Sierra - Aug 10, 2006


It’s been over six months since we’ve had Sierra living with us. With rare exception, not a single day has gone by without telling her that I love her. I really truly do. And, of course, Christina too. I’m really lucky to have such a great family, despite the atrocious conditions under which we initially fostered Sierra. I fear, though, that the family that we’ve become may soon change for the worse.

Last Monday, August 7, Sierra’s mother had a date with the Multnomah County Juvenile Court. Christina and I went, as did Sierra’s grandmother, step-mother, three laywers (one for Sierra; her father; and her mother), and Sierra’s social worker from DHS. We thought that this could be the permanency hearing - to decide where Sierra will grow up. Unfortunately, that was not the case. This was simply a hearing to see what Sierra’s mother needs to do to get custody. I was glad to hear that the main focus of the hearing ended up being permanency, though it won’t be decided for another two months.

Without getting into the reasons why Sierra’s mother doesn’t already have Sierra, these are the obvious strikes against Sierra’s mother taking custody:

  • Documented anger management issues;
  • Drug history;
  • In the midst of this ordeal, she married a man who has a long slew of serious criminal convictions;
  • Sierra’s never lived with her;
  • She’s worried about how she would afford taking care of Sierra as she doesn’t have a job;
  • She has yet to take several of the required parenting classes;
  • She didn’t know that her lawyer had changed since the last hearing (six months ago);
  • She’s called in “sick” to her weekly visits with Sierra at least 25% of the time.

All of these issues tell me with the utmost clairvoyance that Sierra’s mother has more important commitments than Sierra.

I just cannot imagine committing to anything more important than the future of a child, especially one as creative, lovable, and precious as Sierra. It’s through children that we will live on after our passing; it’s our responsibility to teach them right, wrong, and how to make good decisions. I can’t imagine giving that up for anything.

So you might be thinking that everything sounds good in our favour, right? Yes. Except one point:

  • Sierra’s mother birthed Sierra.

That very fact, I worry, could be the deciding factor in this case. It is the opinion of many that I’ve talked to (and myself) that it’s obvious Sierra’s mother has far too many issues and has put forth far too little effort in trying to become a good mother for Sierra. Even still, my understanding is that the state of Oregon tries to pair children with their parents whenever possible - even under less than favourable conditions.

Only time will truly tell. October 13th - that’s Friday the 13th - Sierra’s mother will reappear in court for what I hope to be the last hearing on this issue. If it were up to me and Christina, the choice is absolutely obvious and would come without a moment of hesitation; the unfortunate thing is that it isn’t up to us, so we must enjoy the time we have together now.

One Comment on “Sierra - Aug 10, 2006”

  1. Harsh. You do hear about children winding up with original parents for that sole reason alone. Perhaps it’s part of the human spirit to hope that people will get into gear and prioritize their commitments to properly take care of their own children… unfortunately it’s often proven that that hope is unrealistic.

    I suppose what’s most important beyond such things is where Sierra would be most happy and best suited to lead a productive life in the future. Hopefully that is what it will come down to simply because it should.


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