[“Standing mean that you have a legal case in court.
If you don’t have standing, your case is dismissed.]
Here we are about to “intervene” in the custodial placement of Lil Bit, our 6-month-old foster baby, into the home of a distant relative. A foster family “intervening” in a family placement is pretty much unheard of in our area.
However, this is an unusual case in that another family also tried to intervene in Lil Bit’s placement with the distant relative. All of Lil Bit’s 5 siblings have previously been adopted by a friend of his birth mother. This family friend also intervened and requested standing in court.
Lil Bit’s birth mother was supporting him going to live with this family and his 5 siblings (along with the many other children in the home)
instead of with her family member.
However, Children Protective Services (CPS), the baby’s ad litem attorney, the Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for the baby, ALL objected to their intervention. Their case for standing was quickly dismissed with these objections and because they had not met Lil Bit.
At this point, there was no objection to our standing in this case.
Now that the birth mother’s friend wouldn’t get Lil Bit, the mother asked her attorney to meet me. Our attorneys awkwardly agreed. When we were introduced, I gave her pictures I had taken of Lil Bit in the 2 months he had lived with us. Looking through the photos, she wiped away tears from her face. She decided to now support us instead of her family member in this custody hearing. (Strange, isn’t it? Sadly, I believe it demonstrates a deep dysfunction in the family)
Also, in our favor, there was doubt of whether Lil Bit would be able to receive government benefits in the near future since he was born in Mexico. Since we are financially able to provide for him with our income, the CASA and ad litem attorney now supported Lil Bit staying with us.
So now we are in court asking that our foster baby stay in our home and not go live with a distant relative. The baby’s mother, ad litem attorney and CASA all support Lil Bit staying with us.
Then, there is CPS policy…
The CPS policy is, if possible, children are placed with family members –
However, since CPS is the only party not supporting the baby staying with us, they had to call state headquarters to see if they could officially support the baby staying with us. If so, then there would be a consensus of all the parties that Lil Bit stay with us and we could all go home without a hearing.
So there we are in court –
tic tock, tic tock –
$4 a minute in attorney fees…
45 minutes later we finally get the official answer from Austin.
CPS policy is always family first.
The judge then granted a continuance and our custody hearing is now set for another day.
Please pray for us – we need strength, courage and faith that “all things work together for good.”