I've never been so mentally exhausted in all my life. Walking the hallways of the courthouse back and forth between each Bio parents room was like the walk of shame, or death. It was like an out of body experience as I tried to find my thoughts and words as we quickly went back and forth.
Seeing mom since March was awesome. J and I really had a connection back when the kids came into care and I truly love her. She has such a special place in my heart and I pray so fervently that she will get the help she needs to be healthy and whole again. Her decision still stands that we keep the kids and she thanked us over and over again for loving them and taking care of them. She is still not willing to complete her treatment plan, as she still doesn't feel the best interest of kids is to be with her. We again talked about our deal after adoption. As long as she is clean and sober, we want her in the kids lives as much as possible. I want my kids to know where they came from and who they are. We even have a book J made for the kids, filled with pictures of her with them as babies. It is very dear to my heart as I am sure it will be to Brook and Silas when they are older. Amidst the shackles, we were able to get a long hug and I was very pleased how our meeting went.
BIG SIGH.....LONG PAUSE!!!
Meeting dad for the first time was frightening. Joel and I are only human and it was hard to find the line between FIGHTING for our kids and killing him with kindness. We were very open to what he had to share with us. It was still what he has been saying for months, I did this and this and this. Alot of talk, no action. We touched on some of his failures throughout the last couple of months and where in the world he was the year before all this. He kept on strong that he still wants the kids and plans to get them back soon. I was able to give a LOOOOONG update on the kids, starting from day 1 until now. To which he only replied..."you've done a good job up to now, thanks" Hmmmm, ok....ugh you're welcome. We broke for a small intermission where our attorneys met in a separate room. Up to this point Option B (us adopting the kids) had yet to be mentioned and I wondered why we were even there. So I asked the defense attorney if I could open that can of worms. With the go ahead, I waited for an open door, hoping God would guide the way. The State gave dad the long list of things they needed him to complete by a certain date or they would further option B (us). Dad then looked at me and asked "Ok, so if you adopted the kids, what kind of contact would I have?" YES, my open door! I looked around at everyone's piles of pre-written notes that they were reading from the whole morning. I looked down to my lap...nothing, nothing prepared. I opened my mouth and poured out my heart to him. Telling him, I loved these kids more than life itself. Understanding that as a parent I couldn't imagine being in his place and not knowing exactly what to say to him, how to ask him for his kids. We told him, we were more than open to very close contact as we were with mom. I told him, I understood his need to "fight for his kids" "prove he could do it". You will always be their dad, but let me raise them. I explained to him our bond to the kids and them to us, their love for life and the fact that at this age...we are all they know. Not to hurt him or give him any other reason to not like us, we are mommy and daddy. And it will take the turning of their worlds to change that. At this point, his face of defense had turned to a face of tenderness. Before this time, I don't think he realized how much we loved and cared for them. I know he had this horrible, tainted view of foster care and foster parents. And who can blame him with all the horror stories out there. I ended with understanding this was a hard choice and I didn't expect him to just give up, but to please go home tonight and consider what I said. I asked him to think long and hard about our offer and to just commit to plan B.
The State discussed that he would now have weekly visits with the kids. He just kept saying, "but my schedule, my schedule" I had to tell him...I'll let you in on a little secret, once you have kids, you don't have YOUR schedule. THEY are your schedule. If they want to wake up sick, thats your schedule. If they have a nightmare and need to snuggle and watch mickey mouse at 3 a.m., thats your schedule. For example. 3 minutes before walking out the door this morning...everyone dressed nice and ready for the day. TREY POOPS ALL OVER JOEL! Down his leg, in his shoe, all over joel and my living room carpet. That my dear friend was our schedule. New clothes, a shower, scrubbbing poop and we still had to get all kids in the car, to the babysitter and to this meeting on time. Not my schedule...the KIDS!! Welcome to parent world!!!
The private visit after lunch went ok. Not much interaction by dad. The kids interacted with him since they were obedient to my commands. He wasn't sure how to deal with some arguing between Silas and Brooklynn. Asked me what to do a couple time, but talked sweet with them. At the end, I asked if Brooklynn would hug him. Her reply was priceless..." But I don't like "M" mommy" I was so embarrassed, i pulled her hoodie over her face and said "hush brookie, you're tired."
Once in the car, Joel asked Silas if he had a good time, what he did and who he saw. Again, priceless reply..."I played with Uncle Zack daddy" OH MY WORD!!!! He sooooo thought he had just spent the hour with my brother Zack! LOL LOL LOL!!! Oh, I love these kids!
So exhausted as I could be, we brought the kiddos home for pizza and snuggles. They were uncontrollably goofy and just loads of loud:)
Thank you to everyone who prayed for us. It wasn't a devastating meeting, but I wasn't saying YIPEE! We will wait and see what the next couple weeks pan out to be like.
Good night and with what the weather man predicts for tomorrow, MERRY CHRISTMAS!:)