Thursday, December 06, 2007

Waiting and Wondering about the Hearing

Today FosterAbba and FosterEema will be going back to court.

The last hearing was very high stakes. It was an appeal of a 7-day removal notice. They won and they got to take Danielle home. If they had lost they would have had to say goodbye at the court house. This hearing is not so clear-cut. FosterAbba and FosterEema are asking to have their names officially on a document detailing Danielle's long-term plan.

So it is less clear what exactly winning and losing would mean here.

If they win this hearing, then their name goes on a document and life continues pretty much as it has. They are Danielle's foster parents who want to adopt her and Danielle is not yet legally free for adoption. They have to work with the department and perhaps will eventually get to adopt her. But they could technically lose (that is, not get their names on the document) and still take Danielle home. They would still be Danielle's foster parents who want to adopt her.

It is possible that the judge will decide to remove Danielle, but it is also possible that he will decide to let them keep her for now and require them to continue counseling or parenting classes or whatever. He could have them come back in three weeks or three months.

I do, as you know, permanency placement foster care. That means that I am part of the permanency plan. When I have a kid under 18 I go to a hearing every six months. I am usually not required to be there, but the judge does like to meet us. We smile and say that everything is going fine. When we went with David the first time the judge was very solicitous. He asked David if he was happy in his new home and if there was anything he could do for him. David said he liked us and didn't need anything. The judge smiled, said that it looked like things were working out well for David and expressed a hope that things get settled for his younger brothers. The last thing he said to us was, "I'll see you in six months."

Six months later was pretty much the same thing all over again, although David's brothers were in more stable situations. They and their foster parents were not there because their placements were classified as temporary.

Okay...so what's the point here?

Well, I'm trying to prepare you all. FosterAbba promises to let me know as soon as she knows anything. What she knows will probably not be a bright neon sign saying "YOU WIN" or "YOU LOSE." It will probably be grey and unclear. The result may have more to do with tone and attitude than about official rulings. There is good reason to think she will be asked to come back in some weeks or months, and it may be quite a few months before things have really settled down to something stable

And in the end, stable and good might mean a judge smiling and saying, "See you in six months."

7 comments:

  1. Thanks Yondalla- I am checking back periodically to see!

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  2. Thanks for this context. It really helps those of us not (yet?) in such systems.

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  3. THanks Yondalla - this was the first place I came when I got to work this morning....I'll be back later to see if there is an update. Praying good thoughts for Foster E & Foster A & Danielle.

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  4. I have been holding my breath for them.

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  5. I have been thinking about them all day. I hope there is some news soon:-)

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  6. Yondalla, thanks for letting us know! The context helps me know not to expect as yes or no answer.

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  7. Thanks, Yondalla. I've been wondering.

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