In Place of Whining, a Brief Post.

I actually have two posts written and sitting in my drafts folder, while I figure out if they’re too depressing and whiny to post. In the meantime and probably in lieu of those posts, I will simply say that the recent past has been very difficult. It becomes more and more apparent by the week that nobody in the county is watching out for Midge’s best interests. The social worker reveals more and more of her personal agenda to keep her reunification rates high at the expense of the child’s best interest. Her allegiance recently switched from Midge’s bio mom to her bio dad. (Not because of anything we’ve been trying to persuade her of over the past eight months, but because of a recent change in circumstance for Midge’s bio mom.) One month ago the social worker was asking me if we might be comfortable allowing Midge’s bio dad to move from two two hour monitored visits at a secure facility, to two two hour visits monitored at a community park. Two weeks later (after the bio mom’s change in circumstance) she ordered bio dad’s visits to be two six hour visits, totally unmonitored. And at our meeting last week, she told me that whether the court terminates reunification services next week is irrelevant. She will be moving from these unmonitored daytime visits to overnights and weekend visits for dad as soon as possible.

Wow. If that swift change of heart and change of direction doesn’t reveal your bias towards reunification at all costs, I don’t know what does.

It doesn’t matter that Midge has never shown any attachment to her bio dad. (Recently she has stopped rejecting him completely. She does love her candy and movies and spoiling and complete undivided attention during visits these days.) It doesn’t matter that he has been in jail several times and has had documented cases of domestic violence even during Midge’s removal. It doesn’t matter that Midge responds badly after these unmonitored visits. (And by badly, I mean unprecedented tantrums, freaking out when any member of the family can’t be in the same house with her, screaming for mommy or daddy when usually loved family members come over, and general unusual clingy behavior that lasts several days after each unmonitored visit.) It doesn’t matter that we are looking at 22 months in foster care and the case plans are still “almost done.” It doesn’t matter that because of her bio parents and the courts, she is completely and utterly attached to our family…the only family life she can remember, and that removing her from us will cause more attachment trauma.

So that’s the long and short of it. If the social worker and the bio parent attorneys remain the only influential voices in the courtroom, we are probably looking at a maximum of a few months left with Midge in our home. If Midge’s attorney prevails or if the new judge that we’re getting this month happens to be somebody with a more rational look at the big picture, it is possible that she could stay with us, but right now it’s not probable.

But if we think about it, God is the one that will prevail over the whole thing, and He knows what path is best for Midge and for our family. If He chooses to reunify her with one of her parents or both, there will be a lot of questions we have for Him in heaven. And if He chooses to keep her with us, everyone who knows us will recognize it as a miracle.

Right now we pray that God will show us what He wants us to do here. We’ve been cooperating completely with social services, and feel like God has wanted to do the fighting for her Himself. We wonder now whether He wants us to step in and fight for her, too. We’ve asked for our own attorney as de facto parents (something we should have been granted back in January) and wonder about requesting a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for Midge and arranging meetings with our social worker’s supervisors and threatening to go to congressmen and such. I think it will depend on what happens on Monday, Oct 15 at our sixth attempt to hold the trial to terminate reunification services, and upon how we feel led as we pray this week. Pray with us for clarity, if you’re the praying type. We shall see.

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7 thoughts on “In Place of Whining, a Brief Post.

  1. Oh, I so feel your pain. We are in the middle of the reunification at any cost as well. It is truly enough to make a sane person crazy. I will add you to my prayers. Only God can combat this level of incompetence. I pray you know when to speak and when to wait. And you should definitely request a CASA – we have found them to be the best and they seek only the child’s best interest and speak directly to the judge. Request one ASAP. Blessings,
    Instant Mama

  2. Linn – We will continue to lift you and your beautiful family up in prayer. God has a plan for Midge. I pray that you feel His guidance on how you should proceed going forward. We love you all!

  3. As I was reading through your post, I kept thinking, they need to get an attorney! So I really think you’re wise to pursue that option, as well as a CASA for Midge. The state is balancing a myriad of interests, so it’s going to be really important that Midge’s best interests are clearly represented before the courts. I think you’re doing the right thing to fight for her.

    I will be covering your family in prayer over the coming weeks.

  4. Praying here as well.
    And yes, I would agree with the above comments. If your system doesn’t automatically have a voice for Midge, then you should certainly request one!

  5. Just fyi… I’m wondering if the CASA is a lot like what my mom does here in NC as a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). She is the only person involved whose sole purpose is to be the voice of the child. Generally the judge recognizes that everyone else has a mixed agenda (family, foster family, social workers, lawyers, etc), so the GAL’s assessment of the situation and recommendations often carry weight.

    We’re praying for you all.

    • Sarah,
      From everything I’ve read, the CASA and GAL are the same thing, different names. I haven’t researched this, but from reading a ton of foster blogs, this seems to be the case. I’ve noticed the ones in the north seem to be a GAL and the ones more south are CASA. The definition you just gave (sole purpose to look out for best interest of CHILD only and speak directly to judge) is the same as our CASA. I used to think that the state/agency was looking out for the best interest of the child – I think all of us who have been doing this for more than a few months have come to realize the state is looking out for the state and as soon as they come into custody they want them back out to help out the budget. ASAP and at any cost. And since TPR is so long and hard to do, reunification is always the quickest answer – that is the state’s best interests, not the child’s. Still praying for Midge!

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