Saturday, January 26, 2013

Up to speed.

So much has happened. And I think our family and close friends deserve to know what has been going on.
As you all know Tedd and I decided last year to become licensed for foster care.  We prayed about it and were so excited and passionate to help children.  We also took the adoption classes at that time.  We had NO clue if we would ever adopt but felt that we would let God lead us in that decision.

Once you are licensed for foster and adoption you can get on the list to recieve emails with each child who comes up for adoption in the state of Missouri.  We started recieving profiles of children that were up for adoption.  We were interested in a few of the children and decided to submit our homestudy to multiple emails.

We submitted our homestudy on a sibling group of 2 little girls that were up for adoption (We will call them M and N for the purpose of the blog)  in late August.  By mid September, we hadnt heard anything back about any of the profiles we had submitted to and also had found out that Tedd would be deploying to Afganistan by the end of the year.  At the end of September I recieved a phone call I was not expecting.  We had been chosen as one of four couples to attend an "adoption staffing". A staffing is basically like an interview with the current foster parents, the attorney, the childrens social worker and other people from the childrens division.  It was for the 2 little girls.  We were beyond ecstatic!  Because we knew Tedd was deploying, we figured our chances were slim to none.  We decided to go for it anyway. 

In mid October we went to Springfield and attended the staffing.  We were grilled on everything from how we would parent, how we would handle certain situations, our beliefs, our finances, our future plans, our relationship.  Everything.  We left and had NO clue what the outcome would be.  We were very honest about Tedd deploying and the fact that he would be gone for almost a year.

The next Monday I was in the shower and my phone started ringing, I got the call.  The worker was telling me something I didn't think I would hear...WE were chosen.  I couldn't believe it!  And of course (life of an Army wife lol) I couldn't tell Tedd right away because he was gone out in the field for 3 weeks.
As soon as he called I told him and we were so ready for this next step of our lives.

We started visits with them and after a few weeks got the "ok" to move them to our home! They were crazy and hyper but we were already loving them so much and really thought they would be our children forever.
Our guest bedroom was transformed into their room.  Bright pink curtains, princess accesories, and lots of toys.  Things started popping up all over the house, sippy cups, big hair bows, step stools, bubble bath.  Our friends and some of our family sent gifts for them.  We were showered with support.  They were here for about a week and a half before Tedd left.

N especially bonded with Tedd and she was so excited to have a daddy.  The plan was that they had to be in our homes as "foster children" for 6 months (Missouri state law) and then the paperwork would start and they would become fully adopted. 

The exact day that Tedd left, I got a phone call from the social worker.  She said a biological family member had come back in the picture.  I can't give many details in a public forum like this.  I have to be careful. What I will say is that this person in my opinion is FAR from fit to parent. 
Anyway the worker said this person was determined to do whatever they could to get the girls back. 
This was a tough pill to swallow.  The worker apologized because, as she put it, "no one saw this coming"  She promised to keep me updated on the situation. 

We held out hope that this was not going to be a big bump in the road.  Soon I started recieving packages in the mail with letters from this person to the girls.  I never read them to them.  They don't even know this person.  I recieved recordable story books, Christmas gifts. 

If the UPS man pulled up or the mailman heart sank a little.  I would take the package, tell the girls it was something for me, and put it in the other room.  Then after the girls were in bed at night, I would open the package.  I would look through the pictures, read the letters, and worst of all...listen to the story books.  I would lay on the floor and sob.  How could this be happening?  I was all alone, and this couldn't be happening.  Hearing her voice was the worst.  I hid all of those things from the girls.  I just couldn't give it to them.  Maybe it was wrong of me.  But they don't even know her.  Never talk about her, never ask.  Nothing.  Why confuse them even more. 

I would put the items in their "life box" for someday. 

As these things started happening I started talking to Tedd about what was happening when he called.  I didn't want to stress him out but I also felt that he deserved to know.  I kept getting calls that the person was "staying on the straight and narrow".  Apparently the "system" believes in 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th chances.  *sigh*   I still held out hope. 

Then one day, I was told that there was going to be a court date in the future to possily start visits with the person.  What?! This was supposed to be an ADOPTION.  You all seeked a FOREVER home.  I don't understand.  I still really didn't think it would ever happen.

Then it happened.  I got an email.  A cold, unemotional email.  It basically said, the judge granted her visits.  When are you available to transport them back and forth to see her.

I broke down.  I called the worker crying.  She didn't understand.  My good friend, who has been with me through it all, came over.  I prayed.  I talked to Tedd the next morning. 

We made a very hard decision.  We made the decision to have the girls moved back to their old foster home.  I am well aware that most people will not understand this.  Some people will judge us.  What I knew is that I couldn't do it.  It was an emotional roller coaster like you could never imagine.  But now, I would have to drive them back and forth to see this person.  I would have to be happy and cheery and ask how everything was going.  I would have to watch them SLOWLY, painfully day by day, week by week get ripped slowly from my life.  I could do nothing about it it.  These were the children that we thought we would adopt and love forever.  We thought they would soon have the same last name as us and we would watch them grow into adults.

It also wasn't going to be a fast process.  It would be months if not at least a year of this painful experience.

The girls were familiar and happy in thier loving foster home.  So they moved back.  It hurts.  I can't walk in their room yet.  I have the door closed.  I might leave it closed for some time.  I KNOW it was the right choice. 

Now that you all know what happened and whats going on.  I just ask for your prayers.  I will update on Tedd and I as often as I can.  He is doing well, and I'm hanging in there.  But thank you for your love and support.  And I hope you can all understand the decision we have made.