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.