Actually legally they have not been. She has been in the custody of the state and unless the foster family has been lying to her this child knows who her mother and father are. The foster family has NO rights unless they have adopted the child.
OK, So what is your plan say you receive your - 3 year old perhaps - from her family. (you can accept they have been her family?)?
Outside of your love, houseing, etc....
Because say this is a single mom who has been full time caretaker to a infant/baby/toddler (the formative/attachment years) - and the dad just appears decides she wants a full on relationship with his child - its a pretty common story.
The state is MANDATED to place the child in the least restrictive environment -- which is with family instead of a foster caregiver -- if appropriate family is available before mother's rights are terminated.
Big difference in situations. If she is appropriate, the state MUST start transitioning the child -- not with a counselor necessarily. And reunification does NOT come into play automatically in these situations due to the differences involved.
The advice we give is to request reunification counseling (with the counselor, new parent, and the child)...some very short supervised visits for x period time (generally months) - so child is keeping his secure attachment to his primary caretaker but still getting to know - by legal right - the father. If dad successfully will jump through these hoops with the child...then unsupervised visits begin - but even then its partial visitation!!!!
If the state had done its job in looking for family and working hard to place the child with family, this would not be an issue. You are not understanding the differences.
I know the foster family is not the really mommy. And I know the foster care has a different system than family law court. My question - is where in here does the child NOT get ripped from the only family he knows? How, as a prospective guardian, do you plan to deal with these parts of a child that Barry Brazelton calls "Irreducible Needs" ?
Nor are most of the people on this thread.
And quite frankly the STATE is held responsible for that because the state is mandated to make sure that relatives are found if they are available. This child can be transitioned to OP's home and the child can transition there in a healthy manner.
Look - I think its right foster care is trying more and more to find relatives - and I sure wish they had that more in place in their system. But that didn't happen here.
All of you stating foster care is where the child should remain are quite frankly clueless about the laws and need to understand them.
Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.
Attorney-GAL in Ohio.
I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.