A reader asked me yesterday where Russell and Star are.
I sometimes forget that not everyone follows my drivel on Facebook. :)
This is a super fast recap of how that case ended...
I went to court on the morning of August 1, 2016. Russell and Star had been excused so they stayed home with Mr. Amazing. I was pretty sure the case was going to take a major change. I just had no idea how major and how fast.
Mom was there. She made it clear to everyone that she wanted the kids to stay with us. She no longer was in favor of them going to stay with the grandparents. First she tried to tell her lawyer. He ignored her. Then she tried to tell me. I brought the babies' lawyer over to translate.
I honestly don't know how it all happened. It was rather fast and overwhelming.
Lawyers and CPS went into the judge's chambers. Then, as fast as it started, it was over. Everyone said they were in favor of the babies being moved to the grandparents' home. Even though the lawyer for the Russell and Star expressed concern, she ended up saying she was in favor. Mom's lawyer lied and said that Mom was in favor.
The hearing ended and CPS told me they'd be by in about four hours to pick the kids up.
The case had reached the legal end. If they had wanted to do the RIGHT THING and actually TRANSITION the kids to the grandparents - they would have had to extend the case. Everyone decided against this option.
No...that's not true. No one even discussed it. A transition was never an option.
Instead, they gave the grandparents Permanent Managing Conservatorship. They did not terminate rights. Mom was given a visit schedule so she could keep seeing her kids. And just like that, CPS was out of the case. There was to be zero oversight. Zero transition. It was just going to be done.
I went home and packed up as much as I possibly could. CPS showed up. The babies' things barely fit in her car. Bopper gave me the phone number and address for Grandma. She also gave me Mom's phone number. I cried a lot. It was so unfair for Russell and Star. They had barely seen the grandparents over the last several months. They had never been to their house. They had never had an unsupervised visit of any kind. The kids were just swooped up and moved.
As the week progressed I got super sick. I chalked it up to everything but what it was. I ended up being hospitalized on August 7 with Clostridium difficile (C. diff). I was in and out of the hospital three times over the course of the month. (I also developed pancreatitis and severe mouth ulcers that left me dehydrated. Oh...and they found a tumor on my liver during testing for C. difficile. I don't have cancer - the biopsy was negative.)
Because of the illness, I neglected updating the blog at all. The grief of losing the babies the way we did was pretty intense. I mean...I knew they weren't going to stay with us. I knew that even though Mom changed her mind, no one was going to listen to her. I just assumed that CPS would actually transition the children to the grandparents. I figured there would be visits and at least a little bit of communication. Instead, there was nothing.
I did manage to switch licensing agencies though. That process took a lot longer than I thought it would. We are now licensed through a new one and I'm hoping things work better than they did with our last agency. I'm not holding my breath though. Most of what's wrong with foster care is wrong on the State level. No licensing agency can change that.
Whiz and Rex moved in with us on January 18. I certainly didn't "plan" on taking two babies again. We're licensed for ages 0-17. I figured we'd take older kids. These two babies had been placed in a shelter though. I have no idea why we weren't called when they were removed initially. We would have said yes then. When I was told about them being in a shelter though, it just seemed like the right thing for them to move in with us. After all, I've got two cribs, two car seats, two high chairs, and two baby jails. Whiz is almost 19 months old and Rex just turned 8 months old on the 27th. I didn't have to rearrange anything in the house. I just had to get the baby toys out again.
As for Russell and Star - I hear tiny bits and pieces about them. Their mother accepted my friend request on Facebook. When she posts pictures of the kids, which isn't that often, I get to see them. The grandparents blocked me on FB and won't return any of my text messages. (I never tried to call because of the language differences. But I can text them in Spanish...and I did. And my texts were ignored or not received.)
Russell is still seeing the same occupational therapist as he did when he was in my home. She hasn't broken HIPPA...but she did tell me that every single concern I had about Russell going to live with the grandparents is true. He's dirty and sick all the time. The level of neglect is significant. But, there isn't anything serious enough that anyone can call the hotline.
Russell and Star's mom is pregnant again. She's still with Star's father (the man suspected to have broken all of Russell's bones). Star's dad has been arrested again though and is in federal custody. I'm sure he'll be deported again. But, due to where we live, I'm sure he'll be back on this side of the wall as soon as he can be. Hopefully Mom's new baby will be perfectly healthy and Dad will have no reason to abuse any children again.