adoption.com

adoption.com

 
JOIN 800,000+ MEMBERS JOINJOIN Cancel
image






Adoption Forums®

Members List Photos Events Local Adoption Support Search Arcade Reviews Membership Upgrade
Welcome to the Forums.
If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ. You may have to register before you can post or search: click here to proceed. To start viewing messages, select a forum below that you would like to view or click View All of Todays Posts.
Forum Categories

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-22-2009, 01:42 PM
momma24rn momma24rn is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 191
Total Points: 42,141.97
Donate
TPR HEARINGS. What will they ask?

I was reading a reply on another post where writers were briefly mentioning questions the judge asked them at their TPR hearings and I guess I hadn't thought about that part or the process yet. In most of our previous court hearings (not tpr's) they just asked if we had anything to say and we gave a short update on our FC. But it sounds to me that the judges often (always??) ask specific questions to the FP. I want to be prepared. I'm always nervous. Can you guys share some experiences??
Thanks
__________________
Married to DH 22 years

BS 20
Bd 17
BD 15
FS 3

2-07 First foster placement. M 6months (girl), T 4y (girl), H 6y (girl)

4-08 Our angels left to relative placement

6-08 FS "juggs" placed. 12 months at placement
4-09 permanency hearing TPR filed
4-09 Permanency goal changed from RU to adoptive placement.

10-09 TPR begins
2-10 TPR trial finally finished

NOW..........WAITING FOR A DECISION!!!!!

and waiting................

5-10 TPR GRANTED waiting out the 30 day appeal time
Reply With Quote
Adoption Information
Domestic Adoption?
Washington
Click here to visit Adoption Home Study Provider
If you live in the U.S. and are going to adopt, you will need an adoption home study. Click here to find a home study provider in your area. Get Started Today!
Adoption Home Study Provider
 

  #2  
Old 05-22-2009, 01:59 PM
greenrobin's Avatar
greenrobin greenrobin is offline
Just a mom

Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,841
Total Points: 169,981.51
Donate
When Bubba and Sissy's parents went to trial for TPR I had to testify. It wasn't just a few questions, it was a good 30 or 40 minutes on the stand answering whatever the ADA asked. She wanted to know the condition of the kids when they arrived, their weight then and now, where they went to daycare and pre-k, what kinds of stuff they liked to do, the behaviors that we'd seen in the beginning, the behviors now, the behaviors after the visits, their attachment to our family and to theirs, the medical stuff that had been done, the psych stuff that had been done, the state of Bubba's original injury and surgical follow up, and if we wanted to keep them, and how long we'd been fostering and how many bio kids we have. She asked about Bubba's statement about his injury. That was a tough one--mom was sitting right there crying through my testimony.

The judge asked if the family had harrassed us in any way. He asked me if I was comfortable with the way things had been going. That was it. Mostly he listened.

The kids' attorney asked me a couple of questions about a picture he'd taken of them one time. Dad's attorney was not present--he'd gotten him to sign irrevocable relimquishment. Mom's attorney was peeved with her for showing up 5+ hours late (and high) and didn't ask a single question. I hear those folks can be the devil when they want to. That's what they're getting paid to do.

And then it was over. I was the last witness of the day. The judge ordered TPR and then laid into the mom from the bench for her failure to do the minimum to get her kids back. He called me the real mom. Pointed at me and everything. He is, however, rather opinionated and quite vocal, so I don't think that's the norm.

And that's what I know. This was our first placement that went to TPR. I suspect there are probably lots of different stories out there. Just review your notes and emails, make sure you know all of the particulars about your kids, keep your opinions to yourself, and just state the facts. The ADA said the trick is to be warm yet unemotional, supportive of RU but not to make the court feel sorry for the mom and dad. It's the finest line I ever walked.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-22-2009, 02:37 PM
gdaisy gdaisy is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 369
Total Points: 19,755.73
Donate
When we went to TPR trial.. it was as the previous poster said a very fine line to walk. The ADA just gave me a list of questions that he may ask.. some of them were

How old was the child when put into custody
Any medical issues
Weight issues
How long has the child been in your home
How long was the trial home placement
What is your relationship with the child
What has been your relationship with the Bio parents
How many kids do you have currently in your home
What are issues that the child may have right now
What are some things that you would like to do with the child that are not being done right now?
How have you been an advocate for the child?
Are you planning on adopting the child?
There were some pictures that I had taken and given to the attorney for evidence... they asked me about them.. and why the lack of pictures for 3 months...
Is the child still recieving any services that he needs? What kind? how long?

Our TPR judgement won't be coming down the line until August to give the states attorney a chance to write a summary brief. Then each of the other attorneys(3 of them) a chance to add or subtract anything from them... Then the judge gets a few weeks to write his judgement... UGH

What made it easier for me was that the mom just didn't show... other wise it would have been really hard...

I was on the stand for 1 hour and a few minutes.. then stayed in the court room till the next recess.

The cross exam's were tough however if the attorney's try to change your words around and make it sound like you said something that you didn't just what until he is finished and then state like I did.. Sir I didn't say that.

Sometimes the attorneys for the parents will want to pull the "poor" card. That they can't stay clean because they are poor, that they didn't know where to get services because they were poor... I just let those comments slide by...

If you have any questions please feel free to pm me....
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-22-2009, 05:08 PM
momma24rn momma24rn is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 191
Total Points: 42,141.97
Donate
I'm so glad I posted this question. I guess I had NO idea what this part of the process would be like. I think it will be hard NOT to be emotional as they will be talking about my FS's life!!!! I love him so much and I don't yet know his future but I will advocate for him always. So far nobody has really talked to us about the process and what we could expect. I want to be prepared. I know you have to be careful about taking any documentation to court. (maybe not even allowed at TPR). My fson has a really good GAL. She has always spoke up strongly for his permanency in court, but I have never spoken to her. Should I expect that we would have some sort of conversation prior to TPR. I asked the cw about it yesterday and she said that they are really busy and usually do not meet w/the fp or child but get all their info from CW.
ADA- who is this. Will I meet them before court? Should I take pictures or medical records to court. I would love for them to see some of the experiences he has been able to share w/ our family. Anybody ever get documentation from others (daycare, pastor, etc. ) regarding the bonding fc has with foster family?
Sorry wo many questions. I just feel like this ONE day could mean my fs entire life!!!
__________________
Married to DH 22 years

BS 20
Bd 17
BD 15
FS 3

2-07 First foster placement. M 6months (girl), T 4y (girl), H 6y (girl)

4-08 Our angels left to relative placement

6-08 FS "juggs" placed. 12 months at placement
4-09 permanency hearing TPR filed
4-09 Permanency goal changed from RU to adoptive placement.

10-09 TPR begins
2-10 TPR trial finally finished

NOW..........WAITING FOR A DECISION!!!!!

and waiting................

5-10 TPR GRANTED waiting out the 30 day appeal time
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-22-2009, 05:17 PM
stevenstwin stevenstwin is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,912
Total Points: 372,421,380.94
Donate
I was "prepped" by the children's service lawyer quite extensively in expectation I'd testify. Lots of stuff about his behaviour, both at home and at school, with a real emphasis on improvements since he came into care. And, unfortunately, they wanted me to testify to things he'd said to me. I was quite concerned that that he'd feel his trust had been violated by my passing these things on! His counsellor told me to keep some things back (not lie, of course - but not offer up things the lawyer might not already know) but I didn't want to jeopardize the case, either. I remember asking about that here and getting pretty mixed answers. Anyway, in our case, when we actually got to trial the parents surrendered and I didn't have to testify.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-22-2009, 06:11 PM
c.a c.a is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 967
Total Points: 370,221,486.77
Donate
I'm not sure how it is in your county, but where here in Mass - if the pre-adoptive parents are on the stand - it isn't looking good for the birth parents.

Specifically as to your questions about having others write letters or testify about your relationship or bonding - unless they can be qualified as a expert on relationships or bonding they cannot testify to their "opinion" - only observation. Friends, neighbors, pastors will not likely be allowed to testify.

As for the parents' attorneys being difficult - wow - if a parents' attorney is trying to discredit a foster parent during a TPR trial - that is a sure sign that they have no case, and they know it, and they are just putting on a show because they have to in order to help their clients feel like they had their day in court.

Stevenstwin - I completely disagree with the advice your counselor gave. Work with the attorneys - tell them everything - and if the therapist thinks that some things should be left out - tell that to the attorney as well. If you need to, request a team meeting with the attorney and the therapist to discuss. Don't take legal advice from a therapist - or theraputic advice from an attorney.

Back to OP - remember this trial is about the birth parents and not you. If the state attorney didn't think you were doing an excellent job and that you will be fine as a witness, they wouldn't call you.

Relax (as much as you can). The lawyers and Judges are people just like you. They put their pants on one leg at a time just like you. They have children who aren't always perfect, just like you. They aren't always perfect as parents, just like you. They appreciate the work and love and investment that you are putting into the children, trust me.

You will be fine. Good luck.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-22-2009, 07:09 PM
stevenstwin stevenstwin is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,912
Total Points: 372,421,380.94
Donate
Quote:
Originally Posted by c.a

Stevenstwin - I completely disagree with the advice your counselor gave. Work with the attorneys - tell them everything - and if the therapist thinks that some things should be left out - tell that to the attorney as well. If you need to, request a team meeting with the attorney and the therapist to discuss. Don't take legal advice from a therapist - or theraputic advice from an attorney.
.

But see, here's the problem....the attorney is only interested in winning the case. If I ask him to keep something private, but he thinks it is important to the case, you know he'll bring it up. But at what cost to the child? The risk I was facing was then having TPR go through on a child that would no longer trust me. I asked if he could be removed from the court room during my testimony, and was told that no, he has a legal right to be there. So I think revealing private things he told me would have been MUCH more damaging in the end, because he would have been left with no one that he could trust and to help him deal with the TPR. The therapist was putting the mental health and well being of the child much higher than the attorney would... I also knew that TPR at that point was pretty much a slam dunk, so that weighed into my decision as well. But I would do it the same way if I had to do it all over again. I will NOT abuse the trust of my son by taking every negative thought and emotion he ever had and putting it out their for the bios to see and hear, and hold against him (if it was revelations of abuse unknown to the authorities, or knowledge of a crimina act, that would be different. I am a mandated reporter. But we're talking here about his thoughts and feelings - things like feeling unloved and worthless because of the way he was treated, and that sort of thing).

Last edited by stevenstwin : 05-22-2009 at 07:13 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-23-2009, 08:42 AM
greenrobin's Avatar
greenrobin greenrobin is offline
Just a mom

Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,841
Total Points: 169,981.51
Donate
About statements from others--just make sure that the ADA has a list of names from you about who to contact. In our kids' case, the primary care provider and the counselor were subpoenaed and ready to testify. They were not interested in the daycare workers, just the professionals.

We were supposed to take pictures of the kids, but because of the way things turned out, we didn't have time. The trial was expected to take 5 days. We were to be there on the last day. The morning of jury selection mom didn't show up. The jury was seated and then just sat until lunch. The judge dismissed them and ordered the state to call in their witnesses and ordered the sheriffs to find the mom. We live about 1.5 hours from the home county. We were both at school and had to drop everything and run. It was insanity. I had just put my lunch in the microwave when dh called me from his cell, already on his way to the house. I drove the 20 minutes, changed into more appropriate clothes, slapped some turkey on bread and got in the truck! About 1/2 way there I yelled, "I forgot the pictures!"

Fortunately, the CASA and GAL had one.

The other thing about testifying to what the child has said and breaking confidences--the kids we have are little. Stevenstwin's boy was a teen. Mine weren't in the courtroom, but hers was. This is how I deal with disclosures and repeating them--I never promise to NOT tell. I do, however, promise to ONLY tell those people that HAVE to know, like the counselor, the police, or the court.

The fact is, though, that we are all doing what we believe is in the best interest of our kids. A, as I recall, has deep, deep trust issues. His counselor was concerned with helping him continue to build on what he'd accomplished so far. And, if the disclosures he'd make to that point were a matter of record somewhere, then THAT person was probably already on the list of witnesses.

And, by the way, most ADAs like to prep the fp before testimony. They don't want to have the case fall apart at this point! Our prep came a week before we were expected to be testify.
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old 05-23-2009, 11:14 AM
c.a c.a is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 967
Total Points: 370,221,486.77
Donate
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenstwin
But we're talking here about his thoughts and feelings - things like feeling unloved and worthless because of the way he was treated, and that sort of thing).


Stevenstwin -

I understand your position. From what you are telling me, it seems like the evidence rules are a little different where you are. In Mass, a foster parents should not be allowed to testify as to the Child's thoughts, feelings or statements. That is classic hearsay and not admissible. If the attorney wanted to get that information in - he would have to call the child to testify.

and I totally understand that you chose to protect your son. I didn't really mean to suggest that you did the wrong thing - but that the therapist should not be giving legal advice.

In any event - it sounds like it worked out well for you.

Congratulations.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-23-2009, 11:48 AM
momma24rn momma24rn is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 191
Total Points: 42,141.97
Donate
What is the ADA? Assistant district attorney?? Idk.
I know that DCS has an attorney and parents have an attorney and Juggs has his GAL. (I'm in Indiana) Does every state have one and if so, will I meet him or her?
__________________
Married to DH 22 years

BS 20
Bd 17
BD 15
FS 3

2-07 First foster placement. M 6months (girl), T 4y (girl), H 6y (girl)

4-08 Our angels left to relative placement

6-08 FS "juggs" placed. 12 months at placement
4-09 permanency hearing TPR filed
4-09 Permanency goal changed from RU to adoptive placement.

10-09 TPR begins
2-10 TPR trial finally finished

NOW..........WAITING FOR A DECISION!!!!!

and waiting................

5-10 TPR GRANTED waiting out the 30 day appeal time
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-23-2009, 01:14 PM
gdaisy gdaisy is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 369
Total Points: 19,755.73
Donate
The ADA is the Assitant district attorney... Usually he or she is the attorney for the DCS.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-23-2009, 05:31 PM
stevenstwin stevenstwin is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,912
Total Points: 372,421,380.94
Donate
Quote:
Originally Posted by c.a
Stevenstwin -

I understand your position. From what you are telling me, it seems like the evidence rules are a little different where you are. In Mass, a foster parents should not be allowed to testify as to the Child's thoughts, feelings or statements. That is classic hearsay and not admissible. If the attorney wanted to get that information in - he would have to call the child to testify.

and I totally understand that you chose to protect your son. I didn't really mean to suggest that you did the wrong thing - but that the therapist should not be giving legal advice.

In any event - it sounds like it worked out well for you.

Congratulations.

Yeah, now that you mention that aspect, I'm not too sure..perhaps because it is not a criminal trial? And our attorney would NEVER have called this child to testify, since the kid was fighting tooth and nail (and even had his own lawyer) to go back home.
Reply With Quote
Reply

« Previous Thread | Next Thread »

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Points Per Thread View: 1.00
Points Per Thread: 15.00
Points Per Reply: 5.00


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:17 AM.