Thursday, January 5, 2012

More visits

I've been asked this question a few times since everything happened yesterday in court...

Why does Pumpkin's mom get MORE visits even though Pumpkin is never going to go home?

My answers are purely speculation. I honestly don't know. I'll never really know. But this is what I observed yesterday. And this is how I compartmentalized it in my head.

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I don't think Pumpkin's mom was consulted by her lawyer prior to sitting in the waiting room before we got called into court. Maybe she had been. But it sure didn't sound like it. Pumpkin's mom's lawyer was sitting across the room consulting with Mom and this is what I heard:

Lawyer: "We're going to go for conservatorship today. You need to talk to your sister (who the State is trying to get to take custody of Pumpkin). If Pumpkin ends up at your sister's you'll get more visits. One or two or even three a week. Whatever you work out with her. But for now the State will have conservatorship. We're going to try and get you more visits. Are you OK with that? This is what we're going to do. OK?

I think Mom mumbled OK. Honestly though, I don't think she understood a thing the lawyer was saying. I don't know if they ever sat down with Mom after court back in November to discuss what PMC (permanent managing conservatorship) really is. I don't know if she even knew the hearing yesterday was considered a trial where they could have terminated rights. I'm not sure if she caught that they may consider terminating rights in April. I just don't know what they've told Mom and what Mom actually understands. But I did hear them press the subject of getting more visits.

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This is how I worked it all out in my brain. It still doesn't make a whole lot of sense...but what happened can be thought of kind of like a messy divorce. Only, instead of a parent gaining permanent custody of the child, the State got custody. Even in a messy divorce, the parent who didn't get custody still gets court ordered visits. Because they haven't terminated rights (yet), Pumpkin still gets to see her mom. If Pumpkin ends up at her aunt's house, she will still get to see her mom. Now...if rights get terminated, that could become a little more sticky. But, if Pumpkin is placed with a relative in the neighborhood, nothing will really stop Mom from seeing her. Everyone knows this and I think playing up the whole aspect of visits is how they got Mom to easily agree to the PMC arrangement. (Not that she really had a choice.)

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I was thoroughly disgusted with how they treated Mom yesterday. Granted, things went smoothly in court. But the way they described PMC to her before court...and the way they seemed to push the idea of more visits without saying anything about, "Ya know Mom, you NEVER get your kid back. You understand that don't you?!" It all seemed very, very wrong to me.

Now maybe they went over this privately at some time. Maybe Mom does know. But I doubt it.

I know Mom really screwed up. I know she's going to lose her kid. But I believe she still deserves respect. ESPECIALLY from The System. ESPECIALLY from HER lawyer. It's the least they can do in my opinion. It makes me sad how these cases realistically play out.

When all is said and done, Pumpkin is still only going to see her mom twice a month. And the visits are only two hours long each. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about all of it. Honestly, I think the visits are really hard on Pumpkin. They seem to send her into a state of depression and I think it's sad. I've talked about this with all the caseworkers and lawyers. Pumpkin regresses after a visit. She doesn't interact with our family as much. Her language skills diminish. It's subtle. But it's what happens. And because Pumpkin is so incredibly low functioning, I can't explain any of it to her. She doesn't have a clue of what's going on. I think it's unfortunate that everything will continue to drag on and on. But...as we all know...that's how The System works.

2 comments:

Mie said...

And for those not familiar with the system (at least here in Texas) they usually try to use visitation or other contact agreements in order to get the parents to relinquish their rights more easily or make it more appealing to the judge. If a parent agrees to relinquish they may do so with contingencies to have letters and pictures a few times a year and even visits with the child even after termination occurs. The document is called the Rule 11 agreement. We have one signed with our daughter.

MamaFoster said...

the social worker who wrote Lizzy's petition for termination encouraged me to offer visit to the bio for signing off on her as well...the worker even went as far as to say "they loose interest anyway and eventually you wouldn't have to worry about it anyway."

i kinda wanted to throw up after that conversation.