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Foster mom fights for custody

READ MORE: Foster mom fights for custody
WHITEVILLE-- Foster mother Susan Mills is afraid she could lose custody of her two year old foster daughter to the little girls 20 year old biological sister in Mississppi. "We spend everyday with her as if it could be our last." Mill's says. For privacy purposes the child cannot be identified. Mill's foster daughter has severe health problems that requires a lot of attention. Mills says the sister is irresponsible. Mills points to the woman's myspace page as proof. We spoke with a social worker not associated with the case to find out just what Mill's rights of adoption are. Social worker Julie Steinbeck says, "The first thing we do is look at birth parents and extended family members." Steinbeck says they are required to screen the next person of kin to adopt a foster child. "Safety comes before anything else," Steinbeck says, "if we can do that in a relative home then that's what we're going to do." Currently, Shelly is being assessed by social workers and has the possibility of taking the child back to Mississippi. Susan Mills is hoping she can adopt the child and hopes the courts turn down the sister's request. On wednesday, the courts will decide who will take the little girl home. Mills say's if the courts decide to give the child to her sister, she will appeal the decision. Meanwhile, social workers say there's a growing need for foster parents in our area. If you're interested, contact your local Department of Social Services.

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Key word "FOSTER" if the

Key word "FOSTER" if the system don't start seeing that people become foster parents to go the easy route to adopt they hope mom dad or family will abandon children so that they can adopt, this is not right of a foster parent to foster a child and think they have more rights to that child than blood family. Or file petitions false info of hear say to tpr and adopt. These children and the family's has a god given right to be together screw the courts and laws, child trafficking lie in the hands of those officials but when it's all said and done, you may love the child but instead of disrupting the child life even more just come to a agreement with the family that you live the child and would like to remain around anyone who cares would see, to take away people who live the child from them is not love it's another form of abuse. I wish my case was more simpler than foster parents trying to keep me away forever, definitions and roles are clearly there in state statues and federal laws the roles of a foster parent yet they go far past these points.

Something's wrong

It seems very odd that the Mills brought this to the media's attention, one would have to wonder what did they hope to accomplish by this. What a pleasant surprise to see the overwhelming support for what seems to be a mmature, loving, want to do what is right, going outside the norm, 20 year old sister, stepping up to the plate, to accept responsibility for her sister, reguardless of the fact the child has many needs. As a nurse, I have seen many families learn, with great desire, what is needed to take care of their family members. Shelley and her husband are young, which is a plus, not a minus. They would not have been considered if they were not found to be a good candidate for placement. The Mills should want the best for the child. Foster parents know before hand that these things happen, and there are many more children that need placement,that need there home and caring. They should be busy teaching Shelley everything that she could possible need to know about the baby, not fighting her and trying to find fault. It seems they do protest too much, making one to suspect their motives.

It takes a village

"It takes a village to raise a child" and Shelly has more then a village to welcome any child into. She has one of the most incredible support structures around her. Her extended family gained via marriage to Matthew is extremely strong. Her extensive network of friends and collegues further bolsters her. I have zero doubt in my mind that this family could raise any child. Furthermore, Shelly is an outstanding young lady. She is incredibly dedicated to her own personal growth. She is going places and getting there the right way, through hard work and dedication. She has an education, a great job, a terrific family, and a stable life. She is an outstanding example to all. It would be a shame to see her sister go anywhere but into her loving arms.

I totally agree!

I totally agree with you. Shelly is a wonderful person. Her husband also. Both are very responsible and it would be a shame not to see her little sister come home with her. This child deserves a normal life with her family and Matthew and Shelly can give her that.

Michelle and Matthew

I have known Michelle and Matthew for a very long time. The married couple is an ideal couple to take on such a responsibility as raising a special needs child. Shelly and her husband are very honest and responsible people. They have the love and support of all of us back home. I hope God blesses Susan and her family and gives relief to all who are involved in this case.

MySpace Pic

I find it hilarious that this woman is saying that the Myspace Pic with Phil. 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", is irresponsible. One question, HOW?

I believe it is very

I believe it is very admirable that an older sister wants to take custody of her younger sister so she can be with her true family. This in itself shows maturity and love on the part of the older sister. The department of social services thoroughly investigates cases so the best interest of the child in question will be granted. It will be my prayer that the court system will see this and grant custody to the older sister so she can raise her younger sibling in a loving and secure environment.

Foster mom fights for custody

This story sounds very one sided. Regardless of whether the sister Shelly is 20 or 40, if she is willing to take on the responsibility of her younger sibling, she should be applauded for that. So many of our young people are wrapped up in themselves and wouldn't dream of taking on such a responsibility. It sounds like this young lady shows great maturity by even considering taking on the care of a special needs child. Shelly should be assessed by social workers to determine her suitability, not by a foster parent who bases her assessment on a myspace page.

i am very interested in

i am very interested in hearing the sisters side. i think that the foster mother should be happy for her to be able to have the chance to be with part of her real family. and who says single i personally don't think she is. i don't think social services would even let her be a canidate if she were gonna do this alone. more power to her for wanting to take this on at such a young age. it takes a real women to step up and do what she plans to do thats very clear.

Custody Battle

Well, there are two sides to every story. I would be interested to hear the sister's response.

she is very responsible i

she is very responsible i have never in my life met a more determined person. i know she can do this she loves this baby with everything in her there is no reason that she should not get her.

I believe that if Dept. of

I believe that if Dept. of Social Service thought that her sister was irresponsible that they would find that out in the background checks and the home study that required to adopt a child. I think that if the sister is fully qualified that the child should be placed with family. What about her sister is she married? And if she is is her husband required all you mention in the article is her and not if she has someone else to assist her like other family members. I am really interested in this story and hope that the right choices are made for the child sake. We will be praying for her.

2 year old child in limbo

It would be a rare 20 year old who could pass the strict ICPC requirements for an out of state child placement. If this sister is that irresponsible, it'll turn up in the background check and home study. She's not even old enough to buy beer. Surely she is not mature enough to take on the responsibilities of a special needs toddler. One could hope and pray that the "possibility" of the state of NC sending the child to Mississippi to the sister is their way of checking every possible relative placement before committing to the third choice of out of family/foster adoption. As for NC allowing a child who has been placed for over two years in a stable family to be removed for permanency purposes, I think I'd have a lawyer check into the state of N.C.'s compliance with the Adoption and Safe Family Act. It is deplorable that a child could reach this developmental age living in the legal uncertainty of a foster care placement, but bonding with her foster family as "home". It is also deplorable that a foster family is so worried for their child's future that they feel their only recourse is to go public with the child's plight. May God have mercy on the toddler, the foster family that has been raising her, the biological family that lost her, and the courts who will decide who her parents should be.

Responsible 20 year Olds

I'm sick to death of the comments about 20 year olds not being responsible. Don't you find it odd they are responsible enough to die in Iraq!

I have several things to say

I have several things to say about the article and the comment. 1. It is bais for the newspaper to print an article that is so one sided. Why the "foster mother" choose to go public with this is questionable at best. What is she doing looking at the sister's Myspace page and making a determination on her suitablity from this anyway? 2. As a former foster parent to a family member, I can tell you that when ever possible, this is the best situation. The family ties are invaluable to a child, assuming that the family member is suitable. 3. It seems to me that the sister is responsible and mature if she has gone through the consiterable heartache and hassle of a homestudy. Considering that she was only 18 when her baby sister was born, it shows a lot of maturity to wait until she was older to try to assume custody. I'm sure that that social services in Mississippi and North Carolina are holding the sister to the highest standards considering her age and the medical problems of the child. I wonder if the "foster mother" was checked this closely?

NC Adoption

AMEN TO YOU!! Why would anyone move a child from a solid home, with a loving family to a single 20 year old. If the 20 year old wanted the child, where was she for the last 2 years of this childs life.

How would you know?

How would you know if the family is stable or not do you live there? And is she single, I'm guessing not with the comments that are posted that she is married and that her husband is standing firmly with her on the matter. It also sounds as if a whole community is standing behind them both. The situation is a difficult one I understand but if the best interest for child is to be with her sister I believe that she has the and the maturity that is needed.

Contingency, if my math is

Contingency, if my math is right, two years ago the sister was only 18, and probably not the most likely candidate for placement. Two years have gone by, and she has not forgotten her little sister, and by all accounts seems to be trying to do the thing we would hope all families would do; take care of their own. It's a sad situation, and I feel for the foster parents, but if the sister can show that she can provide a suitable home, I think it's pretty unreasonable for the foster parents to fight them and create this acrimonious atmosphere between themselves and the child's biological family. It will come back to bite them, regardless of the outcome.

been there

I believe family is very important in this. I also don't understand why the foster mother went public with this. Also, when someone becomes a foster parent aren't they informed it is likely to only be a temporary situation?? The sister was only 18 when the child was born and maybe she didnt feel responsible enough to take on this child. However, I do feel that if she has waited this long then she should be given the right to have custody. I dont trust DSS in any state but that is because of their track record with abused children. But it appears this child is wanted by loving caring people. Having grown up in an environment where my family took care of their own on a regular basis, I believe the child should go to the sister. For some of my family members who were not taken in by other family members, I couldn't begin to tell you where they are. However, for those raised and cared for within the family, we still keep in touch and are close knit group. It doesn't always turn out that way but more often than not it does. The foster mother wants whats best for the child?? Let her live with family.

What about the child?

Does anyone here think that the child will not suffer from being removed from the only home she's ever known? Why should the child suffer because her biological parents failed her, and then the state failed her by keeping her in foster care limbo for the most important developmental years? The child will have lost TWO mothers in 2 years, if she's moved again. How can that ever be a GOOD thing? Ever hear of RAD? Think about that when determining what is in the child's best interest. Not who deserves to be raising her or how old they are or what the motivations are to fight for her. Instead, think about rocking that poor child's world to the core, and ripping her out of the safety and security of the arms of who she sees as her mother. How can anyone think that's the best course of action just because in N.C. DNA trumps stability and committment? The child's parental rights to her biological family are severed. Under law, the 20 year old is no longer legally related to the 2 year old, so technically should have no superior biological rights trumping the longterm bond of the foster mother and child. At some point, the child's rights and emotional and psychological needs, need to be addressed. Surely, an arrangement could be made so that both ladies are in this child's life and she loses no one. You can't lose what you never had.

This is about the child!

AdoptionAngel, It is true that it will be an enormous adjustment for the child, were she to be transferred into her sister’s home. It is highly likely that the child moved from many homes prior to her current placement, yet she still has been able to adjust. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to think that this could be the same for her transfer to her sister’s home. Furthermore, it seems doubtful that the child has no relationship at all with her sister, if Shelly has been involved in the long process of determining placement of the child. During these situations, there are multiple visits and it is unrealistic to think no relationship exists or could exist in the future. I suspect the child has not been in the foster care system her entire life, so who’s to say the child never “had” her sister, or vice versa. [You can't lose what you never had.] The article mentions severe medical problems of the child. If these lead to a shortened lifespan, shouldn’t she spend these years with her biological family, if they can provide for her? Should the rest of her biological family be punished for the transgressions of her parents?? Should the random stroke of fate that allowed the child to be placed into her current foster home determine the course of her life, simply because of her young age or the foster family’s reluctance to let go?

Surely, you are mistaken

Yes, it may be true that by law this child and her blood sister is not legally related. However, you can never mistake her roots. This child will forever have an extended family, whether she knows it or not. Also, just because this child's biological parents failed her doesn't mean that Shelly and Matthew will too. Wait a minute, let's think... This child is small, yes it is in the greatest developmental years. But if you do not stimulate her to begin to develop, how will she grow and learn. Sticking her behind a gate in a corner is not stimulation. Since this child has been under foster care for less than a year now, does not mean that she will not be able to find herself capable to live the life she deserves. Futhermore, you can't denie the fact that these two have a certain bond that no one else can have: coming from the same background and having the same parents. Don't you think that Shelly has learned what kind of person she should not be. Also, psychologically, this child will probably never remember her foster years due to the fact that growth and development of a child's brain does not retain memory until the average ages of 4 to 5. Therefore, it would be harsh to say that her whole world be rocked to a core. She should be placed with her true family. Not the ones who just want publicity.

adoptionangel, it would be

adoptionangel, it would be really great if the two families could come together for the best interest of the child and work something out. I'm sure the sister was ripped into little pieces losing her baby sister and god knows what else she lost in the course of that trauma. I can empathize with her wanting to maintain whatever shred of family she has left. Keep in mind, it wasn't her fault the baby was taken, and at that time there was probably no recourse for her to take the baby then. So the fact that the state gave the child to strangers and left her there for two years wasn't something Shelly had control over. It seems to me that she has pulled it together in a short period of time with the goal of one day reuniting with and raising her blood kin in a loving, safe environment. There are thousands of children who have been reunited with their biological families. With the proper care and support, the child will adjust. Shelly *did* have her sister, AA...and she truly did lose her through no fault of her own. Your lack of compassion for that is saddening.