Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The wait continues

I've often been told people think you worry for just a period of time as your kids grow out of a phase but in reality you worry the rest of your life once you become a parent. I get that and expected it but I didn't expect the same with our adoption roller coaster. We learned late last week the answer to my question of "I wonder what their alleged father was doing while such important decisions were being made."...He was on his way to the court house. We missed each other by 30 minutes and he was granted another hearing which happened today.

We knew it would be one of two outcomes. The termination judgement made last week would be overturned or he would be advised on how to appeal. Thankfully the later was the outcome however he has 30 days to do so which means more potential delays and concern for us. Do I or our social workers think he'll be successful in an appeal...no. But after the burden of worry about loosing the kids was lifted last week it feels twice as heavy to take it back on. I'm in tears now just thinking about it. It was doubly hard as we didn't even know there was an appeal process because it never came up when their mother's rights were terminated.

Of course as I google about the appeal process in WA I find worst case scenario articles about how birth parents come back years after an adoption is finalized to contest it. This was the last thing I needed to read. I'm trying to keep a positive outlook and I still feel like everything will work out in the end but I feel as if we're getting ready to face one last battle which is the biggest yet and my energy reserves for pulling through are near empty.

When I'm with the kids I don't have time to even think about it and one look at their faces makes me confident. When I've just put them to bed like now and I actually have a moment to stop and think...I feel defeated and just wonder how much longer I can take it.

It's just too much so I'm going to have to focus on the positive. I'm thankful the decision was not overturned today, that might have been enough to do me in. I'm thankful I was not in court today and didn't have to have an awkward and potentially disturbing run in with the birth mom and alleged father. I'm thankful the end is very near. Please just continue to think of us and pray for us to have the strength to continue this fight all while doing our best for the kids.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Free at Last!

Today we got the best news we could have hoped for, the kids are legally free and now it's just a matter of time until we're able to adopt. This was my first time going to court, I usually prefer Jay goes because I'm too nervous and emotional. He had some commitments at work so I went today. Let me tell you about what it's like.

They tell you court starts at 9:00 but that's really just them trying to get everyone there on time. You walk through the metal detectors and then wait in the lobby for the court room to open up. Everyone sits there nervously looking around, many who are clearly out of their element dressed to impress. It's actually some prime people watching and eavesdropping. I sat there facing the entrance to the building and next to the door to the court room so I could keep my eyes peeled for the kids alleged father who I've never met. I was also within ear shot of the info desk so I could listen for his lawyer.

At about 9:15 you can start going into the court room and by the time I walked in it was already crowded. I grabbed the last two seats for myself and our social worker. There were just two rows of seating and about 20-30 people waiting for their case. beyond the little wall divider was a long curved table facing the bench where there were about 10 lawyers sitting and sorting their papers. There were about 10-15 more lawyers and state social workers walking around and sitting behind them.

Everyone is talking in hushed conversations which really just makes the whole room loud. Even after the judge came in people never shut up. They then just have a lawyer at the table start talking which is barely audible on the microphone because you guessed it, everyone is STILL talking. It's a long list of questions directed to the social worker sitting at the same table as the lawyer..."Was X served on X date?" "Yes". And on and on. It's pretty much all yes or no questions and then the defendants lawyer if they have one makes a quick statement of if they support whatever motion is being discussed. Finally the judge makes his quick ruling never looking up from the papers. Done. In a matter of minutes the course of peoples lives are changed and mean while everyone in the court room is still talking.

We got lucky and were the second case to be heard. It lasted all of 3-4 minutes since there was no one but the state there. The judge said the motion was granted and he found the alleged father in default. A few words from him but words that mean the world to us. This is a momentous day for our family and it seems so weird it all just happened in a noisy room filled with people dressed in ill fitting suits and huge black briefcases to carry around files. No I didn't expect the sky to part but I guess I did expect it to be semi somber and at least hear all that was said. No matter, it's done and went better than we hoped.

This means we'll be assigned a state adoption case worker and there's no risk of us losing the kids any longer. We get first dibs to file for an adoption motion. Yes we still have about a month or two left of the kids being in the system but it's nothing. Just the monthly visits from all the people that see the kids but no threat of birth parent visits. We no longer have to worry about what the birth parents are doing to get the kids back because they can't. It's a sad day for them and I can't help but wonder what they were doing today while those decisions were being made. Did they wish they were there but for what ever reasons they couldn't be or did they even realize the significance of today at all? It's done and after we finalize I will reach out to their birth mom through the only method I have, email. I'll explain my hopes and dreams for the kids and a little about us as parents. I feel she should know this just the same as if she had chosen us. I want her to know they are in good hands and are loved beyond words.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Ball of Nerves

We're just two sleeps away from a day I've been anxious about (although trying my BEST not to be). Two months ago I was looking forward to my birthday which also happened to be what we expected to be the final court date before the kids were legally free. The State expected the same and had us meet with an adoption specialist and told us not to even bother going to the court date because it would be uneventful. All that changed the Friday before Father's Day when there was renewed interest from the kids alleged father. I know first hand the kids are worth fighting for so I can't blame him but at the same time it's so hard on us. Us is of course just Jay and I because the kids are oblivious (thank God!), it's business as usual for them.

So now we wait to see what happens at court and how serious this interest is. The kids social worker expects things to get delayed but still remains firm in her belief the kids will be with us for the long run. In my gut I feel that as well but I'm not looking forward to this next spiral in the adoption roller coaster.

One thing is certain which is we're quickly approaching the end...one way or the other. Kids in our state stay in care about a max of 15 months (ideally). This means the state will be looking to find a permanent situation for them sooner rather than later.  Of course we hope with all that we are their forever home is with us. It just puts new perspective on each day. We're close to 13 months so every day we get with the kids is savored wondering if we'll remember back on this time without them here to reminisce with or it will just be a memory of when we were a younger family like most other families have.

I'm amazed at how the kids have grown. We're thinking about potty training Little Miss when this time last year we were working on getting her not to eat everything in sight. She's now pointing out the window and saying "meow" meaning she thinks the squirrels are actually cats. She lovingly puts her babies to bed several times a day including her babies stroller. She's such a little mother to her toys and her brother. She also proudly says her name (the one we'll be giving her should we be able to adopt) and her current first name. It's just about the sweetest sounding thing ever.

Little Dude isn't a baby anymore and I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around that. Today he showed me he knows how to hug, blow his nose, and repeat a lot of words. I don't give him credit for this stuff or even try to have him do it because I keep thinking of him as my baby. He's not, he is without a doubt a toddler now.

Last summer I wondered if we'd have the kids at this moment and of course we still do. I wasn't sure if Jay and I would be able to go to bed at the same time again or when we'd ever sleep through the night. It took about 6 months before we went to bed at the same time and 8 months until we consistently all slept through the night. I matched my shirts to the moby wrap that was clean and now those shirts feel like I have a big accessory of my little guy missing. I couldn't wait to get out of the house for a trip to Target to get some needed essential and now I just want to stay home and play with the kids.

The list goes on and on. We've all come so far in a year and my friend Steph was right, it got better...a lot faster than I could have imagined. I love who we've become and who we are when we're together. I've been taking a lot of mental snapshots these days because things seem about perfect. I hope we're quickly approaching the next big thing to celebrate. It's time to sit back and see God's plan unfold and keep on doing the best I can each day.