Many of you know this sweet little face.... Maybe you've met her in person or you just keep up with her on facebook and InstaGram. Most of you know her Aunt and my dear friend Josette Lacey. Sophia is a little over a year and a half and has spent the past year bouncing from homelessness, to motel, to a short time in an apartment and back to homeless. Last year at this time Sophia's parents seperated, and because neither parent could give her a safe enviroment to live in the courts gave Josette and her husband Jason temporary custody, the parents were allowed supervised visits, which the mom only showed up once over the 3 month period. In November the judge decided to allow Josette's brother to take Sophia back. Lucky for Sophia the Lacey's and Josette's mom have been available weekly to pick up Sophie anytime her dad couldn't take care of her, which normally works out to 3-4 days a week. They all have put their own lives on hold and even missed work to care for Sophia. They have a great group of support who has also falling in love with Sophia. For months, this family has felt guilt and turmoil everytime they returned this baby to her father knowing she was not in a safe enviroment and not really knowing where she would sleep that night, but because they have been told numerous times from law enforcement and social workers that since they were not her parents and no longer had temporary custody they had to give her back.
Two weeks ago Josette was contacted by CPS because they had recieved several reports reagrding Sophie's well being. Josette had Sophia at the time and agreed to let them visit her home. They then tried to make contact with Josettes brother. They asked Josette at that time if she would be willing to care for her neice for a few weeks while they investigated these reports and try to get Josette's brother some rehabilitaion. Needless to say, Josette's brother believe's this is all her families doing and will not agree to put Sophia in their care, which left CPS no other choice but to place her into foster care. Josette, Jason and her mom have spent the past week in court, at social services, and meeting with an attorney trying to file for Guardianship, but unfortunately the way our system works even unfit parents have more rights than the children they are repsonsible for, and because Sophia's dad still will not agree, as of Wednesday Sophia was placed in permanent foster care and is now part of "the system."
It seems The Lacey's have a tougher battle on their hands but refuse to give up on this sweet baby!! There seems to be hope and a possiblity that eventually they could be granted guardianship but there will be several more court appearances, many lawyer fees, filing fees and missed days of work.
Many of you have been reaching out to ask what you can do to help, and your positive words and continued prayers have been a huge help for this family.
I had a parent from St. Basil's school, where Josette works, suggest setting up a fund to help the Lacey's with some of these costs. If you know Josette you know she will never ask for help or accept a hand out, yet she is always willing to give, nurture and spend countless hours helping others.
So, I will ask for her!! If you want to help #freesophie just click the donate button. The smallest amount will be greatly appreciated. Please share Sophia's story with your friends too!
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