Monday, April 29, 2013

Memories: Court Part 3

Eventually, the psychologist joined my crusade to get the visits stopped, they got the guardian ad litem to court, and the visits were stopped.  Of course, I was still dragging Daughter to court as the hearing on termination of parental rights continued.  When the hearing finally concluded, the judge delayed ruling.  The speculation was that there was no money left for court appointed attorneys, and birth mom would need one if she decided to appeal the ruling. 

Finally, the order came down.  Dad's rights were terminated over both children (the oldest was living with paternal grandmother, and was not part of the case).  Mom's rights were terminated over brother.  They were not terminated over Daughter.  By this time, the judge realized that Daughter could not be returned to mother, but he'd already dismissed the case with prejudice.  He suggested the possibility of long term guardianship be explored.  Daughter continued to have a relationship with mother via phone and occasional visits (she had moved to the other side of the state to be close to her family, so wasn't in town very often for visits). 

I continued to be her foster mother, and nothing more was said about guardianship.  As Daughter grew more verbal, she began to ask more questions.  One night she confronted her birth mom with a series of memories, and after each one she said, "And what did you do."  The memories included a knife fight between the brothers and stepping on a nail on the steps.  Birth mom was amazed she remembered the knife fight, as she couldn't have been more than 18 months old when it took place.  She also commented, "All she remembers are the bad things."  Interestingly, she didn't confront her over the sexual of physical abuse.  Of course, like many victims, she thought it was her fault.  I remember the day she said to me, "Mom, I tried to be a good baby.  I really did.  I don't understand why they hurt me that way." 

The explanation I gave her as to why she couldn't live with her birth family was quite simple:  she deserved to be safe, and they hadn't been able to keep her safe.  I continued to offer lots of assurances that she was safe with me.  To this day, safety is her number one need. 

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