Court could not have gone better.
Well, I suppose they could have granted us TPR right on the spot, but we did get the next best thing.
TPR HEARING SET FOR JULY 15th!
I feel like we've been waiting and waiting and waiting, with no end in sight.
But as the caseworker slide the paper to me with our TPR date on it, I could actually feel a weight lifting off of me.
The end is almost here!
Of course, the Judge has to approve it.
While I know there is always a chance it could be denied, BM has done NOTHING on the case.
Still living with the unapproved roommate, still smoking, still only working 10-15 hours a week. Not attending AA Meetings, no car, and hasn't paid a dime in child support to the State.
And on top of that, the new lawyer she requested?
He showed up for court 2 hours late. Our case was actually called towards the beginning of the day, but he wasn't there. Someone had to call him to remind him to come.
And once he walked in, it was blatantly obvious that he had no information at all about the case.
He asked leading questions that actually allowed for every person on the stand to give more negative information on BM.
It was hard to watch.
Court was actually very, very eye opening for me.
I said yesterday that the case was going to be heard by a new Judge. Our normal Judge was out this month.
Normally, we sit in the holding area downstairs and wait to be called up.
This Judge holds Open Court so we went right in at 9 along with all the other DFACS Cases and got to listen to each hearing.
It is so easy for me to get Tunnel Vision.
I know Gabriel is my only concern right now. My job is to go after what it best for him.
But, my goodness guys.
For every Gabe, there are 100's of other kids.
The stories ran from abandoned babies to runaway teens.
Almost every hearing had a parent wearing prison stripes.
NONE of the cases had parents that were actually working their plan to get their child back.
I watched other hopeful adoptive parents shake their heads with the same disgust that Andrew and I feel listening to our Birth Mother's excuses.
I was infuriating and heart breaking.
DFACS, which shouldn't even be a needed entity, will never run out of kids.
Our case was quick.
BM had just been served TPR Notice 10 minutes before our case was called so she was a wreck.
The Case Worker and CASA Worker both testified the same thing. No progress has been made and Gabriel is where he needs to be.
Andrew even got to get up to speak to the Judge.
He stressed the importance of Gabe's heart condition. That while he appears to be a healthy 16 Month Old Boy, his 3 heart chambers are constantly working overtime. He needs to be closely monitored while he's playing. He can't eat junk. He needs stability.
Her lawyer asked him how Gabe does after visits (stupid leading question) so he replied honestly, he's exhausted and overly irritated. He's hot and sweaty and crabby from a 2 hour car ride.
I was so proud of him.
The Judge approved the custody extension without a blink.
So now we wait for the 15th.
It's going to be a struggle to stay calm. It's a nerve wracking thing to be this close to the end.
If TPR is approved, all visitation stops that day (PTL!!!)
However, she has 30 days to appeal.
And while I'm praying she does the right thing and just backs off, I'm 99% sure she will appeal. After all, her lawyer is paid for and she doesn't have to have any grounds for appeal.
If she does appeal, all the court recordings and notes are sent to the Appellate Court.
They review everything.
And they aren't looking for whether or not they think BM deserves more time. They are solely listening to see if the law was followed.
As long as there were no legal mistakes (which our caseworker said has only happened once), the appeal is denied and TPR is final.
All her rights are severed. She is no longer his mother and never will be again.
And then we will file our petition to adopt and hopefully make this whole Gabriel Pope thing official by Christmas!