We have been fostering a wonderful little child from birth for a year. The bmom is for signing off on an open adoption- and has been for many months. We are on board with her requests for contact and did everything we needed to do to adopt. We had to wait the required 6 months before the baby's goal could be changed to adoption, then the TPR process started slowly. There was no father around- four guys were named, none returned calls to the SW, the department or showed interest. A week before TPR for all unavailable unfit fathers (after 6 months of the baby with us), he was incarcerated. Because he was named as a potential father, they brought him from prison to the father TPR trial and he said might be the father. Fast forward 5 months later- paternity tests show he is the father. He is not fit- the department plans on TPRing him at court in April when the mom signs away her rights. He wants his family to take the baby. We are all the baby has ever known- we took the baby home from the hospital. They will have to introduce this new family to the baby at 14-15 months and try to build a bond if this guy's family wants to adopt her.
I am so frustrated. This guy was a sperm donor- they were trading drugs for sex. He couldn't remember the mothers' name. He didn't get into contact when he was out of prison, its only been since he has been in prison that he has participated in the process. The department has indicated that they are going to recommend placement with us- not his family, even though they haven't homestudied the family because the best interest of the baby is to stay with the family that it has bonded to- us. They even brought in an independent assessor to write up an independent report which stated that. But, if he wants his family to adopt, the situation will go to trial and a judge will decide.
We are so fearful that we are going to lose this baby. We relaxed after the mom was consistently saying she wanted an open adoption with us. Even the department was asking us things like- see, it was worth it. There was no dad. Then even when this guy showed up, the liklihood was that he wasn't the dad. Now we are in an open tail spin with our emotions. In less than 6 weeks, we would have had a final adoption date- TPR was scheduled and ready to go. This should have been basic and done. Now we fear we are going to be a nightmare story and lose the baby because of the preference for biological kin.
What an awful example of how the system fails these poor kiddos. I'm so sorry you are being put through this.
You say that he says his family would want to adopt, have any of them come forward to try to do so? Do you know anything about them?
Elizabeth - Doing life with Scott
SAHM to Evelyn - my crazy little Celiac (4) Annabelle (2) and Abraham (born 6/20)
Follow our journey
We don't know yet- he is supposed to be providing names to the department so they can homestudy them. He has been a jerk through this process- he was contacted by the department twice when he wasn't in jail- way back around 4-5 months. Never followed through then. Even with the paternity tests, it took so long because he asked for a continuance for the paperwork and such.
I get biological/kin preference in cases where it is the mom/father. I get it when there is a bond between family members. I don't get it when you are introducing an aunt and uncle in their late 40's early 50's with grown kids (that is who dad has said he wants to put forward- I don't know if he has yet) who have no idea about a relative even being in the world. We believe he is estranged from his family. I don't understand why this bond trumps the primary bond forged with us for the first 14-15 years- isn't preservation of this bond the reason that the foster system works so hard to keep kids with their first (and usually biological) families? Isn't this exact opposite of the philosophy of preserving the primary bond and placing kids with strangers? Is an uncle really that much more qualified so that you take a kid away from the only family and extended family it has ever known?
We are open to visitation/contact with paternal family (not with the dad- he has a criminal record that is long, varied, and distinguished) and have a verbal open adoption agreement with the mom- its verbal because we were waiting for the adoption date to be set for the contract to be written up.
At this point, can't you be considered fictive kin for this child? And hopefully you don't have any real worries. I remember being stressed that they were going to find some long lost relative of bio dad and take our foster baby, but the fears were thankfully not realized.
Carly, mama to DS C (5th grade), DD Miss M (07/09, fostered 1/10, adopted 08/10), and Little Miss C (11/10, fostered 01/11, adopted 11/12). Foster Son, Mr. A, age 11 placed 10/13.
My angel babies , ~01/08~ (twins), ~09/08~, and ~01/09~.
Originally Posted by kellannolin
isn't preservation of this bond the reason that the foster system works so hard to keep kids with their first (and usually biological) families? Isn't this exact opposite of the philosophy of preserving the primary bond and placing kids with strangers? Is an uncle really that much more qualified so that you take a kid away from the only family and extended family it has ever known?
no, yes, no
The system works hard to keep kids with their bio families because of social and legal preference for biological realtionships, not because there is any actual proof that it's in the child's interests to do so.
The system says they don't want to bounce kids around from family to family but honestly I think they could care less. They move kids for all kinds of reasons, good and bad.
Trust the judge, trust your lawyer, trust your kid, your spouse, and your heart. DO NOT TRUST SOCIAL WORKERS. They tell foster families that they "don't want to move the kid" until one day they do.
If you don't have a lawyer yet, get one. It's your best bet if you want to adopt this kid. I speak from experience - one that was similar to yours. We fought and won.
Oh, and don't worry about how it might look. When it comes down to it, lawyers are the only ones in the position to make the system function properly.
You can have 9 out of 10 child welfare professionals on your side, if the 1 who is not on your side has a better lawyer, they'll win. It won't matter if the therapists' reports say moving homes is bad and it won't matter if the kid wants to stay with you... If your opposition has a better lawyer you lose. Get a lawyer, the best you can, and fight hard.
With our other son, it sounded like a kin issue might come up, but the social worker made it known to the judge that my husband and I had all kinds of training about his special needs and had sought out all kinds of specialty help, and that our level expertise was required to raise him. So she recommended that any kin coming forward would be qualified to apply if they had this kind of expertise, which of course few people would. Nobody ended up coming forward, but if your child has any special care needs, I would suggest making them clear in a written report to the court. Everything.
1 me + 1 hubby + 4 kids + 5 goats + 3 pigs + 3 dozen chickens + 6 ducks = 1 crazy place