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The Adventure of Virginia Doyle: Wanda's Story
Safe Haven Drop Off
Safe Haven Drop Off
You might say that Wanda's story all began with her safe haven drop off, but that really wasn't the catalyst for the resulting chain of events. Long before the family came into the Child Protective Service office to drop off their toddler, there was a life altering battle going on in an over crowded and under funded home setting. Both mother and father desperately fighting to raise their five little ones to adulthood due to difficulties finding enough money to provide food, clothing and necessities due to the small ones medical condition. Let's follow the events as they unfolded on the current report. I'm better at putting the pieces of the story together after the fact. My name is Virginia Doyle, I am a Child Protective Services Investigator, and this is Amy's story. This story is a real story but the names and places have been changed to protect the innocent.
Note: Safe Haven laws decriminalize the leaving of unharmed infants with specifically designated parties. In the state where Virginia worked the safe-haven surrenders are treated as adoption surrenders and a waiver of parental rights is signed by both parents. Child protective service offices, police stations, hospitals, rescue squads, and fire houses are all locations where the safe-haven law applies and parents can drop off their children without legal consequences as long as the child is in good health and unharmed.
Virginia came into the office about 2 o'clock after doing multiple home visits and noted a large family sitting in the waiting room. As she walked by the Brian her boss' office, he hailed her.
"Virginia, can you do an intake for Brad, he's busy with another family, and this one needs to get going." Brian asked.
"Sure, I'll just put the files away and I'll take them into the second conference room." Virginia replied. "Do you know what they will need?"
"It's a safe haven drop off. Thanks for your help!" Brian stated.
Virginia went over to her desk and placed the reports she had documented from the home visits that day into a desk drawer and locked them. Then, she got out the intake forms for a safe harbor and proceeded to the front.
"Hello, my name is Virginia Doyle, come with me to the conference room so I may help you."
"Okay." both stated. Virginia heard the mother, Susan Smith, tell the older daughter to watch the others and followed the father Steven Smith to the conference room.
After everyone had settled down into a chair, Virginia asked, "How may I help you today?"
Susan spoke, "We have had to make a tough decision about our youngest daughter. We have spoken about it with everyone who might be able to help us including my Tribe with no results. We have decided that we can no longer keep her. We can't leave our children alone long."
"Okay, we do have a Safe Haven Law in place in our state." Virginia responded, "But before you leave your daughter with us, I will need to get information from each of you about your health, your family and information about your daughter. We will need to have a copy of her birth certificate and we also need legal documentation to identify both of you as her parents. A valid driver license is minimal but a birth certificate is preferred." Virginia turned to look directly at Susan. "Since you are a member of a tribe, a tribal registration card is also needed." They both nodded understanding. Virginia continued, "Since you have children waiting with you, take the children into the play room and I'll interview each of you separately. We need a written form completed by each of you about your medical history. Once the questionnaire is completed I will get the severance documents and our notary to authorize that it is your signature on the form. That document will sever your rights to the child. This means you give us legal control of your child and we have the right to adopt her to another family. Are you both sure that what you want to do?"
Steven spoke, "We have no other choice. We understand and agree. I will leave now so you can speak with Susan."
"Here is the paperwork you need to complete." Virginia stated as she handed him the 4 page medical and background form and a pen. Steven left the room.
Virginia got out a tape recorder and paper so she could jot down information as the mother presented her story. "Is it okay that I record you?"
Susan replied, "It's fine."
Virginia began the questionnaire. "Can you tell me about your childhood, your family and why you feel you need to give your daughter away."
Susan began her story, "I was a happy child who grew up on the reservation. My parents were not rich but we made due. I was healthy most of my life only having a few bumps and bruises like most. I left the reservation at eighteen years of age, to “make it in the big city” hoping that I could have more than what my parents were able to provide me. I began working as a bus girl at a local restaurant and after a few years working in a restaurant, they paid for my culinary schooling. When I graduated from school, I was promoted to a chef. As a chef, I earned more money and was able to purchase a small condo in a community near the restaurant. It was there, that I met Steven. I couldn't believe how fast I fell for him. I know her felt the same about me. I knew it is important for us to marry our own kind to keep our race alive, but I couldn't help myself. When Steven ask, I agreed to marry him. My mother, father, sisters and brothers denounced me for leaving the reservation and never spoke to me again after I married Steven. When we had our first born son I went to see them. They refused to open the door to us. I tried when our second child, a little girl was born, but they never wavered. I tried to contact my brothers and sisters as well. They refused all calls and visits, they cut off all parental and sibling support. Even so, I am still happy. Steven and I have made a good life together. Steven and I have been blessed with five children. The eldest is a girl the second and third births were twins a boy and girl. The fourth son completed our family unit. I began taking contraception after the last child and the fifth daughter was a surprise birth. I was able to bring in money enough to support my share of the household expense and put a little away for vacation doing was I love, being a chef. We had enough money to care for the children we have. We were okay with the surprise pregnancy and knew it would be a burden with another little one. But Wanda's illness, makes her a burden we can no longer bear. She is hurting all of us.
Steven and I spent most of our waking hours working to provide for our children. We are not extravagant. We make enough money to feed ourselves, our children, pay the bills and plan small vacations. We also have friends that come in and we go out with to keep ourselves part of our community. When Wanda came, as an infant she was a financial burden we could bear. But, once Wanda started walking, she was a little terror. She is destructive. She runs, pulls things down, she climbs up to pull down the curtains, she tears up her brother and sisters homework, she throws things, and unless held tightly she cannot be controlled. Our other children are afraid of her, she runs into them, pushes them, breaks their toys, and hits them. She is out of control. Wanda was kicked out of day care. We tried every care giver on the list provided by the State, and even any of the several church ladies who volunteered to help us. Each one gave up after one day with her. No one can control her activity and she ignores correction.
Steven and I have taken all the sick days we have at our work to take her to medical and psychological doctors to see if we could fix what was wrong. They only offer expensive medicine and therapy that does nothing. We didn't think she was old enough to understand language and had behavior specialists try to do nonverbal instructions to get her to calm down Nothing worked. Steven and I had to change our hours at work so one of us could take care of her at home. But this is not a long term answer as we both are exhausted and not successful with her either; our home is a disaster area. Plus, we are loosing the money we need to support our family due to the rising cost of caring for Wanda.
Some of the doctors speculate that the birth control medicine I began taking after we had completed the first four children, might be the cause of her hyperactivity. Whatever the cause, we have no options but to give her away."
Virginia responded, "I'm sorry for your struggles. So what brings you to our office today is to give your daughter away?"
Susan replied, "Yes, Wanda was born with what they are calling ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder], and requires medicine and specialized assistance. Wanda is never still, never quite, always running unless she is sleeping and she doesn't sleep long enough for us to have more than a cat nap. We have changed everything to plastic to stop the damage in our home. But she has found a way to break the plastic. She runs around hoping we'll chase her, pulls things down, climbs up on things grabs things we place high and pushes them onto the floor, she is never still. We've exhausted everything we can to control and have been unsuccessful. We give up. We cannot find a day care to keep her; she has been kicked out of everyone in town. One of us must stay home and not work because we cannot get anyone to care for her. Our love can not save us this time. Wanda's behavioral issues are preventing us from making enough money to feed and cloth the others."
"Okay." Virginia stated. "Here are the forms for you to complete. Also please jot down what Wanda likes to do and things she enjoys eating on the notebook paper so I can give it to her new caregiver. You can go now and ask Steven come in so we can complete his interview."
"Okay." Susan replied.
Steven came quietly into ’s the room.
Virginia started, "Is it okay that I record you?"
Steven responded, "It's fine."
Virginia began the questionnaire. "Can you tell me about your childhood, your family and why you feel you need to give your daughter away."
Steven began his story. "I was a happy youngster. I grew up back east where it was always cold and windy. I graduated college and became an engineer. When my parents died in a car accident, I decided on a change and moved out west. I was able to get a good job and move into a condo. It was there that I met the most wonderful woman in the world, Susan who has been a blessing to my life. It was hard on us at first loving each other because of our racial differences. Her family were not supportive of our relationship and it gave her grief over it. Since my parents had died and I had no siblings so there was no issue for me but, I felt bad for her. We knew each other for four years before I finally proposed to her. We have been very happy and have been blessed with four wonderful children. Our life almost seemed like a dream come true. Her being a renown chef and me being an engineer, we had more than an adequate wages to make a nice home. We sold our condos and purchased a nice four bedroom home near our work. The birth of each child was a gift and after the fourth, we had a home filled with love. Everything changed when Wanda arrived. Because my wife had taken birth control, Wanda has a disease called, ADHD. She never rests' and neither do we. She was okay when she was a baby but as a toddler she has proven to be a real burden. Because of her behavior we cannot leave her at any local day care and we have no relative or friend willing or able to help us. We have tried a variety of medicine and different therapy, but in the end, we cannot continue to afford her specialized needs. Wanda's brothers and sisters are afraid of her and we have to lock her out of their rooms at night so they can sleep. Our love is strong but we cannot resolve this problem. We cannot go to work, because one of us must stay with her at all times. The minister at our church told us about the Safe Harbor law. After much prayer and consideration, we have come here today to give her up. We cannot allow her behaviors to ruin the lives of the four other children we have. We have been told as she gets older she will have more financial needs. We will have no way to meet her needs It is best we give her away so she can have the best life possible and so can her brothers and sisters. It is our only logical choice."
"I understand, giving Wanda away is a logical request made out of love." Virginia said.
"Yes." Steven stated
"Did you finish the written portion?" Virginia asked.
"Yes." Steven stated as he handed her the papers.
First meeting with Wanda
"Now, let's go get Susan's paperwork and I will have to get a notary for the legal documents you need to sign." Virginia stated
"Okay." Steven said and he followed Virginia down the hall.
When they walked into the play room, Virginia noted that four children were sitting quietly coloring of a table far away from the little one was running around the table.
Steven introduced Virginia, "Wanda, this lady is Virginia."
Wanda looked up briefly and then continued running about. Virginia looked at Wanda. She was a beautiful little girl. Her bright eyes surveyed the room with excitement. She appeared happy and well fed. She laughed, then ran over and pulled on her sisters dress. Susan swiftly went over saying, "No, Wanda!" Susan picked Wanda up and pried the dress from her grasp. "I'm sorry." she said to her other daughter.
"I'll be back shortly." Virginia told the parents.
Virginia went to Brian Walters room, to make her report. She consolidated the report and circumstances. Brian reviewed the tapes and documentation.
Brian stated, "It is a sad story for sure; but understandable. Children with mental health issues are expensive to raise. Plus the other children are suffering as well. Go ahead and finish the severance paperwork. Get the report ready and submit it to the court tonight."
Virginia asked, "Brian will you call placements so I can take the child out immediately to the emergency placement. Once the forms have been signed there is no need to delay."
"Consider it done." Brian stated.
Virginia went to her computer and printed out the legal forms necessary to have Wanda's parents severe their parental rights. Then she went to get the notary, Shelly. Shelly setup in the conference room while Virginia went back into the play room for the parents. "May I have the first parent come and sign the documents please. The notary will need your identification ready before you can sign."
"No problem, I'll come first. Steven stated.
Steven followed Virginia into the room with the notary.
"Steven, this is our notary, Shelly." Virginia said. "Shelly this is Steven Smith, the father of Wanda."
"Hello" both stated.
"Now, Steven, before we start signatures, I want to make sure that you understand that you will never see Wanda again, never know what happens to her or where she is. Do you understand and accept this?" Virginia asked.
"Yes." Steven replied.
Shelly asked, "Virginia will you make copies of the documents Steven submitted while I notarize all the severance documents he has to sign?"
"Sure, be right back." Virginia said to Shelly. Then she turned to Steven, "You need to read each page before you sign it."
"I understand." Steven said.
By the time Virginia made copies of the identification paperwork on the office Xerox machine and returned they had finished.
Steven and the notary had signed all the severance documents. "Steven read them page by page." Shelly reported.
"Great work, thanks Shelly." Virginia said
"Let's go get Susan now." Virginia said. She walked with Steven to the playroom and spoke to Susan, "We're ready for you now."
Virginia and Susan walked to the conference room where Shelly was.
"Susan, this is our notary, Shelly." Virginia said. "Shelly this is Susan Smith, the mother of Wanda.
"Hello." both stated.
"Before we start I want to make sure that you understand that you will never see Wanda again, never know what happens to her or where she is. Do you understand and accept this?" Virginia asked.
"Yes, I understand." Susan replied.
"You will need to read each page before you sign it." Virginia stated.
"I will." Susan stated.
Shelly spoke, "Virginia needs to make copies of your documents Susan so I can notarized the severance documents. So let me write down the numbers first, then she can go."
"Fine." Susan said as she handed her drivers license, birth certificate and Tribal Identification Card.
"I'll be right back." Virginia made copies of Susan's identification paperwork on the Xerox machine and returned.
By the time Virginia returned, Susan and the notary had signed the severance papers.
Virginia and Shelly walked Susan into the visiting room. Virginia told Susan and Steven, "We're are ready to take Wanda now. Do you have an overnight case with any belongings you are sending with her?"
"Yes, we packed two bags. Let me go get them." Steven said. He ran out to the car to get her things.
"You be a good girl." Susan said to Wanda as she hugged her.
Steven returned and handed the bags to Virginia. "He picked Wanda up and hugged her. "Be a good girl Wanda." he said. then he sat her down.
"Children get ready to go." Steven said.
"Hello Wanda." Virginia said as she reached down and picked Wanda up. Wanda and Virginia watched as her former family left the building. Shelly played with Wanda while Virginia went to collected her things so she could take Wanda to her temporary placement for the evening.
Virginia went to the bosses office. "It's done. Do you have a placement for Wanda?"
"Yes, place her in this Child Crisis Nursery until we get the tribe to make a decision on her as well." Brian replied. "Here is the address."
Virginia checked out a car and took a copy of her medical records and placement paperwork. Shelly helped Virginia put Wanda into the car seat and stow away her belongings in the trunk for the trip.
"We're off." Virginia said to Wanda and she waved good-bye to Shelly.
Wanda's first placement was in a Crisis Nursery. Here Wanda would get medical intervention and evaluation plus have a home like place to stay with other toddlers. Because Wanda was of Native American descent there were different rules that applied to her. Her tribe needed to be contacted to way in on what happens to her.
Mary, the owner, greeted Virginia at the door. She took Wanda out of Virginia's arms and led Virginia to the specialized toddler nursery. Mary placed Wanda in a crib and another worker, Norma came over. "Help this child become acclimated, her name is Wanda." Mary told her.
"Be happy to." Norma stated.
Virginia heard Norma talking to Wanda, "Hello Wanda, you dear little one. How are you doing this evening." as she followed Mary into her office.
Virginia handed Mary a placement file with the copy of her legal paperwork and the list of Wanda's likes and dislikes. " Virginia signed the paperwork of the facility because, Virginia is now the temporary legal guardian of Wanda and needed to check Wanda in. "It gets loud here as we have lots of children now. Hope that won't bother her." Mary stated.
"No problem, Wanda comes from a rural home and had many siblings." Virginia replied. "It will be a few days before we can place her. I'll call you in a few days when everything is settled. We want to place her in a foster/adopt home as soon as possible."
"Fine." Mary stated and waved good-bye to Virginia. "We'll take good care of her for you."
Virginia peeked into the toddlers room to see how Wanda was doing before she left. Wanda seemed okay. She was laughing and playing with her new toys.
Virginia drove back to the office finished her report faxed all the information to the court and then went home for the evening.
- Guidelines for State Courts; Indian Child Custody Proceedings
The Tribal Court Clearinghouse - Guidelines for State Courts; Indian Child Custody Proceedings
Contact with the Tribal Counsel
By the time Virginia arrived the next day, the legal team at her office had placed tribal documents and contact numbers on her desk. Virginia used those numbers to contact the tribal representative assigned to deal with Child Protective Services.
"Mr. Yazzi, I have a half blood child who has been given up for adoption to us. We need to get your permission to continue to house her and place her on our adoption list." Virginia stated.
"Here is my fax number. Send me the child's tribal documentation, health statement, and severance information. Then, we will make a decision and get back with you. It may take a few days."
"Thank you. I fax them right away." Virginia stated.
The tribal social worker would go to the relatives home to see if anyone was interested in raising their relatives child. Then, the Tribe will see if any other person in the registry wanted to assume custody of the child. After all that is done, the tribal court will meet to make a final decision. In Wanda's case, the Tribe declined placement of Wanda. In a formal letter faxed to Child Protective Services, they stated, "Our Tribe is not capable of taking Wanda, a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, into Custody at this time. The counsel feels that it is in the child's best interest to remain a ward of the State. It further noted that all family members and Tribal family have also declined to take custody of Wanda."
The report of the Tribal decision was faxed to the court and assigned attorneys of Wanda's case.
The Adoptive Search
Now, Virginia was free to place Wanda on the adoption listing as free seeking an adoption family.
Virginia called the adoption department, "Please send me any red files you have with families seeking to adopt a 2 year old female toddler as soon as possible." The files were speedy delivered by hand to Virginia. Amazing to Virginia, there were five families wanting a female toddler around Wanda's age. Virginia read each red file then contacted the agent who had submitted each file to learn more about each family and make sure they still wanted a toddler. The list went down to three. Now, Virginia contacted each family by phone to be certain that they were interested. In each case she documented everything in the red file and in her court report. In the end, only one family appeared as the best one for Wanda; Sam and Sally Foster.
First Contact with Potential Foster / Adopt Family
"Hello, may I speak to Sam or Sally Foster please." Virginia asked when a small child answered the phone.
"Just a minute." the lad said and Virginia could hear him running shouting, "Mom, phone."
Shortly the phone was picked up, "Hello, this is Sally Foster. What is this regarding?"
"My name is Virginia Doyle. I am a social worker and I have a 2 year old female toddler who just became available to adopt. I was wondering if you and your husband might still be interested in adopting a female toddler." Virginia said.
"Why yes." Sally said. "We have a three year old male toddler now who needs a sister."
"Okay, may I come out to visit with you tomorrow morning to chat about the toddler I have available?" Virginia asked.
"Just a minute." Sally stated and Virginia heard her shout, "Sam a social worker wants to come out to chat about a female toddler they might place with us. Are you going to be home in the morning?"
"Yes, if they get here before noon. I have a late start." Virginia heard Sam say.
"Hello again." Sally said, "Can you make it before noon tomorrow."
"Sure." Virginia replied. "I'll start out at 8 o'clock and should be there around 10 o'clock. Will that be okay?"
"Sam will 10 o'clock work for you?" Sally asked Sam.
"Great, I'll put it on the calendar." Sam said.
"Okay, we'll see you at 10 o'clock tomorrow then. Do you need directions?" Sally asked.
Virginia had pulled up the Yahoo map and printed the directions. She read those directions to Sally.
"Well that seems right, but when you are on Old Mill Road and pass a feed store you'd be better off to take the 1st left after the feed store and our ranch is the first right behind that store. About a mile or so." Sally stated.
"Thanks, I wrote that down. See you tomorrow." Virginia stated.
Visiting Wanda at Crisis Nursery
Virginia made a visit to see Wanda at the Crisis Nursery to get some information on how the evening and day had gone. It was Wanda's first day away from her family.
Mary greeted Virginia at the front door. "Hello Virginia."
"Hello Mary, how is Wanda doing?"
"She seems content." Mary stated. She ate dinner, breakfast and lunch without issues. We did serve her the foods her mother told us she liked and she seemed to like them. Now she is over in a group playing with toys."
"So no problem?"
"Great, did you take an intake picture of Wanda?" Virginia asked
"Yes." Mary stated.
"May I have a copy? I want to take a picture of her to my meeting with a potential adoptive family tomorrow." Virginia stated
"Sure. If someone interested in adopting the little dear. Our prayers and best wishes go with you. Let me get a copy of the pictures while you visit with Wanda." Mary said.
Virginia went over to the group and sat down next to Wanda. Virginia grabbed a car and played with Wanda for a while. Then she picked her up and read her a story and put her in bed for an afternoon nap. "Wanda seems content here." Virginia told Mary "Thanks for all your good work. With good luck I may be able to place her with a family by the end of the week."
"That will be wonderful. Children need a place of their own to feel secure and have comfort. You know there is no place like their own home." Mary said.
"True, we'll do our best." Virginia said. "Thanks for the nice picture of Wanda!"
Meeting Sam and Sally Foster
The Fosters lived on a ranch in a small rural area in Northern California. They had horses, chickens, goats, dogs and cats. It was a chilly day outside and there was snow on the ground. Virginia noticed that the school was only a few blocks away from the grocery store. There was a big child care facility in a strip mall across the street from the grocery store. They also had a bowling alley and hair salon. The town was so small that in a few blocks you could easily pass it by. When Virginia saw the feed store coming up, she knew she was getting close. Following directions, after she passed the feed store and turned right up the first road. Out of the car window on the left side, Virginia snickered at four horses wearing colorful sweatshirts in the corral. She had never witnessed sweatshirts on horses before. There was a big dog in that same pasture with a blue sweatshirt on. Virginia pulled in the driveway and the front door flew open. Out ran a small male boy followed by a woman wearing an apron.
"Hello." said Virginia.
"Hello, I'm Sally." Sally responded. "Did you find our place okay?"
"Yes, your directions helped lots." Virginia replied. "Now who is this charming fellow?"
"My name is Ike." Ike said.
"Yes, Ike is our foster/adopt son. In just 11 more months he'll get to change his last name to Foster." Sally said while stroking Ike's shoulders.
"That's great!" Virginia said. "Ike how would you feel about having a foster/adopt sister?"
"Oh, mom could I really have someone else to play with?" Ike turned to ask Sally.
"We'll see." Sally said. "She'd have to help with the chores too."
"That would be great!" Ike said.
"Let's go inside." Sally suggested.
Virginia gathered her briefcase, locked the car and followed Sally and Ike inside the home. The front yard was covered in white snow and there were fruit bearing trees. The apples looked almost ready. Virginia took shorthand notes as she walked. There was a wooden swing hanging on an old oak tree. In order to get into the home a person would have to climb five steps with a rail to help guide one up the stairs. The porch had a wooden fence around it to prevent falls and chicken wire to prevent falling through the cracks. The porch was large enough for the chair swing, rocking chair and sofa plus leave room to walk. Virginia wiped her shoes on the welcome mat before entering.
The home was rustic and homey. There were pictures on the wall of Ike when he first arrived. A small rolly polly pooch meandered near Virginia as she walked into the living room. "This is Floyd our in home dog." Ike said to Virginia.
"Hello Floyd." Virginia said and reached down to pat him on the head. He looked up and kept on walking. Virginia noted that he was a calm dog who didn't even bark.
Sally went over to the sofa and patted on the space next to her for Ike to join her.
Virginia noticed that the living room, dinning room and kitchen were large and open areas. The back hall lead to other rooms and she could easily see the outside door in the back. Virginia sat on a chair near the sofa. No sooner did she sit down, than a large fluffy black cat pounced into her lap. Ike laughed loudly at that.
"Well, who are you?" Virginia asked the cat.
"That is Winkie our cat." Ike said as he giggled. "She just had kittens, do you want to go see them?" he asked.
Sally interrupted, "Ike you have to do your chores now. Well go see the kitties after you go collect the eggs and feed the chickens. "
Okay mom." Ike said and took off through the kitchen, grabbed a basket and went out the back door.
Sally said, "Sam come out here to the living room and talk with Virginia."
Sam came out from the back of the home. "Sorry I've been making shoes for the horses. This time of year they throw their shoes. Got a blacksmith shop to tinker in out back." Sam stated.
"That sounds convenient. My younger brother has horses too, but he has to get someone to come to his farm to shoe his horses." Virginia said.
"Well, that's too expensive for us. I just took lessons and do it myself." Sam stated.
"Nice that you are so talented." Virginia said. "What are you looking for in a daughter?" Virginia asked.
"Well, we already have our boy, Ike, and now We'd like to have a little girl. You probably noticed that Ike is hyperactive. It would be nice if we had daughter who could keep up with him. I think that they would both have fun here on the farm." Sally said.
"Yea, he's rambunctious for sure." Sam stated. "Keeps us busy."
Sally continued, "I assign easy chores for him to do. Then we give him an allowance for doing them."
"Living in a farm is lots of fun for children and there are so many things to learn." Sam commented.
"Ike already attends meetings in the local 4H Club. We go to mommy and me classes and he had daddy and me classes with Sam." Sally said. "We'd want to incorporate those special classes with the new little girl as well."
Virginia said, "Well, this little 2 year old toddler, Wanda," Virginia showed them Wanda's picture, "had brothers and sisters to keep her company. She was not mistreated by her family, they just couldn't financially afford to keep her due to the cost of her ADHD treatment. Wanda is a handful according to her parents, but she is calm and well behaved at the nursery where she is now. She needs someone capable of meeting her needs. Do you think that she would be someone you might be interested in meeting?" Virginia asked.
"You know, Ike has the same diagnosis." Sam said. "Be great to have a daughter too and she looks like a little dear."
"Yes, she does. Sally said. "Wanda will have no problem fitting in with us. We already have a support group and medical professionals for Ike. She can go to them also. We'd love to meet her to see if she'd like us."
"Okay, how about you go visit her in town at the Crisis Nursery where she is staying. They have special meeting rooms where you can visit with her. Take Ike along to see if they play well together. After you have the visit, we'll talk again." Virginia said. "I know you work Sam, so you can wait till Saturday or Sunday to head down to town if you like."
Sam said, "No need to waste time. We'll get a neighbor to watch the livestock and I'll talk with my boss today. See if we can go tomorrow morning."
"You sure you can get off two mornings in a row?" Sally asked Sam.
"Ted understands, won't be a problem unless we're snowed in." Sam chuckled as he finished.
"Okay, Wanda is at the Crisis Nursery in town. Here is the address and phone number. You will need to speak with Mary when you get there. I'll inform her that you are coming and she'll be ready."
"Great!" both parents said.
"Now, before you go, Virginia," Sally said, "You need to check out our kitties plus, see our back yard farm and vegetable garden."
"Be glad to." Virginia said. "I noticed the horses and the large dog in the pasture as I drove up. Are those your animals?"
"Yes, you'll get to see them too. Ike, Virginia wants a tour now." Sally said.
Ike flew around the corner and grabbed Virginia's hand. "Come on." he said.
Ike showed Virginia the kitties, the baby chicks, the horses, the chicken roost where he gets eggs and the vegetable garden.
"I helped plant the seeds." Ike told Virginia.
"Oh, you must have a green thumb. They are all growing tall." Virginia stated.
Sally followed behind.
"You have a wonderful ranch." Virginia said. "Is there any reason why the horses and the dog have sweatshirts on?"
Sally laughed. "Yes, actually the first year we moved in the horses all caught colds in the winter. I am a seamstress and decided to design sweatshirts we could put on the horses to keep them warn after that and next winter came and went without one cold. I actually sell the sweatshirts to the locals around here. We all have the talk of the town designer for animal sweatshirts with Velcro that is easy to get on and off our steeds. I also put them on the goats and cows too. Look there."
Sally pointed out to the right.
Virginia saw matching pink sweatshirts on the goats and brown sweatshirts on the cows. "So cute!" Virginia stated. "You are so talented."
"Anything that works." Sally said. "Plus, it saves us the cost of sick animals and brings in some more spending money. Now, before you go, come and see the little girls room we have waiting."
The room was wonderful, Sally had painted Disney Characters on the walls and the room had a nice crib, rocking chair, changing table, and all the toys any little girl would love.
"Come to see my room too." Ike implored.
"Sure." Virginia said and she took Ike's hand and walked to the next room.
Ike's room was also painted with Disney Car Cartoon Characters. He had table with a train and a car set laid out for him to play. He also had a book case, basketball net to toss his dirty clothes through.
"Let me show you how I make a basket." Ike said as he took off a sock and tossed it through the hoop. "That's my boy!" Sam said.
"Good job!" Virginia said.
"Yes. Ike is very talented." Sally said.
"Well, got to go." Virginia said.
Sam, Sally and Ike stood on the porch waving good-bye as Virginia left.
Back at the office.
Virginia went in to speak with Brian to inform him of the meeting with the Foster/Adopt parents. "They seem wonderful Brian." Virginia said.
"We'll see how the visit goes tomorrow." Brian stated. "Get your report to the interested parties as soon as possible. If everything works out like you hope you will have a permanent placement next week."
"Will do, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Wanda. I hope this happens. It would be wonderful for Wanda." Virginia stated.
"Yes, a blessing for sure." Brian stated.
Virginia contacted Mary at the Crisis Nursery. "I have Mr. & Mrs. Foster and their three year old son, Ike, coming to visit with Wanda tomorrow probably after ten o'clock. It is a potential placement. Please give them a private place to visit with her and observe the visit for me."
"No problem." Mary stated. "We'll keep our fingers crossed that everything will work out for the little dear."
"Thanks." Virginia stated.
Virginia faxed a report regarding the first contact with the Foster Family to their placement agent, the child's attorney, and the attorney generals office representing the court. Once this was done she went out on another case investigation.
Wanda meets the Fosters
Next morning, when Virginia arrived in the office after her first crisis investigation, the red light was blinking on her desk indicating that there was a message. Virginia went to Brian's desk to check in first. She informed him about the morning case then proceeded to check her messages.
1st message: "Virginia everything went well on the visit. Susan and Sam are so nice. We all enjoyed them coming down on a visit. They helped us serve the children lunch and Sam read the story before naptime." She heard Mary's voice reporting. "That little boy kept hugging Wanda. I think they will get along okay."
2nd message: "Virginia Sam, Ike and I just got back home. Give us a call when you get a chance." Sally's voice noted.
3rd message: "Virginia, this is Becky at the placement agency. Just got a call from Sally and Sam. They want Wanda to move in with them. I need to know when and if it will happen so we can start their foster care payments. Please give me a call."
4th message - "Virginia this is Edward, Wanda's attorney. I received the report on the potential family and support them as a permanent placement. Please call me back and let me know what is happening."
Virginia went into Brian's office beaming with joy, "Brian, the visit went well and it seems to be a go for placement. Everyone has called and agrees on this home for Wanda's placement so far. It seems that Wanda liked the little boy and the parents."
"Okay, I'll make your morning free of other cases so you can take Wanda up to the Foster's home and place her there." Brian said.
Virginia called Sally and Sam first. "Hello, it's a go. Can I bring Wanda up tomorrow morning about 10am?"
Sally and Sam both picked up a phone, "Yea!!!! Yes please do. We'll be waiting."
Virginia then called Becky to arrange for foster care payment to start tomorrow, the crisis nursery to do Wanda's discharge tomorrow, and notified the child's attorney, Edward, to inform and provide contact numbers.
Wanda's Foster/ Adopt Placement
Virginia got the placement packet ready the day before and had all the forms ready for the family to sign. She drove over to the Crisis Nursery.
"Hello Mary." Virginia said,
"Hello Virginia, we've put together a suitcase for Wanda with a warm coat, a weeks worth of clothing, her favorite toys, and set it next to the family bags that came with her. Wanda has been fed and she's ready to go."
Virginia signed her out and Mary came out to the car to help with the luggage and hug Wanda goodbye. "Be a good Girl Wanda." Mary said, then she turned to Virginia, we're praying that this placement works. They seemed to be so nice!"
"Thanks for all your help, I hope so too." Virginia stated. As she tucked Wanda in, Virginia said, "We're off Wanda. It's going to be a long ride." Then, Virginia closed the door got in the front and headed up North.
It was a quiet ride heading up to the new placement. Wanda said, "Mama." a couple of times and Virginia reassured, "You'll see your Mama soon Wanda."
All the family were sitting on the porch in the cold weather waiting for the arrival.
Virginia parked the car as Sally and Sam came down to help. Sally took Wanda out of the car seat. "Come to Mama Wanda. Honey this is your new home." she told Wanda. "Sam you get the luggage and I'll get her inside "
"Sure thing," Sam said. "Drive up okay? " he asked Virginia.
"No problem." Virginia stated.
Once inside, Sam and Sally signed the papers as Ike occupied Wanda. Virginia gave them the placement papers. "Usually, as you probably know, once a placement happens the intake worker transitions the case to an on-going adoption worker. Because we have too many cases in on-going at this time, I will be keeping the case for a few months." Virginia told them.
"That will be fine with us. We get monthly visits now from the on-going adoption worker for Ike, his attorney, and out agency foster adopt worker."
"Give me the name of your on-going worker and I'll see if I can transition the case to her." Virginia said.
"It doesn't really matter to us." Sam said.
Well, I'll check on Wanda and then be on my way." Virginia said. She leaned into the room where Ike and Wanda were playing. She wasn't displaying any of the behaviors she did with her family thus far. Virginia thought. "Bye Wanda." Virginia said as she hugged her, "You be a good girl."
Sam and Sally walked Virginia out and waved goodbye.
When Virginia arrived back at the office she finished off the placement report and faxed a copy to all the interested parties then went into Brian's office. "Ike's On-going Adoption worker is Sheila in the North Office. Perhaps I can transition the case to her?"
"I'll contact her boss to see how her case load is going. Since she already visits the home it shouldn't be a problem to have a second child to report on."
"Thanks." Virginia stated.
Home Visit with Wanda
Virginia made one home visit with the Fosters after Wanda had been there for a month and before Wanda's case was transitioned to the on-going adoption worker. Virginia called Sally, "I'm heading up for the first month visit tomorrow."
"No problem. Do you want Sam here." Sally asked.
"Not necessary." Virginia stated. "Is everything okay?"
"Wonderful, Wanda is doing just fine. We have so many things to do she doesn't have to act out." Sally said.
"Good news." Virginia said. "See you tomorrow.
Virginia knocked on the door and Sally opened. "Wanda, you have a visitor." Sally said.
Wanda came running around the corner.
"Hello Wanda," Virginia said.
Wanda seemed excited to see Virginia. She grabbed Virginia's hand and lead outside to show new baby chicks to Virginia. "Look!" Wanda said as she pointed.
Sally had followed Virginia out and said, "Yes, we were all excited to see the baby chicks being born earlier this week. Wanda can watch them all day if we don't get her away to do other things."
"Everything okay?" Virginia asked Sally.
"Wanda, you go play with Ike for awhile while I talk with Virginia." Sally said
Sally led Virginia to the front room. "We've all been doing great. Here are the copies of the medical reports. We took Wanda to the medical doctor, the psychologist, and therapist. We tried a couple of medicines on her and it appears that this one is working just fine."
"That's great." Virginia said. "We will be transferring the case to Ike's adoption worker, Sheila, in the North Office. She is closer and this way you won't have so many people interrupting your household. This will be our last visit." Virginia said. "I want to thank you for taking in Wanda she seems to be content here. She is lucky that we were able to fins such a loving home."
Sally said, "Don't think anything of it, we're the lucky ones. She has brought a new joy and completed our homestead. We're the lucky ones."
Virginia stayed for the visit and jotted down the notes then said her goodbyes.
Once back at her desk she concluded her last report on Wanda, "It will be a nice life for Wanda with lots of fresh air, experiencing the changing seasons, having fresh vegetables and fruit to eat, lots of animals to learn about and plenty of love. Sally and Sam were hard working folks who had love enough to share with a couple of troubled children. They were talented individuals. Sally is a housewife who makes pies, jam, jelly, and animal sweatshirts to sell at the local farmer market. Sam holds down a routine job plus acts as the local blacksmith making shoes for the local farmers horses. It is people like them deserve praise and recognition."
As an Intake Worker, Virginia starts the ball rolling, it is the on-going workers and adoption workers who maintain cases till the time the children are aged out at 18 year old, or get adopted at any age. Wanda was one of the lucky ones.