Well, dear reader, we are three days until Nunu Sung’s termination hearing. While I’m confident Nunu’s lawyers are preparing diligently for the hearing, it seems clear, based on Judge Austin’s comments, the verdict to come will not favor reuniting mother and child. (Such a decision will be a travesty.)
I can only imagine the tornado of emotions coursing through Nunu this weekend … anxiety, anticipation, fear, determination, hope, love, uncertainty, and the ever present elephant-in-the-room: ‘what if I lose my son?’
I often wonder what is going through the mind of the foster family. This week was no different in that regard. In celebrating Thanksgiving—a day centered around family—I wondered if they enjoyed the day as one of many more to come in building a lifetime of family traditions together or were they consumed with thoughts that this may be their last Thanksgiving with Joshua?
Other than Judge Austin and Guardian ad Litem, Kathleen Anderson, the only party that can change the course of this hearing is the foster family who are in the process of trying to adopt Joshua. To them I make the following appeal.
To Whom It May Concern,
As caretakers for Joshua these past two years, thank you for providing him a space to ‘be a little boy’. Your efforts to love and care for him while his mother works to achieve her service plan are commendable, admirable and noble. While I may not know your name or any details relating to your family, I have a photo of you in which you are holding Joshua during one of Nunu’s supervised sessions. From what I can read from the expression on your face, you seem kind, gentle and protective–qualities essential in a foster care family.
As I have stated to your attorney, Chuck Rhode, I feel for your situation and my heart does ache for you. Who knew the little infant boy you welcomed into your home in June of 2009 would be the center of a media firestorm? To that end, your experience as a foster family has been atypical and not without stress, I’m sure. You were looking to love a child in the quiet of your home. You were searching for a child to adopt and raise as part of your family. However, the truth I return to is that care for Joshua was always intended to be temporary, not permanent. Joshua is not the child you are longing for.
Your role in Joshua’s life is important. Not one who believes in accidents, I have no doubt you were appointed by God to look after him during this time in his life. But remember your involvement in Joshua’s life is but a season. This is the nature of foster care.
Even though you have cared for Joshua, almost from his birth, I encourage you to remember that Nunu is his mother. She has not relinquished her parental rights and in fact has devoted all of her time, resources, and energy toward the goal of being reunited with him since June of 2009. This has included obeying all of the court’s required action (and honoring the conditions of the service plan implemented by case workers from D.C.F.S. and Evangelical Child and Family Agency) while going beyond the minimum requirements where allowed. Agreeing to a plea deal was done solely to ensure she would not lose her parental rights showing that she was even willing to give up the possibility of avoiding a prison sentence (via a trial) in order to maintain her maternal rights.
Along with my husband and I, you were present when this plea agreement was administered and verbalized in court by Judge Blanche Hill Fawell. It is my belief that prior to Nunu’s sentencing you were made aware of the stipulation, by Guardian ad Litem Kathleen Anderson, that no party involved would attempt to terminate her parental rights. To then send Nunu a letter six months into her sentence stating your intention to file a petition for the adoption of Joshua is a violation of this plea agreement.
In less than three months, Nunu will complete her sentence and be reunited with her son. In less than three days Judge Austin will render a ruling in response to the Termination of Parental Rights motion filed by Guardian ad Litem Kathleen Anderson, on your behalf, that may sever this family forever. In an appeal to do what is right and just and fair by a woman who has worked diligently, tirelessly, to demonstrate her love for her son, I urge you to withdraw this petition.
I cannot imagine what this journey has been like for you and your family. Having never lived the experience of a foster family, I can hardly fathom the roller-coaster of emotions you must feel through all of this. I have no doubt in my mind that you have grown to love and adore Joshua dearly, and can easily see him as part of your family. I am certain the decisions you have made stem from this love. I am sure you want what is best for Joshua.
In this case, what is right and best for Joshua is to reunite him with his mother, Nunu Sung.