Appeal from the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Ada County, Magistrate Division. The Hon. Linda C. Trout, Senior Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eismann, Chief Justice.
The judgment of the magistrate court is affirmed.
This is an appeal from a judgment terminating parental rights with respect to six children. The appeal contends that the judgment is not based upon substantial and competent evidence. We affirm the judgment.
I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Mother was born in Burundi in 1978 in a rural area near the Tanzanian border. Because of frequent ethnic violence between the Hutus and the Tutsis, Mother‟s family moved to a refugee camp in Tanzania sometime in the 1980‟s. All of the family except Mother and a brother died from illness while at the refugee camp. Mother left the camp to live with her grandmother for about one year, and then moved to the Mtendeli refugee camp in Tanzania. During that time, she attended a few years of school, but is illiterate in her native language.
In 1997, Mother began living with a man at the refugee camp. In order to survive, they bought and sold fruit and vegetables at the camp. Mother and the man had a son in 1997, a daughter in 2001, and another son in 2002. After their third child was born, the man began drinking more and beating Mother. He was arrested for beating Mother seriously enough to require medical care, and she moved to another refugee camp for a while, but then returned. They had another son born in 2003. After his birth, the man stabbed Mother, requiring that she be hospitalized. She and the children then moved to the Mkugwa refugee camp.
At Mkugwa, Mother met another man, with whom she lived for about a year. They had a daughter born in 2004. The relationship ended, however, when the child‟s father was granted refugee status and moved to Australia. While living at Mkugwa, Mother raised enough crops to feed her family and to sell at a local market. She also learned to make a local beer that she also sold at the market. By selling the crops and beer, she was able to support herself and her family and to save some money.
In 2006, the immigration process began so that Mother and her children could move either back to Burundi or to a foreign country. Mother chose the United States. The immigration process took about six months, with Mother and her children transferring every few months to another refugee camp. They arrived in Boise in August, 2006.
When she arrived with her five children, Mother was pregnant by a man with whom she had had a relationship just before leaving Mkugwa. Their son was born on March 23, 2007, in Boise.
Mother and her children were brought to Boise by the World Relief Organization (WRO). It places refugees in various communities, provides three to six months of financial assistance, and helps the refugees find lodging, jobs, access to social services, and contacts with people in the community willing to help. WRO did the paperwork necessary for Mother to begin receiving welfare (Medicaid, SSI benefits, food stamps, WIC benefits, and Section 8 housing). It also provided an apartment, some furnishings, and clothing for the family. Because Mother was illiterate and did not understand math or numbers, the WRO volunteer also was the payee on Mother‟s welfare benefits in order to pay the bills. The volunteer assisted Mother in buying food with the family‟s food stamps and in transporting her to her English classes and other appointments.
By May of 2007, WRO‟s assistance was coming to an end, and it was obvious to the volunteer that Mother was not able to successfully care for herself and her family. The volunteer therefore asked for help from members of her church. The church members spent a substantial amount of time, effort, and money in supporting Mother and her children. They provided Mother with daily assistance by transporting her and the children to medical appointments and church, assisting her in grocery shopping, helping her clean the apartment, washing clothes and bedding, making sure the children got to and from school, helping with school work or English lessons, paying bills, handling her mail, and buying sheets, towels and other necessities.
On August 19, 2007, several of the church members met with Mother and an interpreter to discuss what could be done for the children. They agreed that the older children could live with church members during the school year to better learn English and to better participate in school activities. About a week later, Mother signed powers of attorney permitting church members to take custody of all of the children. Church members took all of the children, but the following day the youngest child was returned to Mother at her request. In September, the church members arranged to have Mother move to an apartment in Meridian, where she would be closer to where the five older children were staying.
On October 1 and 2, 2007, Mother was taken to a hospital emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain and headaches. There were also concerns expressed through an interpreter that Mother was having hallucinations, nightmares, and suicidal thoughts. Mother was then transferred to the behavioral health unit, where she was diagnosed as having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). She was placed on medications and was discharged on October 11, 2007. Two days later she was again hospitalized when she accidentally took too much medication. When Mother returned home, at her request her oldest child and her two youngest children were returned to her. By the end of October, two other children were also returned to Mother. She allowed her remaining child to stay with a church family she trusted, but she had daily contact with the child. On weekday mornings, a church member would call Mother to wake the children up for school and would transport the four ...