Follow Me on Pinterest



Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Day In Court

Yesterday we finally had our day in court in regards to where our granddaughter will be placed until/if our daughter is able to regain custody. It was an emotional roller coaster just like the rest of this ordeal has been.

This was a whole new experience for us as not only was this in a different state(with different laws and procedures) but a different kind of custody/guardianship issue than we have dealt with before. With our first grandchild, while still difficult, in comparison it was quite simple. His mother had already given us temporary physical custody in our own state, so to get court ordered permanent guardianship wasn't too difficult. There were no outside agencies involved and while the guardianship wasn't consensual, it wasn't contested either, so we were fairly easily granted said guardianship. There were no other family members wanting involvement, so that too simplified matters. Don't misunderstand, nothing about that case was simple in the least, but compared to what we are now going through with our granddaughter, it now seems like the previous case was a cake-walk!

This time, there was outside agencies involved. CPS involvement definitely complicates matters. With our grandson, we simply filled out the required papers, served proper notices, appeared in court representing ourselves, and the case was completed. No lawyers, advocates or anyone else making things overly complicated.

With CPS involvement, there are many players in the court room. The day began with the liaison meeting. This is suppose to simplify things in the actual courtroom. The goal is to have everyone in agreement on what will be requested and ordered before entering the actual hearing. First there was the CPS caseworker, her supervisor or the worker who will take over the case. Then of course they had a lawyer representing them. Then there was my daughter and a court appointed lawyer representing her. Of course even our little granddaughter had her own lawyer. Then there were specialists who had evaluated our granddaughters physical and emotional development. There were at least one or two other people from the involved agencies. The big surprise occurred when the alleged fathers parents and sister showed up wanting to take part in the proceedings. I certainly don't blame them for wanting to be involved and respect that they are willing to be involved this early in the process even before paternity has been established, but it was a bit of a surprise. Of course my husband and myself were present.

The meeting went well considering all of the players and each with their own vested interests and agendas, thoughts and ideas. There were disappointments for all involved. Until paternity is established, the potential paternal family was excluded as a potential placement. Due to our living out of the state, the process for our grandchild to be placed here is a lengthy one and she will need a placement until that time. We were hoping and praying she would be placed with our family friend who cared for her in the past, but that didn't and wont work out. That leaves a foster home. We also got disturbing news about our granddaughters state of being. She appears to be going through drug withdrawal and suffering some apparent attachment issues.

Then the involved agencies went over their charges against our daughter and came up with a case plan for her to work in hopes of re-unification. After this was all done we went into the courtroom in front of the judge.

Here in California all of these hearings take place in open court where all families cases to be heard that day wait and watch and listen to everyone else's case while you wait for your own. A bit uncomfortable and not very private. In Arizona, each case is heard in a private room with the option of each case being a closed case, meaning that no one other than the parties for that case can be in the courtroom. I like this much better!

In the court room the judge basically went over what we discussed prior and makes sure everyone is in agreement and then places the orders. In this case it is that my daughter work her plan, and our granddaughter will for now go to a foster home, while they do the required paperwork and background checks for her to come here.

For now it appears our granddaughter will come here probably by the first of next month after the settlement hearing. The only snag in this is that if paternity becomes established, the other family would most likely be considered above us for placement due to they are local within the county and state, and the alleged aunt is a licensed foster home with the possible half-sibling in the home.

The other family seems like a nice family and I believe all only want what is best for this child. At this point all we can do is pray and have faith that it will all work out according to His will, what is best according to His purpose.

This has been a long and emotionally tiring process, but interesting as well. As a family that has for a long while considered foster care, it gave us a little taste I believe of what the inside processes are. It almost makes us wonder if we'd be up to such an emotionally reeling process intentionally! I really have gained a whole new respect for those who take this upon themselves and do it not once, not twice, but over and over! It's one thing for those of us that are fighting for our grandchildren or other relatives, but to do this just out of a sincere love for children is something quite special!


Red said...

Dear Tara, I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and and am hoping that all of this works out for what is best for the baby.

Thinking of you!

Karen (KayKay) said...

Oh Tara, what a rough time you are going through! I'm so impressed with the grace and faith in which you seem to be handling everything. Praying for everyone concerned, especially the baby.

Theresa in WV said...

What an ordeal this has been for your family! I am praying that the Lord's will be done in your granddaughter's life.

Missus Wookie said...

You and yours have been in my thoughts - such a difficult time for everyone involved! Hoping that it all becomes clear fairly soon and that your dd and gd both receive the help they need.

Larry C. said...

WoW...things sound like they are real complicated to say the least! I hope the best for y'all. You guys are in my thoughts & I send my best wishes.

Tell Jessica I said hello please! Take care Tara!