Request for CASA

An e-mail to Ava’s lawyer and formal request for a CASA for Ava

When we began to sense that Ava’s caseworker may not be making decisions in Ava’s (or her family’s best interest), we began pushing back. We would write e-mails to her CW, to our Certifier, and her lawyer.  Often we would get a response that sounded something like “We hear your concern, and we will take it into consideration”, and we would realize that in the end DHS is not obligated to listen to the concerns of foster parents, and foster parents have very little clout regarding the legal decisions being made for the children they are caring for.  It was at this point that we started the process of requesting a CASA for Ava. Continue reading “Request for CASA”

We Speak for the Kids

That time we advocated for our Ava in Court

Today, we went to court to advocate on behalf of Ava.  It is not required for Foster Parents to attend court hearings, but as the guardian of the child, you receive notice of court dates in the mail.  We never take the kids to court with us.  In our opinion, there is no point for a child to see their parents in such an awkward and vulnerable position, and no need for children to learn the extents of the issues associated with their case and their parents.

We have always attended the court hearings for our kiddos. The hearing is the best opportunity to gain the most information regarding the status of the case, as well as receive an accurate account of the progress being made by the parents, or the lack there of, and the recommended plan moving forward. At a typical court hearing, we sit awkwardly and uncomfortably in the back of the tiny courtroom and listen to what is being discussed. This time was different. This time, we came with a purpose. We had a prepared statement, and we were terrified.

Continue reading “We Speak for the Kids”

Fostering the Christmas Spirit

A post about the wonderful Christmas we had with our very modern foster family.

This was the first year that we have had kids in our home on Christmas. There was quite a lot of excitement and emotion in the days leading up to Christmas, along with discussions with Trevor and Ariel about what Christmas has been like for them in the past.  From what they told us, Santa never visited their home, but their parents did get them a lot of presents.  Although the holidays are often a wonderful time for most, for those who are away from their family or who have lost family members, it can bring up a lot of emotions. For our kids, it was no different.  One minute, they would be bouncing off the walls excited for presents from Santa, and the next they would be crying uncontrollably into a pillow because they were sad and didn’t want to talk to us about it, and at other times, they could enter fits of rage and scream at us that this wasn’t their house. To complicate things even more, they had a visit with their grandparents a couple days before Christmas, bringing up a lot of feelings.

Continue reading “Fostering the Christmas Spirit”

The Week from Hell Pt. 3

This is the third part of a three part series detailing a day by day account of what we very quickly deemed “The Week from Hell”.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the first two posts, they can be found HERE and HERE.

Wednesday:

On this day, we just had Ava at our house, because Sabrina was still on her overnight visit. Sabrina had a decent number of overnight visits during this time, since she was actually transitioning towards reunification with her mom, not just being spontaneously reunited.  Overall, it was a good day with Ava.  The only damper on this day was an e-mail from Ava’s CW stating that “all legal parties have agreed” that reunification can occur on Saturday.  Foster Parents are not legal parties, despite the fact that we see the kids, and the parents in this case, more often than DHS, the child’s lawyer, the parent’s lawyer, or anyone else involved in the case. Continue reading “The Week from Hell Pt. 3”

Statement in Court

The prepared statement we made in court to advocate for our Kiddo and her bio-parents

The following is the statement we read in court at a permanency hearing, advocating for Ava and her family.

Foster Parent Court Hearing Statement in Regards to:

“Ava”

All names in the statement have been replaced for privacy purposes

Statement:

As Ava’s foster parents for the past 4-months, we have had the opportunity to see her thrive and grow in so many ways. During this time, we have also developed a very good relationship with Bio-Mom and Bio-Dad, one that consists of open communication, both in person as we provide transport to visits, as well as through e-mails and texts.  We are very proud of Bio-Mom’s ability over the past 4-months to attend all scheduled, supervised visits, as well as a doctor’s appointment for Ava that we invited her to, and several swimming lessons that we enrolled Ava in. We are also proud of their success with sobriety. There is no doubt in our mind that Bio-Mom and Bio-Dad love Ava deeply, and we have no concerns about the safety of Ava while in Bio-Mom’s care. We believe reunification is the correct plan for Bio-Mom and Ava. Continue reading “Statement in Court”

transition!

An e-mail exchange between us and Ava’s CW regarding reunification.

The following is an e-mail exchange between us and Ava’s caseworker, regarding her upcoming reunification. As you can see from the e-mails, we felt that DHS was doing a poor job of handling the “transition” and we were doing our best to advocate for Ava and her mom

 

Tuesday, 10:08 am
To: Aaron and Jewell
From: Ava’s CW
Subject: transition!

Hi there –

Sounds like you both are already aware of the pending move this weekend for Bio-Mom and Ava!  I just got off the phone with Bio-Mom, and had an email from *The Home* just a couple hours ago confirming that they have an opening for this Saturday.  I am awaiting confirmation/agreement from all the legal parties before this is official, so will keep you posted.  Feel free to email any questions you may have in the interim.  I am headed out for a meeting but will return by noon.  Thanks!

Ava’s CW Continue reading “transition!”

The Week from Hell Pt. 2

The second part of our 3-part series detailing our most difficult week as foster parents.

This is the second part of a three part series, detailing a day by day account of what we very quickly deemed “The Week from Hell”.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the first part of the week, it can be found HERE.

Sunday:

We woke up with so much uncertainty. Would DHS be knocking at our door to take Ava for reunification with her mom? Should we start packing up her things? Would Sabrina continue to intentionally hurt herself today?

Continue reading “The Week from Hell Pt. 2”

The Week from Hell Pt. 1

Part 1 of a 3-Part retelling of our most trying week as foster parents.

This is the first of a 3-part post providing a day by day account of what we very quickly deemed “The Week from Hell”.  When it was occurring, it was hands down the most difficult week of foster care we had experienced. Every day, we were pushed to our limits and there were times that we very seriously consider quitting. The events discussed each day are solely related to our trials through fostering, and do not take into account the every day stressors related to work, or life in general.

The week in question occurred a few weeks after we were informed that reunification for Ava could possibly occur any moment. DHS submitted an application for her Bio-Mom to receive housing at a facility that requires the mother to have custody of her child when she moves in.  We had previously voiced our concern about this approach to DHS, and Ava’s lawyer. When we felt that our concerns and the best interest of Ava were not being taken into consideration, we began the process of requesting a CASA for Ava. Upon hearing DHS’s reunification approach, we honestly felt that they were just trying to reduce their caseload and increase their statistics.  As you read through our week from hell, know that the daily issues are compounded with our frustration with the proposed reunification plan. Continue reading “The Week from Hell Pt. 1”

We Know You Mean Well But…

Comments that we hear often, but wish we didn’t

Foster CareJewell and I consider ourselves extroverted introverts.  We enjoy our privacy, the company of each other, and gatherings of our close friends. Both of us are easily intimidated by large social gatherings, “Parties” is what I think the cool kids call them, but we often force ourselves to go, so we can see our friends and acquaintances.  Being a Foster Parent has proven to be a great conversation piece at said social gatherings, one that many people have a lot of questions about, and that we are happy to answer. When it comes to being a Foster Parent, we do not evangelize. We understand that it is not for everyone, it is a personal or family decision, and the last thing we would want is for someone to be pressured into being a foster parent when it is not right for them, that is not fair to the kids or the person/family.  That being said, we try to be an open book and answer questions that people have for us, because prior to us becoming Foster Parents, we had a lot of questions too, and nobody to really answer them.

Continue reading “We Know You Mean Well But…”

Organizations We Love

How to Support Foster Children and Parents on #GivingTuesday

We are well aware that not everybody has the ability or desire to be a foster parent.  It definitely is not easy, it is not for everyone, and that is perfectly alright. If foster care is not something your family is equipped to do however, there are still many ways you can help.  Here is a list of organizations that go above and beyond to help foster kids and their families, both bio and foster.  Please consider donating or volunteering with these groups for #GivingTuesday November, 29th. Continue reading “Organizations We Love”