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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Quiet

When the Fab Four went home the house became quiet. To use the cliche, deafeningly quiet. I missed the giggles immediately. This past weekend as we sailed past 24 hours gone and inched towards the first 48 hours without Solana, the missing laughter is what I noticed first.  Not just from her, but also from my kids.

She's just a funny little being.  She discovers new things daily, and she has this soft little voice and this loud buzzer sound she makes, that you can't help but smile at them.  She only knows the words: up, please, no, Mama, Dada, and hello, but each one seems so meaningful.  We all dote on her and squeal with delight about the new things she does. Having wrapped pretty much the entire family around her tiny fingers, there was a big void this past weekend.

I tried to give latitude to everyone, including myself.  I got up to work on my thesis for grad school and the kids tried to get the rest of their homework done from our trip.  I ignored bickering. I granted lots of snack breaks and blessedly Hubby took them outside. First to do yard work, then on a hike with two stops at Starbucks. I've explained that I was focusing on getting my school assignment done but I'm also hiding a bit, knowing that I am having a hard time and would likely be short tempered.

Court went as I expected. Monday. The department asked for custody to be granted to Dad but the judge granted discretion to the Department To return home.  I think Dad is as ready as he can but, but this gives Solana and us more of a transition. I'm not in favor of a long drawn out process and told the judge that. I know that it doesn't work this way everywhere, but I almost always say something in court. Generally this judge will ask questions and this time he asked if we had a good relationship with Dad. It gave me an opportunity to praise him, explain why he has our support, and demonstrate that we are willing to work with the team. It was slightly easier to do this because Sheila didn't show up until court was over (45 minutes after the call time.) so a few more weeks of overnights and we will move her home.

As of now, Dad has stated he wants us involved.  Likely, we will be helping him on weekends when he works, as childcare could be problematic.  Weekends are also easier for us as we can actually spend quality time with her.  I don't know if it will be every weekend, but we've said we think at least two weekends a month would be best for Solana as once a month seems too infrequent. The 1 1/2 hour drive will also be more easily managed on weekends.

Several readers have asked what we would do if Solana came back into care.  We would absolutely take her as a placement, although I think that scenario is unlikely unless something happens to Dad. Although his illegal status could become problematic as the political landscape changes. Our hope is that we are a support to Dad and he can reach out to us for help when he needs it. He has completed every service in a timely manner, participated in every meeting and did not miss any visits.  The only thing he missed was court, and since his attorney was there, it wasn't held against him. He has no prior involvement with the Department and stepped up to acknowledge his daughter when he didn't have to and family told him not to. This will not be an easy road for him, but he has family support and us as support and I have no reason to believe he won't succeed.  This is foster care working at its absolute best.

It's still hard and sad. We are seeing some really frustrated behavior by Solana and she ignored me for a solid 5 minutes when I saw her at court. Then she wouldn't let me out of her sight.

Simon announced he has a new student coming tomorrow in his class. So there is me- remember how hard it is to be new and make sure you are a friend and nice tomorrow. (Of course he would be, my sweet Simon.) and then he told me her name is also Solana. (Which is strange because her name is not common and is sort of a made up name. It has no language origins.) Great. Hello trigger city....

We are treasuring these last few weeks as we pivot towards our new normal. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Happiest Place on Earth....

Unless you have a sister in foster care who is about to be reunified and will no longer be allowed to live with you.  That's the status of our trip for Simon. Last night he came and found me requesting a hug. About 5 minutes later he came and told me he was really sad. Did I mention we are in Disney World? For the last week? After getting off a Disney cruise? All he should be worrying about is what time the fireworks start and if he can have more cotton candy. Instead, this crappy thing is about to happen in two weeks and it scares the crap out of him. Brings my sweet boy to tears. In Disney World  It broke my heart. I'm trying to focus on the fun and the memories. Trying to memorize all of the fun things and adorableness that is Solana (she literally waves her arms around to every song and shouts "Mimi!!!" When she see Mickey or Minnie. She also learned the words No and yes this week and I swear to God she said "Hello Simon" this morning. I tried to snap some extra pictures of just him and her today and give him a little more time with her. He was sitting next to me when she fell asleep on the Haunted Mansion ride.

I've texted her Dad every day and he recently friended me on Facebook so he has seen all my posts and pictures. He said he missed her but knows that she's having fun and that was all that mattered.

I have to admit though, I cried during the beginning of the Wishes fireworks. There was something about finally being there with my forever children listening to the song "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" while also holding a snugly baby who calls me "mama" who will never remember living with us or this trip that caused the dam of tears to break. We are having such a fun time but the thought that this time is so finite, is never far away. A Dream and a nightmare.

Meanwhile, people are asking me for the kids' Christmas Lists and I just want to answer that all they want is to keep their baby sister in our home. I have zero desire to celebrate Thanksgiving next week.And feel crabby about having to Christmas shop.