I'm still reeling.
I still have NO IDEA what's really going to happen.
I showed up exactly on time for Dude and Dolly's visit today at the CPS office. Amazingly enough, a worker answered the phone and came to let us in right away.
I was - literally - freaked out as hell about seeing Minnie. She was in a conference room eating lunch. I decided to smile and act like nothing strange has happened lately. I made a joke about whether she had recovered from the weekend of travel (with the kids back and forth from Dallas). I told her I get tired just thinking about it.
Bio Mom, Great Grandma P and Cousin A showed up as I was leaving. I said hi to Mom. I gave Great Grandma P (GGP) a hug and I left with TT and Bart.
We went shopping. About an hour in to the visit or so I got a call from GGP. I was in the very back of WalMart though and had no signal. I had to go outside the store to call her back. It seems she was calling me to tell me that she and Cousin A got kicked out of the visit. She didn't need me for anything as she was just going to wait in the parking lot for Bio Mom. But I guess she wanted me to know. There was no reason whatsoever given for making GGP and Cousin A leave. They were just told they could only stay for 30 minutes and then they had to leave.
I wrapped up our shopping and went back to CPS. I stood in the parking lot and chatted with GGP until the visit time was up.
It was the usual conversation. GGP told me for the millionth time that she doesn't want the kids to go to Dallas. She's convinced it's not safe there. She's convinced they will end up back in Care. The look on her face when I told her if that was the case the kids wouldn't come back to me about broke my heart. I had to clarify things for GGP. If Grandma N in Dallas gets custody of the kids and something happens that they need to come back in to Care, the kids would stay in the Dallas area.
GGP looked so upset. She said that even Cousin A has told Bio Mom to not send the kids to Dallas. Even Cousin A thinks they should stay with us. Finally, because I didn't know what else to say, I told GGP that Bio Mom could tell her lawyer that she wants the kids with us.
I went in to the office to get the kids. They were VERY ready to be done with their visit. They eagerly ran out to my truck. GGP and I talked a bit. Then I looked over at Bio Mom and asked if Minnie had told her I wanted to reschedule next week's visit. (The kids have Christmas activities going on at school that they don't want to miss.) Minnie hadn't (surprise surprise). I told Bio Mom I'd like to reschedule if possible. Before we could even finish that conversation though, GGP grabbed me and very sternly said, "Tell Bio Mom what you said to me!"
Mustering up every bit of courage I decided I've got nothing to lose. I walked closer to the truck where Bio Mom was at.
Do you want the kids to go to Dallas?
No. I want them.
Yeah, but do you want them to go to Dallas?
I want to get my kids back.
I know you do. But as I've been told things, that isn't going to happen. You're not doing what you're supposed to do to get the kids back. Do you want them to go to Dallas?
From there I don't remember the order of everything I said. It's all a blur now. I basically gave Bio Mom a five minute Come to Jesus moment. I told her how I feel about things. I told her what she could do. It sounded something like this: (not necessarily in this order...you'll get the picture though)
- You can tell your lawyer that you don't want the kids in Dallas. The kids CAN stay with us.
- I believe strongly in bio families staying connected. As long as you are clean and sober I would let you have contact with the kids. If you're strung out and it's not safe I wouldn't.
- I love these kids as much as you do. I don't say that to hurt your feelings but it's how it is. I love your children as if they were my own. I would do anything for those kids.
- Minnie doesn't like me too much. She thinks I'm too attached to the kids.
- You would always be their mom.
- PMC stands for Permanent Managing Conservatorship. You could tell your lawyer you want us to have PMC. At court it's either going to be us or Grandma N. PMC means that we would be their legal parents. As I understand things the State is not in a position to terminate rights. But PMC would mean that we can go anywhere and do anything with the kids without having to get permission. That means even if my husband gets a new job out of state we could move with the kids.
- I don't think it would be safe for them in Dallas.
- We pray for you. I pray that you're able to beat whatever it is that has a hold on you right now. I pray that God puts people in your life to help you through this. God loves you.
I hugged Grandma. I told her I hoped I didn't just make things worse for me.
Because I'm a blabbermouth, I didn't keep my trap shut when Rainbow came by tonight. (It just so happens that we agreed to an emergency respite placement. We've got a 22 month old little girl for the next week or so. Her foster mom is very sick and was told by her doctor today that she is highly contagious and that she shouldn't be around her kids.)
Anyway, I told Rainbow what happened after I made her promise to not tell Minnie. When I finished the first thing she did was laugh and say, "Yeah, that's not something to tell Minnie at all!!"
Rainbow couldn't say for sure what she thought this would do to the case. Her first reaction was along the lines of, "well....if everyone in the case but CPS is in favor of you getting the kids...it just might happen". But then, she had to throw a big dose of reality on me and remind me that family ALWAYS trumps foster in the courts. And, as much as I have concerns about the visits in Dallas, in the world of FosterCare Land...these visits have been going quite wonderfully. There are some bumps in the road but nothing that the court is going to really even look twice at. She ended it saying that it could still go either way.
I'm not holding my breath. I'm not that stupid. But the complete level of desperation I was reaching as we drove to the visit today has lifted again. I'm very, very (very very very very) tired of foster care drama. It's not healthy for me. It's not easy for my forever kids. I'm getting worn out. But I'll admit, I'm feeling pretty good again.
My prayer that I'm screaming up to God on a daily basis is a prayer that these children can be out of foster care in four weeks when we go to court. I pray that crap is not drug out for another four months. I pray that the judge can make a final decision for these cherubs and let everyone move on. It's either Grandma N or it's us. In all reality it is that simple. Someone just needs to act on it and make it happen.