Timmy came to live with his grandmother Cathy a few months after he was born. SC Department of Social Services (DSS) removed him from his mother due to neglect, abuse, and use of drugs in his presence. In the few months that followed, Cathy was granted custody of the baby. She already had custody of Timmy’s older brother, Kyle, who came to be with her under similar circumstances.
Cathy admits that her daughter, the boys’ mother, was troubled. Jennifer was suffering from mental illness, frequent homelessness bouts, and was a victim of domestic abuse. In other words, she was in no position to care and provide a home for two small children. The fathers of the children were not in their lives. Neither provided any financial support. As far as Cathy knew, neither ever showed any interest in his child. She would later find out, one of them had been incarcerated out of state.
This last factor was what complicated the case. When Cathy first came to South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) needing help with adoption, the only information she had about the fathers were their names. After doing some research into the matter, SCLS was able to locate the whereabouts of both fathers. One of them, who was still in South Carolina, consented to give up his parental rights and allow for Cathy’s adoption. Jennifer too was willing to consent. The situation with the other father was a bit more complicated. Having an incarcerated party in a case normally presents more challenges than otherwise, and in this case, the father was uncooperative. Still, with perseverance, hard work and having followed the proper legal channels, SCLS was able to get the judge to terminate his parental rights as well. No further obstacles were present, and Cathy was able to adopt both Timmy and Kyle.
Although both kids already considered Cathy as their mother, this made it official. The boys were very excited. After the hearing, they posed for a photo with the presiding Judge. He gave them two teddy bears that had been donated by the local attorneys’ bar association to commemorate the occasion. There wasn’t a dry eye in the court room. Happiest of all was Cathy. This process gave her a piece of mind. Now, nobody would be able to come and take her babies away from her.