Monday, July 15, 2013

Court update

8:30AM: Dropped off TT and Bart at the community rec center. They handled this morning wonderfully! The little ones and I took off for court.

9:45AM: Arrived at the courthouse. We went in to see the waiting area completely packed. It was obvious the judge was behind schedule. I met briefly with the lawyer standing in for Ms. Colorado. Funny enough, it was the lawyer that stood in for the cherubs' GAL at the last hearing. She didn't have much to say except that Ms. Colorado had told her the meeting was to go over therapy notes. I reiterated that it shouldn't be a placement hearing as we just had one of those in May and it's too soon. She agreed with me. After Mr. Amazing arrived we all went in to the courtroom to wait there.

12:00PM: After waiting forever, our case was finally called! Of course, after waiting forever the cherubs were squirrely, dysregulated and just plain scared. Dude kept talking to Mr. Amazing and Dolly was spinning around in circle making nonsense noises. They were both easily redirected but I felt so bad for them. No child should have to endure court for these purposes!!

Present at court:
Minnie's supervisor
CPS's lawyer
Mr. Amazing, me, Dude & Dolly
the lawyer standing in for Ms. Colorado
Dude and Dolly's AAL
Dude and Dolly's GAL
the lawyer representing Bio Dad

First we had to refresh the judge's mind as to why we were all there. Then everyone pulled up the notes from Miss Mary. Then...the therapy bashing started!

Miss Mary's notes were less than stellar. She wrote two paragraphs covering her "recommendation". The problem is, she didn't really make a recommendation. Despite the fact that she included information that specifically said that the cherubs have voiced to her they want "to be an Eldridge", she said too much that had NO VALUE. I mean, it's truth. But legally, in this case, it had little value if any. (In fact, it pissed the judge off!) She said that the children need to be placed where there is the least overall danger, physical and/or emotional abuse, and where they can Thrive! When children thrive through their first five years, they are poised to be strong lifelong learners, earners, and engaged citizens; therefore it is Imperative that this be taken into consideration. (punctuation and capitalization exactly as the therapist wrote it)

Two points were made in favor of us. She said that the cherubs "want to be an Eldridge". She also said that during a home visit it was apparent the children had bonded with me. But the generic statements the rounded out the final paragraph upset everyone. The judge even commented about the exclamation points and how they made him upset. (yikes!)

Our lawyer and the GAL made mention that perhaps Ms. Mary should be called to testify. CPS just agreed that the notes didn't say much. It went round and round with no one saying much of anything. Then the judge said, "Maybe we just need to get a new therapist."

I quickly jumped in and said that the cherubs have just now started actually talking to her. They get very nervous around new people. I had great concern that if a new therapist was required we would be starting over a ground zero and the little ones would shut down. I asked if maybe we should just meet more frequently so that more thorough notes could be submitted.

Eventually, because no one would say much of anything, it was decided to give Ms. Mary one more chance. Her notes have to include more information and more of a direct recommendation. The State is supposed to somehow connect her to Grandma N so that Ms. Mary can actually "compare" the two families (ours vs. hers). I highly doubt the State is going to do this. But...it's out of my hands. The cherubs are going to try and meet closer to one time per week instead of bi-weekly.

Everyone was trying to calculate how many therapy visits we should be able to work in before our next hearing in September. I pointed out that we will be gone for two weeks of vacation. Then I looked straight at the judge and said, "Did you get the paperwork to sign so we can go?" He gave me a blank stare. I looked at the CPS supervisor and asked him. It seems that Minnie had told him nothing of this and he was unprepared.

Praise God the judge is a reasonable man! He looked at everyone and announced our travel is approved. It's on the record and he doesn't have to sign anything. We have permission to travel.

Needless to say I'm just a tad pissed off at Minnie for not tending to this detail. I'm quite confident it was on purpose.

12:15PM: Our case adjourned. My lawyer looked at me and said we needed to talk outside the courtroom.

She told me that sometime during the long wait for our case to be called, the CPS supervisor told her that today was also going to be a Placement Hearing. My lawyer said, "No it's not. It's been too soon." He replied something along the lines of, "It doesn't matter. We can do this anyway."

I don't know why the State didn't ask for the placement change but I'm grateful they didn't.

It does set the tone for the rest of the case. Minnie will continue to omit details whenever she can and the State is going to fight us every step of the way.

I thank you all again for your prayers!! Storming the heavens we were once again victorious! Nothing changed and I'm not any closer to being able to offer the cherubs permanency. But the things the State wanted didn't happen again. Whew!

8 comments:

Meg0422 said...

Where was Minnie??? The therapists notes are disappointing but at least she has another chance. And it would be good for her to get both sides.

status quo I guess.

hope you all can relax tonight. Do you have another date set up yet?

CherubMamma said...

No clue where Minnie was. But honestly -- I was thankful she wasn't there. Her presence alone increases my stress level.

I've got a crazy bad headache coming off of court. I'll be going to bed early tonight!!

As for another date -- yes -- September 9. It's an "official" placement hearing so stress will be off the charts! I'm hoping we will have met with our lawyer prior to that hearing so I'm not going in so blind. The State will be pushing to send the cherubs permanently to Dallas again.

Oh yeah -- and Bio Mom has a new probation date up on the jail look-up site online. She could potentially be at the next hearing with Baby Zippy. That'll add another layer of crap to everything.

Said in my perfect Squidward voice...."I can hardly wait."

Foster Mom - R said...

You at least get more time. If Miss Mary is not used to providing reports for court perhaps an example can be provided to her?

Id Bio Dad trying to get visitation or is his lawyer there on behalf of Grandma N?

Can you file a complaint agianst Minnie? We have a process here and I totally understand not wanting to rock the boat more but I can't remember if you even have the option.

CherubMamma said...

I'm pretty sure Miss Mary is used to providing reports for the courts. She told me she's been working with CPS for 8 years.

What Miss Mary did tell me is that she's mad Minnie is putting her in the corner like this. In defense of Miss Mary, she never has met Grandma N or even talked to her. There is no way Miss Mary can make a valid judgement between our two families. Ethically, I see her dilemma. However, Miss Mary looked me dead in the eye and said she wants the kids to stay with us. She could have been more direct in her report.

Bio Dad is doing NOTHING toward the cherubs. He is incarcerated and will be for a very long time. He wasn't assigned a lawyer until just last May I think. And said lawyer hasn't done anything at all.

I could file a complaint against Minnie. In fact, a little over a year ago I had another CPS worker (Pumpkin's at the time) tell me I needed to file a complaint against CPS in general. This case has been mishandled from the beginning. I won't do anything like that now though without the expressed consent from our lawyer. I'm guessing we'll talk shortly after we get back from vacation if not sooner.

kate said...

Just, crazy. Why did D&D have to be there?

I'm glad the stand-in lawyer didn't let the state move ahead as they wanted. I can't wait for Ms. Colorado to get back. She'll be rested and ready to go!

CherubMamma said...

Where I live, the cherubs (in all cases) are required to go to all court hearings!! It is perfectly maddening to me. I believe it is nothing short of System induced trauma on the kids! The last place they need to hang out is court. The last things they need to hear are the full reasons why court is being held.

But where I live lawyers have little to no contact with their clients outside of the courtroom. I believe that is why ALL children are required to go.

You can only imagine the chaos of court. Nervous parents. Tired parents. Tons of lawyers. Tons of social workers. People in and out. And children being forced to wait, and wait, and wait forever to do nothing but sit and sit and sit.

Shoot - the cherubs guardian LIED in court today. He looked straight at the judge and told the judge that he had spoken with the children prior to court. It was a bold faced lie!!! ALL he did was ask me when I was walking back from the bathroom (after waiting over an hour) if the kids were OK or if we needed anything. I said no and that was the extent of our communication. Yet, he told the judge he spoke with the cherubs.

I too am anxious for Ms. Colorado to get back and communicate with me in regards to the next steps in this legal adventure!!!

kate said...

Once those children are yours, I think you need to leap in to system reform.

That is ludicrous! Having a child who suffered early trauma, I will happily come and testify for your cause about how these children are even more emotional sponges and barometers than neuro-typical children. I can't imagine all the stress they're absorbing! (But, I won't bring my daughter when I testify for you. :> )

I also can't imagine what the children are thinking who are old enough to listen and pay attention. They must hear such sad stories, such horror stories. And it must be so scary and so confusing to them!

I cannot believe that this is seen as a good thing.

How hysterical would it have been if Dude had innocently chimed in something to the effect of, "He didn't talk to us!" when that was raised?

Annie said...

The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. And, it is oh, so familiar. People with all this power who are ignorant, dishonest and incompetent.

Miss Mary sure OUGHT to be able to write a report without code words and exclamation points that gives a point of view and not nonsense. On the other hand, every other week therapy sounds like worse than nothing at all. No wonder the kids shut down; there's no way they can keep any sense of connection over that length of time. I don't think I could. I note that therapy goes 100% better for us when it is twice a week.