EDIT: I don't know why, but the punctuation doesn't work for the journal entry. Probably because I imported it from a word file. I'm sorry for the reading inconvenience.
There has been a lot of things going on in my life, many of which doesn't come on blogs or journals. One of the biggest has been a legal issue regarding custody of my niece. Since 2007, a legal battle has been waged between rights to my niece by a foster family, the department health and human services and my family. DHHS wanted the foster family to have custody to my niece, even when we wanted her back. They ignored their own policies, their own procedures and didn't allow us to take my niece. I have a link here that sums it up pretty well, but I will go over some finer points that were never covered, and I would think would be so obvious that anyone could clearly see.
News Article regarding my niece
The first thing I want to point out is that my niece was put straight into foster care, my parents had to call in order to get notified of my nieces whereabouts. Which is wrong. DHHS' first procedure when a child is in need is to locate next of kin. If they were questioned today, I doubt they would know that Tiffani (my sister that lost custody) has two siblings, both over the age of 20 and fully capable to take care of the child, not to mention my parents. However, I was in Okinawa, and my other sister was in New York, but they didn't even give effort to contact us. I'm sure many people have heard of the red cross. Well, if a service member's family is in peril or is in a life altering incident, they can get a Naval Red Cross message sent out and be able to come home and sort out and be there for the family. I was never contacted, neither was my other sister.
Second procedure is, and I want to cite this word for word "Family preservation will be the first consideration whenever the worker assessment indicates the child can be safely maintained in the home. Department services will then focus on returning legal custody to the parent(s)." So, in a nutshell, They completely suck when it comes to listening to their own procedure. Tiffani was an unfit mother, I won't say what she did to lose custody of Meridian (my niece) but let's just say it's very unbecoming of a mother. However, she had parental rights still in order. That means next of kin have rights over the child. So family preservation is first considered, when they give Meridian to a foster family and fight to keep her there, is complete and utter nonsense.
Thirdly, the foster family does not call Meridian "Meridian" they adopted a "nickname" for her. "Merdie" This is causing confusion in Meridian, because now when we call her Meridian, she gets confused and scared. She doesn't know who we are talking to. The lower courts thought that it was an innocent nickname and was irrelevant. It is perfectly relevant because it is causing a disconnection between the Hazel's and our niece.
There are many other things that happened, such as lost paperwork, doctored documents, and many other shady events that happened within this trial which made it conflicts of interest AND completely FUBAR. My sister's parental rights were stripped from her September of 2010. Three long years of trial, and my niece living with this foster family. Now they say it is dangerous to remove Meridian from the Foster family they had no right to put her in because it will "Harm Meridian" What about her brother and sister? They might never get to see their sister again because the foster family is going to adopt my niece and will not be obligated to allow visits. All of this is wrong, the courts must have seen it, DHHS must have seen it, but nothing was done to stop it.
The Hazel family lost a part of our family, and we feel that justice was not served fairly. That truth is blind, and there is no equality in this. I wish I could have been there. To voice my opinions and to shout out the obvious; However, I can’t. I have only seen my niece once, she was two weeks old. I will never know her like I should. She won’t even know me. I hope the foster family has the decency to allow visitations. Also, on foster families, if you are a foster family, you have no rights to the child, you cannot decide to keep the child. You are there to keep the child safe, and make sure the child is loved. If you are just there to adopt them, then you need to stop being a foster family, and just be a regular one because you are now legally kidnapping children.
I'm done ranting, this topic has been talked about, cried over, and angrily yelled over the last 3 years, and I'm just upset that I won't get to see my niece grow up. That she will no longer be Meridian Hazel, but rather Merdie Kern. (Yup, changing a name is CLEARLY a sign of a "Nickname") It's utter bullshit, and I hope that another family doesn't have to go through the same ordeal that we have.