I’m back…. rather quickly. I didn’t want to lose my thought process of what I witnessed yesterday in court. I couldn’t come up with a catchy title for this blog entry, so please bear with me. My thoughts are all over the place, so if I ramble please forgive me. I will not go into any details about the court case, so if that is what you are looking for you can stop reading now. This is not my life story to tell, I am only discussing my feelings. So here we go…
This was my second time being invited into a court proceeding for a child in my care. The first time I went to court, I kind of knew what to expect. My child’s worker let me know that the child would be in care a little longer and that hearing was to check with the parents progress of the current plan and to see what else may need to be done for the children to return. So again, I knew what to expect. The only surprise (because there is always a surprise) is the fact that we (me and the other foster mother involved) thought the next court date would be set for an earlier date. When the judge announced a later date, we both looked at each other in shock. Okay, so back to yesterday. I had no expectation of what was going to happen. Because my little one is so young, and because I’ve been told that my state favors parents, there was a chance that even though nothing progressed in the case the decision may have been a plan to return her to her biological mother sooner. So I was extremely nervous. I will pause here to again say that I am not trying to take anyone’s child from them. My nerves came because of what I know about the case and because there has been NO PROGRESS meaning nothing has changed in the almost 6 months the baby has been in care. So the same behaviors that had the baby placed in care had not been addressed and may reoccur. On the Friday before the case, I was able to speak to the lawyer representing the baby and I felt peaceful after our conversation because both the lawyer and the department were united.
As the case began I was nervous, but as I logged into the call (yes the case was on Zoom) and baby girl and myself came on the screen… I became more settled. Especially when the judge looked at baby and said, “Oh how cute!” that made me know that she saw her… she was an actual person that was recognized and not just a case number on a paper in front of her. This case was a Child in Need of Assistance hearing to determine if the child should remain in the care of the department. As everyone logged on and prepared for the case to begin, I sat back prepared to hear what the outcome would be. I was not prepared for what I saw or heard and am totally overwhelmed by what transpired during the hearing.
Although I can’t say much, what I will say is that my experience being a foster parent has made me so grateful for the family that I grew up in. I mean, everyone could probably say that their family isn’t perfect, but just knowing that my family was “normal” for the most part 🙂 I am grateful. I was genuinely caught off guard by the behavior I witnessed in the courtroom and it made me very upset. The opposing attorney wanted to delay the case again, he kept citing that the virtual court documents stated that a final decision couldn’t be made on this platform and he wanted to push for another court date when in person hearings were being scheduled in a few weeks. I was very disappointed to hear that because I wanted some sort of resolution for baby girl. She deserved that. The judge corrected him several times that she didn’t understand why he didn’t want to proceed and that the virtual platform was able to handle the entire case. He was still reluctant. I was so happy that the baby’s attorney didn’t let that slide and eventually we did proceed. After all the evidence was read, the verdict came back that my little one is indeed a child in need of assistance (duh… to everyone except the opposing side of course) and that she would remain in the departments care until the next court date (or if a family member steps up/in to provide care). I feel a mix of relief and heartbreak because of the reality of what baby girl will possibly face. I know that economic stability, a two family home, a nice house/neighborhood, or any of the comforts that I can give her doesn’t make me any better, BUT care, stability, tranquility, and light can help shape her childhood into it’s true form.
So there you have it. I know… I know… I told you nothing. LOL! Just know that I am feeling overwhelmed and also grateful that I can play a part in this little baby’s story. I continue to pray that change… real change can be made over the next 3 months to improve the quality of life baby girl can have and I will continue to play my part. If true change cannot come, I will continue to pray for wisdom for all those who have to make the decisions for her future and I will continue to be there… in my truest form for her.
I’ll add a picture… just so I can share most of her cuteness :-).