This week has been all about adoption, not tons of Foster Care stuff happening- which is kind of suspicious, When is there not tons of foster care stuff happening? It made me nervous, so I called 4's caseworker just to be sure.
There is court next week on the 8th, and it's a pretty big one- for Baby 4, not for us. Either Mom will surrender her parental rights or the judge will order "No Reasonable Efforts" where CPS will not have to work with her towards reunification. We think the surrender is most likely to occur. This is a big deal for 4 because it means his legal connection to his Mother is gone (although he knows nothing about this now, and won't for a while). It is not a big deal for us because we knew from the beginning that Mom would never be a resource for him based on the details of the case. Mom surrendering doesn't make it any more or less likely that 4 will stay with us or go to Relative Resource. The caseworker expects that there will be no talk about Dad or RR at court this time around since surrenders can take a while. I'm sad I won't be there for the surrender. That will be the last time any of us will see 4's Mom. I've never spoken to her, I've only exchanged glances with her in court. Baby 4 hasn't seen or spoken to her in over a year. I wish I knew more about her so I can tell 4 when he starts to wonder what she looks like and who she is.
I kept pushing the caseworker about how she thinks this will go. When should I expect a move if the judge grants RR custody? Not for a while. He's been with us a year, don't we become party to case now? There will be a time when that's important, but not yet. Will the judge automatically extend Baby 4's stay in care, or will she expect some sort of permanency to be achieved quickly after surrender? She'll extend his placement. How much say does the law guardian have? As much as anyone else. We all agree that 4 is where he needs to be right now. Will he still be with me in May? (putting on her "I'm frustrated with you" Mom voice)- He'll still be with you in September.
And as much as I want to believe her, I can't. This is the same judge the said "Immediately" and made me hand over Baby 5 without any thought to a smooth transition. This is the same judge who sent Baby 1 home after the first clean drug test in 8 months. Family court judges do whatever they want, and it often doesn't make sense.
There are a lot of people out there that wish they could do something for kids who need good families, but can't commit to foster or adopt. I'll tell you exactly what you can do to help kids in care- it takes minimal time and it's completely free. EDUCATE yourselves about those running for Family court judge, and VOTE wisely for the person who will determine how these kids live. I never put any thought into who I voted for as Family/County court judges before starting foster care. I usually voted along my party line for positions like that. I thought family court was for divorces and child support- any idiot can order Wednesdays and every other weekend in exchange for 20% of your income. They do so much more than that, though, and now I'm very active in researching our candidates before voting- because once they're in, judges can help a lot of kids or ruin a lot lives.
Quiet makes me uneasy. Feels like the calm before the storm...