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.