Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm not made of money

Alright - this will be another one of those rambling sort of posts with a lot of he said she said references. Bear with me.

Bluebell recommended a lawyer to us concerning the case with Dude and Dolly. I phoned said lawyer (I'll call her Amy), who is located another county over from us (and two counties over from where this CPS case is). Amy explained that she could take the case...but we could expect higher than normal fees due to the 'out of county' issue.

I asked our pastor for a recommendation. He sent me to another lawyer in our area. (I'll call him John.)

John was pleasant but immediately expressed that this kind of a case is not his expertise. He referred me to two other lawyers. John was a little concerned that the two he referred me to were really busy. He said they might not take my call. He said to call him back if that was the case.

Both lawyers John referred me to are very busy right now and aren't taking on new clients.

I called John back and left a message yesterday.

John called me this morning. Again, he referred me to another lawyer. John is quite personable though and was willing to answer some of my questions.

First, I asked him if he had ever heard of Amy before. He looked Amy up in his system and said nothing raised any red flags. I told him I had reservations because I had been told the fees would be higher.

I sucked up my courage and asked John what I could expect to pay on a case like this anyway. His answer didn't exactly surprise me. But it did, very soundly, shut a door I was trying to walk through so to speak.

I was told to expect at least a $2500 retainer. From there, fees would be around $150 an hour. He said most child custody cases cost at least $10,000 to $15,000 or more!!

I don't have that much money. It's just not possible. We won't be getting our own counsel.


I've also been thinking a lot about my desire to get a lawyer. I can't prove that these children will be unloved or mistreated if they do end up with their Grandma in D***. All my issues are based on a (very strong) feeling that this grandma doesn't really want the children. I do believe the State isn't doing their job in fully vetting the situation. I don't believe the State has checked to see if the children would have contact with their bio dad who just got out of jail. Deep down, I think the situation in D*** is most likely not good for Dude and Dolly at all! But I can't prove a thing.

Also, should we ever end up being able to adopt Dude and Dolly – I don't want them to accuse me of keeping them from their bio family. I mean, they would anyway...but I don't want them to be right. Should this case end in termination all on its own, I would be able to honestly say I had nothing to do with them not staying in their bio family.

I'm going to have to let go. There's nothing I can afford to do legally. All that's left is for me to make sure - again - that all parties involved understand that we would be willing to step in and take these kids if no relative placement is deemed suitable.

Amazingly enough, I have a real peace about this. I know the case isn't over. It won't be over until the judge says it's over. And until that happens, the cherubs are mine. I'm their mommy. And all is well.

The only thing I'm doing different is making sure Dude and Dolly know that we want them. If asked, they can tell their lawyer they want to stay with us. Up until now, I did NOT make that an option for them. I didn't think it was fair to offer up an option that really isn't available. I'm not pressuring Dude and Dolly at all. They can say anything they want. I've just let them know that if their lawyer asks, they can tell her they want to stay right here.


Mie said...

I think you've done what you can. The option of requesting a CASA sounds interesting though.

I'm posting this next piece just so it's here for the general comment audience's awareness more than to influence you. Please don't feel like I'm pressuring you!

One thing to consider about this is that because the kiddos are a sibling group they qualify as special needs (in our state for sure but I think in most states). That means that, at least at this point, they would qualify for attorney fee assistance through the state (approx. $1500 each), adoption subsidy (approx $500 each per month), one time fees (varies) and medicaid. Additionally, you can qualify for automatic approval for the full adoption credit - last year that would have amounted to approximately $26K. It hasn't been decided what will happen with the adoption tax credit from here on out.

Again, I just bring this up so that people reading are aware of some options available in this type of a situation in case they find themselves in need of finding their own lawyer!

Sunday Taylor said...

It is no small thing to have a perspective on this situation that gives you peace.

I think the most important thing in this situation is that the kids KNOW that you love then and would let them stay if they could. It never hurts to know that you were loved and wanted.

I would also say, teach them your phone number...drill it into their heads, let them know they can always call you if they need anything and never, ever change your #. Life is funny and you never know what may happen.

Mama P said...

I agree with Mie and Sunday, both.

:( Im sending over some cyber hugs.