The first few days of the New Year are supposed to be for setting goals, but all I can think about is termination of parental rights (TPR).
Where we live, the Department of Family Services generally gives parents one year to remedy whatever caused their children to enter foster care. If parents are successful, kiddos go home. If parents have made some progress, but need more time, they’ll get another six months to fix things. If the Department determines that the parents have not been making progress or does not think the parents will be able to successfully solve what needs to be solved, then parental rights will be terminated and the kiddos will either go to other relatives or be placed for adoption.
Early 2016 will be a year for 10-year-old Joyful and 9-year-old Watchful. What will the Department decide for them?
In January, the Department will hold meetings to start assessing progress. One big area for assessment is whether dad can meet the kids’ emotional and psychological needs. I really have no idea where the Department will come down on that issue.
Personally, I am very conflicted about his abilities. I see how he comes faithfully to every visit and hear him express concern for his children in group meetings. I also hear him say that the kids made up the allegations and deny that their behaviors are a result of trauma. And there is a lot that I wouldn’t know anything about – like any personal therapy, parenting classes, or interactions inside the visitation rooms. God, I really want dad to be able to meet the kids needs so the kids can go home!!
The debate rages on in my head. The physical danger has been removed, so the kids will go home. The emotional care won’t be sufficient, so it’ll be TPR. The academic aspect of parenting is there, so the kids will go home. The financial support isn’t happening, so it’ll be TPR. He obviously loves his kids, so they’ll go home. He loves his kids, but misunderstands parenting, so it’s TPR.
What I want is just not to think about it. But it keeps creeping up on me.
My sister wants to know who all will be coming for summer vacation. The kids display a certain behavior, and I wonder how their dad would handle it. People outright ask me how long the kids will be with us.
So say a little prayer with me that no matter what happens in 2016, Joyful and Watchful will be safe.