This is now going to be our second time going to termination of parental rights (TPR) trial for a child. Our first was for our 2nd foster placement who became our legal and “natural born” son in a courtroom in May of 2015. The father was terminated for no-show in January 2014 and we testified for over 90 minutes against the mother on behalf of the state’s side in May 2014 and the judge handed down an immediate ruling. It took the state a year to handle paperwork in the father’s appeal (which we never found out what grounds he thought he had) before we could schedule our adoption day.
So we know TPR trials, or at least one flavor of them. They suck.
In this instance, Parker is not a ward of the state, but the private adoption agency is his controlling entity and we are his legal guardians for things such as medical emergencies and day-to-day care. Since the father appeared in court, they set a trial date for TPR. We are not party to the case yet, though I suspect we will be once we are the slated adoptive family, so our information is limited.
The agency and their lawyers feel they have a solid case against him. From what they were able to tell us, I completely agree with that assessment, as Florida statutes and case law are very clear and established on the angle they are taking. We are personally familiar with their angle.
All of that to say, if the lawyers for the agency lose the case, the biological father will win custody and Parker will leave us and the state to live with someone that there is a solid case against raising a child, especially a very needy infant.
In that event, the $10,000 and anything we also paid for the birth mom’s unpaid expenses will simply be a loss. We will have tried to make something great for Parker and failed him. As several wise friends have told me in the past 48 hours: “Money comes and goes.” Make a difference.
That also said…
We 100% can’t stand by and allow the agency to find another family to take that risk, even if they have already saved up their adoption fees.
We didn’t ask for this when we accepted placement in October. We thought 2 weeks and back to our business, housewife, and kindergartner schedule to prepare for WordCamp Orlando that was coming up soon after.
We then thought it’d be 2 more months with a quick trial around January 6th. We had him for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. For his 1st, 2nd, and 3rd month baby photos. Our friends from the Czech Republic even got to meet him several times.
Everyone loves Parker when they meet him, and it’s more than just being an infant. There is something about him. He’s captivating.
Now we had a decision to make if we wanted this schedule, his added expenses (much of our other son’s life expenses are free as a former public foster child), and the pros and cons of having 2 kids, 2 boys, a 4-person family… and we had to make that decision quickly.
By now, the donation campaign as I write this is sitting at $9,000 of our $12,000 goal in about 7 1/2 hours of me tweeting, Instagramming, and Facebooking it once.
Meant to be
In my book, that goes under “if you build it, they will come.” We took the leap of faith to agree to move forward without the funds, ask all of you good friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and perfect strangers if you’d join with us to take a stab at forever impacting Parker’s life.
I thought I annoyed people with my daily Instagrams of Parker. Not all. I thought my Parker story was a tad long and too unemotional. It had several in tears.
We are going to bed tonight resting at peace with our decision and how great our friends and neighbors of the Internet are. Hats off to you all.