We're going to knock on some doors and see if they open.
I called a lawyer this morning. It just happens to be the lawyer that was on this case for the first year. Ms. Rodriguez was in favor of the children staying with us during that entire year. But like I said yesterday, there's this script or list of unpublished rules that everyone seems to follow. Because she was both their AAL and their GAL (attorney ad litem and guardian ad litem) she had dual roles. And for reasons I don't understand, she always leaned more to the legal (AAL) side of things. And since what CPS has wanted has never been illegal, no one has ever wanted to go against it.
Ms. Rodriguez is in court right now so I won't hear anything back right away. The secretary said she'll need to see if this is perhaps a conflict of interest. If not, she'll set up an appointment with me. If it IS a conflict, she'll get Ms. Rodriguez to recommend a lawyer for us.
I personally don't see how this can be a conflict. Ms. Rodriguez was their lawyer but came off the case when the new judge started a year ago. She dropped ALL of her cases in the county Dude & Dolly are from. She no longer works CPS cases out of that county at all. Also, it's been a year. Surely that passage of time and all that's changed (or not changed) since count for something?!
I'm not made of money though. And this by no means is going to be a "free" adoption out of foster care. Here's to brainstorming on fundraisers....