While getting ready for vacation, we tipped one of the chairs down in our Suburban to make room for a very large cooler. Since only four of us were headed north, we didn't need all the seats and bringing along a cooler makes it so much cheaper. Those gas station drinks and treats are too expensive.
Well, once in Iowa, we did some more rearranging of the vehicle. As I went to pull the chair upright again I got a catch in my throat. There, tucked in a little nook under the chair, was a small purple circle.
One of Dolly's bracelets.
Dude and Dolly are still all over my house. Most of the time I'm OK with it.
Sometimes it still really hurts.
One of the things I've needed to deal with since September 23, 2013 was the fundraising puzzle. I realize I've got a lot of new readers that have joined this adventure since Dude and Dolly left. Not everyone knows their story. So I'll give you a VERY brief recap...
Dude and Dolly were MY kids. Their mom abandoned them the day they came in to Care (June 15, 2011). The only visits she kept were the ones that CPS practically forced her to keep. She never worked any of her case plan and actually ended up back in jail just a couple months after the kids came to me. When she got out, she didn't even call CPS to try and see her kids again for several weeks. (Even then, I'm pretty sure CPS called her to set up the visit.) She never wanted to parent.
The case plan the entire time these cherubs were in my home was relative conservatorship with their paternal grandma (Grandma N who lives in Dallas). At no point in time did Grandma N do anything to develop a relationship with these cherubs. She didn't know them. They didn't know her. (Shoot...they didn't even both speak the same language!) Grandma N also keeps close ties with all of her children - even the gang member, drug dealing, drug using ones. No one thought it was a good idea for the kids to go to this grandma except their CPS case worker. And that person, Minnie, is a very odd duck and really seemed to be incredibly biased against us.
The judge told us to hire a lawyer and intervene in the case. The GAL advised the same thing. The cherubs' therapist wanted them to stay with us. So after 23 months of waiting for the State to do the right thing by these kids, we hired our own lawyer and intervened.
Lawyers are expensive.
Awesome friends of mine decided to help us and a puzzle fundraiser was started.
Each piece of the puzzle was "worth" $5. If someone donated I wrote their name on the back of the puzzle piece and we started putting the puzzle together.
We didn't drop out of the case. Even the judge recommended that we stay "in" through the holidays. But it was futile. CPS continued to lie about the cherubs. I saw court reports that I knew were inaccurate. We still had limited phone contact with the cherubs but it was painful. Horrible. Terrible. We knew we'd never be able to change things and our lawyer was just going to keep costing us more and more money. So, we dropped out of the case. Everything was "finished" in January 2014. We dropped out right before a court hearing because we were convinced that Grandma N was going to be given permanent managing conservatorship (PMC) and that it wasn't worth the financial or emotional effort anymore.
But that puzzle stayed on the table. Almost mocking me.
Donations still came in after the cherubs left. I still had pieces to put in the puzzle.
But I couldn't do it.
Finally I moved the puzzle to a smaller end table in my living room. It gathered dust as I ignored it.
The puzzle was still there when Ricky and Daisy moved in.
A couple months ago I got the courage to just disassemble the puzzle altogether.
Last night I finally finished cleaning house.
This wall displays two of my favorite family photos. One is when we were a family of eight with Pumpkin, Dude and Dolly. One is from about a year later when it was just US. My family. Me, Mr. Amazing, Herman, TT, Bart, Dude and Dolly.
I couldn't get rid of the puzzle. But I couldn't put it together either. Thankfully, I found a compromise.
And if you're the praying type, please send up some prayers for Miss Daisy and all the adults involved in her case. We go to court tomorrow and it's going to be monumental. I honestly have no idea what is going to happen because since we've been in Texas, I've been wrong when predicting the outcome of court hearings almost 100% of the time. My thinking brain says that Daisy needs to stay in foster care. But I really have no idea what the judge is going to do.
I'll keep y'all posted.