We arrived at 9am, the attorneys huddled in a corner around 1pm, at 1:30pm they finally convened, sort of… They basically just rescheduled the hearing without doing anything except for one small and really important thing — Blitzen will have a different law guardian than her siblings.
Blitzen talked at length with her lawyer on Saturday morning. I greeted the lawyer at the door of our home, offered her tea, set them both down at the kitchen table and then went in my room and closed the door. An hour later, Blitzen called to me, ‘Carrie, she’s done now.’ I came out, thanked the lawyer for traveling into the city on a Saturday morning and told her that it was important to us (and we felt it was so very very important for Blitzen) that she have the opportunity to say whatever she wanted to say in a calm, safe space. That Blitzen really doesn’t feel heard, that the grownups in her life all too often dismiss her wishes without hearing her out and that is why I insisted that the lawyer speak to her again.
The lawyer looked me in the eye and said, “Everything is crystal clear to me now. I understand why this was important. I will see you on Monday.”
And so, a small measure of progress.
Posted in Blitzen | 19 Comments »
We met with a lawyer, which felt like a rite of passage into American adulthood. We received some concrete information, like how to contact Blitzen’s attorney and how to find court dates on eCourts.
In the 29 months we’ve lived with Blitzen she’s met her attorney once at a family visit and had one short phone conversation. Or so we thought. Carrie was able to reach her yesterday, and the conversation went as follows.
Carrie: “Hi. We just found out that Blitzen has a permanency hearing coming up on Monday. Would it be possible for you to meet with her before then?”
Attorney: “Oh I already spoke with Blitzen.”
Carrie: “Um… what?”
Attorney: “Yes. I talked with all six kids two weeks ago. Their mom called me during family visit and passed the phone around. Didn’t Blitzen tell you?”
Carrie: “Blitzen’s mom called you? You talked with Blitzen while she was with her mom?”
Attorney: “Mom said she’d move out of the way.”
(Editor’s note to enhance the visual image: The phone call happened while the family was at a grocery store.)
Carrie: “I imagine it was pretty traumatic for Blitzen to talk about her permanency goals in front of her mom.”
Attorney: “It sure was. She was crying and had a really hard time.”
Well, that helps explain some of Blitzen’s anxiety over the last two weeks.
In a recent comment, Marie shared this helpful handbook which outlines the role and responsibilities of the child’s attorney. Needless to say, the relationship between the child and the attorney is supposed to involve more than a few tear-producing words on mom’s phone from the frozen food aisle. Happily, Carrie convinced the attorney to meet with Blitzen in person this weekend.
Posted in Blitzen | Tagged Blitzen, lawyers, permanency hearing | 18 Comments »
We had many discussions with different people yesterday including people from our agency. At one point in that very difficult conversation, I said, ‘The system is broken, everyone says that it is broken. Well, this case is breaking right now, right in front of you. What are you planning to do? You say that you can’t advocate for Blitzen in that way, you say that I cannot. So – who will do it? She is only 11, she cannot advocate for herself!’
Although goodness knows she sure has been trying to – she has a voice and she deserves to be heard.
Posted in Agency, Blitzen | 11 Comments »
We were informed at 4pm. Thanks for the advance notice.
A snippet from the email from our social worker.
I’m not certain what the judge is going to order us to do come Monday but I’d like to prepare you guys for what might be happening in regards to moving toward reunification. Not to be an alarmist or anything but I’ve cc’ed your homefinder on this email as an additional support for this conversation.
Glad your not being alarmist – this email is in no way alarming, thanks.
Posted in Agency, Blitzen | Tagged ACS, agency | 16 Comments »
I like a plan, I like to prepare. On Sunday afternoon, Blitzen had an early afternoon playdate. When it was over, she started to get upset as she often does at the conclusion of things. She began her usual – you never let me do anything, you always say no, I hate you monologue. But I was feeling particularly zen.
Carrie: ‘Blitzen, it is Sunday afternoon and we have no plans. What would you like to do?’
Blitzen: ‘You’ll just say no, you only want to do what you want to do.’
Carrie: ‘Hmmm, it probably does feel that way a lot of the time. What do you want to do this afternoon?’
Blitzen: ‘I want to go to Chelsea!’
Carrie: ‘Ok, what would you like to do in Chelsea?’
Blitzen: ‘I’ll tell you when we get there!’
Now, I started to think about asking a bunch of questions but instead I took a deep breath and just said, great, let’s go.
I think Blitzen was pretty surprised. I know I was pretty surprised with myself but it was the right thing to do — it was a lazy Sunday afternoon, we had no where to be, why not have an adventure.
Posted in Blitzen | Tagged adventure, Blitzen, creativity, Education, Foster care, parenting | 6 Comments »