It's a primal scream. Terror. Fear. She clings to me, claws at my shirt to grab enough material to hold on. Her face is red and sweaty. Big, fat tears are rolling down her cheek.
The teacher says "I know Mommy is best but we will have a good day too" as I try to extricate myself from the vice grip she now has on my shirt. In my head I'm screaming But I'm not her Mom. I'm her temporary Mom. And in a few months people who have never met her will thank me for the job I've done and order her to go live with her Biological Father and no Mom. And I imagine her at his house screaming for me in the same way. And my heart cracks just a bit more.
I sit in my car in the office parking lot trying to calm myself enough to be able to go in the building without being asked what's wrong. Tears rolling down my cheeks, much the same as they were rolling down hers.
I've been on hold for 40 minutes listening to a loop "Studies show that women who breastfeed lower their risk of ovarian and breast cancers. For more information on breastfeeding...." First in English, then in Spanish. Finally the recording abruptly stops and I get a live person. In a desperate voice my first words are a "Please don't put me on hold!" After another ten minutes she tells me she has no record of the request to amend my children's birth certificate effectively relaying the message that on paper, I have no proof that my children exist. Despite the adoption being final for 2 months. Despite confirmation that our state sent the request to the other state. Despite the emails to my attorney on status. I sit at my desk and cry. Cry because Im still fighting, even though it's supposed to be over. Cry because the woman who birthed them never fought this hard for them. Cry because the certificate is a big fat lie anyway. Cry because these agencies still don't care about my kids. Cry because all of the other things I need to do with this certificate can't be done until I actually have them. My attorney calls me back after the stern emails to her contains the correct contact number. She tells me she's so frustrated. The tears come harder.
Dinner is over. I'm sitting at the table by myself. Knowing I've disengaged from my family because I simply can't pretend to care about Pokemon Go or whatever is happening on the Disney Channel. I've fielded questions about weekend plans and dinner and picture day and book fair and I just need a bit of silence. And a sweet friend posts a beautiful post about foster care and grief and the tears start rolling down my cheeks again. It's important. It's necessary. And today it's painful. Really painful.