Monday, June 13, 2011

Current Placement v. Placement with Siblings: What Would You Do?

From KHOU in Houston:
A Houston couple is fighting to adopt a nearly 6-month-old boy after they say Child Protective Services gave them false hope that the baby would be able to stay with them.

"I don’t think I’ve ever wanted anything more in my life than to be a mother," said Houston attorney Rachel de Cordova.

De Cordova and her husband, Hayan Charara, a professor at the University of Houston, said they had trouble having a baby on their own. They tried for eight years.

In January, a 6-day-old baby boy came into their lives.

"He’s a really happy baby. He’s amazing," said de Cordova.

According to court documents, the baby tested positive for cocaine when he was born, so Child Protective Services took custody.

The couple said they took him in as part of a foster-to-adopt program.

"It was an awesome little miracle," said Charara. "It was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced."

The young boy’s birth mother has four other children, all of whom have been placed with other families. Three siblings are together with a family in Killeen, and a fourth child is with another family. Cordova and Charara say they pushed CPS to contact them.

"We probably pushed for them to be contacted for about two months and they finally said, ‘We’re not contacting them, there’s no reason for us to contact them, he’s great with you,’" said de Cordova.

But the couple said the child’s attorney ad litem stepped in and recommended that the child be placed with the family in Killeen, because that’s where three of his siblings live. The de Cordovas also said CPS is now recommending the same.

A spokesperson for CPS said the agency believes children belong with their siblings whenever possible.

The case will head to court on Tuesday.
So, if you were the judge, how would you rule?

UPDATE: Judge rules that the prospective adoptive family has no standing in the lawsuit about placement for the baby since they have not had him for 12 months.  HOWEVER, the judge rules the baby may remain with them until trial on August 30, 2011.


Andi said...

The wording in this article is so vague. Nowhere does it say that the family with the baby's three siblings is open to placement with the newest child. The first time I read it I thought they were just proposing placing him in that town to bring him closer to the siblings. I agree CPS should follow their kinship placement rules and check with the biological family, including the parents of biological siblings, first. If this was just to bring him into the same town as his siblings that would be crazy.

I agree with the foster parents that CPS screwed up by not checking for a kinship placement when the baby was taken into care, but two wrongs don't make a right. On the other hand, I feel that family should be allowed to arrange a private adoption in lieu of CPS involvement. If the baby's mom and dad want to have the foster parents adopt, I feel that should carry some weight. Is identified placement adoption ever an option CPS allows a parent?

Linda said...

If I were the judge, I would do everything in my power to see that the child is placed with one of his sibling's adoptive parents. As an adoptee, I would have hoped someone would do that for me, as well. If That Houston Mother really wanted what was best for that child, she would hand him over NOW.

Anonymous said...

It's disgusting that the subject of placing 4 children from a woman who shouldn't get pregnant, is even something that needs to be on the bargaining table!!
If I were the judge I'd want this woman sterilized. But then, a judge can't do that, because it "violates" her rights. So I'm glad I'm not the judge.

Anonymous said...

WITH SIBLINGS...either the 3 siblins or the 1 sibling home.

NO ifs and or buts at all.

FOSTER ADOPT is just that - no guarantees.

And if the judge leaves the child there it should be on condition of continual frequent contact throughout the childs life with their siblings - court ordered - the PAPs can take it or leave it.

veggiemom said...

Siblings should be placed together.

Anonymous said...

If I were the judge, I would want to see the baby stay where he is...I think that would be in his best interests, but also in the best interests of the other siblings. I would be concerned that taking the baby from the only parents he's known could cause RAD. I would also be concerned that as consuming as babies are, that the older children wouldn't received everything they need from their adoptive parents to heal, attach, and adjust.

Anonymous said...

Wow, tricky and yes CPS messed up royally. Ideally the baby in question would have been placed immediately into the care of the family with the siblings, from the onset of placement.

ButI also share some of the same concerns as Anon.; 4 is a fairly large child and what if the biological Mom goes on to have another child or another? At what point do you stop placing within one family? RAD is also a very real consideration, though the child's youth is favorable towards a successful placement.

And yes, it IS vague? Does the family with the siblings wish to have this child or are they ambivilent?

The whole is sad on many levels, some touched on here and others not. :(

Additionally very often children are placed in foster care without sibling consideration; I'm glad to see they are placing a priority on it in this instance but the whole thing seems odd to me.

P.S. @ Linda, Houston Mom has been this child's parent and guardian since days old. Based on this article I didn't see mention of a legal battle brewing at this time, but rather her sense of heart break and confusion. If in fact she was ready to just hand him over at the drop of hat, I would wonder about her mothering/love for this child. The fact that she's protecting this child, wanting all the facts first DOES mean she wants what's best for him in my opinion. At least at this time based on the scant facts given in this article.

Anon. Carrie

Anonymous said...

Edit to add: I meant 4 children, possibly all considered high risk placement? could be defined as a large family.

Anonymous said...

On the outset you would say, sure, keep sibling together. That makes sense, no? However, there's simply not enough information to determine the right answer to this situation. I have worked in the foster care system and nothing is as simple as it seems.

Sharon said...

When we went through foster parent training, there was another enrolled parent going through this type of situation. CPS had placed a baby with her at birth, and she was on track to adopt the child. Only after about 6 months did CPS realize the baby had another half sibling that had gone through the system and been adopted by another family. The woman was fighting CPS over removal of the child to the half-sibling home. We ultimately didn't pursue fost-adopt because we didn't think we had the emotional strength at that time to deal with a difficult situation like that. I never learned the outcome of the woman's case.

Jennifer said...

I think social services should never have promised this family anything. And the family should have understood that foster care is just that. If it leads to an adoption great - but if it leads back to the biological family that is great too. I understand it is hard for them but this is how foster care is intended to work.