Advocating For Our Little Buddy

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After our last foster child left us, my husband and I were so upset by the minimal requirements to have a child returned, that we vowed not to let another foster child slip through our fingers to less than capable parents if we could help it. At first we thought this meant that we just couldn’t be foster parents any longer. However, we decided that we just needed to use our loss as a learning experience and be more involved advocates for children in our care. Buddy had his permanency hearing recently and it was very important for us that we attend.

We knew that this court hearing was just a formality. The plan would be to continue with foster care. However, we were thrown a little curve ball when the first thing the judge said was that DSS had not made enough effort to locate the bio-dad. Certified letters have been sent to bio-dad’s mother’s house (they live in another state) because he’s supposedly active military serving overseas, although the branch is uncertain. I guess dad at some point denied paternity, but testing was never done. I don’t know what else the judge expects to be done. I tried my own Google search and his name comes up, but I don’t want to spend the $50 to search any further into his records. Bio-mom said that he was a merchant marine, but I looked that up and that’s not an active military branch, so who knows what the truth is.

Bio-mom did not attend the hearing. She chose to attend her visit with Buddy instead. I’m assuming she didn’t even realize she had court. It turns out that they assigned the same lawyer to both mom and dad and it was a conflict of interest, so mom will be assigned a new lawyer. However, she never tried to contact that lawyer at all, so it doesn’t seem to matter who represents her. Likewise, dad has made no contact with his lawyer, so the lawyer was able to drop him as well.

The best part is that the caseworker, Buddy’s lawyer and my husband got to speak on our behalf to say some nice words about us and how well he’s progressing in our care. They also let the judge know our desire to adopt him.

The next hearing will be held in October where hopefully parental rights will be terminated! Bio-mom still has not submitted to a full psychological evaluational or shown up for rehab. She currently lives in a one bedroom apartment with two other roommates. When the caseworker stopped by for her monthly visit, she refused to get out of bed and was hostile toward one of her roommates who tried to wake her. The caseworker has only been able to successfully visit with her once. I don’t know why the caseworker doesn’t go to one of her visits with Buddy and drug test her there. I guess because of the obvious signs of drug use it doesn’t really matter, but I would think the more evidence against her, the better.

I’m glad that Buddy is making progress in our care. The tantrums, hitting, biting and night terrors are all getting better. I’m also grateful that we can be there for him and advocate for him in court, that he actually has a good caseworker and lawyer behind him as well. I’m just hoping that mom wants what’s best for him too.

Photo credit: @Doug88888 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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