This is what I do know. Bopper and I covered this in our text conversation:
- Court was held yesterday. Everyone that was supposed to be there showed up. I did not come because I was told they were only going to extend the case. I still don't regret not going. I doubt I'd know much more even if I had been there.
- Visits for Sylvia (bio mom) are going to increase one hour. Instead of meeting with her children two times a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) for two hours, she now gets three hours per visit.
- The goal is not reunification. But because Mom's lawyer asked for longer visits, they were granted.
- Russell's paternal grandparents are being considered for placement again. No one can tell me if this is placement of just Russell - or if they are going to try and keep the siblings together. These grandparents did not pass their first home study. However, there were no giant red flags - just lots and lots of little ones.
- Russell's paternal grandparents were granted visitation as well. They will be meeting on Wednesdays for two hours. No one knows if the visits are just for Russell or if both babies will be staying.
- Russell' paternal grandparents are also advised that they can attend all of his medical appointments.
- The overall goal in the case changed from "non-relative adoption" to "relative conservatorship". This means the State is no longer pursuing termination of parental rights. If the children are placed with the grandparents, contact with Sylvia will continue and she could legally get the child(ren) back at a later date if she pursues the correct legal routes. (Read on...parents don't always have to do the pursuing.)
- The next hearing is only 18 days away from now.
I messaged Ms. Remus, the babies' lawyer.
- I asked her if she supports the move to the grandparents. She said it's too early to tell and that the judge wants Russell's condition with his bones stabilized. (ie: figure out if he has brittle bone disease or not) Ms. Remus would prefer that Russell stay with me until this is established - and in her words she wants this because the grandparents have other young children at home that could potentially hurt Russell.
- Ms. Remus went on to say that the grandparents are nice but there is concern about whether or not they would be able to meet all of Russell's special needs. They're also very limited in resources. (ie: they are very, very poor)
- I acknowledged that limited resources should not fully determine a placement. Being poor isn't a crime.
I've basically got two weeks to prepare my heart for the children to possibly leave.
The key word there is "possibly". I still have NO IDEA what is going to happen. But judging from all my past experience - family is ALWAYS best here...even when it isn't. So, I'm going to make sure all the laundry is done and ready to be packed. I'm not going to buy anything else new. And I'm just going to maintain life as best as I can for the children.
I don't have good experience with kinship placements down here in Texas. Personally, I've seen too many of them handled poorly!
MissArguePants & TurtleTurtle
Our first case ever (in Texas) was MissArguePants and TurtleTurtle. They were 8 and 9 when they came. I was told they had been adopted by an aunt and uncle and that they had been sexually molested. I knew the abuse was bad. But I had no idea how bad!
These girls had been in Care almost their entire lives. They had bounced between several different foster homes. Finally they were placed with the aunt and uncle. When that happened, CPS closed the case. They were not adopted though. The relatives were just given guardianship.
Then the girls were hurt in their kinship home. They came back into foster care. Mom was located and everything started all over for the girls.
The kinship placement was horrific for those girls.
Ricky & Michael
Ricky's little brother, Michael, was still in foster care when Ricky left our home to go back to Rebecca's. Ricky's slightly older brother, Gabriel, was working to get guardianship of Michael. Eventually he succeeded. The case with CPS was closed. When that happened, Bio Mom moved right back in with Gabriel so she's in full contact with Michael. Basically, the State paid a shit-ton of money to remove the kid, mess with their lives, and then put them all back together again with absolutely no changes! Mom never got help or broke her addiction. The reasons they removed the Michael were never resolved. It was all a huge waste of time and money. (Ricky aged out of foster care and is doing wonderfully. He still lives with Rebecca -- a fictive-kin placement that was perfectly healthy.)
And then there's the phone call I got last night.
Dude & Dolly
Great Grandma P called me last night. After telling me a little bit about how sick she is (I'm sure she's nearing the level of sickness that will likely kill her) she told me that she got a phone call the day before. The person on the other end of the phone didn't say much. She couldn't figure out who it was. But then the caller identified themselves. It was Dolly.
Apparently Grandma N, the kinship care giver that was given Dude and Dolly, did get sick enough that she could no longer care for the children. It seems that she did call CPS to come get the children.
CPS decided that it would be a good idea to locate their mother and just have her come and get the children.
With zero oversight of any kind - Dude and Dolly have no been reunified with their biological mother. No one knows if Mom is clean. No one established any kind of home study. They called her and she came and picked the children up. For reasons no one knows, because Dolly couldn't say, they moved to Oklahoma.
The only good thing is that Dude and Dolly are both in school now. They are both old enough to make an outcry if they need to.
But that kinship placement?! I'm not mad at Grandma N for getting sick. But out of ALL of the dozens and dozens of adults in and out of that home, not a single one stepped up to be a support system for Grandma N so the kids could stay in the same home. She took those kids, couldn't raise them anymore, and just gave them back to The System. The System didn't want to deal with them and just gave them back to Mom. I seriously doubt anything has changed. So those children are in the same environment now as they were when they came to me.
I don't have a good ending for this. I could go on and on about how this is effecting me emotionally and physically. But I'm sure you've all had enough of that garbage lately.
So please just say a prayer for these kids in foster care – my kids, your kids, all the kids. Because foster care totally sucks!!