We went to Buddy’s Service Plan Review on Friday. It’s basically a check by a neutral party to make sure that everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do as far as Buddy is concerned: Mom is being offered services, Buddy is in a safe environment and getting the services he needs and the foster parents are on board with what’s going on. Bio-mom did not attend.
My big question was, “when would we be able to adopt Buddy?”
This is what I was told:
Buddy went into care in September. At his 53 week mark, next September, if mom has made no progress, my caseworker will file a TPR (Termination of Parental Rights).
Around October a petition will be prepared for family court. At this initial appearance, or pretrial, we can see if our lawyer can make a deal with bio-mom’s lawyer for her to relinquish her parental rights. For instance, we will send her a letter and a photo once a year giving her an update as to how he’s doing. If she agrees to this, then we can file paperwork to adopt him.
If she decides that she will not terminate her rights and she feels that she has done what she needed to do to get him back, then they would hold a trial in about February.
The trial would be a “fact finding” day to see what information we have to support why he should be freed for adoption or returned to mom.
Next we would go to a dispositional hearing to see if bio-mom is found neglectful or not based on the information from the “fact finding” day. If the judge says she was, then he’ll be freed for adoption. However, mom can appeal.
It takes 12-16 months for the appeals process to take place.
Best case scenario, we’ll be adopting Buddy in about a year. Worst case scenario, it could take up to THREE long years!
To mom’s credit, she has been attending weekly visits with him. He’s a mess afterward, but she goes. She did not go into rehab like she was supposed to. She has not attended the anger management, parenting or counseling classes or assessments that have been offered to her over the past eight months. So, she has 4 more months to either get her act together or continue down her path of destruction.