Thursday, April 24, 2014

Who They Are -- M

M is a baby.

She was born at 31 weeks gestation and tested positive for exposure to multiple drugs. She spent a month in the NICU at the hospital in which she was born. When she was discharged, she went directly into foster care.

Her mother also tested positive at the birth for drug use. She admitted to one of the drugs, claimed the others "must be what the nurses gave me for pain." (That's, um, not possible.) M is her 3rd child. Her first two were already removed and her rights to them were terminated last year. I'm told that she made virtually no attempt to work her case plans for those two children, insisting that she did not have a drug problem and did not need rehab, regardless of what the case plan required. The oldest is currently in the works to be adopted by her foster family; the younger (now middle) child is already adopted by a paternal family member. All three children have different fathers.

When we were called about baby M, we were told there was a "high likelihood" of her becoming available for adoption. It was important that her foster home be willing to adopt her, if it came to that, to minimize the number of moves in her life. We agreed.

There are no resources available in biomom's family. The caseworker was unsure about biodad's family, but doubted anything would come of that. In our state, having prior TPR's does not mean you automatically lose rights to future children, but it is grounds for DFCS to request permission from the judge to skip the will-the-parents-work-the-case-plan step.

It's still too early in the case to know if she really will become a permanent member of our household, but it is much more likely than any of the other cases have ever been. (The closest previously was S, whose mother stepped up, worked hard and got her daughter back.) I'm hearing mixed messages. I heard the judge tell BioMom that DFCS would work with her and "hand her baby back" if she did what she needed to do this time; the caseworker told me she is having a "staffing" in May in which she will request permission to file for TPR. Caseplans were written and given to both parents last week. They have weekly, two hour visits, none of which have actually been two hours (they have either been significantly late or left early at every visit.). My current mantra is: it's too early to tell what will happen. I think the month of May will be revealing -- will TPR get filed? will there have been any progress on the case plans?

Right now, she just eats and sleeps and fills her diapers, blissfully unaware of the uncertainty swirling around her future.

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