Thursday, February 14, 2013

Big day!

First, the biggest deal: My sister and Brian had their baby! Her name is River and she's perfect. She was born around 4:30 in the morning, when I happened to be lying there awake feeling my own new baby kicking and wiggling. My sister is doing well, which is really awesome because the last time she gave birth it did NOT go smoothly - but this new little girl made a nice gentle entrance into the world. I can't wait to meet her.

And second, court! The summary is that nothing changed. The weird part is that this sort of feels like a victory.

M's mom didn't show up, which wasn't unexpected. They adjourned her part of the case for two weeks, to give her another chance to show up. They surprised me by not adjourning the full case, and having the hearing for the dad's side.

There was a different lawyer there for the dad; I don't know if his usual guy couldn't make it (they changed our court date, so our worker couldn't be there either) or if he now has a different lawyer, but this guy actually said the dad's name correctly in the courtroom, so he's definitely more on the ball than the last one. This lawyer asked for increased visits, and suggested to the judge that they have the county inspect the dad's new home and then come back for another hearing in a few weeks to discuss having visits at said home. The judge pretty much shot that down cold. He (the judge) pointed out that the worker could and would increase visits and change location when that was warranted by the dad's involvement, so no, he didn't see a reason to do that.

The lawyer then asked if we could still have another hearing in a few weeks, so the court could hear about the dad's house being inspected by the county. The judge just stared at him for a minute, and said that even if the house is fine and the dad makes all his visits for a few weeks, they're not just going to move the baby in with him in a month. I loved the judge so much right then, you guys.

The lawyer understood that, but still thought maybe we could "evaluate the situation" again in a few weeks or a month. The judge again just stared at him for a minute, then said, "I'm not going to micromanage this case. I don't do that." And then he set our next hearing for JULY. I assume the judge realized that the lawyer was banking on the dad's habit of trying really hard in the few weeks before court to keep the dad moving forward, and the judge wasn't cool with it.

We'll actually be in court before July, because they'll be filing the paperwork to terminate parental rights in April. Apparently when they finish and file the paperwork on the termination of parental rights, it generates a court date or something, but we don't know when that will be until after the paperwork is filed, and we don't know how far behind the county is on writing those. I'm just hoping they don't schedule it for while I'm in labor.

And now, I have a sincere question for you all: Do you like these blow-by-blow recaps, or would you prefer a shorter summary?

I ask because I know I like to read as much detail as I can about how the court stuff works in other jurisdictions, but if most of you just skim this to get the basic gist, I'd happily cut it way down and give you an overview.  


  1. Personally I find it fascinating as-is. I have no clue how things progress or what hangs things up etc. and find it informative should I ever take the step to foster. Glad for your recent victories, or at least lack of stupids!

  2. Congratulations on your new niece! And I'm glad to hear that M is still in your care- best wishes.

    I do like the blow-by-blow recaps. I don't know a lot about foster care, so I'm not sure I'd understand everything with a shorter summary!

  3. I am all about the details. And, I think, the termination petition beng written forces them to set a termination trial date. At least that is what it does where I live.

    Boy that lawyer was all over things. Glad the judge said no.

  4. I like the details! That is wonderful that you have a good judge! Writing the tpr petition is huge! Hope yours gets written faster than mine :)

  5. Am chiming in embarrassingly late, but I find the details fascinating (and also infuriating and gobsmacking and every other thing). But seriously. I'm sure this is all just a tiny fraction of what you are going through, and I really appreciate being able to understand it even a tiny bit better.

  6. I'm really glad you all like the details! I knew very little about the legal processes involved with fostering when we started out, and it varies so wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction (and even, in our county, from judge to judge) so I am always thrilled to find out more about how it works. I'll go ahead and provide details and if you feel like skimming it won't hurt my feelings! Also, if you ever have questions about the process or anything, feel free to ask. I ask our worker a million questions and I'll give you whatever information I can!