When “Mom” Shows Up…

It’s been MONTHS since Mary’s mom has shown up.  Last time was sometime in early March to be exact, but just once and Mary didn’t even get to see her.  Before that was mid January.  We’ve dealt with meltdowns, turmoil, questions like you wouldn’t believe, and really, thing that shouldn’t be asked by a 7 year old. 

“Is my mom dead?”

 “Is she sick in the hospital?” 

“Who’s gonna take care of my mom when she’s old and sick?” 

“Did she have the baby yet?!”

“Is my baby brother or sister gonna be a foster too?!”

“Did my mom forget about me?”

“Does my mom not love me anymore?”

These shouldn’t be things that a 7 year old should be concerned with. Does my mom still love me, should NEVER be a question that a kid asks, let alone even starts to think about.

Friday, Mary’s mom showed up.  It took about 100 emails, countless phone calls, visits to her home with no response, and a ton of prayers, both silent and outloud, with Mary leading, before FINALLY! last Wednesday, she showed up to the caseworkers office.  She left a note stating her new address. No number. No time to be contacted.  No, “Hey Lady! I’m alive and well!” Nothing! Smart on her part, considering EVERYONE who has ever dealt with the foster care system in our county KNOWS that the workers ALL have court on Wednesday.  Super smooth.  

The worker shows at her house.  No answer.  Karen (our worker) sends a letter to meet her Friday in her office.  Surprisingly, mom shows.  “I love my daughter and I want to see her! When can I see her?! I didn’t f*ck up too bad, did I?” ( Im pretty sure she batted her eyelashes a little when asking).  By law, she is entitled to visits.  By our judge, she has to take a toxicology test and not test positive.  Our caseworker claims that when she saw her, she “didn’t look intoxicated”.  I think looks can be deceiving. 

Mary has completely been a different child since we have been getting more honest about the outcome of her case.   180 different!   The therapist says the not knowing was causing severe anxiety.  We agree.  “We may be your forever family, honey” we say to her. 

“You’re just my real moms,” she says.  

“I’m gonna be a Mendez too!” she’s vocalized.

“What if the judge makes me go back with Mom and I wanna stay here?!” Good question my CooCoo. Really. Good. Question.

She has a visit with mom coming up on Thursday.  Her next Tuesday therapy visit was cancelled. Not good.  She has no idea she might be seeing mom.  We have no idea what will happen after she sees her.  We’re scared we have to start all over again. My heart hurts to know that she’ll cling to her mother and probably cry most of the visit and I can’t cuddle her and tell how much we love her and love having her in our family.  We’ll have to wait until she gets home, in a fit of resentful rage, wondering why she has to come back to our house, and not back with mom. It’ll be hard.  Really hard.  With lots of tears and snot, and that’s just us! Poor Mary will have nightmares, not want to go to school the next day.  Need more attention than we can muster with me working full time and Callie watching 3 kids until I get home, 2 of which are hardly 5 months old. 

Will mom hate us and will it taint our “relationship” when Mary tells her mom we said she’s “sick in her brain”, because you know, you can’t always see “sick”, our child friendly way of saying “dealing with addiction”?  Will it be more difficult to see Mary and spend time with her if, you know, this screwy system ends up sending her back home? Will the caseworker defend us when mom is flabbergasted that we would “badmouth” her to her own flesh and blood?!

We are unsettled today, gearing up for this visit.  We are considering a conditional surrender just to get it over and done with, even though that’s not really what we want.  We love the shit out of Mary.  She’s our one and only daughter.  She’s our baby.  She’s our heart.  She’s Mamá’s best bud.  I’m nervous, and I can’t shake it.  It’s gonna be hell in a day and half a time.  

We’ll be strong, we’ll push on and keep on trucking like the family that we are, but someone will be angry, someone will be resentful, someone will be jaded, and I just hope and pray and wish that it’s not Mary.  That it’s not us.  I never thought I would be *that* foster parent.  The one that wishes that the bio family will screw up so royally, that there is no other option by adoption. But I am, because now (and always) we love her. So fiercely. So wholey.  So…with everything! We worry about her. And we want the very best for our little girl….

19 thoughts on “When “Mom” Shows Up…

  1. I cannot even begin to fathom all the emotions you are feeling right now. And even more, I cannot even begin to imagine the emotions that Mary is going to face that day. And, I cannot help but wonder what she will go through if her mom doesn’t show up. Or if she doesn’t pass the screening. Oh, I’m so worried for her, for you and your entire family. I know the system is built to work in countless situations, and I know no system is perfect, but honestly you have all been through so much already and I feel like the system needs to have exceptions for situations like this one. It’s time to put Mary and your family first, not the needs of her mother who doesn’t seem to be able to prioritize correctly.
    Wishing you so much strength in the coming days.

  2. I hope that things don’t blow up too bad after her visit on Thursday. I know you guys put a lot of work into repairing Mary’s self confidence and esteem, and I hope that she doesn’t regress too much. I’ll be thinking of you guys this week.

  3. This is so heartbreaking! I’m so glad you and Callie are there for Mary, and I wish the back and forth would end for all of your sakes. You are doing hard, good, important work. Big love Mama.

  4. What a tough situation for all of you involved. No helpful advice I’m afraid but lots of love and luck to you all in dealing with this and I hope Mary doesn’t suffer too much. You guys sound like you are beyond perfect for helping her xxxx

  5. Just keep loving her and doing what you are doing. The consistency of your love will win through in the end. Whether she’s with you or somehow (in a fucked up world) gets returned to her mother, if you manage to stay in some kind of contact & keep on loving her, she’ll always know you guys are the ones. Are you familiar with the child health concept of ‘resiliency’ – I heard some US professors present on it at a youth health conference I was at back in the late 1990’s – brilliant theory & I’ve seen it working numerous times with various ‘at risk’ youth I’ve worked with. I’ll try and find you a link. Kia kaha – find strength. Xx

  6. Ugh. There are no easy answers to the questions fostering and addicted parents with kids in care raise. I will be thinking of you tomorrow and praying for the least painful and destructive outcome. Warm hugs to the three of you, Callie and Mary.

  7. It makes my heart hurt to think that situations like this are happening to innocent little kids, and to the good people who love them. Mary is lucky to have you two to get her through this turmoil feeling loved.

  8. I am praying for all of you – especially Mary. My heart aches so deeply for Mary. No 7-year-old should have to feel the things she’s felt, or ask the questions she’s asked. I’m comforted in knowing that she has you two to love her, as her mamas. I pray for the best outcome for Mary – for her to be a permanent member of your family, like she already is in your hearts.

  9. This makes me hurt for you guys! Just when everything was going so great for your wonderful family. Children should never have to go through half of the messed up shit that they do. I will say a little prayer for peace for you all. Many many hugs to all of you in this tough time!

  10. What would be the terms of a conditional surrender? Depending on if Mary’s mom would accept it, that could be the best bet for everyone. She wouldn’t see it as having her daughter “taken” from her, Mary would have permanency sooner, and hopefully she would get to have visits with her mom when appropriate. That way she’ll always now her first mom DOES love her and knew she couldn’t take care of her, but still wanted to see her.

  11. Jeez, of course this would happen towards the end. When things were looking smooth. Oh swipply, it seems like you are prepared for some rough patches, which is the best thing you can do. Just take it day by day, piece by piece. I love you and I’m here for you swipply. We will get through it.

  12. That poor little girl. I hate that people do this to children. I’m so glad she has you looking out for her best interests–it’s obvious that she knows you two love her very much, and there isn’t really anything better you can give her than that. Hang in there–I hope the roller coaster stops soon.

  13. Pingback: We Were So Worried… | thechroniclesofanonbellymama

  14. Gosh you guys are going through so much – I am so sorry I didn’t see this earlier – I am subscribed to you but get no updates. Weird. I can’t imagine the unsettling feelings you must be having – nothing like the threat of having your darling child being taken away. I hope that the fates align for there to be no issue at all for Mary or you.

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