What do you do when a birth parent can’t be found? Can their parental rights automatically be terminated?
Lil Bit’s birth father is missing. All we know is that he is somewhere in Mexico. The State has been working with the Mexican consulate to locate the father; however, the dad has a fairly common name. For example, imagine trying to find an “Eduardo Hernandez” somewhere in Mexico.
Termination of parental rights is scheduled for next week; however, the baby’s ad litem attorney is concerned. Last week, she called a special hearing in order to discuss this matter with the judge. After making numerous changes to our family’s schedules, I was able to make it to the hearing.
Our less-expensive attorney (at only $200 per hour) is waiting as I walk up to the courthouse.
“Bad news. The docket is overflowing from this morning and there is no telling how long it will be before this case goes before the judge.”
Oh great! ($200 times all afternoon equals a butt-load of money!!!)
We go inside and take a seat in the courtroom. Strangely, the judge comes out and as everyone is standing, he says, “No, no, you can remain sitting.” At this point, my attorney excuses himself.
A few minutes later, as others are squeezing into the bench beside me, our attorney comes up to me and nudges me to follow him outside.
After making our way out the door into the hall, he tells me that he and the ad litem had already met with the judge in his chambers. Apparently, the judge addressed the ad litem’s concerns by appointing an attorney to represent the birth father’s interests – an attorney to represent the birth father’s empty chair at the termination hearing still scheduled for next week.
Let’s hope this new attorney doesn’t request a continuance….
Thanks to Danni for the support. She is currently enrolled in online social work courses and spends her free time as a nanny and volunteer at the
local food bank.