My initial fear was that this therapist is someone that Minnie knows well. I was concerned that Minnie might be able to dictate what kind of a report this therapist would write. So, with trepidation, I watched my cherubs go into a play room with toys across the hall from me and I sat down with Miss Mary, the therapist. (She's actually a doctor...has lots of letters after her name if you know what I mean. But "Miss Mary" sounds more pleasant and matches her personality better than "doctor" does.)
I didn't hold back. She was pleasant, professional, yet very easy to talk to. I told her I'm a good talker and she had better tell me where to start and what she wants to know. Miss Mary said that I should start with why the cherubs entered Care and what the current status of the case is now.
I started at the beginning.
I also was very clear about my bewilderment surrounding starting counseling at this time in the case. Miss Mary looked right at me and shared in my bewilderment. When I told her the cherubs don't have a need for therapy right now for any issues or behaviors, she was as confused as I was. She immediately said that there isn't enough time before court for her to determine whether the cherubs would be OK in Dallas or better off with us. She put me at ease when she very sternly said that she would NOT write any kind of a report for the courts stating an opinion either way. Not for court held in May anyway.
Then we talked.
Miss Mary sees grounds for termination. Neither bio parent has worked their service plan. The cherubs have been in Care for almost two years. Both bio parents are incarcerated again. She seems to think there are grounds. (And this woman knows "foster care". She did her dissertation on foster care and she's been working with CPS for over 8 years in the Valley.)
Miss Mary says the case is black and white. There are valid concerns about the situation in Dallas. She agrees with all of my concerns. She literally asked me, "Where is the grey?"
She is just as confused as some of the other workers and lawyers have been. When I told her that we would be willing to take PMC or have an open adoption she was blown away that that hadn't been formally pursued by the State.
Miss Mary went in to play and talk with the children toward the end of the visit. She said she was going to ask them four questions including what they think of Dallas and where they ultimately want to live. I was concerned she was going to dive in that deep without establishing any kind of a relationship first. She was gone for about 15-20 minutes and then they wrapped things up.
We walked toward the door. The cherubs went out to the car while we chatted right inside the door. Miss Mary said that she ended up not asking all the questions she was initially going to ask. She did say that both Dude and Dolly aren't impressed with Dallas. I guess they answered, "What do you think of Dallas," with, "I don't really like it." However, when Miss Mary asked Dolly where she wanted to live, Dolly didn't answer at all. Deer in the headlights is all she got.
I'm going out of town next Friday so the cherubs aren't going to go. And the next Friday the cherubs will be in Dallas. We won't meet with Miss Mary again until the last Friday in April. We'll be lucky if we see her three times before court. Again Miss Mary assured me that she has nothing more than a professional relationship with Minnie. They aren't "friends". She then told me that she's going to contact Minnie to see if she can ascertain what Minnie wants the cherubs to get out of counseling. Miss Mary said she would then pass along Minnie's intentions to me.
I'm very curious to know what Miss Mary finds out. I'm not holding my breath though. I'm pretty sure this entire adventure is a waste of time and tax payer dollars. However, if the cherubs do remain in Care yet again (because that is always a possibility), Miss Mary told me that she does come and do home visits. I was thrilled to hear this. If anything, I could use some counseling and meeting with her once a week, even if it's only for a few minutes, might help me process some of the crap that IS foster care.