Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Christmas Miracle


For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 
Isaiah 9:6

Facts and Figures

   In this months facts and figures I was having a hard time coming up with something that I wanted to discuss but because of what this month has symbolized for my daughter and I, I thought I'd talk about the basic rights that we have as humans to be parents.

  What is so phenomenal about our country is that our forefathers set up our Constitution and Bill of Rights in such a way where the basic rights of humans where protected. One of these basic fundamental rights is the right to have children. Not only in this country, but many other nations hold this as a basic human right as well. Because of the gravity of the meaning of a fundamental right taking away such a right is taken with great gravity by the courts.

 Because of the gravity of these decisions the termination of said right is given to the superior court system to execute. Sufficient evidence has to be found. Months of investigation and due diligence has to be done on the part of the Department of Children and Family Services. These are 5 different reasons why parental rights can be terminated.  
 • Abandonment: This means that you did not communicate with your children at all in the six
months before ACS or the foster care agency asked to terminate your rights.

• Permanent Neglect: This means that you did not make plans for the future of your children
and you did not work with ACS or the foster care agency caring for your children for more than
one year after your children entered foster care.

The three other grounds are mental illness, mental retardation, and severe and repeated abuse.

 I agree with making it hard to loose children because you would as a parent want every chance to get your children back. It can be hard at times through this process to understand why things go the way that they do.  For us our case is so different than that of Bella's siblings. It really just depends on not only the social worker you have but the age of the child and the circumstances surrounding the case.

 That being said while being a parent is a right, being a foster/adopt parent is a privilege. There are so many things that may not seem just in your eyes as a foster/adopt parent. From birth parents to social workers. Really what I've found is the best interest of the child can be seen so differently from one social worker to another, it's so subjective. There's a lot of leeway in the law, there are fine lines that the law does not define. For example I've heard of social workers who because of race have taken babies out of homes because they didn't think the race fit even though the foster parent had the child for over a year and had the desire to adopt the child. That example is a woman I met in court who worked directly with the county and didn't have an agency she went through.

 We have to understand that the social workers, lawyers, and therapists are really trying to do what's best for the child but they are also human. If they were adopted themselves they could have their own opinions about terminating parental rights based on the experience they had as children. Either way you look at it it's hard to make those decisions. I'm glad I'm not a judge making those kinds of calls day in and day out. You are effecting not only children's lives but masses of families they are forever shifted by the decisions you make as a judge.

 To conclude, terminating parental rights is not something that can be taken lightly. We have to understand the weight of what it means. You're taking the right away from a parent, saying this child is no longer your right to have. I love adoption and everything that it stands for but I do not take taking someones liberty away lightly. I hope that you will look at your children biological or adopted and hug them extra close and thank God that you live in a country that doesn't take the bond between child and parent flippantly.  

Thoughts and Journal Entries
December 2011 

  This month was huge for us. Last month the judge had decided to give one more month before terminating parental rights. We had a sibling visit and a visit with birth mother. I didn't see birth mom and the social worker handled the visit. I was super nervous that the birth mother would start fighting for Bella as soon as she saw how cute she has grown to be. So when the court date came it was really intense.
   I really wished at the moment that we were at court I was married. Supposed birth father showed up scared the living day lights out of me. I've never had contact with him and he was circling  and being very scary. It's ludicrous that we are all put in one big room,  everyone together! Because I had brought the baby this time on the advice of the lawyer I had my friend run her out to the car because he was getting so close. Mind you he never has seen her and he some how just guessed, he had someone follow me into the bathroom. The whole thing made me so jumpy and I just wanted to run.

 Turns out our case wasn't even called till after lunch and we were there for no other reason than to be tormented. The lawyer called with the news that termination of parental rights had happened. It was over.  With that news I immediately started calling my daughter by the name that I felt God had given me in a dream. So Bella was now being called by her adopted name (you can't call a foster child their adopted name until parental rights are terminated because it's seen as compromising the bond between birth parent and child).

 A couple days after termination of parental rights happened I drove baby and I up north for Christmas vacation. I got up at 5 am and started driving in the dark knowing there's no way I was going to be able to drive alone with a screaming child in the back all 8 hours, by the time she woke up we were a good 5 hours into our drive. We stopped I did morning routine with her and we had breakfast and kept going. It's really daunting driving so far by yourself but I've done it so many times I don't even think about it. Having a baby in the car is a different story though. We made it to my sisters and I collapsed. It must have been all the stress and leaving the city but that night I got so ill I couldn't move. Every muscle and bone in my body ached something horrible. When the baby woke up I could barely get her out of the pack and play. Thankfully my sister was there to help watch her when I took a long hot shower. It's the little things I miss. I haven't taken a long shower in I don't know how long.

 After 2 days of the worst achy flu I've ever had I finally started feeling better. Unfortunately, before we left LA Bella had gotten her second ear infection of the season so she was on antibiotics for the second month in a row. When we got to my sisters she was getting worse. She started coughing and wheezing, and had no fever but a bad cold. After a week of this I took her to a Dr. up there who didn't do anything and because she was on antibiotics told me it must be a virus and there was nothing she could do. Grrr..being sick taking care of someone who is sick is hard. We got better though in time for Christmas and enjoyed it fairly flu free.

 While I was up north I started to realize how amazingly peaceful I felt. It was really relaxing to spend time with family and friends. I had clearer thoughts and was more myself then I have been in a while. For some reason the city kills me. I need nature, trees, fresh air, and family. While I was breathing in all this fresh air my car battery started dying. Found out that I needed a new car battery which I just added to my list of things I needed breakthrough for.

 Going back to before we left I had been counting the finances up and I knew that Christmas was being squeezed out by the mounting bills and the lessening cash flow. I got on my knees again and was specific with God. This was Bella's first Christmas ever and I wanted to give her the best Christmas that I could. Before we left friends of ours who didn't know of our financial situation sent us enough money to pay all the remaining bills and enough for some awesome presents and gas money to see the family for Christmas. God is faithful!

 In this Christmas season I'm absolutely blown away to think that a year ago this was just a dream in my heart. The child that is sitting in front of me on the floor wasn't even in this world yet and now not only do I have her but she's truly almost mine. Over and over I'm blown away...God is so good! Merry Christmas!

If any of my readers out there have questions you would like me to answer please leave a comment I would like to make sure that I'm covering topics people are interested in or information that is important. Thank you for sharing in our journey!

First Christmas Pj's

First Christmas Dress

Auntie Steph and uncle Sam

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