We Were So Worried…

for NOTHING!  Absolutely nothing!

First, thank you everyone who commented on my last post about Mary visiting with mom for the first time in months.  Callie and I read all of your replies, and really just love you all so much.  Your support and your kinds words always validate our feelings, address our concerns with kindness and love, and lift us all the way up on our super low and tough days.   So friends (and I’m lucky to call you that), we appreciate you.

Mary had no idea she was having a visit yesterday.  We were worried that mom wouldn’t pass the toxicology test and that Mary would be really upset if another visit was cancelled, so as per our caseworker Karen’s request, we didn’t tell her.  Yesterday morning, Karen received the results of Mom’s tox screening on Tuesday.  Results negative, visit still on, but we still didn’t tell her because what if Mom didn’t show up?!  So we sent her off to school, with no inkling that a bus would be picking her up early, and taking her to see Mom. We debated (several times) calling the school, or having Callie walk over and pull Mary out of class to warn tell her, but Karen advised us to just not say anything because there was still the possibility that Mom wouldn’t show.

But she DID show up.  And the visit went (from what Karen and Mary tell us) pretty well.  The tears didn’t happen until the end, when it was time to leave, and Mary wasn’t ready yet.  She says she needed more time. That the visit was only this long (spreads her hands about 8inches apart). I think she fears Mom will go missing for a long time again and that she had more things to say to her about how she’s been feeling.  Callie and I were texting with Karen most of the day (in iPhone group text fashion) and were just asking her to really try and guide the conversation so that Mary can get some of the answers that she needed from Mom.  How we have been working on her being honest about her feelings because no one can get mad about what is going on inside of her even if it’s something they don’t want to hear or they don’t agree with.  We asked her to explain some of the terminology that we have been using with Mary to convey some of the things that are happening with Mom.  I’m pretty sure when taken out of context, “Mom is sick in her brain” probably makes us sound like real assholes, instead of making us sound like parents using child friendly language to explain the true nature of addiction.  But Mom completely owned it! She told Mary that she has been sick and that she has been working very hard on feeling and getting better.  And we appreciate that, because we are all on the same page, and Mary is getting the same message from ALL of the people that she loves.  That it’s ok to make mistakes because we are all human, but it’s so important to own them and fix them, and try your best.  Must make it a little less frightening and confusing.  At least I hope it does.

They talked about the baby in Mom’s belly, six months along, and how it’s another little girl, and Mary gets to name her (ugh! This is gonna be the topic of conversation for WEEKS!  I just know it!) and Mary chose Lydia (a combination of her and Mom’s names) and she must have told us about it 500 times already in less than 4 hours!  Mary told her about what is going on in school, and how soon, she’ll be going into 2nd grade, and that she is reading sooooo many books and that she reads like a 2nd grader already!  From what it sounds like, she was trying to fit in as much as she could in the short time they had together.  Mom bought a ton of junk from the vending machine, like Oreo’s and Chips, and some other stuff, and Mary told her that those things are yummy, but that you can only have them sometimes because they are not good for you!  #PARENTINGWIN!  This coming from the kid who did this!  And then it was time to come home, but not before a whole lot of tears and clutching onto Mom.

Callie tells me that she was so happy when she got off of the bus.  That she walked in, put her things away, and asked Callie to write her down some questions.  This is her new way of telling us that she wants to talk.  It’s indirect and non-intimidating, and most of all, it’s working.  She’s opening up.  She’s feeling comfortable and happy and safe enough to trust us with what she is feeling and knows that we won’t judge her or make her feel bad or not validate her.  So Callie wrote some questions down.  “How did it feel when you saw Mom?”  “What’s your best memory of you and Mom?”  “What’s your saddest memory of you and Mom?”  “When were you most scared?”  “When were you the happiest?”  “How did you feel when the bus picked you up and you didn’t know where you were going?” Open ended questions that we were hoping she would answer honestly and openly.  And she did!  She totally did.

I got home from work, and we ordered her (and her Mom’s) favorite dinner, Sesame Chicken and fried rice.  We laughed and talked about this weekends plans (Fishing Derby, PRIDE Carnival at our Church which houses our county’s LGBTQ Community Center and has a huge family event Saturday afternoon, and the boys Baptism on Sunday), and the whole time Mary kept making comments about her “family”, meaning US!  YES, US!  Everything was, “my brothers”, “Mommy” “Mama”.  She talked about our upcoming vacations, and a few times, she would just mumble randomly, “I really love my family!”.

At one point, she caught me off guard.

M: “So I made my choice Mama”

S:  “What choice, CooCoo?!”

M: “I choose to stay here!  I want to stay with my family”

S:  (Look of shock on my face) “Your family?! You mean…with us?  You want to stay here, at home, with us?”

M: “Yeah.  This is my family.  I choose you guys!  I choose to stay here.”

S:  “Oh honey, we choose for you to stay here too! We love you in our family.  You’re our daughter, our best girl, my CooCoo bird, our silly lady!  We want you here too! But sometimes, those things aren’t up to us, honey. They are up to the court and the judge.  Hopefully, the judge will see that we all love each other so much, and that we are THE BEST family EVER!”

M: “YEAH! The BEST! Hehe ::huge smile:

S: ” Yeah, hopefully she’ll see we are the best family, and she’ll make the greatest choice, and let you stay. But no matter what happens, you always have a home here, you hear me?! With two mommies that love you, so, so, so, so, so, so much!  So, so much!” (hugs and kisses and cuddles, and i tuck her in)

M: “Mama? Can we pray?”

S:  “Sure Cooc’s. You do it!”

M: “Dear God, please keep my mommy, and my baby sister safe.  That she makes good choices, and that she doesn’t get more sick.  Please let her not be sad at me for choosing my family.  Let the judge make the good choices too.  Bless my brothers and my moms, all of them, and bless me.  Thanks for food and clothes and a nice house.  Oh and Olaf (her huge stuffed animal).”

S: ” And bless our hearts so that they stay open and filled with all of our love, no matter what happens!  Amen. Good night, best girl”

M: “Goodnight Mama.  I love you, and I love my family….”

It COULD NOT have turned out better if we had written a script for it.  She’s safe, she’s loved, she’s home.

She chooses us…

She totally. Chooses. Us…..

SHE'S GOT HER FAMILY, SO NOW SHE CAN SOAR!

SHE’S GOT HER FAMILY, SO NOW SHE CAN SOAR!

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38 thoughts on “We Were So Worried…

  1. You gave me chills AND made me cry. I am so happy for all of you that the visit went well. You ladies rock this whole mom thing. I’m making mental notes for the future.

    • Oh thanks friend…i was actually just texting with Karen about last night. She wanted to see how Mary did when she came home, and when I told her about it, she responded very similarly to you. It’s always a battle, and even though I have always understood the saying, “emotional rollercoaster”, it has NEVER.. IN MY LIFE. Been as fitting as it is now.

  2. Mary’s prayer made me cry. Bless that little gir’s heart. She’s AMAZING, and so very resilient, thanks to the love you and Callie pour into her every day. You really ARE the best family! I pray the judge makes the decision to keep Mary where she wants to be.

    • She really is such an amazing kid. I wish that you would have known the kid she was when she came here. It was just, ugh…the pits! But now, this kid, that we love sooo damn much, is just, the best. She’s getting it. She is absolutely getting it, and she shows us every day. And suddenly we have become this “praying family” every night, or whenever she feels the need to, and she always asks for us to be her “home”. We pray the judge does the right thing, for all of us, but mainly, for our little Mary…

  3. I’m so happy for you all that the visit went well. What a lucky kid, to feel so loved and secure – you and Callie have done such hard work to give her that security, and it is amazing that Mary handled something as potentially upsetting as her meeting with her mom so smoothly.

    • When Cals an I were talking about it the night before, we just hoped and prayed that she was strong enough and that we gave her all that she needed to make sure that she was heard. To make sure that she still felt safe. And she did! And it’s freaking awesome!

  4. Seriously, I have tears in my eyes and they are tears of pure joy! Her mom showed up! Her heart wasn’t broken again! She opened up to you and Callie. And most importantly your sweet girl chose you!!
    It’s amazing to what just how far she has come in her time with you! Now i just hope that everyone continues to put her needs first, and that they keep her with your family, where she clearly belongs!

  5. This was such a wonderful read and I teared up so much! You sound like amazing parents and I’m so glad Mary found her way into your hearts and homes; it really does sound like you are the best family for her, and she knows it!

  6. Oh this made me emotional as well. Happy tears for your family. What a beautiful roller coaster you are all on. Hoping it will be over soon! You both seem like your doing such An amazing job

  7. Yup, I’m crying! Such beautiful sentiments from that little girl! Amazing! So happy for your family, that you have each other and so much love.

  8. This post needed a “requires Kleenex” disclaimer. That conversation and prayer are so super sweet. I am happy for you all and send so much love!

  9. this is beautiful. I’m so happy that her mom pulled it together and that it went well. I’m happy Mary knows how loved she is by you guys and also that she knows how much she loves you guys back. Parenting win all around!

  10. Wow. Just wow. I’m tearing up at how beautiful the situation turned out. I think it’s a testament to how wonderful you guys are with Mary, as well as how brave and strong that child is. High fives and hugs all around!

  11. Wow, that is absolutely breathtaking. She must love you guys so much. It almost seems like it’s the first time she’s ever loved so hard and just can’t give it up. You guy are just some loving, and mature, and ask the right questions and do the right things. I’m proud of you. I love you ❤️

  12. That’s wonderful. Truly. I’m glad also that you were honest with her (as you always are) about the fact that the judge had to choose, but that no matter what the outcome – you and Callie will be there for her. The legal system is so unpredictable that it’s good you aren’t making her promises that you may not be able to keep. (Obviously we are all praying that you get to keep her, but if you promised her that and then couldn’t she might lose some trust in you.) yet another parenting win!

  13. This is wonderful and brought me to happy tears. I just love reading about Mary and how happy she is. I know it’s a tough time for her and for you guys. I know that she is just trying to navigate difficult stuff for someone so young. But I admire you guys for taking it on and helping her through it! Hugs to all of you!! ❤

  14. wow – I cried. Incredibly moving post – what a wonderful, wonderful reward for your bravery. Like you said- it could not have gone any better! She is such a happy girl. ❤

  15. You two are amazing and should write a book on your lives!!! God bless you all and you know I wish all the best for you all! Love, Momma Contessa

  16. What an amazing, resilient child! And you two are so great at navigating the complicated world of foster care! I’m really happy for you that this visit worked out and her bio-mom is being real with her. And the caseworker is helping you to have a positive relationship instead of bad-mouthing you to bio-mom. But I must admit I’m a teensy bit jealous that you live in a state that will allow you to both be her moms…argh I hate Ohio!

    • Yeah, our worker is really good (and fair!) to both parties. She knows what’s best for Mary, so she tries her best to really rally everyone In Mary’s corner. It’s pretty awesome considering some of the foster parents we know have such a hard time with their workers (who only care about their perfect reunification rate despite the conditions and the situations!). And Ohio needs to get it together. Soon friend…soon!

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