A New Forever Home

Lili* came into foster care as soon as she was born. Her mother was serving time in jail for child endangerment charges and therefore could not care for her newborn baby. The mother was involved with CPS for her three older children because of physical abuse allegations and eventually had her parental rights to those children terminated.


Cheryl was assigned as Lili’s advocate—someone to look out for the best interests of this innocent baby while she was in the foster care system. Cheryl went to visit Lili at the foster home she was placed in. Lili looked happy and healthy as the foster parents would take turns holding her throughout the visit. They gave Lili their undivided attention and made it known from the beginning that they would want to adopt her if the situation arose.


During this time, Lili’s mother and father were given a family plan of service to complete if they would like to reunify with her or keep their parental rights. A few months into the case, the mother pled guilty to her charges and was given deferred adjudication with probation of six years. Once she was released from jail, the mother was engaged and made efforts with her services by showing up to biweekly visits with Lili, submitting
to drug tests, gaining employment and attending parenting classes. On the other hand, the father stopped showing up for visits and was not making progress on his services.


Cheryl and the other parties on the case were always kept well informed by the foster parents of any new developments in Lili’s life—sitting up on her own, rolling over, enjoying bath time and dancing to her favorite songs from Aretha Franklin and Elton John. They were always sending sweet photos of her on their adventures together. With Cheryl’s monthly visits to see Lili in their home, she saw just how much the foster parents loved and nurtured this baby girl, embracing her as their own.


From the start of the case, an option considered for Lili’s permanent placement was with maternal relatives in California who adopted the mother’s three older children. This home had six children who were all under five years old. About a year into the case, CPS had an approved relative home study for this family, and CPS’ goal for the case changed to fictive kin adoption. This came as a surprise to Child Advocates and Lili’s attorney ad litem. The information in the home study was outdated and had not been redone from when the mother’s previous children were adopted. At this point, Lili had been in her foster home for over a year and she was clearly flourishing there. While Lili’s mother had completed her services, she was still on probation for child endangerment charges, and she wanted to relinquish her rights so that Lili could be adopted by the foster family.


A few months later, they had their final trial for Lili’s case, and Cheryl testified to how Lili was thriving in her placement with the foster parents and that it would be in her best interests to stay there. Accordingly, the judge granted sole managing conservatorship of Lili to her foster parents.


The foster parents finalized their adoption of Lili at the beginning of 2024. It was a joyous day in court for this new family. While both of the biological parents’ rights were terminated, Lili’s adoptive parents are still in contact with her biological mother.


*Names were changed to protect the identity of children we help.


You may put in a request of a court appointed advocate for any child/children currently in the temporary managing conservatorship of Harris County DFPS.

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To report child abuse, neglect or abandonment, contact the Texas Abuse and Neglect Hotline.

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