Mary, Our Best Girl

Sometimes I get really sad that I can’t legally post pictures showing Mary’s face, the joy that’s on it when she’s in her favorite place, sandwiched between her twin brothers and little tiny baby brother on her lap.  This kid LIVES for those brothers, and they absolutely adore her. They run up and down the apartment, sticking their head into her room, only to scream , “A-YA-YA” (their variation of Mary’s real name) and then run away so she will chase them.  When she gets home from school, she gives them all the kisses she has been saving for them throughout the day, and they love it.  Every second of it. And WE love it!  We love seeing her interactions with her family, her space, her things, because it reassures us that not only do WE feel that she is in the right place, but she feels it too…

IMG_4567

MY TIE IS ON POINT, BUT WTF WITH THE MUSCLES!!!! AND MARY ROCKING THE MID 90’S INSPIRED SIDE PONYTAIL!

IMG_4568

UGH, MY FREAKING HEART!

So where are we with Mary, you ask?!  NO-Fucking-WHERE, that’s where!!!  Our next court hearing is May 10th, and we officially begin the Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) trial.  What does this mean for Mary and for our family?  It means that records from therapists, teachers, doctors, case workers have been subpoenaed.  It means that most if not all of Mary’s “providers”(including her caseworker) will be called to the stand.  It means that we have to sit on our hands while all of these people dictate the life of one of our kids, the kid that actually made us parents!  So it’s really, really hard.  From what we understand, this could take a while.  We’ve spoken to Mary’s lawyer (he strictly represents HER and what she WANTS, not necessarily what is in her best interest), and he will be out our place on May 2nd to “interview” her and see where she is at.  That little letter up there ^^^ is pretty telling.

But how is Mary?  Well, “all over the place” sort of sums it up.  Let’s go back about 2 months.  Mary was talking to her teacher and telling him that she didn’t feel very well and that she wanted to speak to Ms. Kelly, the school psychologist, because she “had a lot feelings”.  So he sent her to Ms. Kelly’s office so that they could have a chat. Mary expressed that she had so many feelings that she didn’t know how to feel (she told us all of this when she got home.  We are firm believers in the whole confidentiality thing and prefer she tells us things when she is ready, which she almost ALWAYS does).  Most of the time, she was telling us that she had a weird feeling in her belly that wouldn’t go away, like she was going down a roller coaster, and anyone who has experienced this sensation knows that that is EXACTLY what anxiety feels like, and how crazy and in tune with her feelings is she,  that she was able to vocalize what is going on inside.  She may not know what anxiety feels like, but she sure is having some.  As soon as we heard that, we gave her therapist a call and they have been sorting it out ever since.  CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is hard…so so hard!  Adults have a hard time with it, imagine being an 8 year old!  But this kid, she really is something else.

Her behavior has been less than stellar, and it’s been hard for us as parents to discipline her because we know that she is going through so, so much right now.  I can’t imagine having to “choose” between 2 families that I love and adore (she doesn’t have to choose, but no matter how much we reiterate that, she is still, in her mind, the one that makes the decision).  How do you “choose” between your birth family, who may not have necessarily always done the right thing, but that’s your REAL mom and your REAL sister.  Or your “real” family, where you feel the most loved, and wanted, and cared for?  As parents though, Callie and I have some serious behavior non-negotiables.  School work comes first.  ALWAYS.  There will be no playing or watching of the TV if homework is not done.  She stopped doing homework and stopped caring.  We saw it as a red flag because she absolutely LOVES school, but having recurring thoughts and anxiety makes it not easy to focus.  We don’t play with school though.  SO we are stuck between disciplining her the way we normally would but also taking into consideration that she has a hell of a lot going on.  Also, when mom is super consistent, and I’ll give her that, because she has been, Mary’s behavior goes all haywire! Then 3 weeks ago, Mary comes home with a yellow card from the after school program.  These yellow cards are warning cards.  2 yellow cards=a red card.  First red card=suspension.  Second red card is removal from the program.  We can’t have that!  Neither of us gets home until after 6, so the after school program is a necesity! What’s the yellow card for?  KICKING SOMEONE!  What in the fack!  That is our second non-negotiable!  We DO NOT under ANY circumstance, put our hand on someone.  We could preach the whole self defense thing which is cool for maybe an older kid, but for young kids, there really isn’t any reason for that, ESPECIALLY because there is no hitting at our house.  Callie and I may scream at each other once in a while, but never once have we disrespected each other like that.  She lost her privileges for a week.  3 days later, she comes home with another freaking yellow card!  SERIOUSLY!?!? Apparently, she was wandering around the school on her own, when she knows that it is the afterschool programs #1 rule. NO ma’am, so she felt that one, because it was Easter Sunday and she sat…the entire time…and the only reason we let her do the egg hunt was because my parents and siblings and aunts and uncles BEGGED us to let her.  So she had a whole 20 minutes for fun for 2 whole weeks.  One for the kicking, and one for the wandering off.  Not even 2 days after that, I get a call from the therapist telling me that Mary got into a fight at school.  For crying out freaking loud!  It’s all been handled and the past 2 weeks behavior has been incredible, which is great because with 2 very sick and whiny almost 16 month olds, our patience was very, very thin!

Otherwise, she is still doing exceptionally well in school,  had even better grades on her report card then last time!  She’s really been opening up at therapy and working through her stuff, and also, she has been an incredible, loving and kind big sister and daughter.  Honestly, I hope the outcome of this whole trial is that she will be freed for adoption, because if she’s not, I might just break one of our #1 house rules, and just hit something!  We love this kid so deeply, that thinking of her not being a part of our family is heartbreaking.  Let’s pray that May 10th is the beginning of bringing Mary fully into our family, legally into our family, forever into our family…it just has to be that way….

IMG_4554

A BEAUTIFUL SATURDAY AS A FAMILY OF 6

IMG_4552

MY GIRL IN HER FAVORITE TREE

IMG_4188

MARY AND OUR NIECE IZZY

IMG_4186

LOOK HOW LEVI LOOKS AT HIS SISTER…THEY LOVE THAT GIRL.

 

IMG_4253

HER FAVORITE PLACE

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Mary, Our Best Girl

  1. I follow the Fosterhood tumbler/blog and it scared me how unorganized the system in NYC is. I hope that you all have a quicker time of termination than that Blogger is. It’s really hard working with kids who have emotions that most adults can’t understand. You are doing a wonderful job of loving/getting her through all of this.

    • NYC has the most flawed foster care system and their kids remain in care THE LONGEST of any state. We are in Westchester county right outside of NYC and it is LOADS better but still not ideal. It blows, frankly. Here’s hoping this goes quickly!

  2. I think about your sweet little family quite a bit, and my fiancé & mother often ask if you’ve written any updates on Mary…. it is both wonderful and heartbreaking to see this. I’m pulling for you all and hope that May 10th is the start of the adoption ball rolling quickly towards you all being (legally) forever. I am so sure that the matter being more settled would bring that little girl some much-needed peace of mind…. and for you moms, too. LOTS OF LOVE TO YOU GUYS. ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Your sweet Mary! I have no idea how such a young child faces all these emotions! I’m not surprised to hear she is struggling a bit with her behaviour, I’m sure I would too if I were in her shoes!! I hope everything on May 10th goes well for Mary, she deserves long term stability, love and care she receives with you!

  4. Wow this little girl is so smart and so emotionally intelligent already and she’s been through SO much. It’s incredible what children can handle. I’ll be praying for you on May 1!

  5. It must rip your heart out to watch her struggle with these big emotions. But the fact that she is able to talk about them so well is evidence that you guys are parenting her SO well. And based on that smile of hers, she seems pretty happy to be a member of your family!

    I’m sending so many prayers that Mary becomes a permanent member of your family. I can’t imagine how anyone could look at all the evidence and say she belongs anywhere else!

  6. That must be so hard, dealing with all of the uncertainty – for all of you.
    I hope it goes well on the 10th and that Mary gets to stay with you guys and her little brothers.

  7. I am inspired by your parenting. Mary is in such a tough spot, but is still so so lucky to have you.

  8. K and Z have been through so much… Luckily (unluckily?) for us, K deals with the uncertainty through anxiety rather than straight acting out, but the thing I’ve learned from everything going through this process is that kids don’t feel grief, they do grief. I’m sure she’s well aware of everything going on around her, and it’s heartbreaking. I hate how kids have to go through all this. It’s so unfair. I hope that May 10th is the start of something wonderful for her and the rest of you all, whatever that may look like.

    With that being said, K and Z had THREE TPR hearings over the course of a year before things were finally finalized. Since we’re on the outside of that loop, though, I’m not sure if that means that there’s been three court hearings or what… From what I understand, I think it means that her team recommended TPR three times before the courts finally did anything…

    But the one where everyone had to be present was the one that ended everything finally… and their family had 30 days to fight it… but no one did.

    Has Mary’s team recommended TPR before now or is this just the start of the process?

    • We do 3 different kinds of hearings. there is the “service review” where we sit in with the caseowrker, a mediator, bio family, and foster family, and we touch base about how the child is doing, what the goals are that have been put in place for the child and the mom since the permanency hearing (i’ll explain those too) and if everyone is complying. These are twice a school year. They usually involve check ins with teachers, and service providers and also it is where they decide if the child is going to get more services.

      Then there are permanency hearings every 6 months. These are at actual family court (service reviews are just at the DSS office). These determine (in 6 month increments) what the plan for the child is, either reunification or TPR. This is also where we find out what the bio parents have to comply with, whether they have been complying, and whether or not the permanency goal has been changed. Also, it is where we find out if visits have been changed or extended/revoked. It usually involves the caseworker and the agency’s lawyer, bio family and their lawyer and the child’s law guardian.

      Then there are TPR hearings. Once the permanency goal gets changed to TPR, we start these hearings, which can take a while to get underway. Like for us, our preliminary TPR hearing was in OCTOBER! Our first TPR court date isn’t until next week! Over 6 months! And this trial can go on for quite a while. We’ve heard that some cases have gone upward into 2 years just to free the children for adoption. And then we actually have to adopt her! So this could potentially take 3 years. It all depends on the Bio fmaily and how much they fight. We can’t help but feel that Mary’s mom will fight this to the death, and that’s fine. We’re prepared for that. To be honest, we would rather fight this out then for her to sign a conditional surrender. If there is a surrender, we have to negotiate the terms, and she’ll probably want visits which we aren’t comfortable with. If we win the TPR, we win, and that’s it. So we’re waiting, but it’s a long wait from our long wait.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s