Friday morning I was nervous. I didn't like the thought of a stranger taking my children away from me so they could be interviewed. I was slightly relieved when it was Rainbow that showed up to get them. At least I knew they would be with someone they knew through part of the process anyway.
Three hours later I still hadn't heard anything. I hadn't eaten at all. I could barely focus. It was not a good feeling. I let TT and Bart watch TV almost all morning. I was honest with them, I said I wanted THEM close to me. I also told them up front that Dude, Dolly, and Pumpkin might be leaving and I knew they would want to say goodbye to their foster siblings. It was a very uncomfortable morning.
Not that I was worried about what Dude and Dolly were saying. There was just a cloud of stress hanging over the house. It was more like I was worried what questions they were being asked and if the interviewers would really understand their answers.
I have NEVER abused my kids. But these are very little children. English is their second language. Dolly is a pleaser. I worried about what they were being put through.
When Rainbow called me I could hear it in her voice. She told me she would be by soon to get their things and to pick up Pumpkin.
When Rainbow walked in the door she was upset. Not crying. But upset. I could tell she felt just horrible. She said she knew nothing. She said, "the investigators wouldn't tell me anything because I think they knew I would tell you."
Dolly was so excited about her new battery operated Sesame Street toy. It sang and moved. She couldn't wait to show me. Dude confirmed that yes, I did have their stuff ready. Though neither child understood what was happening at all! Even Pumpkin seemed stressed.
I loaded up the three children in the back of Rainbow's car. Rainbow hugged me several times and started to cry too. Dude and Dolly kept saying things like, "Mamma L*** is crying. TT and Bart are crying." They did not know why we were so upset. It was all very surreal.
They pulled away right around 1:00PM.
I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to function. I didn't want to – but I tried. I worked a little. I let TT and Bart play video games. I cleaned a little.
Then I went up to my bedroom with the shades pulled and got in bed. I turned the TV on for white noise but in reality, I just wanted to hide away from everyone.
Extreme guilt washed over me. Maybe I could have done things differently. I kept trying to figure out what on Earth those children told the investigators. What do all the professionals really think about the situation?! How can this all possibly end well?! What is going to happen next?! I spent nearly two hours swinging back and forth between my mind racing through all the "what ifs" and being totally numb and not thinking anything.
It was awful.
Mr. Amazing came home from work at 5:00 with Herman. It was decided that we should go out to dinner. I made it clear I would only go to a dark restaurant with few people. We opted to go to a local bar/restaurant that has dart boards. It was early and we knew it would be empty.
Thank God Mr. Amazing got me out of the house. I think he did so in just the nick of time. I finally ate food for the first time that entire day. I interacted with my FAMILY and we started to come together.
We ran some errands and then I asked, "So guys, what should we do this weekend." After a bit of bantering, we decided to switch up our previously scheduled vacation plans and go to Sea World early. I struggled with this some. Part of me thought that running off to do something fun might not be the appropriate way to deal with a heartache like this. (Do I "look" guilty now?!) Then I decided, screw it -- I HAVE to take care of the children that are guaranteed to be with me forever. And I'm not going to do them a damn bit of good if I stay holed up in my bedroom all weekend.
We came back from our errands and packed. I made arrangements for a neighbor to watch the dog. And we went to bed with plans for having fun in our minds.
The weekend itself was a success. There was talk of Dude and Dolly...but not a lot. Really, what can we say?! It might not all be "over". They might come back. But if they don't, we rallied together as a family unit and bonded. We have a saying in our family and we said it multiple times this weekend:
We are the E****s (our last name)
We stick together
And we can do ANYTHING
Because of the grace of God
I guess it's our family motto. It felt good to be that unit again.
It was hard not having the others. I had really started to identify with being a multi-racial family...with being a big family...with everything it took to be a foster family. I was surprised at how OK I was with going back to what used to be our "normal".
I still don't know what's going to happen. I still have no idea how this could all turn out OK. I know I won't rest until it is OVER and I do pray that happens soon. I am very grateful we were able to leave like this over the weekend though. It's going to take a lot for me to trudge through the coming week I'm sure. The new normal isn't going to feel right for a long time.
I appreciate your prayers and kind words on my last few blog posts. They meant a lot to me. This is a horrific experience that I would wish on NO ONE! Being equated with those that hurt and abused our kids the first time is not a pleasant thing to live through. But I will get through it. My family will get through this. We will survive. I'll keep y'all posted.