My posts have all been about Daisy lately. But we've been just as busy with Ricky too. Well...not exactly "busy" per se. The kid is awfully easy to take care of. (Absolutely no behavior issues whatsoever!!) But nevertheless, he's still a hot body in the house that is a part of things.
Ricky has court tomorrow (Tuesday). These are the things I know to be true...
CPS told me that they don't have a formal recommendation from Ricky's therapist about where he should go to live. His worker also told me that her supervisor is going to recommend that he stay in formal foster care (with me) and age out of The System. Emilia thinks Ricky has about a 50/50 chance of getting to go back to Rebecca's house (his godmother) tomorrow.
Last week though, Ricky's therapist DID write a formal recommendation. Instead of handing it to CPS, she gave it directly to Ricky. It's a little more vague than I would prefer. But does specifically state (and I quote), "Ricky should be given the opportunity to chose where he wants to live."
I wrote a two page letter on Ricky's behalf that we submitted to the judge. It's obviously not written by a 17yo male that lived his entire life in abusive and neglectful circumstances. But Ricky did read the letter, had me make one change, and then signed it at the bottom. When I mailed it to the judge I included a letter from myself explaining that the "words are mine but the intent is fully his". We mailed both his letter and the one from his therapist directly to the judge. Due to the hospitalization, they didn't go out as early in the week as I would have liked. I pray the judge read them today though!
After many, many phone calls and voice mails, Ricky's GAL (Guardian ad litem) finally returned a call last week. We met with him this afternoon. The meeting was entirely too brief but we were able to place both the letter from the therapist and the letter from Ricky in his hands. My biggest concern was this GAL's approach to how things work in court. I have been told by other CPS lawyers, and it is my own personal experience, that the GAL is the lawyer that fights for the kid's wants and is to advocate for their best interests. I had been told that Ricky's AAL (Attorney ad litem) is incredibly hard to get ahold of. Because I really didn't think Ricky's request was a legal one, I decided to focus our efforts only on the GAL. Well...Mr. GAL said, "No, your lawyer is the one who will fight for what you want."
All I could think was, "Damn! It's already 4:30PM. I guess we're screwed on this one." I felt so bad for Ricky. I really felt like I let him down. (Even though I had no idea they were switching the "rules" on me mid-game.)
Ricky reminded me that the GAL said he would personally call the AAL. I told Ricky to not get his hopes up. I honestly don't trust the lawyers down here to do much for their foster kids. It's depressing. But they never make contact on their own and they are so removed from their cases it's amazing there ever is true justice.
Still, while we were eating dinner, Ricky's phone rang. It was his AAL. He told Ricky he wasn't going to be in court but that he would Skype in. (ugh!) Ricky said something about the letters but didn't get an email or fax number so I could send them to him tonight (before court). I told Ricky to call him right back.
He did. No answer.
I felt defeated again.
So I called. This time the AAL picked up. I was able to fax and email the letters to him. He assured me he'd look things over so that he can be prepared tomorrow in court.
I still think Ricky's chances are only about 50/50. He very easily could be staying with me until he turns 18. But I am praying that justice is done tomorrow and the people in power can see that Rebecca never meant to make it look like she was restricting CPS's access to Ricky.
Ricky is a nervous mess! Yesterday, when he may or may not have gone over to visit Rebecca briefly, they got into an argument. He came back home and strongly announced he wants to live with us until he's 18. Then he can go to Rebecca if he still wants to.
My heart was broken for him. But it didn't take me long to see the true story behind their argument and his rash decision. He's nervous about court. Ricky has been looking out for himself for many, many years. Through his anger and anxiety, he subconsciously decided that it would be easier for him to make the decision himself. He would say that he no longer wants to go to Rebecca's. That would take the power away from the judicial system and he would be in control again.
Thankfully Rebecca is wise beyond her years. She saw through his anger and continued to tell him that he's capable of making this decision and that she'll love him no matter what.
I was able to talk to him several different times to tell him his truths as well. I reminded him that arguments between parents and children are very normal. What isn't normal is the fact that he wasn't going to be able to wake up in the morning and see Rebecca's face right away. That it wouldn't be easy to "make up". I told him he needed to keep a full perspective on things and not get swept away in the immediate argument that was being blown out of perspective. I went to bed not knowing what Ricky was really going ultimately decide.
I imagine school wasn't easy for Ricky today. But when he came home and I finally asked him point blank what he was going to tell his lawyer, he told me he still wanted to go to Rebecca's house.
Whew. Another crisis adverted.
So now we wait.
Court is at 9:30AM. We're the fifth case on the docket at that time so we were told to expect to be called around 10:30AM. Everyone that needs to be there will be there. I convinced Rebecca that she needs to go to court. She was worried her presence would be viewed as confrontational given all that happened three months ago. I assured her that she has to be there to prove to everyone she's committed to Ricky no matter what.
I'll post again tomorrow to let y'all know what happens.