not talk so openly about the case.

 

We did not go to most hearings.  I mostly followed the lead of the social workers.

 

Good Luck!!!

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#4 of 9 Old 05-31-2012, 08:23 AM
 
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Obviously, the first thing is that no one can predict and nothing is certain until its set in stone. That is...until you get the final decree of adoption in the mail that states this child is forever legally yours, you will not truly breathe. Because *anything* can happen until then. I didnt even realize i was "holding my breath" until i got those papers. And no matter WHAT the sw or anyone else tells you...until those final papers are signed there really is no way to know and while you think knowing what way the case is leaning may make you feel better in reality you live with the uncertainty anyway no matter what you think you know about the case.

 

My very first foster placement was three weeks old, no mother in sight. She didnt want to RU, there was only one relative interested that we worried about but he was an older single guy who really wasnt able to adopt and only saw the baby occasionally like once a month if that. TPR took place just before my son turned 4 months old, adoption finalized at less than 11 months old.

 

I very much regret not going to court. No one ever told me about when they would be or that i could be there. I would give anything to have met my son's bmom (well, she wasnt at court i dont think)...there is info that they legally cannot give you right now as the "foster parent" that MAY come out in court. For example, my son's bfather is not named, there is ONE spot on the child assessment that has a name but its redacted (blacked out)....but the worker had said "oh we know who he is and he wont come to court because there he has an outstanding warrant"...well that may have been brought up in court, and i'd at least have a name to give my son, a name for who his father might be. But i have nothing.

 

I have adopted two other children and that case was very different. We did visits every week at the agency for months and even continued visits during a protracted trial where the parents tried very hard to get the kids back. Going to visits helped me form some positive feelings about bmom and i can tell those positive things to my children. I was able to talk to the bmom and she i think felt as comfortable as possible given the situation, she knows her kids are safe with me. I was able to exchange email addresses (mine, a private one) and cell number with her so i could maintain contact since where i live that does NOT seem to be encouraged. She still hasnt sent baby pics (my daughter had no pictures of herself before she moved in with me at age 8 :( ) but hopefully one day.

 

But going to court also provided a different perspective. I had been told things by bmom that painted her in a sympathetic light, but it turns out a lot of that was lies. I got to see a different side in court. And the biggest thing is that i can truly tell my children everything that happened, that their parents fought hard for them but i can also tell them the beautiful statement the judge made about WHY she was terminating rights, that she had their best interests in mind. I would have NONE of that had i not gone.

 

Of course its possible that if you went to court it would be kind of a waste of time, either nothing would really be said or decided, or it will be rescheduled, etc....that happens too. But i think if there is any way to go you should go. Here, the foster parent can sit in the courtroom for everything but i've heard in some places they can't? i dunno.

 

To me, if you dont know what the bparents look like, i'd go for that reason alone. Ask her if you can take some pictures of her for the baby. These things will be so important for your child if you do adopt the baby.
 


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#5 of 9 Old 05-31-2012, 12:16 PM
 
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To me, if you dont know what the bparents look like, i'd go for that reason alone. Ask her if you can take some pictures of her for the baby. These things will be so important for your child if you do adopt the baby.

 

 

 

YES!!!!  They will want them so much someday and it will be important that you tried your hardest to get them.... I wondered my whole life what my birthmom looked like- I stared into faces of strangers.  Please if at all possible- get pictures of the birthmom and dad if possible and any other family you can.
 


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#6 of 9 Old 05-31-2012, 08:52 PM
 
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My personal opinion is that it's very likely you will have a long, frustrating, emotionally draining situation but that you have a good chance of adopting this child.

However, I also think that trying to prepare yourself for this emotional rollercoaster is impossible and may actually be harmful to your bonding with the child (you may withdraw in order to protect your heart).

I do think going to court hearings is ALWAYS a good idea. Your caseworker may be incompetent, ignorant, or flat out lying but in court it often all comes out. So you learn a lot more about the REALITY of the situation if you go to court whereas if you don't go then you might be misled by your social worker or others.

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#7 of 9 Old 06-01-2012, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, the department's attorney told us not to attend as the goal is reunification right now- concurrent planning is an internal label only, not a recognized legal one.  Our CW told us it is still concurrent planning. I am both disheartened and pleased by this.  We were told it wouldn't be appropriate by the attorney to go.  The SW and court investigators have shared some info with us that has made us hopeful about our chances, but the reality of it is that we are dealing with an addict and a legal system.  And the mother is working her plan right now.  Both can shift and change.  We waited a long time for this placement and so are just really anxious because it might not end up the way we want it to. Thanks for the kind words.

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#8 of 9 Old 06-01-2012, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are feeling not hopeful.  The mother is working her plan.  While it is still early and there is significant drug addiction involved, we are not feeling hopeful about this.

 

Its a bummer- it is in this child's best interest to not be cared for by her mother.  A bus driver who left a 5 year old at the wrong bus stop would have gotten in more legal trouble than this mother, despite that what she did was far worse.  I don't understand how the system can't put the needs of the child first.  The child came home from the hospital to us. No bond to the mother. Severe and long drug addiction.  It is screwed up.  

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#9 of 9 Old 06-01-2012, 01:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kellannolin View Post
  I don't understand how the system can't put the needs of the child first.  The child came home from the hospital to us. No bond to the mother. Severe and long drug addiction.  It is screwed up.  

 

Like you, I don't agree with how the legal system works. I think fostercare is MAJORLY screwed up. The way it should work is that they should put in place more social services to maintain families together and then if/when they remove a child it ought to go straight to adoption. This fostercare thing just doesn't work, on so many levels. So, for example, the way some other MORE CIVILIZED countries do it is they have rehab centers where a drug addicted mother can check in with her baby and get treatment but in an environment that allows bonding and keeps baby safe. Then if mom chooses not to go into the program or if she "flunks out" or something then the baby goes for adoption.

 

There is absolutely no true scientific justification for putting biological family members together merely because they share biology. Nope. None. They will say it is in the child's best interests to go "back" to mom/dad/grandma/auntie/cousin/brother/etc EVEN when they've NEVER been withmom/dad/grandma/auntie/cousin/brother/etc  but it's NOT in the child's best interests. There's no evidence that it's better for children who've already established strong bonds with new parents to go live with people who happen to share some DNA. It's complete BS. I only hope that in the future things will change and people won't be so blind about what is actually in a child's best interests.

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