July 12th, 2009

Social Services, Custody and Moving across Boarders with a Minor

I've asked about this topic before and have done loads of research. But before I can go on in my story, I need to ask a couple of more questions. Searched: pretty much everything having to do with adoption, international family adoption, putative paternal rights, Toronto Ministry of Youth and Children Services, laws about child abandonment and custody in Ontario, and much more.

Setting: January 2003, Toronto, Ontario
Background: 12 year-old boy and his guardian get into a car accident. The guardian dies. The previously missing father shows up at the scene completely coincidentally. Due to certain circumstances, he realizes that the boy must be his son. The mother is missing and presumed dead and he had no idea that she was pregnant when she went missing. It's probably not the best idea, but the father takes the son with him and just drives off, trying to work through the situation in his head. They get stuck in a blizzard about two and a half hours north of Toronto and the father intends to return with the boy the next day.

I know that the father shouldn't have left, etc. But he has the power to pretty much do what he wants. He does plan on returning the boy. What I want to know is this: Say the father and boy show up at the police station (by this time the father has already called a lawyer and learned who was in charge with dealing with the accident). Would the Ministry of Children and Youth Services get involved? IIRC, in the states usually a case worker from Social Services is called. But I can't find that out exactly in Canada. Also, if the father requests to keep the son with him while the accident is being investigated, would he be allowed to do so? At the moment, he has no proof that the boy is his son. The father is not a citizen -- would that affect matters any? How long would the boy have to stay in the care of a foster family/in a home? Until the father proved that he was the father? Or longer? It's going to be clear pretty soon that the mother is completely out of the picture.

Also, the father eventually wants to get full custody of his son. The mother has essentially abandoned the boy and because he's the father, I don't believe it would be too hard for him to convince a judge to award him full custody. But: the father was living in London, about to move to New York and the boy has lived in Canada his entire life (but is a US citizen). What country would be the most likely setting for the custody hearing? Seeing as how the boy is a US citizen, would the father have any trouble crossing the boarder if he doesn't have custody yet? Would the police let him leave with the boy if he didn't have an official custody order? Because it's a car accident, I don't think that the police will have too much to investigate. But would they still be involved in the search for the mother and figuring out the details of the guardian's estate?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

How long would the proceeding take? I know that adoptions can take months - or even years - but because this isn't really a true adoption, I'm a bit confused

The Ashes and cricket in Wales

I have a few questions about cricket...

1.  When would the tickets for the Ashes test in Cardiff have gone on sale?  I saw that for the Lord's Test, the 'general public ballots' were held in January, is this the same thing as tickets just going on sale and is this a pretty standard time-frame?  Also, if an influential person wanted to get seats fairly soon before Test matches, would it be plausible for there to still be some seats available?
And would people typically try to buy tickets for all, a few, or just one of the days?

2.  What sorts of foods do they sell at Stadiums in Wales?  And what is with these references to players taking tea that I've seen around but haven't been able to find much more about?

3.  What would someone with a working-class background (he's mid-twenties and Welsh, if that makes any difference) consider to be the elite or high-class sport?  In North America, I know the perception tends to be that cricket is a very prestigious British sport, that Lords and the wealthy would play or watch, while football and rugby are the more 'common' sports, that most people would be a fan of, but I'm not sure how accurate this is.  So if he's trying to craft an image of himself as intelligent and more upper-class, would cricket be a good sport for him to choose to be a fan of, or would something else be more likely (possibly tennis?)?

Also, does anyone know of a website I could use to find historical data for weather on specific days in British cities? (Why yes, I pay anal attention to detail)

Things I have searched:  the ashes+tickets/ticket sales/spectators, various things about sport in Wales/Britain, cricket+tea, various reading about cricket game-play

Werewolves

I know some of the obvious vulnerabilities about werewolves - silver and wolfsbane by popular "tradition". Wikipedia adds rye, mistletoe and ash - which I can find no proof for, and I don't always trust Wiki. Googling gives me... nothing. I've read the phrase "silver bullet" about three hundred times so far.

(I've been googling things like... "werewolves/werewolf myth legend science vulnerability/ies weakness".)

What are some of the other "established" vulnerabilities of a werewolf?

And, does anyone know of any sites that discuss - seriously - the scientific realities of werewolves/shapeshifters and the myths involved with them?

Trees in central France

Setting: Several centuries into the future, central France. Climate a little hotter and dryer than now, but not considerably so.

Question: I've got a sort of... manor house with expansive (and expensive) gardens. I'm trying to pluck some names in particular for the sort of plants that might be considered fairly exotic or interesting but could still grow outdoors in this area. Money and care are no object, so it's a case of the hardiness of the plant.

I think I've turned up a couple of possibilities on the tree front - Red Snakebark Maple, Dove Tree and Malus sieversii, but the last is a fruit tree so possibly not what I'm looking for. However, I keep running into French so I can't do very much better off the top of my head. I've also come across something called the "Remarkable Gardens" which I'm trying to churn up more information on, but I'm struggling to discover which of the plants or displays are actually considered the most impressive/unusual.

Searches: Combinations of 'France', 'native species', 'trees', 'plants', 'ornamental plants', 'gardens'. I've also tried going through some garden centre and arboretum websites, but my French really isn't up to the job any more. Oh, and I tried looking by 'rare species' first, but that just got me chasing my own tail.

SIGHTS/TASTES/SMELLS/SOUNDS/ OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON

I'm writing a short story that's taking place on Christmas Eve in a two locations, a middle-class American suburb, and a big city. (doesn't have to be specific.) One group's going out to look at the lights in the city, and the other's having a thing at home.

My question:
What are your favourite little things about the atmosphere of the Christmas season? What stands out the most in your mind? Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touches.

I love writing about Christmas, but I'm trying to broaden my scope by hearing about what others have to say, along with using things from my own experiences.

Sidenote: *One of the characters is British. Would there be any Christmas traditions that are specific to them?

I researched this by searching for things like "favourite memories of Christmas" and "Christmas atmosphere", but I'm trying to dig a little deeper to really bring this to life.

Thanks!