We walked into court 100% sure that we knew exactly what was going to happen.
We'd gone over the plan with the caseworker. Baby Mama had been advised and signed the paperwork.
But we learned today that even when everyone is in agreement about what is going to happen, the Judge has the last word.
The plan was to start a concurrent case plan.
Plan one was the exact same plan that they had been working. Get a job, get a house, stay off drugs.
But since they failed that plan so miserably, they would also be starting a Non Reunionification Plan. This allowed DFACS to begin Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) if the Birth Parents were messing up at all.
Since the Birth Parents had done so horrible, the Dad showed up in his Prison stripes and handcuffed for crying out loud, we all expected it to be signed off on with no questions.
The hearing went well. Gabe's lawyer and the Gaurdian Ad Litem were completely on the side of termination. The lawyer spent the majority of the hearing shaking his head in disbelief at what the Birth Parents had managed to screw up in the past 5 months.
But when it came down to decision time, the Judge wasn't ready to put termination on the table.
The main reason was that the Birth Father hasn't had his trial for the drug charges yet so technically he hasn't been proven guilty. Even though he has signed a confession that it was his, the drugs were in his apartment, and there were scales on the counter in the kitchen.
It is my firm belief that he will be convicted in December when his case is heard.
The Judge decided that we will go back to court on March 3rd. If the Birth Father has gone to jail and if the Birth Mother hasn't made any progress, they will begin termination.
At first I was livid.
How could they not see that termination should be started immediatly?
Could she not see us as the obvious choice for Gabe?
But the more I thought about it, the more I began to see this as a blessing.
The original plan gave them 6 months to get everything together. Now they only get 3.
And while it can be done, the chances are slim.
We have no idea what will happen at the hearing in March. They could begin to terminate or they could begin to send him back. They could just extend the plan.
So this week I am working on regaining my faith.
To breathe out.
Because I know that I can't spend the next 120 days holding my breath. Waiting for the shoe to drop.
Court did not go as we planned.
But it wasn't a loss.