Friday, November 18, 2005

Yesterday Was a Shitty Day

So we went to court yesterday. It did not go well.

First, our caseworker was late, and we had to wait for the judge to come back to our case. She finally showed up and our whole group went up before the judge. 5yr old's foster parents showed up to this one, but not the last one. I wish they hadn't showed up at all, because they are the reason it didn't go well.

We listened to things be covered regarding the kids' older sister who lives with her grandparents first. Then the judge moved on to things regarding 5yr old. THEY got to say that they were his foster parents and that they want to adopt him. Next thing we knew they were saying to the judge "Well, THEY smoke, and every time he comes back from a visit with them, whether it's 4 hours, 8 hours or whatever, he comes back smelling like smoke." Yeah...bullshit. "He has asthma, and we had it under control, but since he's been having visits, he's kind of regressed and has to have medication more often."

LYING MOTHERFUCKERS! For one thing, and we've said it over and over, and told the judge this too...WE DON'T SMOKE AROUND HIM AT ALL!! For another thing, us being smokers is not necessarily the reason his asthma has been worse lately. Lots of things can trigger asthma attacks...changing weather being just one thing. Playing hard, like little boys do, is another. I really don't think he's been going back home smelling like smoke, I think they are grasping at straws to try and keep him, and the fact that we smoke is what they are latching onto.

Unfortunately, this judge is biased against smokers. She claims that she has health problems now because her parents smoked, and blah blah blah. So she lets it be personal. I know judges are supposed to be fair and impartial, but this one is not. As of right now, it seems she is automatically siding with his foster parents. We didn't hardly get to say anything in front of her, except for trying to defend ourselves against what they claimed. Nothing was even brought up about the two girls we already have. They were there with us, and unless she's blind, she could see that they are happy, healthy, and well taken care of.

His counselor was there too, and she spoke up saying "I've been working with him trying to get him to understand the concept of moving over to them (us), but he is just not grasping it. I really feel that if he was moved from where he's at it will be very traumatic for him." She also made some remark about he thinks he came from his foster mom's belly. Where the hell did he get THAT from?? Somebody had to have told him he did. Has he completely forgotten about his birth mom? Maybe, but still. As for moving him in with us being traumatic...please. It may be rough on him for a bit, but he's 5! Kids are resilient, he will be fine! There's still the concern about him "bonding" with me. Give him a fucking chance to! He wasn't "bonded" with his current foster parents BEFORE moving in with them, now wa he? NO. That happened after him being there for awhile and being around them EVERY DAY. Personally, I don't think the problem is so much with him being attached to them, as it is with them being attached to him. Plus, they get 900 bucks a month in foster care payments through him, and I think they don't want to lose that money every month.

His therapist also told the judge that "He has a lot of health problems and I feel that 'they' can better take care of his medical needs." THAT pissed us off. What does she think, we're a couple of young, stupid kids that don't have a clue what to do if he has an asthma attack? I'd bet my husband knows more about it than his foster parents do. He has it himself, and his brother has it, and spent lots of time in the hospital as a child because of it. When MrKB was just a kid, maybe 10 years old, he had to learn about all his brother's medications and how to give them if he had to, including giving him shots. We can take care of his problems just fine, and told the judge so.

After everything was said, the judge seemed to only be focusing on the fact that we smoke. It didn't matter to her that we only smoke outside, or that we don't smoke around 5yr old. Nothing was done really except make us look bad and made to feel like we're criminals or something because of a bad habit we've had for years. Things are going to remain the same for now, and we go back to court on January 19th.

But wait! There's more!

After we all left the courtroom, the caseworker was saying on the way out the door, that she was extremely upset and led us down the hall to talk to us. We thought she was mad about how things went down in there, but then she turns to us and starts jumping all over our asses about the smoking thing. "There's no way in hell they're going to give him to you as long as you're smoking...We've told you over and over again not to be smoking around him...blah blah blah." So we got mad and said "We DON'T smoke around him, We DON'T smoke inside...What part of that are people not understanding??" MrKB smokes in our van going to and from work, but that's it. Not when there are any kids in it, only when he's alone. Can't do that anymore, either.

Oh, and while she was chewing our asses out, the attorney that was in the courtroom and heard it all, came up to her and pulled her over to the side. We didn't hear everything, but we got the impression that he wasn't happy with the way things went down, and he said something about bias and that he's going to the D.A. about it. Hopefully he's on our side regarding all that crap.

Then MrKB's Mom and one of the child advocate workers got into it about the fact that SHE smokes. The worker was saying that she wouldn't be allowed to be around 5yr old because she smokes. OH! OH! Mom was PISSED! The worker was basically saying that the fact that Mom smokes could be reason to keep 5yr old from being placed with us. Now THAT is not fair. People that don't even live where he's possibly going to be placed shouldn't even have any bearing on the case. Mom told her it's not fair to punish US because SHE smokes. That whole scene was drama we could have done without.

So, anyway...We were already talking about quitting smoking. Now it is official. We are tired of being made to feel like criminals. We are tired of his foster parents focusing on it. We are quitting smoking and then they won't have a leg to stand on. By the time we go back to court, we will be non-smokers. We went out to lunch after court, then went and got the patch and lots of gum.

We are still angry, though. We feel like we are being FORCED to quit, instead of quitting on our own terms. Nobody should be made to feel this way.

We do want these kids. If quitting smoking is what it's gonna take, then so be it. We are committed to these kids. And I know, it'll be better for our health...we'll save a lot of money...yadda yadda yadda. Believe me, we've heard the lectures.

Sigh...I had a killer headache all the rest of the day until I went to bed last night. I didn't get to everyone's HNTs, but I tried.

I'm gonna need all the support I can get y'all.


Kim said...

Not smoking is a very good thing! I do think that the foster parents are grasping at straws. When y'all are officially non-smokers try not to tell them to kiss your non-smoking ass.

MamaKBear said...

LOL I will try not to! How'd ya know that's exactly what I wanted to do?

kaliblue said...

WOW !!!!! I'm in total shock. Believe it or not when someone brings a complaint before the judge (like the fosters did about the smoking and his asthma also didn't help with the Therapist confirming the "worries"). She can not do anything right then and has to have hearings and get all these papers about his condition, opinions from docs maybe, look into similar cases and on & on. A Waste of time I know but if the letter of the law isn't followed by all. The fosters can file appeals on it. Keep us updated and good luck to the both of you on the smoking :)

MrsCoach2U said...

They must be getting desperate. I hope your quitting works out for all intended reasons. If smoking parents was all DHS had to worry about, life would be great. I see foster-parents all the time and the fact that DHS pulls them out of homes to put them with some of the ones we have come in here scares me silly. I can't imagine the kids being any better off. I don't mean all fp are that way, just some of them I've seen. I'm thinking of you all!

Midwestern City Boy said...

They certainly knew the judges hot button. Quitting smoking will take a lot of wind out of their sails. Plus it should show the judge that you have the best interests of the child at heart. She should not be so biased but she is. Maybe you'll be able to get a new judge. One thing I would be doing if you're not already is keep track of every slip up the foster parents make. Like accidentally on purpose forgetting to give you his medicine. Go on the offensive. Don't let them make you out to be the bad guys. And get an attorney that knows the system and eats raw meat for lunch. You’ve got the right attitude. Good luck quitting smoking. And good luck in January.

Aisha T. said...

Wow MKB, the hoops and jumps and goood lord...I can't imagine how emotional and stressful. Hang in there.

MamaKBear said...

Kali: Thanks for the support. We were all in shock too.

MrsCoach: I know, some people I really wonder how the hell they got to be foster parents! Especially when you hear of abuse or deaths of children in some of these foster homes.

MCB: Appreciate your support! Looks like we've got a tough road ahead of us. We've been trying to get ahold of our lawyer for the last couple of days, but he's been busy in court. Can't wait to hear what he thinks of all this crap.

Aisha: Girl, you've got no idea! It's been stressful enough already, and now quitting smoking?? OMG we'll be lucky if we don't kill each other sometime in the next few weeks.

SignGurl said...

You Go Girl! I know that you can do it and you will be better off for it.

The system is totally f&^%ed up. It took my friend 6 years to be able to adopt her young niece that she has had since she was 6 months. The girl's mom was a heroin addict and was running a meth lab out of the house with her kids there. She just addopted her 2 weeks ago. What a long road, but well worth the lumps and bumps.

Hang in there! You will get him, you are family and that has to mean a lot. :)

Brian said...

Best of luck on quitting smoking. I know its not easy.

Anonymous said...

I quit smoking about 18 months ago. I got through the withdrawal with nicotine gum. Now I live on ice from Sonic- it calms my nerves. Good luck.

mdrock said...

It is too bad that the other couple has to rely on bringing you down to keep the kid, and I think you are right about the money issue. If I were the judge (and dammit, I should be) I would be highly suspicious of the fact that these people aren't using their own merits as the grounds for keeping the boy, rather than just giving reasons why he shouldn't be with you. In fact, I would mention that in front of the court.

It seems like a weak case for them, but you obviously have a weak judge. Any chance that she will retire beore '06?

And tell her to get off her damn high horse about the smoking thing. My god, last time I checked, it was still legal in this country. I respect people's preferences about not wanting to be around smoke. But they can take that "holier than thou" attitude because they don't smoke and shove it up their ass as far as I'm concerned. It would be a much different story if you lived in a smoke filled house...geez, now I'm getting pissed. I can't imagine what it must have been like to stand in that courtroom and just take it.

Anyway, I hope this thing turns around for you soon.

Alicia said...

CRAZY! CRAZY! CRAZY! Mdrock is dead on. Why is it they have to try and knock you down instead of talking about what they do right. I'm happy you decided to quit. GOOD LUCK! Lets see what these people will bitch about next. Will the little boy spend anytime with you and his sisters for the holidays? How long has he been in this foster home?

MamaKBear said...

Jenn: Yeah, I know it is...but at least at this point DHS is still wanting 5yr old to be with us and his sisters. Glad your friend was finally able to adopt her took 4 years before my MIL could adopt BIL's first two kids. Shouldn't take as long for us, hopefully, since parental rights are already terminated.

Brian: Thanks so much for the support! And thanks for mentioning me in your weekend roundup again this week! :)

anon: Thanks! :)

mdrock: MrKB has said those exact words regarding the smoking thing: "Last time I checked, it was still legal"! I wish you WERE the really sucks this one has this attitude towards smoking. Believe me, it wasn't easy just standing there taking shit in that courtroom...I appreciate your support, my friend.

Alicia: I'm really curious myself as to what they will try to say about us when they can't blame anything on us smoking. Don't know yet about the holidays. THEY will most likely have him on the actual holidays though. He's been with them a little over a year. Thanks for the support! :)

Monica said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog. :) I read through a couple of your posts and wanted to comment on this one...I'm very new to your blog so haven't kept up but something caught my eye. If the judge does rule in favor of the foster parents, you'll have it in the transcripts about her comment about her own parents and her feelings about the smoking...that right there if I'm interpreting it correctly would lead to an almost automatic appeal. I know about California and Texas law but not a lot about Oklahoma so I can't really say for sure. It just jumped out at me.
Hey, my mom has smoked since she was fourteen...and she's a hell of a mom and I'm rooting for you.