Adoption on the Horizon?

adopt

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.

Photo credit: rumolay / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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12 thoughts on “Adoption on the Horizon?

  1. Wow, good for you guys for fighting for Buddy, he could really use permanent parents like you!! It sounds like bio-mom doesn’t have a good shot at keeping him should she decide to not terminate her parental rights. I know you are in for a long haul but I hope things go smoothly!

    • Hi Courtney,

      Thanks so much for commenting! We are really trying our best to be very involved in every step of the process. Buddy deserves that! I really hope that mom doesn’t fight us. She did TPR for a previous child, but she went to stay with bio-grandma. I hope we can make some kind of connection with mom so that she has faith that we’ll do our best to raise her son so that he’s a healthy and happy boy in a loving and caring home. Thanks for the kind words!

  2. That has to be SO hard. Falling in love with the little guy and not knowing what the future brings (or how long it will take to bring it). For everyone’s sake, I hope the mother is able to make the best choice for her son and surrender her rights. I really hope this all goes well for you!

    • Hi Redbluebird,

      Thanks so much for following and commenting! We are smitten with our little blonde, curly haired angel! I hope she makes the best choice for him as well. Thank you for the kind words and wishes!

  3. I read your story and keep Buddy in my prayers that things go well. I’m dealing with my own Dude’s big milestone this week, where we have a (hopefully) big day in his case. I’ve just asked everyone to pray for him…not me…because after 19 months, he deserves this. I hope things progress smoothly for you, and that regardless of how things go, that none of it creates unease in Buddy. If there’s one thing I’ve learned to hope for every day, it’s that the foster system doesn’t hurt the kids anymore than it has to.

    • Hi Amanda,
      Thanks so much for responding. Thank you for praying for “Buddy.” I pray that your Dude’s case goes well for your family too. That is the biggest thing with me… the damage from foster care. You wouldn’t think that at 2 years old he would have damage, but he does. Hopefully, our love and consistency will help keep it to a minimum. Thank you!!

  4. I’ve been there, and I just have to say that the timelines laid out by the agency are by no means set in stone. Our kids’ case took nearly a year longer than it should have and then against all odds the kids went home to their mom. I have come to realize that most of the time the agency is only interested in reunification of parent and child. I think that you have chosen the right direction in trying to make a connection with Buddy’s mom. We are blessed to have developed a relationship that allows us to still have contact with our kids and their mom. This was totally outside of agency interactions, and we would have nothing with them if we hadn’t taken that initiative. I do hope that things work out for Buddy’s best interest, and that it happens quickly!

    • Hi Instant Mama,
      I totally understand where you are coming from. Buddy is our third foster child. We were devastated when our last baby left. The caseworker went so far as to say that functioning drug addicts successfully take care of their children all the time! Well, why is that okay? The system is so flawed and even though blood shouldn’t matter more than love, it does. I miss that little baby everyday, but I just pray that the parents do right by him. I know that we did the best we could for him while we had him. I know that things can always go wrong, so I’m just hoping that this time they go right! Thanks for commenting!

      • I’m really hoping too. I miss our baby every day as well. It’s horrible that we can relate to each other’s stories because foster care shouldn’t even be necessary to start with. But it is, and through the pain it is nice to know there are others who understand. Blessings to you and yours.

  5. From the been there, done that file: depends greatly on the state you are working with. Some social agencies have their act together and really do move quicker, recognizing that yes, kids really do need a stable home. I got lucky. Ours wound up in our home in less than a year. We had a TPR case waiting from the father, the mother already knew the kids would never be allowed to remain in her care. So, from January’s meeting until December’s adoption, I’d say the state we adopted them from got it right. I might add that the kids are not from my home state. Their adoption program stinks. I have a friend who went through messes here. Another friend in California received a 9-month-old baby who had been in 6 homes. Mercifully, the baby became she and her husband’s on April 19. The best advice I can give you? Constantly harass your social worker and make friends with the foster child’s lawyer. If your social worker isn’t doing his or her best, request another. Make noise. Don’t back down. Fight.

    • Fortunately, this time, we do have a good social worker and the baby does have a good lawyer. So we will be fighting tooth and nail and hopefully it won’t be dragged out. I hate that it depends on where you live. It should be the same everywhere. I just don’t get it. They’re supposed to have the best interest of the child in mind here! I’m happy for you and your friends on successfully adopting!

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