Within the month, we should have a much clearer picture about two life-changing events in the lives of my family members. The first one involves Middle Son J. About three days before he was scheduled to be deployed, first for training stateside, and then on to Afghanistan, he and others in his unit received an e-mail saying that due to military budget cuts, about 50 soldiers would not be sent. J’s name was on that list. Of course, we were all in disbelief. I felt like the death row inmate who had just been pardoned at 5 minutes until midnight. J, however, was initially very upset, as were some of his buddies–both those who also were cut, and the ones still scheduled to go–but now without the buddies they had planned to go into battle with. After the shock wore off, though, J began to see the upside and readjusted his battlemind back to the positives of staying home, finishing school, and not leaving his girlfriend Kathy for a year. Until the next day…when they were informed that they should disregard that first e-mail. No final orders were issued. They would carry on as if nothing had happened. If they got the final orders while they were at training, they would be sent back home. If not, they would be going to Afghanistan. So he’s away at training and no one seems to know for sure what’s going on. It has been a roller coaster ride, to say the least.
The second decision is another one completely out of our hands. We are pretty much spectators, waiting for someone else to shape the direction of our lives. And the process leading to this decision will begin tomorrow. We were informed last month that the family court judge who is in charge of deciding where our foster daughters and their siblings will be placed has asked that we be present at the courthouse tomorrow. And I’m nervous. I have no idea what to expect. In fact, I’m not even sure if this is for real. I have nothing in writing. No calls from the county. Just a call last month to Big Daddy–from the kids’ lawyer–that we were to meet with the judge. Big Daddy is going to e-mail her later today to verify that this meeting is still on, and that nothing has been canceled.
I’m scared it may be canceled. I’m nervous if it’s not canceled. I haven’t seen the girls since late September. I have no idea if they’re scheduled to be at this hearing. I want to see them again. I’m afraid to see them again.
Big Daddy has seen the girls since they left our home. He showed up at one of their scheduled hearings to see what was going on (even though we are never really sure what is going on since we foster parents are relegated to sitting out in the waiting area), and to remind the kids’ lawyer to mention that we are very much willing to adopt the girls if that becomes the final determination. We have been very lucky to find some caring people who, like us, want what is best for the kids. It doesn’t always work out that way.
At first the kids walked right past him in the courthouse, without a hint of recognition. It was early, they didn’t expect him to be there, they had just moved on and forgotten about us??? For the first time Big Daddy wasn’t sure we were doing the right thing by trying to get them back. But we had to let them know. We hadn’t abandoned them. We were fighting to get them back. It was NOT our lie that they were going to be living with their siblings–and then dumped somewhere else–away from not only their biological family, but now also the family and friends that had loved and nurtured them for the last year and a half.
And then he saw Bonus Baby–sitting on her bio mom’s lap–chattering away and pointing at him across the room. He walked over to them and said, “Who am I?” Her mom laughed and said, “Yeah, she keeps pointing and asking ‘Who is that?’.” “You know who I am,” Big Daddy said, and all his doubts melted away when Bonus Baby reached out her arms to him and said, “Daaaaddy!”
Then it was like she never left. She talked about the black thing on the pool (the winter cover). Then she talked about J’s leg and how he hurt it. She asked him where Mommy(me) was, then put her hand on her hip and asked with a sneaky grin, “Is she still sleeping?” Of course Big Daddy got a kick out of that!
It was funny in a been-there-done-that kind of way when the new foster mom related how, when Bonus Child came in to tell her that Bonus Baby had put her lotion on her bed, that they had no idea at first that she’d meant she had actually slathered a whole bottle of lotion on the bed sheets. And it was heart-wrenching when it was time for Bonus Baby to leave the courthouse, and she wrapped her arms around Big Daddy’s neck and said, “I want to go home wif you, Daddy.”