Monday, November 5, 2012

Breathing deeply...trying to not get excited

I told myself all weekend to put together a list of things I wanted to talk about with the cherubs' lawyer. I was hoping she would call me back soon. But...living where I do...and this being foster care and all...I honestly didn't think she'd call me back without me making another phone call in to her first. I mean really, I had called her on Thursday in the late afternoon. It's only Monday morning. Nobody returns calls down here.

My phone brought up a strange phone number from out of town this morning at about 9:00AM though. I answered and was surprised to hear their lawyer apologizing to me for not calling me back sooner.

I guess I had to wing my topics of conversation.

The first thing I did was ask the lawyer how much she had learned about the case after court back in September. Because again...the track record I've had down here with lawyers and foster care isn't that good. I didn't expect her to know much about the case at all. (Keep in mind, she was handed this case initially just minutes before our case was officially called. She knew NOTHING of anything back in September when we met before the judge.)

She was honest. She said she had looked through things. But then she shared that because this case was initially handled by a different lawyer, not all the information was passed over to her. She went on to say that she's done some discovery herself but she's still waiting for CPS to release some information for her files.

So...I started in.
  • The first thing the lawyer said was, "The kids don't know Grandma, right?" I said, "no, not really," and explained that the children did not know Grandma N (in Dallas) at all before coming in to Care. She was a complete stranger to them!
  • After coming in to Care, Grandma N has done NOTHING on her own to start to build a relationship with the cherubs. The only contact Grandma has had has been initiated and paid for by the State.
  • The cherubs express a desire to stay with us forever. I was honest and said that Dolly is more curious about her bio family and is more confused following a visit. But ultimately, both children tell me almost daily that they want to stay with us. They do not want to live in Dallas.
  • I told the lawyer (let's call her Melody) that CPS is completely convinced that Grandma N lives alone in her two bedroom apartment. CPS believes all the extra people are just visiting. I made sure to be clear that this is all speculation, but I told her the maternal side of the family believes otherwise. Several family members have stated that Grandma N lives with multiple people in her home. No one else has been a part of the home study. But after both visits, the cherubs reported that they slept in their grandma's bed with their grandma.
Melody asked me if anyone had talked to Bio Mom and Dad about termination. My jaw just about dropped. I explained that termination has NEVER been discussed. The State has made it very clear that reunification with Bio Mom or Bio Dad is not an option. I told Melody the only thing the State has ever put up for placement is living with Grandma N.

Melody followed this part of the conversation with something that just about dropped me to the floor.
"Well, as their Guardian, I should be able to...now, don't go getting your hopes up...but I should be able to present you as an option for guardianship (aka PMC). It would be in their best interests. I should be able to. Then, from what I've been learning about all this, it would be possible for you to petition for adoption."
I heard everything else she had to say...but my head and my heart were racing. This is the first person to say this is a possibility and to actually say that they will see what they can do about it. CPS has been sympathetic to us all along. (Except Minnie – she's weird. I think she says whatever she wants just to keep everyone happy. I think she just wants the kids to go to Grandma's so she can be done with the case whether or not it's in their best interests.)

I told Melody – just like I've told everyone else – we would be willing to have as open of a relationship with the bio family as is safe for the children.

Melody was getting ready to walk in to court as we were speaking. She assured me she would talk to Minnie about case details. I also mentioned how we would like to take the kids to Iowa over Christmas and how Minnie blew this off on Friday. We need the judge to give us permission and to sign off on it today if at all possible. Melody was going to try and take care of this as well.

I'm NOT getting my hopes up. But wow – I think I really like this new lawyer.

7 comments:

Jessica Miller Kelley said...

Wow--so exciting! Glad Melody is being a true advocate, as she should be! (an abogado!)

G said...

Oh, how wonderful for Dude and Dolly to have someone really truly in their corner in court (besides you, of course!) Hoping and praying for y'all....

Carrie said...

How refreshing! I'm sure that you are thrilled to have HOPE!

Mitzy said...

NICE!

Mama P said...

HOLY COW!!!

MamaFoster said...

i love me a good lawyer ;) good luck! hope it makes a difference!

fosterfull said...

Continuing to pray for the cherubs, but with renewed hope! :)