It had been four months now since the children were removed from Kathy's home. Kathy had found a new job as a receptionist at an insurance firm with the help from Anita. When I went in to talk to her after a few weeks, she had a totally different demeanor from when I first met her. She looked healthier and more confident although she didn't crack a smile in the slightest. " I've been staying away from drugs Norma," Kathy stated asked as we sat down and discussed the final hearing ." When will I get my children back?" Kathy and Ernie had been taking parenting classes for the past month and as of yesterday, Kathy had tested negative on both of her random drug tests. I felt confident at this point in allowing the children back into the home. I slowly worked my way through explaining the process that was to come .
" Kathy, I am so proud of the changes you have made thus far in anticipation of your children returning. When we go to the hearing, I need for you to stay just as calm and collected as you were when I walked in this office. You have met all of the court ordered requirements in getting a job, staying substance free, and taking parenting classes. If Rose and Ben are returned to you, they will be monitored for 6 months by the department and myself to ensure that your lifestyle changes are permanent. Jason, Ben's father has already been placed on child support so that you will have a bit more financial stability. Ernie however has been granted guardianship over Robert. I had every intention of reuniting your family but at the same time, I had to do what was best for the children. Ben has decided to stay will your sister for the time being. Although he loves you and his siblings, he chose to stay in the environment he is currently in. He is doing better in school and has taken a special liking to his art classes. You have visitation rights to him on the weekends."
I had mixed feelings flushing through my body as I left Kathy's job that day. Pride, happiness, anxiety. I was excited for the opportunity to be such a huge factor in helping this families life get back on track. I loved every minute of being the person who looked after the children and made sure their needs were met. I created a great relationship with the children and helped them through one of the hardest times their little lives would ever. I was a CASA volunteer. I was needed. I was wanted. I had purpose. I was happy to be serving the children's best interest but for the first time, I realized that doing what is best for the children may not necessarily mean a happy ending for Kathy.
My day dream was interrupted as the head juror walked up to the judges stand to deliver the verdict, Those few moments seemed like forever as the past 7 months played out in my head. Kathy was a loving mother who had been working since she was 14. She had made a mistake, as we all do, but her's cost her children. The jury decided that Kathy was not in good condition to raise her children in her home. She had been sober for 35 days now, but relapse is often apart of recovery and a risk that the children should be exposed to. When I initially became a CASA, I thought that in the end, the parent would always end up with the children back in the home but sometimes, the parents home isn't the best for the child. Kathy was ordered to pay child support to Ernie. Jason was ordered to pay child support to Carol, and the Adoption case date was announced as the case was concluded. Although Kathy was in tears leaving the courtroom, I couldn't help but feel confident that what was best for the children was done.