Thursday, March 05, 2009
I've been asked to testify in court.
I got a call from the Assistant Attorney General's office earlier this week. They wanted my permission to subpoena me to testify in the upcoming contested termination trial for Boo's case.
I had some apprehensions about doing so but the Asst. Attorney General who's been representing the state in this case called me herself personally to answer my questions and offer assurances.
My main concern was confidentiality. We've worked hard this past year to keep our last name and mailing address out of the court records for this case. We sign all court documents by first name only. We don't give out our address when filling out forms that might make their way to lawyers to be submitted in court. We have made it clear to Boo's lawyer and the CPS workers for this case that our information is not to be given out. To the best of our knowledge they've respected this request. Whenever we receive notification of upcoming court appointments, the notices themselves, which are given to all involved parties, show only Foster Parents/Address Confidential.
So, I worried that if I got up in court to testify, I'd be required to state first and last name. Or that the subpoena that would be sent to me and admitted into court record would have our mailing address on it. The Asst. Attorney General assured me that they'd leave everything listed as confidential, even on the subpoena, and that she would address me in court as "the foster mom", without having to ask for my last name.
What it comes down to is that they want me to testify to inform the judge, in my own words, what we've been through with Boo since she joined our family a year ago, how committed we are to this child, and that we are indeed willing and able to adopt her if a severance ruling is given.
Having never testified in court before, I must admit to being a bit nervous. I'm not so concerned about the questions that the Asst. Attorney General might be asking me, or what cross-examination questions Boo's lawyer might ask of me because their goal is the same as mine, severance and adoption (by us). I am a bit nervous about the cross examination of the bio-mom's attorney.
Will he attempt to try to discredit me? It'll be hard because I have nothing to hide and I'll be telling the truth. I'm not on trial, the bio mom is. The Asst. Attorney General gave me an idea of some of the types of questions he might ask me but she can't be certain what to expect from him.
In the end, I told her I'd do it. If she felt that my testimony would help strengthen their case in appealing to the judge to sever parental rights, then I'd do it. This child deserves permanency. She deserves to no longer be a foster child, after 20 months in care already. She deserves to have a loving, stable, caring, healthy home environment. We can offer that. We love her. We want to be her parents. We want Snuggle Bug to be her older brother.
She does not deserve to have this strung out any longer.