She Knows…

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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.

About?

Adoption.

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!

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WHAT 5:30 PM LOOKS LIKE AFTER 2 DAYS OF NO NAP!

 

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!