- Sunday night the little cherubs told Mr. Amazing they saw their bio dad through the window. No explanation. No details. Just that they saw him through the window.
- Monday...very little talk of Dallas. While on my lap at bedtime both cherubs expressed their love for me. I did my best at attempting conversation with no judgement in my voice. Honestly, if the children want to move to Dallas that is probably what is best for them. I would need to put aside my own feelings and trust that CPS has done their job. Anyway...I made sure to tell the cherubs that their feelings were valid (worded for preschoolers of course). I then asked them where they want to live. Both children (Dude especially) said they want to live with us. As much as it pained me I felt I had to tell them that because they told Minnie they want to live in Dallas, that's probably what is going to happen. I will not lie to these children. Both children gave me a very shell-shocked physical response. Neither child said anything
Grandma N has a black car.I tried to ask questions that could be answered with a simple yes or no. I tried to ask questions that needed a real answer. Nothing the children said made any sense. None at all. You'll have to trust me when I tell you I tried as hard as I could to be nonchalant about things. Not judgmental. Not pressing. Just conversational. But as we drove, as we talked, Dolly shut down. She went DEEP inside herself. Her eyes welled up. She started to cry.
So does Papi J.
Me: Did you see your Papi J?
We saw him. Grandma beeped.
Me: Grandma beeped?
Yeah, grandma beeped. (made motions of honking a horn)
Me: Where was grandma when you saw Papi J?
No answer. Deer in the headlight look.
Me: Did you see Papi J at Grandma's house?
One child answered yes. One child answered no.
Me: Was Grandma in the house with you when you saw Papi J?
No real answer from the children.
The children are allowed to see their bio dad for two hours in a supervised setting with Grandma. I do not know where they were or what it was like when they saw their bio dad this past weekend. Minnie takes everything Grandma says at face value but I don't always feel like Grandma's story and what the kids say line up completely. Bio Dad is a heavy drug user and pusher. He is not a safe person nor does he associate with safe people. Any contact he has with the children should be strictly monitored. I wish I knew what the kids saw and did.
I asked Dolly if something scary happened in Dallas.
I asked Dolly if Grandma and Papi J had a fight.
She muttered a tiny little "no".
I asked her what happened in Dallas.
I got nothing but a petrified deer in the headlight response from Dolly. She shut down. She couldn't say anything. (And I do mean couldn't. Her trauma response prevented her from speaking. I don't think she voluntarily wasn't answering. She literally couldn't.)
When we got to Dude's school I got the kids out of the car and got down to their level. I tried to reassure Dolly that if she wants to go to Dallas that it is OK. That it really is OK!! (I couldn't tell for sure why Dolly was so upset. It seemed like she was torn in half emotionally. I guessed as to how to approach it.) I do not want to contribute to feelings of shame because she's drawn to her bio family. I will NOT sway these children into saying they want to stay with us. I will not be a part of that at all. I don't give a damn if CPS believes me or not (I'm sure they think I'm trying to sway them toward us). In my heart of hearts I know I'm handling this the best way I personally can. I tell the kids I love them. I tell them I will love them forever. I tell them I would love to be their forever mommy. I always tell them it is not up to me. It is not up to CPS. It is not up to the lawyer. It is not up to Grandma. It is up to the judge. I had an internet friend once tell me that she thinks my approach is a good one. (She is a former foster child so I take her opinion quite seriously.) She says at least I'm making sure these children know, to the best of my ability anyway, that I am not responsible for all that is going on....that I'm not abandoning them.
I asked Dolly why she was crying. Her only answer was that she misses her mommy.
I never did figure anything out about the trip to Dallas and the contact they had with their bio dad. Nothing they said made any sense.
When I stopped at the gas station to buy some breakfast tacos for everyone Dolly was still deep inside herself. It took every ounce of energy that she had to tell me what kind of a taco she wanted. I tried to give her a choice between two flavors. I asked her open ended, "what kind of taco do you want?". She just stood there scared to death. Finally, she muttered, "with beans". But it was so difficult for her to answer. Trauma permeates so deeply.
As we conversed this morning, I was brutally honest with Dolly. I empathized with her about missing her mommy. But then, because I will not lie to these children, I did tell her that she's not going to live with her mommy again. I told her it's very sad but that her mommy is still making bad choices and is not keeping herself safe. I told Dolly that the judge is going to decide between staying with us or moving to Dallas. And again, I did tell her that if she goes to Dallas she will not see us again.
It sucks. It totally sucks!! But I will not lie to these kids. If they move to Dallas in January I don't want them thinking they will come back to us. They need to know that it is forever. I'm quite confident they will be confused after a few days because they are so used to coming back "home". And in all reality, "home" is where they want to be.
I sent a text yesterday to a CPS supervisor (Deborah) that I trust. She's not currently a part of this case – but she was earlier. She's familiar with who I am as she was a part of Pumpkin's case too. She has always treated me with respect and I respect her as well! I trusted her to tell me if my concerns are out of proportion with reality...if I'm overreacting.
She just called me back this morning. We chatted for a bit. I shared all my concerns. She all but ordered me to report everything to Minnie's supervisor (Raymond).
I'm going to compose something later on today and send it to Raymond. I know there is little time left before we go to court. I'm scared to death that by doing this all I'm going to do is extend the cherubs' time in foster care. And I'm NOT convinced that more time in foster care is in their best interests. But honestly, if the situation in Dallas isn't safe, it's my job to report what the kids say. It's CPS's job to follow through if they deem it necessary.
Please pray that my email is worded in such a way that CPS takes it seriously without thinking I'm trying to sabotage things. I ask for prayers that these children end up in the best place for them – where they will be safe and loved. Honestly, if that is Dallas, I pray that Grandma has all she needs to provide for the cherubs and their needs. If they are to stay here, please pray that we are given guardianship in January.