As of today, Elmer has been in foster care for one thousand days. That is entirely too long. Especially for a case where the courts agreed to "forego all reasonable efforts" at just over 100 days in.
TPR trial was April 30th. Mom tried to get it delayed by not showing up but her lawyer told her if she wanted to have any defense at all, she needed to get to the courthouse by the time her case was called.
There are several cases scheduled for the same time and while the second was being heard, I was sitting in a pretty much empty lobby with only the caseworker and mom's lawyer. I heard the phone conversation, in which mom's lawyer pretty much told her that she had no case.
"I'm a good lawyer, ma'am, but I'm not THAT good!"
(When mom asked if there was anything she could do to get the case heard another day)… "I could go in there and tell the judge that you are on the phone crying, but that's going to go over like a fart in church!"
"You haven't DONE anything."
(When they asked about grandparents' rights so that the grandmother could get him)… "Ma'am, in South Carolina there are no grandparents' rights."
"He is in a stable home where he has been for the last 2 1/2 years and they want to adopt him."
"Your rights are going to be terminated today."
I mean, if your own lawyer is not even on your side, you obviously have absolutely no case.
Mom ended up showing up, got on the stand, and said she didn't feel she was currently in a state to be his parent but wanted her mom to have custody of him until she could get her life back together.
Grandmother had been asked about taking Elmer back in January 2016 but declined to do so at that time. DSS lawyer asked Grandmother when she got on the stand how often she has visited with Elmer. She said she has been to visits "a few times."
With very few people on the stand and very few questions during the trial, the judge ruled that rights would be terminated. That by both the mother's and grandmother's own admissions, the mom is not able to be a parent right now. That if she had not gotten herself together in the last 2 1/2 years, she was not likely to do so. That it is not about what the mother wants or the grandmother wants, but what is in the best interest of the CHILD - and moving him from the only home he has ever known to a relative that he has only seen a "few" times would definitely not be in his best interest.
So then we waited until the judge FINALLY got the TPR order signed about 2 weeks ago. And now we wait 30 days after that to see if the parents will appeal. I doubt that dad will... and I am hoping that mom won't, but expecting that she will...
I know that I have A LOT of catching up to do here. One day I'll sit down to write more... Sierra is still here so life is definitely crazy busy!