Laura

Laura, a beautiful 3 month old, was placed in foster care after it became clear that her mentally ill mother was incapable of caring for her. Despite having been offered all sorts of help through the Department of Child Services, the mother became more and more removed from reality and eventually relinquished her parental rights to her daughter, who she no longer believed to be her daughter. The foster family, with whom Laura had lived since removal from her mother, was more than delighted to adopt Laura.

Laura.jpgDuring the process of establishing whether the mother was capable of caring for Laura, the maternal grandparents contacted Advocates for Children out of desperation. The grandparents had been forcibly estranged from their granddaughter by their daughter. The Department of Child Services caseworker had told them that they could not have any contact with their granddaughter because their daughter did not want them to see her. The grandparents made it clear to the CASA volunteer that they were only motivated by love for their granddaughter. They did not want to disrupt her life with her foster parents and they were not going to pursue custody of their granddaughter because they needed to be available to help their daughter with her illness if she would accept it - all they really wanted was a relationship with their only granddaughter. The CASA volunteer contacted the caseworker, who still maintained that she could not allow the grandparents visitation against the mother's will.

A court hearing was scheduled shortly after the grandparents contacted the CASA volunteer. At that hearing, the CASA volunteer requested that the grandparents be allowed visitation with their granddaughter. The judge granted the request, and a few days thereafter the grandparents met with the foster parents and their granddaughter, who was now a toddler. The visit went extremely well and the foster parents went out of their way to include the grandparents in Laura's life. This wonderful relationship has lasted through the final adoption. Now Laura not only has parents to whom she is bonded, but also biological grandparents who can help Laura maintain that link with her birth family.

The grandparents came to the Advocates for Children office the first Christmas after their reintroduction in their granddaughter's life with gifts for the CASA volunteer. As far as they were concerned, without Advocates for Children they would never have been able to have a relationship with their little granddaughter.

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