We are writing this post after tucking Trevor and Ariel into bed for the night, 365 days after the first time we ever tucked them in. Today is the 1-year anniversary of them entering our lives and it is bitter sweet. When we opened our home to these kiddos (Possible Placements), we agreed to care for them for the weekend. If we said no, they would have spent the weekend in a hotel with a staff member from DHS. After one weekend, and with nowhere else for them to go, we decided we would continue to care for them as long as we could, or as long as they needed us. So, that is how we got from one weekend, to one year.
This anniversary is strange. We have been fostering for about 18-months now (Our First Year in Review), and have cared for 6 very special kiddos, but Trevor and Ariel have been in our lives longer than the other 4 combined. On one hand, this anniversary is quite an achievement and a milestone representing a lot of love and hard work, as well as growth and progress. It is something we can be proud of. It represents our family and the bond and love we have grown and worked so hard for. However, the anniversary also symbolizes failure, loss, struggle, and uncertainty. So much has happened in the last year, but not much has actually happened.
So here we are, one-year in to fostering these awesome kids, and although we have done so much for them, an experienced so much with them, on paper, we are in the exact same place as we were a year ago.
Continue reading “One Year”
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”
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”
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.
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”
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:
All names in the statement have been replaced for privacy purposes
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”
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
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!”
Selected Acronyms and Terms defined for your convenience.
In most government agencies and specialized fields, acronyms are widely used, and industry specific definitions apply to many words. We will do our best to keep this page updated with frequently used acronyms, terms, and strange definitions.
Continue reading “Acronyms and Definitions”