Two More Weeks
Newborn Meggie came into foster care because her mother tried to sell her. Meggie had seven illegal substances in her blood stream. When the attempted baby sale was stopped, the mother threatened to kill her and the hospital staff that intervened, “If I don’t get my payday, no one else can! I’ll kill her before you can have her. I’ll kill all of you!”
Meggie was the sixth child born to a crack addicted felon who didn’t have custody of her other children. Any sane person could see that the parental rights should be immediately terminated with no attempts made at reunification. Meggie bonded to our family, like any new baby would, and we were all set to adopt her. Then the judge on the case ordered her moved from our home when she was five and a half months old to be nearer the woman who tried to sell her so that they could be reunited, though the mother was in prison (again) at the time. Two weeks from now, this same judge will decide Baby J’s fate.
J’s case is horrific. I keep a lot of the details to myself, but those in the system who are privy to them wonder why they even tried to reunite him with a birth parent in the first place. Policy said they shouldn't. The problem is that in our county all the foster care cases are handled by the most biased judge any of us have ever seen. He is doing unheard of things when it comes to putting children back with dangerous parents.
As the court date approaches, we prepare the testimony, take pictures, line up evidence, prepare as much as is possible, but I wonder if it even matters. This judge could just order J. be given back to the people who hurt him and that will be that. J’s lawyer believes that such an order would be J’s death sentence.
J. is my son. It doesn’t matter what the court says. It doesn’t matter what the birth certificate says. It doesn’t matter who carried him for nine months. It doesn’t matter if he looks like me. I’m the one who loves him. I’m the one who takes care of him. I’m the one who nursed him through his injuries, sought out specialists, and pursued treatments. I’m the one who has battled for him for nearly a year and a half. I’m the one he looks for when he enters a room. I’m the one he comes to when he is upset. I’m the one who sneaks into his room at night and prays over his sleeping form. And one word from this judge could destroy that.
This date two weeks away looms over me, eating away at my peace during the day, preventing sleep at night. I know the Bible verses about worry and anxiety. I say them. I read them. I pray them. I post them around the house. But, the stress is rising to a crescendo, building inside me as I mentally check each day off my calendar. Sixteen days left, fifteen, fourteen… It’s as if a cliff rises steeply before me that ends at that court hearing and then nothing. Blank. Empty.