Thursday, October 2, 2014

The trial that didn't happen

Let me start out by saying - I am OK. This is NOTHING like when we lost Dude and Dolly. I cannot even begin to compare the two experiences. I cried a lot yesterday. But I have been OK. I don't think the grief is going to overwhelm me at all. Yes, I'm sad. But I have known all along that this was the most likely outcome. If anything, making the comparisons in my mind between this experience and losing Dude and Dolly last year at this time is what's probably been the hardest for me. Not only am I OK, but my husband and children are all OK too. Thank you for lifting our family in prayer. It really makes this so much easier to bear. Just knowing that I've got hundreds of people praying for my family all over the world brings a comfort like no other.

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.
CPS showed up right on time. In true CPS fashion this assistant brought a car seat rated for an infant up to 20 pounds. I told the worker at my door that under no circumstances was I going to allow her to use that car seat with Daisy. Rather than wait for her to go back to the office and locate an appropriate one, I unbuckled mine and put it in her car for her. I brought all of Daisy's things out and loaded her car up full. I then buckled Miss Daisy into the seat and kissed her goodbye.

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.


Mitzy said...

Thanks for the update. Wishing you all the BEST in your foster care retirement.

abrianna said...

Sigh... I don't think Kori can stay away from biodad. I don't think his parents will keep him from Daisy when they do see her, based on things you've said previously. The question is will CPS be able to catch this.

Foster Mom - R said...

The judge placed a blanket of protection over her much like the pink blanket you made. Hold onto that image. I'm so glad you got a proper goodbye and that everyone is ok. Your an amazing Mom and an inspiring foster mom! Thank you for sharing all of this with us.

kate said...

BACA sounds awesome! It makes me want to learn how to ride a motorcycle just to do this. :>

Continued prayers.

(I love the blanket analogy above.)

Annie said...

Breaks my heart...I did feel sad for you, but honestly it is Daisy my heart breaks for...I'd feel tearful if the only thing I knew was that she had to go to day care. She needs cuddling and peace and safety and she's losing it. And she's going to have that fear of abandonment in her soul forever. I know an adult who had an early childhood something like hers (without the physical trauma) but still - it is lasting damage.

VJ said...

Daisy will be okay. Obviously, the brain damage is done - no one can undo that - but I really don't think you have to worry about BioDad. Even if he does come around, the striking difference he caused in his daughter should be enough to make him realize that he can never, ever touch her again (even if he does still want to get with Kori). He has to live with that guilt for the rest of his life. That's a terrible burden.

Cherub Mamma said...

I pray for Bio Dad. It's NOT easy for me to do. But I try. He's been nothing but polite and soft spoken since I met him. He's never gotten angry or defensive in court or any meetings - only Kori has done that.

Deep down he KNOWS that he did drugs. He KNOWS what he did to Daisy. And yes, he does have to live with that burden for the rest of his life. I pray that he can find forgiveness in Jesus.

That does not mean I don't also pray that he receives justice on this side of heaven.

Hopefully both of Daisy's parents will come to terms with what happened and eventually handle everything appropriately.

r. said...

The deal with daycare is that it means lots of outside eyes on the kid. This is why CPS is so gung-ho about it whenever a kid who's too young for school is living with their parents.

Think about it this way--if Daisy had been in daycare all along, maybe someone would have caught her earlier injuries, not just the big, big injury that resulted in her hospitalization and removal. Daycare will actually be changing Daisy's diapers. That means multiple sets eyes will be seeing every inch of her body, every day. If she even has weird bruises on her, someone's gonna notice.

I do get your concerns, though, given Daisy's developmental needs. I just hope this helps put you at ease some, because I promise this is done mainly because it's an extra layer of protection for a child who's too young/too disabled to speak for herself.

Cherub Mamma said...

Oh yes - I fully understand why day care was part of the monitored package. Sadly, I also know how neglectful many of the day cares are in the part of Texas. They are BAD!!!

Daisy will also have the same therapists as when she was with me. I've already told them they HAVE to be the eyes and ears of the State. If they see anything they have to call CPS immediately. And if they don't know who to call, they can call me and I'll find out who the case worker is immediately.

I also increased the ECI presence from once a month (what I had) to once a week. Or at least, I told ECI to increase them and they said they will as soon as CPS calls them. Lord willing that will happen soon. I want as many hot bodies checking Daisy out as I can possibly get every week.

And yes, I prefer day care to some odd friend or the paternal grandparents caring for Daisy while Mom is at work. I hope she's able to find a day care that can accommodate her longer schedule (10 hour work days).

girlfrog2003 said...

BACA is such an awesome organization. I got to be part of an initiation for a kid once, and it really was a special experience for the kid and for the rest of us that cared about him.

Anonymous said...

I'm a new foster mom outside Houston and I'm not too proud to take donations! I'll be honest, outside my close circle who were super generous, people just don't give you gifts like they do for bio kids. Our first, very short (27 days) placement showed us just how much more we needed to prep our lives for little ones. We spent so much money and barely made a dent in what we need since of course most of the stuff rightly went with the four kids who came to us with nothing. I don't know how to use the comment thingy so I'll sign my name lol- Katie Hueni