Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Court Update

We didn't have to wait at all for court this morning. Our 10:30 hearing started around 10:20.

There aren't (polite) words to describe the event. I'm tongue tied right now trying to come up with a way to tell y'all what happened. And if you know me, tongue tied is NOT a typical description of me...oh...like...ever!

The State was not prepared. CPS was not prepared. They spoke in short sentence fragments like my 7yo does when he's caught being naughty. The judge in turn, treated them like children. The whole thing was quite a spectacle!

Bottom line -- it's the State's responsibility to:
1. give bio mom a laundry list of things "to do" so that she can get her child back.
2. prove to the judge that it is not in the best interests for Pumpkin to go home and then, in turn, ask for a termination hearing.

Neither of those things happened today.

And since mom is not in favor of Pumpkin going across the state to live with her aunt and uncle, the State couldn't do a thing today other than trip all over themselves.

The judge kept demanding that the State tell him what Mom needs to do to get Pumpkin back. The professionals barely even answered. They kept their eyes down looking at their phones, computers and/or paperwork. At best, they started barking about some kind of training that Mom needs to get. Only no one knew where one goes about to get "training" like this.

Oh wait...that's right -- there is NO such thing! You don't have a special needs baby and then immediately get offered some class to take. You either step up to the plate and work with the doctors, therapists, and other professionals...or you don't. Pumpkin's mom hasn't taken care of Pumpkin's medical needs. And then, when given the opportunity to get her back, she abused her not even two weeks later -- in a doctor's office no less!!

There's no training to handle that kind of behavior. Either Pumpkin's mom is going to keep Pumpkin safe...or she isn't.

Surely the State could have had just a few ducks in a row. They could have talked about the past neglect. They could have brought up the inability of Pumpkin's mom to care for her for the first 5.5 years of Pumpkin's life.

But they didn't.

It is now court ordered for Mom to go to another "training" on how to manage Pumpkin's medical needs. This is perfectly pointless. But it has been court ordered so I have to play along.

Mom now also has to attend all doctor appointments. This should be interesting. They had her come to a few of them before. Then, after everything fell apart in September, they haven't had Mom participate at all. I know this is largely because the State doesn't want Pumpkin to go home to Mom so it's pointless to include her in Pumpkin's care. But it's has been court ordered so I will play along. Needless to say, I will NOT be supervising these events myself. Someone from CPS or CASA will have to join us so they can have input when it comes to telling the judge how well Mom does in these situations.

All during court the judge fired off questions to CPS and the lawyers. No one could answer a single question. But me. I could have. However, I wasn't being asked the questions. CPS literally turned around and asked me things as court was going on and then turned to the judge to give their answers after I helped them. It was quite sad.

Pumpkin remains in foster care. We will have a hearing next month to discuss placement with the aunt and uncle across the state. It's called a "contested hearing" as Mom is not in favor of this placement. The next official placement hearing is in August.

I'm not sure what my role is going to be. I know that I had said I was going to give my 30 day notice. But I really feel like the lawyers are going to need my assistance in putting together a case against Mom. And I feel so strongly in the need to advocate for Pumpkin. I'm not going to make any official decision until I get to sit down with CPS and the lawyers. I need to know what they are going to do next and what they need from me.

I'm toying with the idea of giving my notice as Pumpkin's foster mom. But then...getting the necessary training and becoming a CASA volunteer. If there was a way I could be Pumpkin's CASA, then I could still be involved in the legal side of her case. I just wouldn't have to manage the day to day care.

Today was a train wreck. Oh, who's kidding who. Foster care is a train wreck. We're all just hanging on trying to do the right thing. Days like today are so disheartening though. It's a shame that the process has to be drug out so painfully. Pumpkin deserves an end to foster care. Every child that's in The System deserves a true permanency plan. Why is that so difficult?!


Leah W said...

i was gonna say...i bet you could have answered all these questions.

at Lizzy's termination trial her lawyer turned around and asked me questions and from the stand where she was testifying the social worker stared at me the whole time as I nodded me head in answer to the questions the judged asked and had to stop myself from mouthing answers to her.

anyway...holy crap, so sorry to hear all that.

jendoop said...

I'm sorry it was such a bad court day, then again there aren't many court days that are good. You are doing so well, I remember when you first got Pumpkin how difficult it was even for a few days, so I understand why you want to give notice. Let this day pass and think a little, no one here will judge you for knowing when to quit. If the CASA thing worked out that would be great, but I'd be worried that the system couldn't make that work in Pumpkin's best interests either.

Mama P said...

GAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! :( Sending you virtual hugs. ((((hugs))))

Foster Mom - R said...

Hugs! We have court next week. The first court hearing I said nothing. The second the judge asked if I had anything to add. Now I raise my hand and everyone listens. The judge talks directly to me. It seems silly to me that the people the kids spend the most amount of time with are given the least amount of voice. I suppose thy assume that the "professionals" should be doing there jobs correctly but I have yet to meet those particular professionals.