Remember those days of that 2ww, and what being late meant? Ah, well, age, you have cured me.
I have been trying to find moment to get up here and update the events of the hearing on July 23, but Super!Active A really does make it challenging! She is just downright jealous if I spend time on the computer -- she needs to drive that thing! So I basically just stay away from it while she is awake. And now it is past my bed-time (or what should be my bedtime), but not updating is driving me crazy.
Of course I'm still trying to figure out what exactly happened, and how to convey it. Basically, the case switched judges. Which my attorney was worried about. Neither judge has a great reputation, but he felt we had more of chance of being heard with Judge #1.
Basically, what he did was prepare a motion to try and get me standing as a party to the case. This is beyond a long-shot. I'm a foster parent; no matter which legal argument you look at for the basis of standing, I don't have it. BUT, it gave us the chance to present the motion to the court. A beautiful, 4 page motion that laid out the plain and simple facts of this case. A was born in State X; she is a citizen of State X; she had 2 1-hour visitations from BM before BM abandoned her in STate X 13 months ago; A is bonded with me and my family; A has never met her distant family in STate Y; all State X CPS is trying to do here is move her from one foster home to another. So Judge #2 (who looks to be about 104) takes the time and reads the entire motion, then smiles at my attorney and says thank you, motion for standing is denied. My attorney starts to argue and the judge cuts him off, saying of course foster parents are allowed to be present, they should be at every hearing (really? could you tell my social worker who has lied to me about every singel court date that??), but I don't get to be a party to the case.
I'm beyond needing to throw up at this point. Judge #2 then turns to the state and explodes in a tirade over, "Why are we here? What are you doing to this poor 14 months old child? Someone tell me why taking her out of her crib, her only home she has known and placing her with strangers in another state is in her best interest?"
I think my jaw hit the floor. I wasn't expecting this from him. Neither was the state's attorney, social worker, guardian ad litem or BM's public defender. They were speechless and their head spinning. All this is going on the record. My attorney is able to jump up and interject with facts and information, and the state is looking more and more like idiots. Their attorney kept stammering about it is required under law that A be placed with siblings (it isn't). It was pointed out that these are half siblings, none with the same birth father. The look of disgust on Judge #2's face was clear, and he continued to rant against the state and their delay on handling this case, and properly enacting the law. (Come to find out, the ICPC paperwork required to be in place to move A out of state is NOT is her file -- NC has never returned it; the state was going to simply take her out of my care without it!!!) He asked again, one final time on what basis the state was for making this decision (decision, not motion, as they had nothing in writing), and again the stammering argument that kinship placement is required. Judge #2 sneered, "DNA denied, motion denied. The child is to stay where she is. If you don't like it, appeal it. Let them decide upstairs what is in her best interest since none of you can."
I am seriously in love with Judge #2.
There is going to be another status hearing the end of August, hopefully still in front of this judge, who has clearly had it with the incompetancy of the state and how they sleep walk through cases, never actually looking at the facts and circumstances (never mind their huge effing mistake they made on this one). BM's attorney is appealing the judges decision, so that is out there as well.
Meanwhile, amazing attorney* and I have put out heads together and have about 3 other irons in the fire right now just to keep me front and center in all the action, and to also make the state look like even bigger idiots for not going, "Gee, the child has a chance to permanency where she is now, and that is really what Title IV-E is really all about. Should we stop wasting money and let her be adopted?" Biggest thing is reaching out to BM, as she still has rights and can really call the shots on this one if she wishes. I want her to know how great A is doing, and that I want A to know BM, her family and her half-siblings. This is a chance for two families to grow and benefit, and this kiddo really deserves follow through on the opportunity she has been given here.
I love that when I first met with this attorney, he was reluctant to charge me much for this case, never mind take it, because he really didn't feel like we had a chance. But as things unfolded and I passed on the research I had done and detailed the facts more, he has become more intrigued and excited about it, and really feels like we can make this happen.
So that's where things are. I still have phone calls and meetings and things I'm following up on our various irons that are in the fire. A continues to amaze me and crack me up on a daily basis. Climbing. That is the new thing. Serious climbing. I always thought that there was a 2 months or so grace period between the beginning of walking and climbing; I got at most 2 weeks. And she remains a complete mimic on everything. I must talk on the phone more than I think because she is always on the phone, jib-jabbering away. Talkative does not even begin to describe her. Her language skills were evident at 6 months, and she has a very clear and evident language all her own, and is never quiet. She talks to herself (and makes herself laugh, which is hysterical), her toys, the cats, the computer, me, and possibly a troop of invisible friends.
I cannot wait until the day I can share pictures with you all, because she really is something. I have got to remember to take my video camera into the bath with us as she is very funny about taking the little round basin that came home with her from the hospital and putting it on her head as a hat, and then checking her reflection in the drain overflow cover, grinning and adjusting it, and posing at different angles. As is constantly being on the phone wasn't evidence enough of the teenage years to come!
Thanks to ALL of you for your good thoughts and prayers, because I truly believe that was the basis for the shocking turn of events in court. Please keep the prayers and thoughts coming as we still have a road to go on this, but we can prove we are might and strong -- with LOVE!!
*In talking with a psychologist friend who has a lot of experience in family court and with CPS, he asked who my attorney was and if I felt confident. I said yes, and gave him my attorney's name. He paused a second. "Oh, yeah, I'm familiar with him. Wow, I wouldn't want to be in court up against him." Talk about a ringing endorsement. :)