It was supposed to just be an ordinary permanency hearing… continue with foster care. I told my husband that he didn’t have to take off from work. I was fine going by myself. He’d gone to a couple before and this was my first one. I didn’t mind. This is one time I can honestly say that I’m glad he didn’t listen to me!
Our first surprise was when we were told that bio-mom was on her way from jail. Ummm, what???!!! I didn’t know she even knew the hearing was going on and I didn’t know that they moved her from the justice center to the jail yet (read about jail in my last post here). Apparently she was moved the evening before.
When we got into the court room, bio-mom actually looked presentable (besides being shackled, in an orange jumpsuit and escorted by prison guards). Her hair was clean, neatly brushed and she didn’t have any of her facial piercings in. Then she actually thanked us for taking care of Buddy! … Then she lied to the judge’s face!
She said that she could have gone to rehab through drug court, but decided that she needed to take some time for herself. In actuality, she skipped out on rehab, a warrant was issued for her arrest and she was sent to jail. So… what was the past year that he was in care for if not to take time for herself? She didn’t have to take care of anyone else!
Then she went on to say that she joined NA (after being in jail for less than 24 hours) and will be out in March for good behavior (instead of the year she was sentenced to serve) and everything will be taken care of! Really? You think they’re going to get your kid back in five months because you went to some meetings in jail? Also, she has two felony charges pending. Hopefully she doesn’t just get a slap on the wrist for those, but has to serve some hard time in prison.
To make matters even worse, the judge was a jerk. A month ago when the court papers were filed for the hearing, we didn’t know where bio-mom was. She was MIA and there haven’t been visits in six months. Now, she’s here in court and when the judge asked if she’s getting visits, the answer was no and he flipped out. He said that she is entitled to get weekly visits since the plan is reunification (he didn’t know about the TPR). When the caseworker said that she had been missing and visits were being offered to her on a monthly basis, he didn’t agree and said that she deserves to see her child and he hopes that it’s more than once by the next hearing. The bio-mom spoke up and said to the caseworker that she read in a handbook that she can have the kid on her lap and play with him by herself too! (I guess there is a Head Start program where this could be a reality, but chances are she won’t qualify, fingers crossed).
Oh yeah, and court was rescheduled for a month from now because she wanted a lawyer.
I kept it together for the 15 minutes maybe that we were in court. It seemed like forever. Then when I got out I started to cry. Why was the judge all for the bio-mom who’s in jail and not for Buddy? Where are his rights? Why should he be tormented by visits in jail with some woman he’s barely seen over the past year? He does see his mom, it’s me and I’m there for him every single day!
Our caseworker is awesome and she put some things into perspective for me. Even though the judge was a big jerk and wanted to make sure the visits were happening, it’s actually a good thing because he’s making sure that all the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted. DSS is required to offer visits and if they don’t, it could hurt us at TPR. Also, if Buddy has a hard time with the visits, we can make an appointment with the psychologist. The psychologist can then write a letter stating that the visits are negatively impacting Buddy and submit that to the judge. If Buddy has a REALLY hard time and say, screams bloody murder during a visit, the jail officials will kick him out and say that it’s not a good environment for him anyway.
So, I could go to the jail visits with Buddy, but since I could barely hold it together for court, I probably shouldn’t be there with him during a visit. Part of me wants to go, because she doesn’t like me very much and even the caseworker said she might try to attack me. She went off on me at a doctor’s appointment before (read here) because I referred to myself as Mommy. That would suck for her if she did that since they probably don’t like prisoners fighting with visitors.
The caseworker is going to update the hearing paperwork so that the judge has more background as to what has transpired recently, that the TPR is scheduled and also what behaviors Buddy has as a result of visits with bio-mom after not seeing her for so long (which are inevitable).
Needless to say, it was a rough morning. To make me feel better, Hubby took me out to lunch and then we went shopping. What would I ever do without him?
Pray for my little man that the visits aren’t too horrible for him. Since the behaviors are starting already, I know it’s not going to be good. Buddy is an amazing two-year-old little boy who deserves normalcy. He should be worrying about what toy to play with next, not about jail visits and memories of abandonment and neglect. I just want all of this to be over with and for him to be ours.
I know the last couple of posts have been pretty intense. Thanks for listening to me vent.
Photo credit: SalFalko / Foter / CC BY-NC