Court - Take Three

Before I give you all the update on what happened at court, I have to just say how amazing you all are.

I've received emails, comments, Facebook messages, and letters from people that I didn't even know were aware of what we were going through.  People I've never met, friends I haven't talked to since high school.

Every written prayer, every positive comment, every word from Moms in similar situations I tucked in my heart and pulled out every time I started to struggle last week.

And I did plenty of struggling.

I was surprised at myself.  I'm ususally totally steadfast in my peace.  But last week was rough.

I had to fight for control of my mind every second and it was hard.

But when we pulled up to the court house, a calm came over me and I was ready to face whatever was behind those doors.

And I am 100% sure it was all of you, sending out prayers at 9AM, that I felt washing over me.

So thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, for being my friend.

I didn't mean to leave you hanging.  Yesterday was a long day.

And my First Day post wasn't meant to be cryptic!  I started First Day a few months ago to remember what our life was like on the 1st day of every month.

But let's get to the good stuff.

Court was...interesting.

If you've never been to Family Court, all the cases for the day are required to show up at 9AM and sit around until your called into the court room.

The first couple times we were called early.  This time, we sat around for 4 hours before we had our turn.

Andrew decided to wait in the car and I had the joy of sitting inside with Birth Mom.

When she first started walking over to sit by me (yea, she thinks we're good friends) I cringed.

Then I remembered a Facebook comment I got from a very wise woman (that's you Nicki):

 "GOOD for you! no more whining and fretting. You got this! and NO MATTER what happens tomm, you know your Daddy is in control. He loves Gabe more than you could....hard to imagine, but true...and He always has a purpose and a plan. Rest, momma...there's a reason his BM is still in the pic. Start asking Him, "why?"...lol, not in the 'WHY wont she just GO AWAY???' way, but in the, 'What do You want to use me for in her life' kind of way. Very hard, but possible. From what I've heard, this woman NEEDS someone to care enough to be Jesus."

So I pulled up a chair for her and we spent the next 4 hours talking.

Turns out it's much easier to talk to her when she isn't holding my baby.

While our conversation did not make me like her, it was very interesting to hear her opinion on the case.

Even though she has not completed a single part of her case plan, she was convinced that she had done everything.  She spent the 4 hours blaming everyone except herself for the fact that Gabe wasn't going home with her that day.

It was hard to sit and listen with my mouth shut.  I had to dumb down my questions and pretend I agreed with her.

She ended up giving me a ton of information on her life situation.

We did finally get called back around 1.

Our lawyer was very harsh and obviously disappointed in the lack of progress.

Her lawyer was convinced that not having a positive drug test is enough for Gabe to go back.

The Judge was sick of the excuses.

It was painful to watch.

It was feeling like it could go either way, and then Birth Mom took the stand.

And the DFACS lawyer tore her apart.  Every question he asked she couldn't answer.  I couldn't even look at her.

She lied about stuff she had just told me down in the lobby and accidently confessed that she is living with a woman who just had her kids taken by DFACS last month.

At the end of the day, she doesn't have stable employment (or even any proof that she's working), she doesn't have stable housing (or proof that she has a house), and she hasn't quite smoking which is a huge deal because of his heart condition.

We didn't get TPR, which was disappointing, but we did get a Concurrent Plan.

I'm still unsure of exactly what that means, but the caseworker assured me it is a win for us.

The case plan is now Reunification/Non-Reunification.  We will now change our home status to Foster To Adopt and file our paperwork that, if TPR is granted, we plan to adopt him.

And we wait another 2 months.

We go back to court at the beginning of May and do this whole rigamaroll again.

I'm not sure if 2 months will be enough for her to prove stability so there's a chance it will get extended again but hopefully, that will be enough for us to get the TPR.

Gabe will have been with us for a year and the poor child will be 16 months old.  I can't imagine dragging this out longer then that.

So I'm sorry I don't have a more exciting update.

We were really hoping for the TPR, but we knew it was a long shot.

I'm planning on calling the case worker next week to get some details on what exactly the Concurrent Plan means and I promise to let you know as soon as I figure it out.

Thank you again for loving my baby so much and for being my peace when I wasn't able to find it myself.


Kaia said...

Thank you for the update!! I've been checking in all day! Thankful it's going in the right direction!

amym said...

so that is good! it means that they are working on Plan A (reunification) at the same time as Plan B (adoption) so that if Plan A doesn't work, Plan B can be turned to and it means that Gabe is in lingo for a shorter period of time. So if he doesn't go back to BM, he doesn't have to wait months for the paperwork to be done for him to be adopted.

bri said...

Well there is GOOD news in it :). I am so excited to see where this is all going. I have a good feeling about it and it involves an adoption!

The concurrent plan is typically adoption and if they are telling you that the concurrent plan is now in play that means that the plan is adoption unless they can muster something in 2 months to keep it going. DOUBTFUL!

All our plans are usually reunification with a concurrent plan of adoption. When the reunification fails then the concurrent plan comes into play and we start moving in that direction. Make sense?

Anyway. I am praying you do not have a drawn out case! It's for the BIRDS! Jake's (Moe's) case has almost been going on for 3 years now. I have been told that it is the most complicated, messed up case in all of our county history. I DON'T DOUBT IT!

But God is in the center of it all just as He is with you all and like you already know, He has your sweet Gabe in the palm of his hand!


PS If you ever need to vent to someone who understands where you are... my email is always open! :)

Melissa said...

So glad that you have good news! Concurrent plan is the next step that must be taken to get get Gabe to permanency. I will continue to pray for your family.

ella charis said...

Im sorry to hear everything didnt go exactly as you had planned, BUT a concurrent case plan, THAT IS PROGRESS! and you should be VERY EXCITED! its what they granted my aunt right before i was able to go home with her... i know this is getting dragged out, i know you are ready to just be done with all of this, and know that Gabe is home, where he belongs, for good. But in time, it WILL happen. i have so much faith in that.
when it gets hard, when your mind starts working against you, just remember, "by your endurance you will gain your lives"

i fully believe Gabe is meant to be with you. i see how you love him, and i dont know that any other woman could love him like you do. ill be praying for it all, but be in good spirits because being granted a concurrent case plan is AWESOME! its pretty much the step that grants stability, that prepares him before his permancy in your home. when teressa and i found out she was granted the concurrent case plan, we celebrated, as did our case worker, and it wasnt with false hopes! i promise this is going in a good direction, even if its seeming overly dragged out :)


Audrey Thompson said...

Congratulations on another battle WON! The war may not be over, but I pray that God's love and peace may continue to sustain you through this very long and very, very difficult process. Your life and Gabe's life are in His very capable hands.

He will not let your foot slip—
He who watches over you and Gabe will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over your precious family will neither slumber nor sleep.
(From Psalm 121: 3&4)

Audrey Thompson said...

Congratulations on another battle WON! The war may not be over, but I pray that God's love and peace may continue to sustain you through this very long and very, very difficult process. Your life and Gabe's life are in His very capable hands.

He will not let your foot slip—
He who watches over you and Gabe will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over your precious family will neither slumber nor sleep.
(From Psalm 121: 3&4)

Mo said...

Thank you for the update. I have been checking in and praying. Thankful that Gabe is still with you, and that it's heading toward adoption.

Pipsylou said...

Oh, yessssss...the awkward conversations with birth mom...HATE it!

THANK YOU for the update...now that we're fosters I can relate to SO much of this. It's a little sad I know all the terminology, too.

Glad for the WIN for you today!

Emma said...

your strength and determination inspires me every single day nicole. i just wanted you to know that. things will work out how they are supposed to in the end!

i love you so much. and will be sending my loving prayers your direction for the next few months.

miss you.

Liz F. said...

I've slowly been reading your blog over the past three weeks whenever I get a chance! Although I've briefly seen the most recent posts about Gabe when I'm directed to the homepage, I'm still reading about your family adventures way back in May 2009 (Josie made a diaper hat!). I can't wait to find out how you and Gabe came into each other's lives and how Josie's potty training progressed :) I was referred to a fertility clinic two years ago, but I've had a hard time trying to justify spending money to create a new baby when there are so many babies and children in the U.S. who need loving and stable parents. Over the past two years I've struggled deciding which path to take on the way to Parentville, but after starting to read your blog a few weeks ago I've slowly realized my husband and I would make amazing foster-to-adopt parents. So, about two weeks ago I contacted Cherokee County DFCS to be notified of the next orientation class (March 14th!), and I've joined the Cherokee County Adoptive and Foster Parent Association. Right now it seems as though our first IMPACT class will never get here (probably because we won't even find out until orientation), but I know you felt the same way until it all seemed to happen in a flash! Anyways, thank you for your blog - I'm not sure how often you receive a "thank you" - but without reading your blog I can't say I ever would've known that fostering to adopt is the path our family should take. You've made the whole process with DFCS actually seem possible to us, and we're so ready to get started on our own Journey to _______.

Amanda said...

I have stumbled upon your blog- and LOVE it! I understand what your going through- I personally went through the system. Very hard when birth mom plays games. Almost like she's not all there and lives in fanasty land. (my own mother was/is this way). hang in there, and remember God has a plan in HIS time.. not always ours.