Our new caseworker has been assigned and I have met her, very briefly. She seems very nice and very young and very overwhelmed. I didn't have the heart to ask if she speaks Spanish, but I suspect she does not. (I met her at the beginning of a family visit. I did not hear her attempt any Spanish when meeting N's family for the first time. Hence, my suspicion that she doesn't speak the language.)
N's CASA, on the other hand, continues to be awesome. When the new caseworker was not responding to my emails about what the plan was for a family visit the week of New Year's, the CASA went over to the CPS offices and "met with" the new caseworker and her supervisor. The new caseworker had not yet looked at our case file, which was why she was not responding. The CASA didn't say this when she told me about the meeting, but I'm pretty sure the result was the CASA setting her straight about how that's not really acceptable. She also explained to her that it is within her authority to approve unsupervised visits, that unsupervised visits should really have started before the next court date (in late February) and that it is not appropriate for me to be supervising the visits. (I'd been going to the parenting sessions because the previous caseworker asked me to attend them; I thought it was in case there was something the parenting aide told them to work on that I could help keep consistent. Pretty sure that was getting written up as me "supervising the visit" which frankly ticks me off. I would never have agreed to supervise the visit.) The CASA was also present when I met the caseworker and there did not appear to be any uncomfortable feelings, so I suspect that the setting straight was done kindly, politely, tactfully...but firmly. As I said, the CASA is awesome.
And thank heaven for that. Because the more details that come out about this case and this family, the more certain I am that there was no abuse here. It seems more and more likely that there was a horrible accident, to which the family responded appropriately by taking the child to the ER....and lost custody of their baby for half of his life so far. Awesome CASA has drawn up a transition plan of visits in which we slowly increase from the current visit schedule of once a week for about to hours to once a week for all day (on BioDad's day off work) to weekend overnights, with the goal of having more than one weekend accomplished before court. New caseworker was supposed to discuss that plan with her supervisor and approve it.
I know you'll all be deeply shocked to hear that I don't have the approval yet.
N is doing very well. He's at the walking stage where he can do it if he's not paying attention, but as soon as he realizes he's got no support, he sits down. He's saying a few words -- of the sort that only the people who live here can identify as words, of course, and in English. He's also signing a few words, which I'm hoping will translate back to his family more smoothly. When we show him a new skill -- how to go down the stairs, how to make the book play music, how to sign a new word -- he picks it up quickly and retains it. He is sweet and cuddly and still has the best laugh ever. Reading Cherub Mama's descriptions of Daisy is reiterating to me that N's initial diagnosis was wrong -- he has a Traumatic Head Injury, but not Shaken Baby Syndrome.
This is the first child we've had where the thought of him leaving --and eventually forgetting us -- is breaking my heart, but I am confident that there is no reason to keep him from his God-given family, so I will do my best to send him off with a smile and save my tears for after the door closes behind him.