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    cbourner's Avatar
    cbourner Posts: 19, Reputation: 2
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    #1

    Jan 4, 2009, 10:40 AM
    Declaring a parent unfit (PA)
    Hi,
    I am in need of sound, truthful and solid advice.

    My husband & I have had custody of our grandson for a over a year. (Note; last year, we were hoping that reuniting them would help resolves some issue so he lived with her and the boyfriend from Feb-May of 08. She moved in with us in May 08 for 3 weeks and then left our home while Nathaniel was with his step dad for the day. She refused to wait 2 hours until his return to leave and left without him. ) She gave birth to another child this past October. (fool! I have seen the child but feel sorry for the life he is going to live and there is no way we're taking on another child, especially since we do not get along with that father) She currently lives with the new baby’s father but her wants her out of his home ASAP and she has nowhere to go. Living with us is not an option.
    Nathaniel will be 7 next month and trust me he is smart as a whip. Nathaniel does not ask about his mom, if he can call or see her and expresses he does not want to live with her. We have thoroughly explained what adoption is to him and he clearly understands what that means (we even waited a week to bring it up to him again and he was able to tell us exactly what adoption means and clearly wants us to adopt him. He told his mother (via phone) on Christmas day that he wants to live here, not with her and for us to be his forever parents.
    Mom's history is very troubled... she has been charged with numerous counts of theft (from employer, by check, by credit card, identity theft) and served a month in prison. She has at least 4 charges that we know of. She continues to steal as she revealed to me in Oct 08 she just got charged again this summer for theft. (yet all she gets is time added to her probation~how messed up is that? ) In the past she boyfriend hopped while living with us & hooked up with the current BF have a place to live while divorcing her ex-husband. The boyfriend she is with now wants her out of his house ASAP and custody of the new baby. He also does not like Nathaniel and is glad he's gone.
    Before we got custody he we have witnessed abuse while they both were in our presence both before & after we got custody. (She and Natty lived with us until he was 2 1/2.) For example, she needed a ride somewhere and she and Natty were in the backseat. He wouldn't be quiet and she was getting angry and as I turned to speak to her, I saw her slap him in the face as I turned toward the backseat. This left a red mark but unfortunately we did not have a camera with us to evidence this. The slap was loud enough to be heard by both my husband and myself while the radio was on a low volume. Over the course of his lifetime, I have heard her screaming at him about his behavior, telling him she’s going to throw him against a wall, beat him & give him away if he doesn't behave and what a horrible little boy he was.. Both she and Nathaniel have told my husband & me that the boyfriend pinned him down while she spanked him. They both told me that the BF has punished & spanked him excessively. She has told him she wishes she never had him. Those comments were made while on the phone from Feb-May of 08 to us asking US how to control HER child) When she had custody of him for 3 months, she called us several times a week asking how to control him. Nathaniel has told us that she repeatedly told him she wishes she never had him. She has also told him she was going to put him out with the trash when he misbehaves. (We heard her state these things while talking on the phone with me or her father.)
    She is a horrible housekeeper. When I had to pick up his clothing & personal belongings while mom was in prison, the house was fitly and stank of urine. Everything had to be washed in an enzyme detergent to get rid of the odors and most personal belonging had to be thrown out. The bedrooms & bathrooms were pigsties, dirty dishes piled up and sitting for who knows how long with visible mold in the kitchen and bathroom areas and the house reeked of garbage, urine and filth. Dirty laundry was piled up everywhere. (Why didn’t I think to take my camera! That would’ve helped a lot), The entire house was probably never cleaned by the amount of filth. Marina's housekeeping skills in the past, both while living with us and in her homes were filthy, which we witnessed when visiting her and Nathaniel. Nathaniel has a history of bed wetting and his bedroom & the supposedly “clean” clothing & personal belonging that I picked up in Oct 07 reeked of urine. The bedding was visibly urine stained and stank horribly. The baths looked & smelled like a dirty public restroom. He told us that his mom told him she didn't have the money for Pull-Ups so he rarely wore anything to absorb the urine. Nathaniel also told us that many nights they ate cereal for dinner & there was never much food in the house because mom didn’t use food stamps for food.
    Nathaniel has ADHD. She did have him tested for ADHD by a pysch, had an action plan but never kept the first counseling appointment, which is confirmed in writing by the therapists records nor kept him on medication recommended by the pediatrician. (He was briefly placed on medication but discontinued it as evidenced in his medical records but discontinued when mom felt the meds weren't working. No other ADHD/mood modifying medications meds were tried until he was once again in our custody We have had him in counseling & on med's since Sept 08 and he is totally different child than when we first got him in Oct 07. He was very unhappy, withdrawn, rebellious, depressed, angry and sad etc.
    The child has been through so much and yet with our assistance, medication and therapy, has totally turned around his behaviors and attitudes. He is a delightful little boy, always loving, he loves doing his school work and learning new things, he is eager to help with things, such as taking dinner dishes to the sink, helping fold laundry & simple tasks. When we first got custody of Nathaniel in Oct 08, he was not completing his schoolwork, was not able to recite the entire alphabet in order & confused most of the letters and was not able to count to 20. He didn't know he needed to wipe his bottom after a BM, give himself a bath or brush his teeth.
    Despite the fact that he is 6 and many 6 year olds tend to stretch the truth (will be 7 on Feb 8th), his statements to us confirming this information have always been consistent with no variation in relating events and occurrences.


    She lives on welfare (which she is about to lose for not reporting her home status of living with BF and his income), cannot get a job due to criminal history. Marina has always had mental health issues and told me several times, both presently and in the 11 years that I have know her, that she does not take her medication at all and/or as directed.

    We had a custody hearing in November at which time the judge ordered her to get counseling, a job, health ins for Nathaniel and an apartment with at least 2 bedrooms. She has done none of these things. We have another custody hearing in Feb. to determine who get custody. Marina has consented to allow us to adopt but only if it's an open adoption. So my questions are:

    1. Is she considered unfit??
    2. If she changes her mind about signing the adoption papers before the court hearing do we still proceed with the hearing as evidence to prove her unfit?
    3. If we set specific terms for an open adoption, such as having a one day visit (at my home!) on a birthday, Christmas, etc and Nathaniel doesn't want to see her, what happens then? Do we have to force him to see her?
    4. Per PA open adoption laws, what are her rights once the adoption has gone through?
    5. What happens if she backs out before signing the adoption papers?
    6. Per PA law, can she change her mind within a certain time frame? (Although with armed with all of the above evidence I can’t imagine a judge giving her custody again)

    I will talk with my attorney tomorrow but am hoping for valid answers to ease my anxiety and am trying to get a sense of this whole process. I have net searched PA laws, but have found very little about a mother's rights during an open adoption process and after the adoption.

    I am very grateful for your advice. Thank you.
    Blessings,
    Cathy
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #2

    Jan 4, 2009, 10:52 AM
    1. Is she considered unfit??
    With everything you have said most likely she would be considered unfit and unstable
    For being considered 'the best interest of the child'. Document a list of everything she has done that you feel makes her unfit... not visiting consistent, not having a stable home, etc


    3. If we set specific terms for an open adoption, such as having a one day visit (at my home!) on a birthday, Christmas, etc and Nathaniel doesn't want to see her, what happens then? Do we have to force him to see her?
    I think it would be better to not have it in any legal papers, If possible, that you are willing to let her see him on any specific days. I think you can and would be better off to just tell her or put it in the agreement that you will invite her as your guest whenever all parties agree.

    4. Per PA open adoption laws, what are her rights once the adoption has gone through?
    I think with an open adoption with her having rights it would be letting her know of any significant things in his life such as dr appts, special school events, etc...

    Sorry I can't help with any more but that is what I believe to be the way it goes basically.
    cbourner's Avatar
    cbourner Posts: 19, Reputation: 2
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    #3

    Jan 4, 2009, 10:55 AM
    Thank you.
    cbourner's Avatar
    cbourner Posts: 19, Reputation: 2
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    #4

    Jan 4, 2009, 11:02 AM
    Pushed the post button too fast!
    I have begun documenting everything in prep for the Feb hearing. The documentation I had previous to this "disappreared" while she briefly stay with us. Ufortunately it was in a notebook, but now is kept on a disc in my safe.
    Good thinking on the issues of visitations.
    We have been emailing her every Friday since Oct 07 with information (dr's appts, school, therapy and just letting her know he is well).
    I have emailed all of this my attorney, who I will call tomorrow for advice and to get the ball rolling.
    Thanks for trying to answer... I was just hoping for info between now and tomorrow to ease my mind.
    Take care!;)
    Cath
    cbourner's Avatar
    cbourner Posts: 19, Reputation: 2
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    #5

    Jan 4, 2009, 06:04 PM
    Does this declare Mom an unfit parent? (in PA)
    Hi,
    I am in need of sound, truthful and solid advice.

    My husband & I have had custody of our grandson for a over a year. (Note; last year, we were hoping that reuniting them would help resolves some issue so he lived with her and the boyfriend from Feb-May of 08. She moved in with us in May 08 for 3 weeks and then left our home while Nathaniel was with his step dad for the day. She refused to wait 2 hours until his return to leave and left without him. ) She gave birth to another child this past October. (fool! I have seen the child but feel sorry for the life he is going to live and there is no way we're taking on another child, especially since we do not get along with that father) She currently lives with the new baby’s father but her wants her out of his home ASAP and she has nowhere to go. Living with us is not an option.
    Nathaniel will be 7 next month and trust me he is smart as a whip. Nathaniel does not ask about his mom, if he can call or see her and expresses he does not want to live with her. We have thoroughly explained what adoption is to him and he clearly understands what that means (we even waited a week to bring it up to him again and he was able to tell us exactly what adoption means and clearly wants us to adopt him. He told his mother (via phone) on Christmas day that he wants to live here, not with her and for us to be his forever parents.
    Mom's history is very troubled... she has been charged with numerous counts of theft (from employer, by check, by credit card, identity theft) and served a month in prison. She has at least 4 charges that we know of. She continues to steal as she revealed to me in Oct 08 she just got charged again this summer for theft. (yet all she gets is time added to her probation~how messed up is that? ) In the past she boyfriend hopped while living with us & hooked up with the current BF have a place to live while divorcing her ex-husband. The boyfriend she is with now wants her out of his house ASAP and custody of the new baby. He also does not like Nathaniel and is glad he's gone.
    Before we got custody he we have witnessed abuse while they both were in our presence both before & after we got custody. (She and Natty lived with us until he was 2 1/2.) For example, she needed a ride somewhere and she and Natty were in the backseat. He wouldn't be quiet and she was getting angry and as I turned to speak to her, I saw her slap him in the face as I turned toward the backseat. This left a red mark but unfortunately we did not have a camera with us to evidence this. The slap was loud enough to be heard by both my husband and myself while the radio was on a low volume. Over the course of his lifetime, I have heard her screaming at him about his behavior, telling him she’s going to throw him against a wall, beat him & give him away if he doesn't behave and what a horrible little boy he was.. Both she and Nathaniel have told my husband & me that the boyfriend pinned him down while she spanked him. They both told me that the BF has punished & spanked him excessively. She has told him she wishes she never had him. Those comments were made while on the phone from Feb-May of 08 to us asking US how to control HER child) When she had custody of him for 3 months, she called us several times a week asking how to control him. Nathaniel has told us that she repeatedly told him she wishes she never had him. She has also told him she was going to put him out with the trash when he misbehaves. (We heard her state these things while talking on the phone with me or her father.)
    She is a horrible housekeeper. When I had to pick up his clothing & personal belongings while mom was in prison, the house was fitly and stank of urine. Everything had to be washed in an enzyme detergent to get rid of the odors and most personal belonging had to be thrown out. The bedrooms & bathrooms were pigsties, dirty dishes piled up and sitting for who knows how long with visible mold in the kitchen and bathroom areas and the house reeked of garbage, urine and filth. Dirty laundry was piled up everywhere. (Why didn’t I think to take my camera! That would’ve helped a lot), The entire house was probably never cleaned by the amount of filth. Marina's housekeeping skills in the past, both while living with us and in her homes were filthy, which we witnessed when visiting her and Nathaniel. Nathaniel has a history of bed wetting and his bedroom & the supposedly “clean” clothing & personal belonging that I picked up in Oct 07 reeked of urine. The bedding was visibly urine stained and stank horribly. The baths looked & smelled like a dirty public restroom. He told us that his mom told him she didn't have the money for Pull-Ups so he rarely wore anything to absorb the urine. Nathaniel also told us that many nights they ate cereal for dinner & there was never much food in the house because mom didn’t use food stamps for food.
    Nathaniel has ADHD. She did have him tested for ADHD by a pysch, had an action plan but never kept the first counseling appointment, which is confirmed in writing by the therapists records nor kept him on medication recommended by the pediatrician. (He was briefly placed on medication but discontinued it as evidenced in his medical records but discontinued when mom felt the meds weren't working. No other ADHD/mood modifying medications meds were tried until he was once again in our custody We have had him in counseling & on med's since Sept 08 and he is totally different child than when we first got him in Oct 07. He was very unhappy, withdrawn, rebellious, depressed, angry and sad etc.
    The child has been through so much and yet with our assistance, medication and therapy, has totally turned around his behaviors and attitudes. He is a delightful little boy, always loving, he loves doing his school work and learning new things, he is eager to help with things, such as taking dinner dishes to the sink, helping fold laundry & simple tasks. When we first got custody of Nathaniel in Oct 08, he was not completing his schoolwork, was not able to recite the entire alphabet in order & confused most of the letters and was not able to count to 20. He didn't know he needed to wipe his bottom after a BM, give himself a bath or brush his teeth.
    Despite the fact that he is 6 and many 6 year olds tend to stretch the truth (will be 7 on Feb 8th), his statements to us confirming this information have always been consistent with no variation in relating events and occurrences.


    She lives on welfare (which she is about to lose for not reporting her home status of living with BF and his income), cannot get a job due to criminal history. Marina has always had mental health issues and told me several times, both presently and in the 11 years that I have know her, that she does not take her medication at all and/or as directed.

    We had a custody hearing in November at which time the judge ordered her to get counseling, a job, health ins for Nathaniel and an apartment with at least 2 bedrooms. She has done none of these things. We have another custody hearing in Feb. to determine who get custody. Marina has consented to allow us to adopt but only if it's an open adoption. So my questions are:

    1. Is she considered unfit??
    2. If she changes her mind about signing the adoption papers before the court hearing do we still proceed with the hearing as evidence to prove her unfit?
    3. If we set specific terms for an open adoption, such as having a one day visit (at my home!) on a birthday, Christmas, etc and Nathaniel doesn't want to see her, what happens then? Do we have to force him to see her?
    4. Per PA open adoption laws, what are her rights once the adoption has gone through?
    5. What happens if she backs out before signing the adoption papers?
    6. Per PA law, can she change her mind within a certain time frame? (Although with armed with all of the above evidence I can’t imagine a judge giving her custody again)

    I will talk with my attorney tomorrow but am hoping for valid answers to ease my anxiety and am trying to get a sense of this whole process. I have net searched PA laws, but have found very little about a mother's rights during an open adoption process and after the adoption.

    I am very grateful for your advice. Thank you.
    Blessings,
    Cathy
    sharonmccarthy's Avatar
    sharonmccarthy Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Jan 4, 2009, 06:25 PM
    I seriously believe if you involve human services to report the abuse and neglect of the children, they can force more ction in your favor. It is important to get not only the sweet 7 year old taken care of but that poor new baby as weel. I can understand it may be difficult to take on the baby, so at least give another foster family a chance, seems the baby would be better off. It might pain your heart to have to report her, but you must. This girl is seriously messed up, maybe if the reality is greater and consequences heavier she might turn things around, force her to change call Children Srevice demand a worker to aid you, that is their job. Some are really good. Keep all records of calls, dates, and visits. It does not matter if you have photos of abuse, you witnessed it. Therefore, I believe a court wuld look at your point over hers. I am worried about that poor baby. I can not help not to be after reading your situation. Please call Human Service and seektheir help, I have seen them help so many people out. You have more rights as grandparents too. Use your rights.
    cbourner's Avatar
    cbourner Posts: 19, Reputation: 2
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    #7

    Jan 4, 2009, 06:49 PM
    Yes, seriously messed up is a very nice way to put it!
    As far as HS, I they told me that witnessing a slap and hearing her say things was not enough... I would have to have more evidence. Unbelievable but that was the answer. As for the new child, I called CYS the second that new baby was born. I was at the birth center with her once when she thought she was in labor (she gave birth 2 days later) and demanded that a social worker speak with her before leaving with new babies daddy. I wanted them to detain her and get involved but that backfired too. IDK if they are investigating this as she never mentions it (and believe me she will tell you whatevers up her butt). I am thinking a second call to CYS regarding the new child is in order after I finish this post.
    I hesitate to pull a worker aide into the picture as things are delicate right now in her agreeance to sign the adoption papers. I don't want her to know that a prof is involved or she will change her mind and withdraw from signing the adoption papers. You have no idea what a back stabbing b***h she can be. In this instance though, even if she didn't sign the papers, the judge will most likely give us full custody in Feb. Any thoughts on this??
    Regarding grandparents rights, I am having a bit of a time finding a clear definition on GR in PA. Do you know of a link (that won't drag me through a hundred useless sites?
    Thank you for taking the time to help me. Rest assured, the phone and number to CYS are in my hand and will be called as soon as I finish this post.
    Cath
    sharonmccarthy's Avatar
    sharonmccarthy Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Jan 4, 2009, 06:57 PM
    Hopefully you get her into court soon, and then once you have the 7 year old permantly, please call services abut the baby as well. Get her to court fast. Take care, and remember one day there is hope she might turn her life around, right now seems bleak and not possible. But one never knows the future. Bottom line is the children come first though.
    cbourner's Avatar
    cbourner Posts: 19, Reputation: 2
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    #9

    Jan 4, 2009, 07:05 PM
    The hearing for custody of Nathaniel is already scheduled for 2/8 and I can't wait for that day. What an awesome birthday gift it will be to tell him he never has to worry about being forced to live with mom again. I am on hold with CYS now... thank you for prompting me to call them again.
    sharonmccarthy's Avatar
    sharonmccarthy Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Jan 4, 2009, 07:19 PM
    I seriously believe she does not want the child therefore she will sign her rights away, to still be able to live her selfish life out. I also believe children service will be very helpful to you. That is their job to protet the kids. Take care.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692
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    #11

    Jan 4, 2009, 07:24 PM

    I have had cases where the women was a known hooker, she admitted to sleeping with 100's of men for money, had photos of trash filled home, kids (pre teen) being left in home alone while she went out and picked up men and brought them home to earn her money when it was not in the car with them.
    Had photos of her physical abuse, bruses on the kids, she still keep custody but had to do a parenting class and have home inspected.

    So just knowing is also not proff in court.
    cbourner's Avatar
    cbourner Posts: 19, Reputation: 2
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    #12

    Jan 4, 2009, 08:11 PM
    And that just goes to show what a messed up legal system we are so privledged to have in the US... :rolleyes:
    Synnen's Avatar
    Synnen Posts: 7,927, Reputation: 2443
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    #13

    Jan 5, 2009, 03:44 AM

    Open adoption, except in MN and CA, does not mean that legally the birthmother has any rights to ANYTHING once the adoption papers are signed.

    All it means is that the adoption itself, and the identities of the parents involved, are not kept secret.

    However---in order to adopt, you must ALSO have the birthFATHER's rights terminated.

    Your lawyer would be best to answer all of your questions, though, as adoption law varies from area to area.
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #14

    Jan 5, 2009, 03:55 AM

    In Pa (at least my case) the Judge said that the kids being older and already knowing their mom (me) I was entitled to and encouraged to have visitations and be an active part of their life even though my rights were terminated. We did like I suggested and left it up to me and the adoptive mom to decide when I visited (basically she invited me or I called and asked if I could go visit or have him over for the weekend).
    If she is a threat, danger or unstable then it could be that she will not be allowed to have him for weekends.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #15

    Jan 5, 2009, 06:07 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by sharonmccarthy View Post
    I seriously believe if you involve human services to report the abuse and neglect of the children, they can force more ction in your favor. It is important to get not only the sweet 7 year old taken care of but that poor new baby as weel. I can understand it may be difficult to take on the baby, so at least give another foster family a chance, seems the baby would be better off. It might pain your heart to have to report her, but you must. This girl is seriously messed up, maybe if the reality is greater and consequences heavier she might turn things around, force her to change call Children Srevice demand a worker to aid you, that is their job. Some are really good. Keep all records of calls, dates, and visits. It does not matter if you have photos of abuse, you witnessed it. Therefore, I believe a court wuld look at your point over hers. I am worried about that poor baby. I can not help not to be after reading your situation. Please call Human Service and seektheir help, I have seen them help so many people out. You have more rights as grandparents too. Use your rights.


    If the child is in danger, yes, CPS must be called. No choice, no question.

    HOWEVER if this is just allegations, there is no proof, it will only make the situation worse. If she is reported and slides through there are going to be worse problems. If the situation is this bad I don't understand why there's even a discussion about whether it should be reported. Again - if it's abuse, report it.

    OP does not need photographs to report abuse - emotional abuse does not leave marks. If you see a child abused, it MUST be reported at that time, not some time later in connection with a pending Court matter. The time frame minimizes the effect of the testimony concerning the abuse.

    Your statements such as, "I believe a Court would look at your point over hers" and "you have more rights as grandparents" are supportive, they are NOT legally correct and this is a legal board.

    This thread should be combined with OP's other thread - two threads asking basically the same question/questions, questions which should largely be answered by an Attorney if OP wants this legal situation to resolve itself in his favor.

    Is the mother the same person OP has posted about before, 3 felony convictions, about to be deported, seeking legal advice - ?
    cbourner's Avatar
    cbourner Posts: 19, Reputation: 2
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    #16

    Jan 5, 2009, 06:15 AM
    Thanks Sharon... I appreciate your support. I will try CYS again today regarding help for our case.

    Judy- Your statements such as, "I believe a Court would look at your point over hers" and "you have more rights as grandparents" are supportive, they are NOT legally correct and this is a legal board. Yes, these are my beliefs and I was not offering legal information to anyone. I was simply making a statement regarding my case, not saying that this was legal and how it would work. And yes, this is the same person. I will be in contact with my lawyer today, who is my legal advisor.

    Thanks,
    Cathy
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #17

    Jan 5, 2009, 06:50 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by cbourner View Post
    Thanks Sharon.....I appreciate your support. I will try CYS again today regarding help for our case.

    Judy- Your statements such as, "I believe a Court would look at your point over hers" and "you have more rights as grandparents" are supportive, they are NOT legally correct and this is a legal board. Yes, these are my beliefs and I was not offering legal information to anyone. I was simply making a statement regarding my case, not saying that this was legal and how it would work. And yes, this is the same person. I will be in contact with my lawyer today, who is my legal advisor.

    Thanks,
    Cathy


    If you re-read this thread, I wasn't quoting you - you didn't post the info I questioned, someone else did.

    I would most definitely not call CPS before speaking to your legal advisor. Why isn't your legal advisor, far more familiar with the circumstances of this case than anyone reading this thread, answering your questions? The advice you are getting here is very possibly not correct, not on point, supportive but not legal, mine included.
    cbourner's Avatar
    cbourner Posts: 19, Reputation: 2
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    #18

    Jan 5, 2009, 07:01 AM
    Sorry... I misunderstood... need more coffee! :rolleyes:
    Thanks for the advice!
    Cathy
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #19

    Jan 5, 2009, 08:41 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by cbourner View Post
    Sorry....I misunderstood....need more coffee! :rolleyes:
    Thanks for the advice!
    Cathy


    Sometimes I need more, sometimes less. Hard to say! :D
    Jake2008's Avatar
    Jake2008 Posts: 6,721, Reputation: 3460
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    #20

    Jan 5, 2009, 09:17 AM
    I just want to say how much I admire what you are doing for that child.

    You are organized and prepared, and have made a huge commitment, which is really admirable and brave.

    I wish you success, and its quite obvious to me that you deserve it.

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