Forgive the stream of consciousness, but I want to get this down now while it's still fresh after the courthouse appearance. I knew the hearing was today to terminate parental rights for the birth mother (BM) of our two foster kids (girl-3, boy-4), and something was said about making an appearance in court. I got the call at 10:30 am that Kristal was heading to court, so I met her there a little after 11.
I was delayed for a few minutes at the entrance of the court, as a small screwdriver I keep in my pocket for working on computers was considered a weapon so I had to have it put in a locker. As I sat down next to Kristal, they were wrapping up testimony on BM's drug use and how her attorney thinks that she's making "progress". We then heard that the longest she's been sober has been about six weeks.
After that was done I got to give my testimony. It was the first time I have ever had to testify in a court room for an actual case. They asked me about the kids and how they were doing in the house. He then asked me how I felt about them and if I loved them. After a pause I said I was working on it, which was truthful but may have not been the best choice of words.
Kristal testified next and I could tell she was nervous (I don't think I was), but she did well, except she tried to get up early before the judge told her she could step down. She told BM that her kids loved her, and it seemed to affect her.
BM's mom (in from NJ) testified how she wanted to keep her grandkids with her, that she really loved them as her fleah-and-blood. She made an off-hand remark about not having to "work" on loving them. BM's attorney also made some remark about me "working" on loving them. DSS did testify that a case study of the Grandma and her house had been made and was rejected for custody.
When I was up on the stand I tried to choose my words carefully yet be truthful. As a foster dad I guard my heart, and I'm reserved to begin with, so it's a long process for me. It felt like I was not being "loving" enough, but part of that may have just been the defense trying to prop up the "lovingness" of BM.
She was the last one to the stand and gave her final testimony. She made a very moving plea for the judge not to terminate her rights, that she was on the road to recovery and the best place for her kids was to be with her. You see stuff on TV shows portraying emotional court scenes, but to be an actual part of it was something else. I'm still feeling a little numb about two hours later, and I'm just a bit player in this.
The judge ruled for terminating the rights, and BM didn't cry, make a scene or do much of anything besides whisper to her attorney. I can't imagine what she's going through, nor would I want to. When she talked I could see the 3 y.o. girl's face and voice inflections/pattern in her. It has been 2 years and for whatever reasons BM cannot seem to quit the drugs. I fear after this she will be lost, and I pray that the Lord will give her peace and put her into the right situation to start her life over again without the drugs.
While this clears the way for adoption, it will be many months until we have a better idea on when we can make the adoption final.
Posted by MarcV, 3:53 PM link