I thought I would take a few minutes out of the day to post a brief update on life at Castle Erickson; but, first, we gots to welcome us a new follower. K (no relation) at Planning and Foresight found his way here and chose to stay a while. K's blog is focused on prepping and is jam packed with good info. I'm slowly digging through his archives when I have time. Good stuff. Check him out.
Now then, on with the show.
Mini Me and The Banshee are still with us. There were mumblings in the winds a couple of weeks ago that they might be going back to momma sometime around the first of November. There is a permanency conference set with the court then, and the caseworker was going to be recommending monitored return (kids go home while CPS keeps an eye on things for six months or so).
The key word there is "was".
Apparently, some medical records came in that were not kosher and some required classes and counseling have not been started much less completed. We don't get the details, just the outline of the story. Suffice it to say, the caseworker is backing off her earlier hints and is reverting back to square one which also involves trying to locate viable family member placements. That leaves us back to being in limbo with those two.
It's really a sad situation. While not parent of the year material, momma and daddy/step daddy really do genuinely love those kids from the interactions we've seen with them together. CPS has candidly told us that the kids never should have been removed in the first place (it was apparently the result of momma's child molester step father who called in a false report out of spite) and that they do not have grounds for termination of rights. But...they are in the system now which has its own set of rules and timelines.
The Queen and I really love those two kids despite The Banshee's tendency to scream at every opportunity, and we really want to see them reunited before we exit the system; however, we can't hang around forever waiting for CPS and the parents to sort this mess out. We need to get on with our lives as a family (hopefully with M&M in tow). The really frustrating thing for us is that the parents could have had their kids back by now if they had just done what CPS had asked them to do. Instead, they are wallowing in denial (his alcohol consumption..."it's not a problem") and co-dependence ("I'm going to leave him...I can't afford to be on my own."). Meanwhile, The Queen and I beat our heads against the wall and try to make the best of it.
M&M, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. We have received word that the trial on the bio parents' rights case is set for the last week of November. There is pretty much a 100% chance that their rights will be terminated at that trial. They have left the state, and CPS could pursue child abandonment charges if they were so inclined. That would add a six month delay to the whole thing, and CPS is taking the wiser course of just moving for termination on the existing evidence.
But wait, it gets better. The Queen and the CPS caseworker had a discussion last week. Almost everytime we've talked with the caseworker up to this point, she has been very careful to always remind us that she has to keep looking for family members, there's no guarantee we will get to keep M&M, yada yada yada. For the first time, the caseworker told us even if the momma's mom's home study is approved by her state, SHE has the power to deny it. She also started saying things like "it's looking like we are on track", etc.
[blink, blink] Who is this, and what has she done with our caseworker?
Ah, but there's more. Yesterday, I got a call from M&M's ad litem (the court appointed attorney to represent M&M's best interests). She called to let me know about the trial setting. She also said she would be coming by the house for one last visit so she can write her final report. She indicated she would be recommending to the court that The Queen and I be allowed to adopt M&M.
[blink, blink, blink] I promise I'm not gonna cry. I might be tearing up as I write this, but you can't see it. So, it's not happening.
So, what happens from there? After rights are terminated, the court has to physically serve them with notice of the termination. Since they are out of state with no known address, that may be difficult. Fortunately, the law allows alternative means of service. Most likely, they will be served via publication in a paper of record. Once that occurs, they will 60 days to file an appeal. The court does not have to accept the appeal, and the likelihood of an appeal being accepted under the circumstances are miniscule. The chances of an accepted appeal being successfully granted in the Tarrant County court of appeals...infinitesimal.
Once the time to file an appeal runs or an appeal is rejected/denied, we are free to adopt M&M as soon as a hearing can be scheduled which we hope will be the very next day. So, unless a miracle happens, the earliest we will be able to adopt M&M is late January.
The Queen and I are beside ourselves. We can't wait for the end of November and end of January to get here. This has been a very emotional journey, and one that, frankly, we do not want to repeat. It has also been a miraculous journey in a lot of ways. I am working on writing the full story to post here. I believe those who are people of faith will see a series of miracles and God's influence leading to an inevitable conclusion. Those who are not religious may not see it that way, but I think they will find it an inspiring story nonetheless.
We have already made the decision that we will be getting out of the foster care system once the adoption is final. Staying in is not an option for either of us. There are too many restrictions. It is too frustrating. We want our freedom back. Whether or not that will impact Mini Me and The Banshee directly remains to be seen. We hope that they will have already moved on to where they need to be by then. If not...who's to say at this point?
In the meantime, don't start planning the party yet...but expect an invitation.