Thursday, October 26, 2006

With a little help from my friends.

I am doing my best to come to peace with the idea that Baby Bear will, in all likelihood, return to Mom eventually. She called again today, just to check on him. She thanked me for taking care of him.

She is still doing all the right things.

I am one big ball of raw emotion right now... I don't know what's worse, the waves of sadness or the resounding guilt. Guilt that I am not totally supportive of Birthmom, as I should (and hope I eventually will) be. Guilt that I brought PB into this. Guilt that I involved my family who are all in love with Baby Bear too. Guilt that I don't want to do this anymore.

I am really trying to take the advice of some seasoned foster moms and get behind the reunification process. I know that's what I'm supposed to do and, at this point, it's probably what's most healthy for everyone involved. And I promise I am working on it.

But it's damned hard.

One thing I am not good at it is reaching out. I don't like to ask for help; I prefer to feel self sufficient. Unfortunately, this is one situation that I don't think I can handle on my own. One of my best friends, L, came to sit with me this morning. I can't tell you how comforting that was. Two of my other best friends, R and A are providing me with their legal opinions on the whole situation. My immediate family is so concerned about PB and I. And, several foster moms have reached out to me via this blog, and I've responded and tried to pick their brains. PB is an amazing support for me. I am surrounded by love and concern.

I know I can get through this. I just don't want to.


FosterMommy said...

I'm curious what kind of "legal advise" your friends are giving you.

Legally, you don't have any rights to the child unless a foster child has been in your care for 12 months (I think that's a federal rule). Then the judge can consider you as a possible permanent home for the child, on equal footing with the bio family.

Before then, and especially this early on, you don't have any standing in court. I'd be interested in hearing if this is different in your state.

Amanda said...

Right, I understand I have no legal rights to him. The issue is that he was abandoned for safe haven. Under the law, mom should now be charged with abandonment since she came back to reclaim him (the safe haven law provides immunity from prosecution only if she permanently surrenders him). Additionally, she should have to pay for her own maternity test.

Neither of those is going to happen because the County is not following the law. It was never about me making a legal challenge for the baby. It's about the County adhering to the Safe Haven law.

R. said...

Legally, fostermommy, you are right - they have no rights in Ohio other than to be present at all hearings and to provide testimony at these hearings.

Yet, in Ohio, there is a step-by-step procedure for these safe-haven babies, and for all children in the system.

It is very hard, as a lover of the law, to watch the county disregard EVERYTHING in this paticular situation. There are timelines, required filings, required procedures. But it isn't being followed in this case, and no one is willing to provide an explanation as to why. You know, even if they just admitted that they don't have experience in Safe Haven situations, it would be a bit of comfort than just ignoring the procudures clearly stated in the statute and regulations.

If reunificiation makes sense, great, but follow the law/regulations/set procedures. Those are here for a reason - to protect and help EVERYONE.