So....after I got the email from the investigator today I lost it! First I went up into an empty bedroom upstairs and cried a little. Then I tried to call Mr. Amazing. It's not a lot of fun dealing with all these powerful emotions so far away from the love of my life. Mr. Amazing was busy at work though and couldn't talk. So...I cried a little more. Then I figured I HAD to talk to someone. And since I'd probably worn out my mom and my sister's ears, I called Rainbow. Unfortunately, Rainbow was at lunch. I told the secretary it was no big deal and I'd get ahold of her later.
Just a few minutes passed though and Rainbow called me. I was incredibly emotional but I was driven to process this more. I told her I needed to know what COULD happen. With hesitation in her voice she told me the truth. If they determine that I ever spanked Dude or Dolly it will be on my permanent record as "RTB" (reason to believe) I abused a child. I would NEVER be able to do anything that would require a background check. Rainbow said this but immediately went in to an ultra-defensive (of me) mode. She said over and over that she can't possibly see this ending that way. She said she turned over six months worth of notes from all the home visits she made to see us and that every visit Dude and Dolly only reported going to time out as a punishment. She said that the CPS worker for Dude and Dolly doesn't believe they were ever abused. She also said that Dolly's therapist turned in notes that don't support an abuse claim.
But I have to continue to wait. Rainbow said that typically the verdict is sent via mail from the investigative department of CPS to my licensing agency. If my agency doesn't see something by tomorrow when the agency director gets back in the office, the director is going to call the investigator. I'm hoping I'll hear something. (But then again, I've been saying that for over 2 weeks now so I'm not holding my breath.)
I then proceeded to have a ginormous cry of epic proportions. It felt as awful as the day the children left over three weeks ago. It's been hard carrying around this level of emotion. I can't really grieve. I can't really move on. I just have to wait.
I managed to pull it together and have a lot of fun at the last Cousins Camp event this afternoon. We had a ball at the pool!!
But during dinner I got a text that brought it all flooding back to me. I found out tonight that everything has cleared for Pumpkin's mom on her side of the investigation. Of course she didn't get in any trouble at all. Visits have started back up again at the CPS office. Pumpkin's first one is tomorrow. I doubt they will hold a special hearing though to try and get the unsupervised visits started again as we go to court in only a month. I'm guessing that Pumpkin will go home in August. It makes me sick to my stomach!!!
I don't know how my vacation is going to end. All along I figured if the children couldn't come back to me, I'd just stay in Iowa longer. Now though, I think if it ends poorly I'm going to have to high-tail it back to Texas so I can personally see to an appeal of the case. There is no way I'm going to go down without a fight. There are too many professionals involved in this case that do not believe the children were ever abused. I cannot live the rest of my life being denied the opportunity to work with children if a background check is involved.
If the children can be returned to my home - well - I'll put it out there - I'm not sure I want to take them. I WILL TAKE THEM OF COURSE. But I'll be honest, I'm not sure I want to. Rainbow assured me that Dude and Dolly have been fine. The kids talk about us positively. But really, she didn't say much about Dude and Dolly. All of it was fluff to make me feel better in the moment. And since Rainbow isn't a parent in real life (she's a young, single, social worker) she does not understand what it will be like if the children do come back to me. I'm quite confident she can't wrap her brain around the behaviors I'm sure we'll see mixed in with all the emotional baggage I'll be carrying as a result of the long, drawn-out investigation. Even my forever children are upset by everything. If the foster kids come back, it will NOT be an easy transition!! I'll do it, but it won't be easy.
Cousins Camp wrapped up tonight so all the events I promised my forever children have been fulfilled. I'm staying in Iowa until I hear a verdict. I'll decide what to do specifically at that time. Do I stay in Iowa another day or two and help fill my pregnant sister's deep freeze with casseroles? Do I turn around immediately and head for home? Do I use a Groupon I saw today for a hotel/water park in Oklahoma and take an extra day on the way back to Texas? Do I take my friend in Fort Worth up on her offer to stop and visit? Do I stay an extra day in San Antonio to do Sea World one more time with our annual passes? So many decisions.
And while my eyes may hurt from crying, this vacation has been a tremendous amount of fun too. I got to spend time with my three year old nephew (my brother's son) that didn't know me before this week. The kiss he planted on my cheek when we said goodbye tonight melted my heart. Earlier this week I got to get in a giant water fight with all the cousins out in the kiddie pool. (Note to self: do not attack the 10 year old standing in the middle of the pool first!) I got to listen to my 12 year old niece try and talk her parents into letting her come home with me for a visit to Texas. (It was a "no" but she might come down in October with my parents on their next visit.) There were so many wonderful memories made!! I'm glad I came!
Through it all, I'm praying I can handle the investigation verdict. I'll keep y'all posted.