Tuesday evening, the elevator climbs up the 3 floors to our apartment. Before I put my key in the door, I take a deep breath and prepare myself for what will possibly be a tough night of explaining what happens next and trying to manage loads and loads of tears, but before I turn the key, I hear squeals and laughter. I slowly open the door, and the boys are sitting on the floor stacking a few boxes and knocking them down, thinking it is the most hilarious thing they have ever done/seen. I hear voices in the kitchen…more laughter.
Mary and Callie are talking. Mary is sitting on the step stool, elbows on her knees, chin resting in the palm of her hands. She looks…happy…which is not really what I expected.
Hey my two favorite ladies! How’s everything? What are you talking about?!
I have a lot of feelings.
Hmm, you do? Well, what are they?! Wanna talk about it?!
I was talking to mommy about it. I was telling her I went to parenting. (Mary goes to parenting for an hour once/week. Her and her mom meet with a therapist who monitors and corrects/applauds/helps with positive and appropriate interactions)
Oh, yeah! And how was it? Did you and your mom play games?
No, we just talked.
Oh! Well, that’s important stuff to talk about! And what did she say about it?!
She said that I’m getting adopted.
SHE DID! ::GASP:: And how did that make you feel when she told you that?
It made me feel really happy and really sad at the same time.
You wanna tell me more about that? Why happy and why sad?
Sad because I won’t see my mom so much anymore. I can only see her 4 times a year, so that means I can only see my baby sister 4 times a year, and I won’t be able to see my family, like my Titi (mom’s sister) or my grandma (who passed away right before Austin was born and mom still hasn’t told her) or my cousins in Florida, that I forget their names, and that makes me sad. But happy because I never have to leave again and I can stay here with you and mommy and my brothers, and we can be a family. Oh, and I can sleep over Wita’s house with Izzy whenever I want!!!
We didn’t think that Mary would be able to absorb this huge news and process it so quickly, but it’s 2 days later and all we see is the hugest change in her behavior and her demeanor. She’s always been upbeat, funny, helpful, but lately it hasn’t been at the level that it’s always been. She’s been dragging her feet a little more, being a little more whiny and complainy about the tiniest things, short of patience, lots of errors on her homework from being careless and uninterested, but just in the past 2 days she has somehow, in some weird way, flourished. It’s like she became a whole new kid, literally overnight! She set the table without being prompted. She’s not only been brushing her teeth, but FLOSSING without having to be told. Her bed has been made the past 2 days before I am even up in the morning. Not a single mistake on her homework in the past 2 days. She can concentrate. She’s been sleeping (she was having severe anxiety and hasn’t slept soundly in a couple of weeks). I mean, who would have thought that just KNOWING that you aren’t leaving again can make such a huge difference. That same afternoon she came home with a Green Card from the after-school program. I don’t know, but it can’t possibly be a coincidence that Mary hears the news that she is going to have a forever family after 5 years in foster care and gets rewarded for EXCELLENT behavior. I don’t know why we were expecting her to be beside herself, and lost. She has expressed over and over again that she wants to be adopted. We should have known that this news would flip her life around, but in an amazing way.
When Mary went to bed, Callie and I talked. Mary and her mom met with the parenting therapist from 2-3pm , and then Mary went on her own to touch base with her individual therapist from 3-3:30. Mary’s therapist had called Callie and told her how it went down. Lisa, Mary’s mom, explained that the judge had made the choice to make Mary adoptable. She told her that she would only be seeing her 4 times a year. She also said that Mary could see her whenever she wanted as long as we thought it was ok, and the parenting therapist cosigned that ish! Callie and I were pretty upset about this, but luckily Mary had told her individual therapist that it was said, and she corrected it right away telling Mary that the judge said it was only 4 times and that was it, and also confronting the parenting lady and telling her that it was inappropriate to agree with that. We aren’t really fans of the parenting coach. This is the same lady that let Mary’s mom tell her that we aren’t her parents and that those aren’t her brothers, and Mary came home really hurt and upset about it.
Mary asked mom some hard questions. “Why didn’t you do the right thing so you could get me back? Why didn’t you make good choices? Why is it so hard for you to make good choices? Don’t you love me?” I can’t imagine being a mother and having my kids ask me questions like that. But the interesting thing, the one thing that we absolutely did NOT expect…Mary didn’t cry. The whole time. Not once. In fact, when she got home, she shed about 3 tears, probably because she felt safe and comfortable enough with us to do so, and just because we know her so well, we knew that they were forced, almost like she thought that was what we expected. It was like she was fighting to keep the smile OFF of her face. Friends, this kid is so, so happy, despite it taking her away from her biological family, it has cemented her place in her, permanently, in ourd. Her chosen family. The place where her heart is. That is all we wanted for her…safety, happiness, and permanency. We’re almost their friend…we are almost there…
Day 4 of Operation No More Bobo’s is a success! They haven’t asked for bobo’s once today and they are both currently napping! Thanks the bobo gods!