I had two bits of news in Manolin's case yesterday. The first was in the form of a letter from the Department of Corrections. It was addressed to my husband, but I'll be honest and admit that I ripped that puppy open without a thought. After all, the man gets some pretty odd pieces of mail due to his occupation (I no longer bother with the ones that have DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY emblazoned on them in ALL CAPS. Not that they take themselves seriously or anything.) But Department of Corrections? O.k. That deserves some attention.
It was a notice giving us an approximate release date for Manolin's birthmom. The date is far enough in the future that it doesn't show up on my check register, although I was able to add it in to my iCal. Just in case I forget, of course. Don't want something like that to slip by me.
Manolin's birthmom hasn't seen him since he was a 7 weeks old battered infant struggling to breathe in a hospital bed. Her last glance at the baby she'd given birth to and then systematically abused was with handcuffs on her wrists. She's under a 10-year no contact order that mandates that if she even tries to send him a letter, she goes back to prison. So really, I'm not too worried about the release date. It's more of a formality that I need to store away in my mind, alongside all the other bits I get to share with Manolin as he grows up. ((sigh))
The second bit of news was a bit sunnier all around. Manolin's Adoption Staffing has been scheduled for early May. You may remember Oliver's Adoption Staffing, which has resulted thus far in absolutely nothing. I think that the largest portion of that failure to progress rests soundly on his social worker, Georgie. Georgie still, to my knowledge, has not turned in the termination paperwork that she promised to file by November 15, 2008. Thankfully, Manolin's social worker is much more of an advocate for the children on her caseload. When she says she's scheduling something, it's scheduled. When she says she's filing something, it's filed. Period.
Which means that I'm cautiously optimistic as we approach yet another Adoption Staffing. If the timeline holds--which you never know ... could happen, I guess--Manolin could be finalized and enjoying the status of a child (not foster child) in the eyes of the law by this fall. I could be able to sign as his parent, not guardian, on all of the nagging little bits of paperwork. I could be able to look the nurse squarely in the eye as I hold a feverish baby and say, without fear of reprisal, "I realize he is behind on his Hep B shot but no, it's not happening today."
This baby needs a full-time, 100%, state-recognized momma and daddy. Which he's already got.
We just need a judge to sign on the dotted line.