All of the important parties showed up in court today.
All the attorneys asked decent enough questions of me AND ACTUALLY LISTENED TO MY ANSWERS!
We got in almost on time. And the session didn't last too long.
The State now has Permanent Managing Conservatorship of Pumpkin. She will not be going home with her mom. Ever.
Pumpkin remains in foster care for the time being. We have a placement hearing in April. At that time CPS is supposed to have been in better contact with the two relatives that have (somewhat) stepped forward to care for Pumpkin. If either of those options is deemed safe, they will present it to the court in April for the judge to decide what happens next.
In the meantime, Pumpkin's mom has been granted a little bit more visitation. She will now get two visits a month - each for two hours (instead of one visit for one hour). Pumpkin's mom also has to pay child support to the State for Pumpkin! (I didn't even know something like this was a possibility!)
Today has been particularly hard on Dolly. She's reaching a higher level of understanding of what foster care really is. The other day she gave me the biggest hug you can possibly imagine. Then, several minutes later when she stepped back she looked at me and said, "Grandma? My grandma loves me?"
She went on to process as only a four year old can what is happening to her. She's realizing that when she goes to live with her grandma she's going to be leaving our house. She's so conflicted. She was so sad about it all.
Those same emotions poured out at breakfast this morning. (Thankfully Mr. Amazing took the morning off so he could help me with the cherubs and then stay home with Dude & Dolly while we were in court.) Court for Pumpkin must have been quite the trigger. Dolly couldn't communicate her distress. She just cried and cried. I picked her up from the table where she was sitting for breakfast and sat down on the floor with her. She buried her head in my neck as deeply as possibly could. When I asked her if she wanted to eat breakfast or have me hold her she said, "hold you". So, I held her. After a bit I asked her if she wanted me to throw out her breakfast (the cereal was getting soggy) or if she wanted to go eat. She said, "throw it out". I ended up holding Dolly for over 20 minutes. I didn't put her down until I had to walk out the door to take Cherubs 2 & 3 to school. Even then, Dolly simply climbed off my lap and on to Mr. Amazing's.
Foster care is difficult stuff. It's so hard for a four year old to understand what's going on. Words like court and people like judges are so abstract. Pumpkin has NO idea what happened today. Dolly does. Not the intimate details - but she knows Pumpkin went to court and someone called a judge had to make decisions about Pumpkin's life. It scared her to death this morning.
Our afternoon and evening aren't going to be stress-free either. We've got a home visit with our agency worker. Then Pumpkin has a visit with her mom. I'm going to be completely wiped out by bedtime. I'm out of tequila. However, I do see some cranberry juice with a splash of vodka in my future. LOL