Whew! Another whirlwind morning of getting tired kids out of bed, fed and out the door to school. The effort of maintaining a peaceful morning routine so kids head out the door feeling good about the day is more challenging some days than others. This morning was different.
After a long nine and a half months of uncertainty and court dates and meetings… PGO has been granted!
For those of you who don’t know the lingo PGO stands for Permanent Guardianship Order. It provides a level of stability for the kids that they have not had up til now. When kids first come into care the initial request is for a Temporary Guardianship Order or TGO. This request is to transfer the guardianship of the kids from the parent to Children’s Services for 6 months.
By nature it is temporary and unless more time is requested the rights of guardian transfer back to the parent in 6 months. During that 6 months the government can make decisions about what will be in the best interests of the child. Health issues are addressed, medical appointments are brought up to date, education needs are assessed and the kids are ideally provided with a secure, stable home to live in. The parent is asked to work towards health and stability in accordance with the situation to facilitate the family reuniting as soon as possible. There is contact between parents and children as is safe and positive for both sides and the intent is always to put a family back together.
Our kids were never granted a TGO. Guardianship rights remained with the other mother who was not in the province and who was battling her own mental health issues. It was complicated.
For our kids there were frustrations. There were things that could not move forward without Mom’s permission and Mom was not able to communicate with the system in a healthy way most of the time. For us there was uncertainty as we were never quite sure where things were at with the other mother and how to navigate some of the grey areas with integrity.
So we skipped the TGO stage for reasons I don’t understand and jumped straight to PGO after a nine and a half month wait. The word Permanent at the beginning of PGO gives away the meaning of this one. Children’s Services has been designated their guardian. There is no longer a time limit. However if the other mother does the work and arrives at a mentally healthy and stable state of being, she can request to have her children back with her. So we can’t guarantee permanence.
The next steps involve figuring out what permanence looks like for these kids. It might involve living with other family members, it might involve being with us, it could even mean adoption. I’m only starting to learn about the next steps as we begin this journey.
Have you ever had news that is both bitter and sweet to share? That’s how it felt as I told the kids that PGO had been granted! As she jumped in for a hug with a “YAY!” I was happy for her joy. Now we can move ahead with some things that were stalled while the guardianship question was up in the air. Their journey towards healing can continue.
The other side of the coin is mourning for a family that has fallen apart. No one starts the journey of building a family and parenting little people expecting to have it all fall apart. No one wants to cause their children pain. But pain happens all around us. The other mother has been shredded by all of this. I hurt for her. I pray that she finds a place where she can heal and rebuild the relationships she has lost. It is hard to be so thankful for these two kids who are safe and loved and at the same time hurt for what was lost.
Life is never as simple as the explanations on paper.
In the midst of the mess