Yesterday was difficult. Big feelings were all over the house. TT's anxiety was off the charts and Bart's ADHD had him literally bouncing off the walls. That's never a good mix. When I get dysregulated I need less sensory input. Put me somewhere quiet and preferably alone. Let me connect in person or online with my community. But don't touch me. Don't make too much noise. And just let me be.
When my youngest cherubs are dysregulated they sensory seek. They get physical. They fight with each other. They bounce all over the house. They make so much noise. (Oh do they make noise. Repetitive sounds. Nonsense sounds. So many annoying sounds.)
And then the baby was fussy. She wanted to be held. When I wasn't giving her 100% of my attention she was crying.
Yesterday was rough.
But today was so much easier. Maybe it's because so many prayer warriors were praying for us today. Maybe it's because I actually got enough sleep the past few nights. (Miss Daisy still sleeps like crap but we managed to finally figure out a system to help her sleep better. It involves a little rule breaking but it has been worth it to get better sleep.) Maybe it's because we grieved so hard yesterday.
I got to the courthouse a little after 1:00pm. I knew I didn't need to be early because we were the first case on the docket and the doors would be locked to the air conditioned waiting room until our case was called. It was HOT outside (high of 93° today). All the players in the case were there. In fact, I saw Ricardo, the CPS supervisor, in the hallway on the way in. I cornered him immediately and asked him, "So, what's the plan for today? Are you guys conceding or is there going to be a trial?"
His response didn't surprise me at all.
We are going to agree to a 180 day monitored placement. I've seen cases go either way. If we go to trial today and lose, we could be kicked out of the case entirely. If we at least agree to a monitored placement, without actually going to trial, CPS will be involved for six more months.Ricardo went on to tell me that he addressed the concerns of Kori going to the criminal trial with Daisy. I didn't blog (on here) about this fiasco that happened last week. The short version of that story is that Kori admitted to me that she cancelled one of Daisy's speech therapy sessions so she could go to the criminal trial. I brought this detail to the attention of CPS immediately. Today Ricardo said that Kori's lawyer was going to provide documentation from the courts stating that it had been requested that Kori be there. It was concerning but not concerning enough to force CPS to actually go to trial today. CPS didn't have proof today that Kori had brought Daisy to the trial so they really couldn't do anything with that information.
I asked Ricardo if he was going to move Daisy right away. He looked sympathetically toward me and said no, he'd wait a a few days. I honestly did NOT want to drag this out. Long goodbyes are as crappy as short ones. I told him that moving her today was fine - her things were all packed.
Once over by the courtroom I saw everyone else. Mr. CW was there along with the investigative worker, the CPS worker that had the case first (before Mr. CW was on), Martin (the current CPS worker) and several other people. Everyone was there in case they decided to actually go to trial. All the CPS people congregated together around the State's attorney to discuss the case. Kori looked very uncomfortable when she walked past them all and sat down next to me.
Did I mention it was crazy hot outside? It was sweltering.
Mr. CW came over to thank me for nominating him for CPS worker of the year. The Texas Foster Family Association has an annual meeting where they honor foster parents, workers and agencies. I nominated Mr. CW several months ago and he won! I was very happy for him!! He went up to Dallas last weekend to accept the award and also got to spend some time with family at the Texas State Fair. We chatted about fair food and fun until the bailiff came and unlocked the doors and called our case.
Once in the room everyone assembled. Everyone except the lawyer that was supposed to be representing Miss Daisy. The judge decided to wait a bit for her and called the next case to go ahead of us. I didn't move. I stayed in the gallery and watched the fate of another family unfold before my eyes. Foster care hurts my heart sometimes. A sibling group of four is going to be in foster care for a long, long time while their mother goes to prison.
Ms. Colorado (the lawyer substituting for Daisy's usual lawyer) arrived late. Our case was called immediately after the first one ended.
They didn't beat around the bush. Roll call was taken and the judge asked CPS what they wanted to do. CPS responded by saying they were in agreement with a 180 day monitored placement as long as a couple provisions were put into place.
There was a little back and forth between everyone but nothing heated. The judge took time to make sure that Kori understood the rules. I'm still confused that NOTHING has been said about Bio Dad at any of the court hearings. I heard them specifically say that they are going to terminate Bio Dad's rights when all the players were talking prior to court. I heard that word for word. I don't know what they're waiting for on that end because they have never said anything to the judge about TPR on Dad. I, personally, would like to see his rights terminated. It will make it that much harder for Kori to have a relationship with the man when all this is done and over with.
In fact, I called the District Attorney this week to make sure that he has my contact information. I have no problem testifying against Bio Dad. I hope they call me. A tiny part of me is afraid that they won't now because I no longer have Daisy in my custody. An even bigger part of me is afraid that Bio Dad's attorney will call Kori who will completely down play the permanent damage that Daisy has suffered.
Anyway...back to court.
It is a 180 day monitored placement. That means that CPS still has temporary managing conservatorship. Kori is restricted to travel within a two county range. She has to allow CPS access into her home any time they show up - no matter what. I believe a worker will be making a weekly visit to her home and, like before, surprise inspections can still happen.
Then the State did something a little above and beyond what they usually do. They explained that one of the provisions to Kori getting custody is that she, under no circumstances, can cancel ANY medical appointment, therapy or early intervention of any kind. CPS explained this. Kori's lawyer agreed to it. And the judge realized that something needed to be done to ensure that the correct level of monitoring was in place for this. The judge made the State the medical consentor. Kori does not get to make any medical decisions for Daisy for the next six months (other than her already approved decision to not vaccinate). Someone from CPS is going to have to go to every doctor appointment. And if Kori cancels anything, the monitored placement could be in jeopardy.
Another provision is that Bio Dad cannot be within 200 yards of Daisy. The judge made it very clear that this is a big deal. No funny business allowed. He granted visitation to the paternal grandparents even though CPS was firmly against this. But he said if the grandparents allowed any contact with Bio Dad, the placement will be in jeopardy.
And last, Kori is required to put Daisy in day care. I personally hate this rule. Day care isn't going to be good for Daisy at all. I know that Kori at one time was looking to hire an in-home nanny. Individual attention for Daisy would be better for her. But the State has required day care and I believe they will pay for it as well.
We all filed out of the courtroom. I chatted with Mr. CW a bit. He asked how I felt about the ruling. I was honest. I think it sucks. But, I'm not a green foster parent. I've looked up the laws and I've read them. The State didn't have grounds to keep Daisy in foster care any longer. And even though I wanted them to try and fight harder for Daisy, I understand why the route of monitored placement was taken. I asked if there was anything special I could do to make sure that we get the call should the placement with Mom fall through. Mr. CW said that intake will see that we had her before. But there are absolutely NO guarantees - and nothing I can do about it - to make sure we would get the call. In fact, he said that sometimes they purposefully don't place back with the first foster family. I can't wrap my brain around that and it makes me very mad. But I'm not going to allow myself to dwell on that detail. We are keeping our license open for awhile just in case. However, if my husband gets an employment opportunity that requires us to move, foster care is not going to make us turn that down. We will close our home immediately and move.
Ricardo came out at about the same time Kori did. I asked when the move was going to happen. Kori said they had asked her if she brought a car seat. I guess they wanted to move her right then and there. I looked at Ricardo and asked if we could have two hours. Herman didn't really see Daisy this morning before school and I wanted every family member to get to say goodbye. I also wanted CPS to pick Daisy up in my home so that I would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Daisy's things were going with her immediately. (If Daisy had left from court it's likely that CPS wouldn't get her things to her for weeks.) Ricardo looked at Kori and asked her if we could have two hours. A little bit reluctantly she agreed.
We walked to the parking lot together and said a quick goodbye.
I made all the phone calls to all the important people. I told my family. I called Daisy's therapy providers. I let my licensing agency know.
And then I sat down in the living room and played with Daisy.
Let me reiterate - it was NOTHING like the couple of hours I had with Dude and Dolly before they were ripped from my home. Those few hours were a torturous Hell. They didn't want to leave. I didn't want them to leave. My entire family was in shock.
No, this afternoon was pleasant. I played with Daisy. I fed her a snack. I snapped some pictures. And everyone got to say goodbye. I told CPS they could come at 4:30pm. Herman gets out of school at 4:00 and I had told him to come straight home. Miss Daisy simply adores Herman and she went straight to him as soon as he walked in the door.
I sent Kori a text message of that picture above and one more of all four of the kids together. I thanked her for the goodbye.
She messaged me back and said, "I live in town - not on Mars." She also included her email address.
I believe that I will get to stay in Daisy's life for a little while.
And that was that.
I haven't even cried today. (I cried enough yesterday thankyouverymuch.)
I'm going to be OK. My husband is going to be OK. My kids are going to be OK.
We are going to rearrange the house. The guest room will go back downstairs. The crib will go in the corner of my (huge) bedroom. I'm going to put away all the baby stuff. I might even have a garage sale and sell some of it. What I really want to do is find some young mom who's on the cusp of having CPS in her life in a bad way and help her out. But I'm not actually making any decisions right now on all the baby stuff. If we move due to my hubby's job, it's unlikely that we'll move it all with us. (Which makes me very sad. I've got some awesome baby stuff.) For now though, I'm literally just praying to God to tell me what to do with everything. I haven't gotten an answer yet.
What happened today had to happen. I'm grateful that the judge did what he could to make sure that all of Daisy's medical appointments, therapies and early interventions HAVE to be maintained. That, my friends, is answered prayer. I won't get to post as many updates but there's a good chance Kori will message me pretty regularly. And for that, I am grateful.
For now, our fostering season is over.
But just wait. Now I've got time to go to all the B.A.C.A. trainings. It won't be long and I'll be riding with my husband all over the state to help abused kids stand up to their abusers in court and not be afraid.