"There's nothing I can do without the decision from the court of appeals. They are backed up since they lost so many judges. You are lucky you've only been waiting 2 years."- And just like that, I was dismissed from the courtroom, made to continue playing the waiting game for my daughter's permanency.
This will be my 5th Mother's Day.
I became a foster/resource parent years ago with the intent to
adopt right from the start. Though it's not agreeable for everyone,
fostering and adopting is something that came very naturally to me. My
mother was a foster parent. I have many adopted siblings. We were always
treated equally. At home, we were very open about adoption. I was
exposed to "the system". I knew the statistic and was aware of the
desperate need for resource families all over our nation. With that in
mind, I always wanted to be a mother.
Fast forward years later when we were finally ready to become
foster parents. House- check, careers- check, baby.....? Not happening
biologically, but it was ok because my husband and I had already planned
on fostering/adopting anyway. We went through the very tedious and at
times intrusive process of becoming certified foster parents. Background
checks, fingerprints, medical clearance, the long MAPP training, the
homestudy... Everything was in place. Our house was finally ready for a
Months go by, and we were finally placed with our little girl. She
has been placed in so many homes before, that right away she called me
"Mommy". She had gone through so much at only 2 years old. I wanted to
make sure that she knew she could count on me from that point forward. I
doubt she believed me, I'm sure she's heard that before. I had to show
her. Her plan was to be reunited with her mother. They had scheduled
weekly visits, but her mother would seldom show. So, I made it my life
to meet her special needs, and advocate fiercely for her. She had our
undivided attention for a year before she became a big sister.
We'd learned about my eldest son through a family friend. His
mother, who I knew from my building, was pregnant with her 15th child.
She wasn't in any position to keep that child, and the state was going
to intervene anyway. We gladly became the resource for that unborn
child. We knew from the beginning that he would be our son. I remember
the night he was brought home was one of the happiest days of my life.
His birth mother had no interest in him... Which was great. He didn't
need her, he had us. He didn't get to experience the loss that our
daughter unfortunately did.
Surprise! Our son's BM is pregnant again! We were faced with the
decision whether or not to open our home and hearts for another. At
first, the idea of having two babies a year apart made us hesitant. That
hesitation was brief. We agreed. I picked up our youngest son from the
hospital myself. He was perfect.
We decided that I would stay home to raise our kids. If we go
through the trainings and process of being resource parents, let me
parent. My husband's work schedule demanded more of his time, and
eventually he gave in. He lives to work above everything. Unfortunately,
after 10 years, my husband and I parted ways. Though I am left to do
things on my own, it's ok. My children need me now more than ever, and I
won't let them down.
A week before my daughter's adoption was finalized, I get a call
from my lawyer that everything has been put on hold. Why? Her birth
father appealed the decision to terminate his rights. The man who has
never met her, who is in jail for murder. He claims he didn't know that
she exists, so he'd rather not have a TPR on his record for an
illegitimate child. Two years have passed, she is now 7, and we still do
not have an answer from the court of appeals. Her case sits in limbo,
and everyone's hands are tied. Apparently, there's a shortage of judges
to the mountain of files. All those families waiting. I am seething in
frustration and anger with this system. It feels as if the humanity and
compassion is directed towards the wrong party. It's geared towards
protecting the rights of the birth parents, which is fine to a certain
point. There's got to be a limit. What about the children? What about
cases like my daughter's? I insist that something's got to change.
We are so excited about traveling the world, but for now... We wait.
Written By Ketsy