I am about to go over to the courthouse to turn in my application for de facto parent status for baby Z.
Basically all this does is give me the right to attend all hearings and speak in court. And get a lawyer. Which I think I can do without much cost because we have legal insurance. Woot for my benefits through my job! They are excellent!
It is supposed to be basically a given that this is granted, considering that we have had full-time care of Z for 6 months now. So that will mean I tell the judge that I believe the current reunification plan is not in Z's best interest, rather than just complaining to the social workers whose goal is reunification. And I can have an attorney look into what I believe are some irregularities in the case.
I'm hoping this can be granted before the next interim hearing on June 14. Supposedly they are going to start weekend visits for Z with bio mom S in her inpatient facility at that time. All kinds of crazy, ain't it? Babies in rehab.
I learned about the de facto parent option from the mom of one of A's friends. She is a social worker in the county just to the north of us -- coincidentally, the county where bio mom S's "rehab" facility. Interestingly, this social worker friend says it is not an actual rehab facility. The child and family services agency in that county won't even work with them. Interesting.
Anyway, I know this guarantees nothing about the outcome of the case. But it is a tremendous relief to me that there is an option for me to make my voice heard -- that I don't have to just stand by essentially as an employee of an agency whose goals for this case I don't agree with.
The downside: When I do pipe up in court, I know it is going to hurt S. A lot. I don't know how to frame it so that it will seem like anything but a betrayal to her. And that sucks. Because I do like her and hope for the best for her. But I think the reunification plan is premature. She has got to get out and prove her ability to live clean in the real world before I will believe she can do a good job mothering again.
Because, let's get real. We're talking about meth. We're talking about something like a 4-5% addiction recovery rate. Depending on who you ask and how long you expect them to stay clean, sure, that can go up. I've heard numbers as high as 50%. Still.
That is just not good enough for "my" baby.
[Okay, trolls and meanies, go to town. I'm feelin' mean. Bring it on.]