The hearing went well. Things are not as final as we would like yet but they seem to be headed in the right direction.
We petitioned for de facto parent status. This allows us to be at all court hearings and to be represented by an attorney. This was granted.
We petitioned for the court to declare us prospective adoptive parents. This makes it so that Z cannot be moved from our home unless they can prove it is not in her best interests to stay. This was also granted.
We petitioned for a release of all records from the county human services agency to our attorney. This was granted.
The main purpose of the hearing which was the termination of parental rights was delayed. The agency is still checking into alleged Native American heritage from S because of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). They have sent out notification to all tribes named and some have responded but not all. This sounds a bit scary and it is true that ICWA can derail an adoption, but only if it is not done properly. It is actually good that they are making sure it is all done properly. Neither S nor her mother (who claims Native American heritage) are registered with any tribe. Likelihood of a tribe interfering in an adoption is very small, but they have to be notified or it will really screw things up.
The new hearing will be March 11. That is the same week as K's TPR hearing. So it will be a big week for sure.
S, her cousin, the cousin's husband, and Z's bio dad were all at this hearing. It was a little nerve wracking but all things considered it came out really well.