TPR HEARING #1
So yesterday was our first hearing for the termination of Mary’s mom’s parental rights. It was, well…interesting I suppose. We showed up at 1:45pm for a 2pm hearing. We were hanging out and talking to another foster mom that we are great friends with who had a permanency hearing that day, and also to out Caseworker K and her attorney about what this court date would entail. A whole lot of nothing was the short answer. And for the most part, they were right!
We get called in at around 2:45. It was the caseworker K, her attorney, Mary’s mom, her new attorney (the one she had before fired her! Imagine!?!), her sister (LAWD! There are too many and also not enough words in the English and Latin based languages to describe that
tragic mess woman), their friend (who the hell brings a friend to the beginnings of a court case determining whether you keep your child or not!?! Seriously, who does that?!), Mary’s lawyer, Callie, and myself. Also in the room, the judge (she’s NO JOKE, at least that’s what we hear from everyone…totally no nonsense judge) and the stenographer. They call the case number, and ask everyone to list their names, and the relationship to the child or the respondent. Mary’s mom is asked to give her full name, address, and a telephone number by the judge, which she sort of mumbles under her breath. The caseworkers attorney says that it’s just a mailing address and that she doesn’t have a residence on file. “You need to understand Ms. C****, that in order for the department to get pertinent information to you, you MUST provide a telephone number and address that will allow them to be able to contact you,” says the judge. Mary’s mom straightens up, claims to be living with her new baby daddy, and states the new address. She also states a new phone number and pens go flying to jot down all this new information that they have been trying to get from her for months.
The judge’s next question was if the parents have both been served. Since Mary’s father signed an affidavit when she first went into care stating that he basically didn’t want that responsibility, he only had to be served a notice that they were having the hearing, and they had tried to get it to him 5 times. Since they were unable to, the judge stated it was ok to serve him via mail. So that’s getting sent out. Since Mary’s mom had never provided the address to where she is residing, they served her, right there, in court! Callie and I nudged each other (somehow both knowing it was silent laughter!). Then they spoke to Mary’s lawyer for a second and asked him he had spoken to her, to which he replied that he had and that she stated that she missed her mom and wanted to see her more often, but that she wanted to live with us. **He spoke to her last Thursday after I had called him (he hasn’t spoken to her since about a month after she moved in with us) to makes sure that he was representing her and what she wanted. He spoke to her and asked her a ton of questions, and she responded with wanting to live with us, but that she loves her mom, so he stated that in court** At this point, mom and the aunt made this ridiculously annoying face as if this was news to them! PssshhH!!! Girl, bye, ok!? They’ve known this! At some point the judge asked why they were pushing for termination, and the caseworkers attorney stated that mom has been inconsistent in the past year (something like 5 visits out of 20 since January), failing to turn up for drug tests, and not completing the requirements set forth by the court since the beginning of Mary going into care. Here goes mom’s attorney! “As you can see, my client is visibly very pregnant and has been on bed rest for a high risk pregnancy the past 4-5 months.” The 4 of us (Callie, myself, K and her attorney) looked at her incredulously. C’MON LADY! It’s been a month, 2 at the most, and what about the other 18 months that Mary has been in our care?
To make the shenanigans that went down, a long story short, Mary’s attorney stated that he thought it would be in her best interest if we tried to settle on a conditional surrender (parent signing over their rights with conditions, like visitation and photographs). Mom has always said that she would never sign her rights over. So we’ll wait and see. In the meantime, we go back to court in November, and Callie and I will have decided what we are willing to give her. It’s tough because we know Mary loves her mom and loves spending time with her, but we also know that her seeing her mom is so detrimental to her. She gets loads of anxiety and has verbalized that she is scared that she will have to go back with mom. So we left court with no real indication of which way this case would go. The good thing is that once we get down to the disposition portion of the trail, we will be allowed to have a lawyer and fight for Mary. We are SO ready for that part. And what was moms reaction to all of this? Having her
hot mess whore of a sister fight for custody in case the do end up terminating her rights!!! BA! Yeah, OKAY!
What’s the most we would consider for a conditional surrender? 2 visits per year (not Christmas or Christmas Ever, New Years or New Years Eve, Thanksgiving, Mary’s birthday, Mother’s Day or Other’s Day (traditional fathers day and usually my birthday) and quarterly pictures. Any other visits or pictures are at our discretion. Also, if she shows up to visits and is even mildly intoxicated or high, no visit will happen. If she misses two consecutive visits, we end the visits all together permanently! We know she probably won’t agree to that, and that’s ok, but we aren’t bending on that. And the truth is, if we take the case all the way to the end, chances are very likely that they will terminate her rights, and we will “win” to adopt Mary, and she won’t have to get anything, and that’s the best case scenario for us. So yeah, court was court and it was not much of anything, and now there is another hearing in November that we are anxious to get to.
I really can’t believe we are at the 12 week mark already! Seriously, it’s going super fast. More than a quarter of the way done with this pregnancy. I always consider doing one of the pregnancy survey things, but then I’m always like, nah! So I figured I’d just update you my own way and create my own sorta survey, if you will….
How I’m Feeling this Week: EXHAUSTED! Like, super exhausted. Every time I mention going into our room for something Callie says, “To take a nap right?!” Perrrr..hapssss…
How Big is Biscuit: Well, about the size of a half eaten corn dog! YUM! That sounds amazing! Gotta get me one of those! Or the size of a small measuring tape or the size of a lime.
Baby Bump News?: So, I’m not showing AT ALL, but my mons pubis is starting to mesh with my muffin top, so there ya have it! Fluffy piece meet, well, other fluffy piece! You’re welcome! Pants are a little tighter and I have used a pants extender about 3 times now:
Frequency of Everything: I’m one of those people who can go a whole day at an amusement park without using the toilet once, despite the fact that I have downed about 120oz of soda! Now, I can barely go an hour without running to the restroom. Meeting my Fitbit goals much sooner! Also, I have been eating every 2-3 hours, but find myself snacking much more in between.
Sleep: Yeah, still have as much of that as you can have with two 7 month old buddies, one of which is teething, and waking up once a night besides that to go to the bathroom!
Food Loves/Hates: If there is any piece of lettuce around me, get that ish the hell away from me!!! For whatever reason, I can’t even look at it! Not that it makes me sick or anything, but the consistency and the texture and the taste just haven’t been kind to me these past 2 weeks. And I know it sucks but if I have to have another 835471216461oz’s of water, I might just have to kill someone. Still absolutely loving ice! It’s just so good once it hits your lips! Also, PB&J. I’ve had one at like 11pm every night this week. I will wake up from a dead sleep and say, “OOHHH! Peanut Butter and Jelly” in my Homer Simpson voice…
Symptoms: Nothing yet besides the tiredness. Thankfully all that nausea has gone away, and I’m just getting through every work day hoping my boss doesn’t catch me dosing.
Next Scan: Our NT Scan is on 8/27, and we can’t WAIT to see Biscuit. It’s not easy waiting for these once a month appointments! We were spoiled (if that’s what you want to call it) seeing the boys almost weekly for most of Callie’s pregnancy. We have tried to hear her (I’ll keep calling her her because I can’t help but feel like we have a little lady on our hands!) with our doppler, but there is just so much stuff going on in there, that it’s hard to hear. Or maybe it just can’t penetrate the 4 layers of my winter blubber that I haven’t shed yet. Who knows! But we’re excited to see her and rule out any of the “bad” stuff. Still not sure if we want to find out the gender. Leaning towards no, but the excitement of knowing and connecting to Biscuit sure is driving me in the other direction!
Sex: Yes please! Thanks to Meredith over at Counting Chickens, Callie and I have started re-watching the entire series, and there is something about 2-3 lesbian sex scenes per hour that can sorta get things going…so thanks for that friend!
Overall Feelings: It’s been a pretty emotionally draining month, with my sisters wedding, Aunt Brit passing, Mary being a royal pain in the arse, teething babies, sleep deprivation, and Termination Hearing, i’ve been feeling just that! DRAINED. Also, I absolutely hate the summer, so being uncomfortable and the 90+ degree heat for weeks at a time, and I’m just ready for Autumn. For Marcos’ foot to heal so we can go on a few hikes before I get too big and it gets too cold. For Mary to start school and soccer (I’ll be coaching her team in all my pregnant splendor!). For Biscuit to be safe and to let me feel her. For babies to be more mobile (I’m sure I’ll regret this statement as soon as they are). For everything to just slow down for a little while! I’m happy as shit, but just so tired and need a little break. I’ll be so excited when we go on our Babymoon/5 year anniversary/1 year wedding anniversary trip. Planning is officially in full effect!
Something I Didn’t Expect: Holy Crap! The amount of stomach cramping! So, at first, I was all concerned because I was like, “This can’t be normal! Something is wrong!” But Callie thought it might be gas. So I sneaked off (turns out “snuck” is not even a real word! WTF!?!) to the bathroom, waited until there was no one in there, and let out the MOTHER of all farts! I kid you not! Even I had to look around and say, “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT!!!” Sure enough, relief! Now, I let them out everywhere (except my work desk). I walk through Grand Central Terminal and just, let them rip! IN bed? Yup, you guessed it! At my mother’s house while everyone is eating dinner! Can’t stop me now!!
Almost out of the first trimester. Let’s go Biscuit! Keep on growing little one!