As this week drug on, I wound myself up tighter and tighter. I tried oh so hard no to. But my body didn't cooperate. From the moment that Bopper came to my house and said that she had no idea what was really going to happen on Friday, January 29, my mind started swirling..........
Would they TPR on Mom?
Would they change the goal back to reunification?
Oh shit. Are they going to start unsupervised weekend visits?
I'm never going to sleep. Star will get so messed up.
Surely they can't start unsupervised visits. Mom's home assessment wasn't positive. She doesn't consistently have utilities.
Even if they TPR on Mom, what about the two bio dads?
Russell's dad is only 18 and he's been locked up for two years. Does he want to work a case plan?
No. No 18 year old gang-banger wants to raise a baby boy with Down syndrome.
Russell's dad's parents didn't pass their home study either.
Is anyone going to ask Russell's dad if he just wants to relinquish his rights?
Maybe someone should talk to Mom about relinquishing her rights.
No. Nobody is going to do that either.
So what the hell is going to happen?!
OK. I bet the State takes PMC (permanent managing conservatorship).
Maybe I should tell someone that WE would be willing to take PMC.
Could we take PMC?
Could we raise these two without any financial assistance at all?
It would be better if we adopted. We'd get a small stipend and the two children would both have full-ride college scholarships.
(Yes...kids with Down syndrome DO go to college!!)
(Russell will. He's smart! He's making amazing progress.)
-- insert entire tangent about how well he's doing and how much he'd regress if he left our home --
OK...back to Friday.
I haven't even thought about Star's dad for awhile. I wonder where he is.
He hasn't asked to see his daughter. They can TPR on him for abandonment.
So maybe they are going to keep pushing for TPR.
And round and round and round I'd go.
Then I'd yell at myself to stop and I'd try to focus on something else.
The elephant on my chest was so heavy. It hurt.
Then I'd pick a baby up and smell deep in to their neck. I'd kiss them. I'd whisper in their ear, "I love you. I'll love you forever. I love you even when you can't see me. I'll never stop loving you. You deserve good things. You are a wonderful child."
And then I'd try to function.
It was bad.
At about 5:00pm on Wednesday night, the lawyer for the babies, Ms. Remus, called me.
I was standing at the stove making dinner. She caught me by surprise. The dozens of conversations I had had in my head seemed to disappear like a vapor. I was tongue tied. I honestly didn't know what to say to her.
She seemed so happy and perky. I sounded so freaked out.
I stammered a bit and then basically said, "I'm sorry. I didn't want to let this phone call go to voice mail. I'm super emotional right now. I don't remember exactly what it was that I wanted to say to you. I'm just worried about the babies. Bopper said that there isn't enough evidence for TPR and that makes me very nervous about the trial on Friday."
With a firm voice, Ms. Remus said, "Oh...there ARE grounds for termination."
And with that, the elephant got off my chest. I started to be able to breathe again.
Ms. Remus went on to say that there are things that need to happen. The State has to deal with Russell's bio father. He still has rights and there aren't grounds to terminate on him.
That all makes sense to me.
She mentioned something about *things* with Sylvia (bio mom). I know Sylvia has been making a lot of little mistakes. There's the drama with Big Sister Violet. There's the fact that she doesn't have stable and safe housing. And I think there might be more the State is trying to do to solidify a case against her.
Ms. Remus said that the trial tomorrow isn't going to happen. There will still be court. She's discussed things with the judge already. But the hearing tomorrow is going to be short and all that is going to happen is that the case is going to be extended. She then said that the kids (and I) don't have to appear.
Not only did the elephant get off my chest, he took a few steps away from me too. Deeper breaths were possible and my head didn't hurt as bad.
I still don't know much of anything. All I know is that this case is going to be extended. I don't know if this extension is going to be for a month or three months or longer.
But Ms. Remus made it very clear that she wants the children to stay here. Her words were, "The children aren't going anywhere Friday...maybe not forever."
The key word in that sentence is still MAYBE.
This is foster care. Anything could happen.
I assured Ms. Remus that I know my role. I know I'm a foster parent. I know what that means. I apologized for being so emotional. I said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry. It was just so hard to hear from no less than six nurses and doctors at the hospital recently how much better Russell is doing. He was hurt so badly before coming in to Care. He was being starved. And it bothers me so much that Sylvia isn't being held responsible for that. I worry for his future should he go back home to her. Surely that is grounds for termination. I know no one can prove who broke his bones. But they can prove who didn't feed him."
Ms. Remus was positive the entire phone call. I could sense confidence through the phone line. And honestly, that was good enough for me. (Bopper was nervous on Wednesday telling me her news. I fed off that nervousness entirely too much. Bopper is not a strong, confident person. She always comes across like a church mouse. I don't relate to people like that well.)
I hung up the phone and my worries were gone.
I still know my role. These children are not mine. Anything could happen. This is foster care after all.
But for now, they are staying here. No one wants these children moved out of our home. I should know more sometime tomorrow if Bopper calls me after court. Foster care is a shit-ton of waiting. And now I'm waiting to hear what happens in court. But I'm OK with that. I'm not going to pay $44 for daycare (where my kids almost always get sick) just so I can hear for myself that the case is being extended. I trust Ms. Remus and/or Bopper to tell me what I need to know about the case. Ms. Remus said I can still attend court. But I'm not going to.
So I'm waiting. And I'll let y'all know what I hear when I hear something.
Thanks again for lifting me up in prayer this week. It really did make a difference.
Neat story about the power of prayer...
Visits to specialists down where I live typically take 2-3 hours. They ALWAYS take at least an hour. Waiting rooms are crowded. And I was dreading going to the cardiologist yesterday more than you know. I've been there multiple times with both Dolly and with Russell. I've always had to wait a long, long time. I was not looking forward to sitting in the waiting room with Sylvia and whatever family members decided to come along with her.
As I pulled into the parking lot, Mom and her sister got out of their truck to come see the babies. I handed Russell to Sylvia and put Star, still in her car seat, in the stroller. I took a deep breath as I opened the door to the office expecting to see dozens of people inside.
I looked left. I looked right. My jaw practically dropped.
There wasn't a single soul in the waiting room and it was 11:30am. Our appointment was at 11:45am and it looked like we weren't going to have to wait at all.
Sure enough, we were in and out in just over 30 minutes.
The hole in Russell's heart continues to get smaller. This is a good thing. He doesn't need any medications and he's healthy.
And I didn't have to deal with spending hours and hours with Mom.
Right or wrong, I was thankful for that. This case isn't moving toward reunification so these trips to the doctor make me even more uncomfortable. We're not co-parenting so it's awkward and I hate it!!
I believe that God spared me a long wait at the cardiologist because so many people were praying for me to have peace. Thank you.