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Counting Down...

About 8 years ago, I learned to never walk away from a conversation that would bring me closure.  I was called into a meeting at my side gig (at my church). The writing had been on the wall that I was not long for the position and that there was a fundamental difference of beliefs happening.  We were parting ways and I had the opportunity to say exactly what I was feeling and thinking and so I did.  In a calm, clear voice, I said everything my heart needed to say and I walked away from something I loved dearly, with zero regret.

Today was kind of like that.  The writing is on the wall that reunification is happening, and soon, and I had the opportunity to put everything my heart needed to say, out on the table, so that when Solana leaves, someone I love dearly, I will have zero regret.

Through tears I explained to her Dad that I believed in him.  That I was proud of how hard he has worked and I believed he was ready. That I didn't fear for her safety. But that my biggest fear was that this special bond that our children have would be broken and that my kids would be hurt and not be able to grow up with their sister and that Solana would be hurt and grow up without her siblings.

And through tears he replied that he has siblings he hasn't seen in almost 10 years and he wouldn't do that to his daughter. That he loves her and he knows we love her and she loves all of us and he wants her to be around that.  She could spend one week with us and the next with him and if he was free he would drive her the hour and a half to our house to see us.

I told him we would have her as often as he would let us and that we want to be a support to him.  I asked him about the incident that landed him in jail and he told me he took the plea (even though it sounded like she may have made a bunch of the story up) to get out sooner so that he could visit in person with Solana.

Guardianship or any kind of shared custody isn't possible in this case and its likely Sheila will try to fight for custody and visitation in Family Court. But we worked out a plan so longer visits and several overnights will happen with Dad before the next court date. They will ask for return home and try to get us some sort of transition/ability to let the kids say goodbye. That's if the judge allows. And if he doesn't delay the reunification.

I felt good about this most of today. It's the right thing for Solana.  Her Dad gets it.  He wants us to be a part of her life.  This is the best possible outcome in foster care. It's what the system was designed to do (see it works sometimes!). And many people could only dream of this kind of scenario.

But it still sucks. And tonight when Solana was being smart and adorable the countdown began in my head.  I'll admit when she didn't want to let go of her book at bedtime and wanted Mommy snuggles, I cried. I whispered to her that I loved her and that I always would.  And I tried to memorize the way she smelled and how soft her hands are.  And I curled up in Hubby's lap in our room and sobbed. A big ugly cry, bordering on a panic attack. I'm still crying as I type this.  But that's because we do Foster Care the right way.  We love without strings. We go all in.  We put our hearts into everything. We leave nothing on the table.

I have zero regrets about deciding to take Solana. Or saying no the first time we were asked. I have no regrets about how we approached the relationship with her Dad or the year she will have spent with us. This part at least, makes all the rest of the raw emotion just a little bit easier to deal with.

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