My cousin's daughter is coming over to our home today with her boys. They are traveling in from Ohio and will be here for 2 days. Together we are working with our state case worker to try to work out a favorable arrangement for our little Kobe. At the end of this month the state is planning to change his status to "pre-adoptive" and shortly after that point we will be losing him to a family that is looking to adopt. My cousin is already a licensed foster parent and is considered "pre-adoptive" plus, she has already established a bit of a relationship with Kobe through personal meetings. So their visit is just to reinforce that relationship and hopefully get some more bonding time with Kobe.
Officially our case worker cannot help, advise, etc and she is doing a good job of staying neutral. But the reality is that nobody else who is related to Kobe is actually stepping up and doing the right things or qualified. So the betting odds work in favor of my cousin, which is what we are hoping for too! And this is just one more step in a process that will probably take 9 months to 1 year to finish.
Realistically and logically it seems to be the best situation.
Our case worker & her supervisor have had discussions with the various legal departments involved as my cousin's daughter is from Ohio and that complicates things but the state advocate's legal team said that what is best for the baby is what they will support and they see no barrier to moving him out of state. Its been done before so it is not unprecedented but it is not typically done. So that barrier seems to be a minor issue.
We just have to keep hoping that nobody crawls out of the woodwork that has a legitimate right to adopt him. He does have a 3 year old sister who was adopted. His parents are looking to adopt him, but they seem to be less desirable in the eyes of the family services people. There is a kinship issue but apparently it is a weak issue and they had previously said they had zero interest. Their interest is new, the wife wants it, the husband apparently is less than thrilled??? They have zero contact and so no relationship or bonding. The judge might rule for them but it would likely be a ruling in opposition to recommendations. And we have been told the judges almost always (98%+) follow the recommendations.
I know it's a stressful nail biting experience as all we want is what's best for the child.
Prior to us adopting Hollie, she had been living with her biological aunt along with her second oldest sister (there are 3 girls) for 4 years until she had a mental breakdown after her biological daughter committed suicide. So she made an arrangement with the neighbor to care for the girls. That only lasted 8 months then the agency became involved and had to find homes for all 3 girls. Even up until the day of the finalizing of the adoption in court, the aunt was coming across with the mindset of "I don't want the girls but I don't want anyone else to care for them". She was against the adoption and our fear was that she would show up in court, give a big sob story, and the judge would take pity and not proceed with the adoption.
So back this up to last March. We had a March 17th court date to finalize everything. Auntie is calling the agency contesting the adoption. We're all on edge including Hollie as she's old enough to know what's going on. Then we get a phone call from the courts on March 16th. Everything is postponed because of covid. That meant anxiously waiting for an undetermined amount of time for a court date.
Over the next few months things start to reopen virtually with the courts so we wait. And wait. Then wait some more as the courts are only doing serious criminal proceedings virtually and keep saying that they will only resume adoption proceedings when they can do it in person. Oh great! This will just give nutjob auntie more time to try and turn things around. Sorry but in her mind, she wanted the girls to grow up in foster care and she could see them whenever she wants but put them back on a shelf until the next time she wanta to play with them.
Finally in July the courts announced that they would start doing family court virtually and notified us that our case would be the very first virtual adoption in the whole province. Great! But there's still a chance that Auntie will try to interfere. She didn't and even though we were fully prepared to work with her to ensure full access to Hollie, she refused to even communicate with us and essentially started punishing Hollie for it by ignoring her phone calls and not allowing any contact to take place.
Fast forward to Christmas. Auntie starts up contact with Hollie again. Makes a bunch of promises, then doesn't follow through and stops all contact again.
If we were younger we would adopt him and the state would very likely back that adoption based on the available options ... at this point. But as you point out that is subject to change. Right now the likelihood of my cousins getting him placed into their home is probably about 70%, maybe a bit higher. If they do get him, then they only need to worry about family wanting to take him away and so far that is less of an issue. We beleive there is perhaps a 30% chance that the adoptive parents of his 3 year old sibling could get him, but our case work and a couple others in the department seem to be opposed to that transfer.
If the adoptive sibling's parents are denied foster custody they will pretty much have an expensive legal battle to adopt him. And as they have money issues, which they outright told the social worker, then that would take them out of the picture.