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Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Last Night

I didn't hurry home. I had gone to a wake with my Mom and Grandpa and we met my Dad for dinner afterwards. It was a local place from my childhood and I was safely ensconced in the people on this planet who have loved me the longest. We sat and talked about a lot of nothing. My Mom's new obsession with LuLaRoe, bowling with Simon, what we will do for the Super Bowl next weekend. My Dad drove me back to their house to get my car and we talked about vacation plans for this summer. It was mundane. It was normal. It was avoidance.

I arrived home to find that Solana was asleep already. Even though I was avoiding it, I was instantly sad. Hubby said she had just gone down and was probably still up but when I knelt beside her crib, she was sound asleep. I missed rocking her to sleep on the last night she was "ours". 

I spent a few minutes there on the floor, next to her crib, silently crying. I can't explain why this seems so incredibly sad. She'll be back this weekend and the ones after that and she's going back to Disney World with us and her Dad has already said I'm still her Mom. All signs point to nothing changing except the paperwork of where she resides. 

It's just a piece of paper. Oh how many times have I said a piece of paper doesn't matter? Oh but it does...

 I don't understand the reaction I am having. I know it's going to be fine. I'm not worried she is unsafe. I'm not worried she'll disappear. This is the best possible solution. But I'm so, so sad.

Maybe this is the feeling you get when the last bits of hope leave your heart?

The baby we never wanted, the one we didn't know we needed. The one who won't stay but will. My Sunshine. My Solana. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

When the Doorbell Rings

Just when I think I'm going to run out of stuff to Blog about, the Universe comes in and goes "NOPE".

I'm sorry to bum everyone out with my grief posts. It's the way I process all of the feelings so that I can go back to my every day responsibilities of mothering my family.  I purge it here and then I can muster up the composure for my kids.... who seem to be doing okay by the way.  When I mentioned the new schedule will be pretty close to how it will be after Solana officially leaves Sarah responded "oh, well then I don't care that she is moving because this is fine." She clarified that she does care, but it's not this big thing that they were worried about and that she would disappear from our lives like her other family. Solana left for her visit earlier this week and for the 3rd time when the doorbell rang she immediately started to cry, and we weren't even one the 1st floor of the house with our coat on waiting. It was heartbreaking.

If you've been following along on Facebook you know that Sheila has left our state and gone back to where the kids' other 2 siblings are. She's not been back there for 4+ years.  She believes she can go help her youngest child there because they are "sick in the head" like Simon was and "since [Simon] has been with you he is fine...he just needs attention".  I responded with his actual diagnosis of PTSD, extreme anxiety, a suspected physical abuse history, and a rule out for RAD but that of course didn't mean anything to her.

What I thought in my head: Simon is healing, but he is not fine. He will probably struggle with these things his whole life. And its because of intense therapy and a ridiculous amount of structure and consistency that he is doing so well.  

She tried to explain to me why she left the other kids behind and I think she believes being there now somehow makes up for that abandonment.  Of course we know that isn't going to fix anything and I worry that she will decide to bring them back here and it will become another decision for us to make. I'm hoping she went out of state to give birth (if she is pregnant) and that she will stay there*.

She did send amazing pictures of the kids that we will treasure and cherish. We also got videos of some family members and she decided to have a call with the kids.  These were appreciated and I told her so. It almost made up for her popping into our lives with this other drama. Almost.

I'm not sure how long she will stay there but she did not acknowledge or ask about Solana in any way while she was on the phone, even though Solana was screaming in the background. After she spoke to the kids she thanked me for taking care of "her" kids and said that she knows "four is a lot" and "thank you for doing my job basically" and that I'm a strong woman she looks up to. It felt very much like the things she would say to me when we had just become the foster parents.  And I wanted to scream: FIVE. I HAVE FIVE OF YOUR KIDS. AND THEY ARE NOW MINE AND I AM DOING YOUR JOB BECAUSE I AM THEIR MOTHER.

I don't know how much her family knows about the adoption but maybe someone was having a heart to heart with her?  Regardless, I'm over here watching her walk away from her baby and I just can't even wrap my head around it. I only arrive at the answer that she must be in some major denial. I'm sure this has to do with the timing of Solana's case and return home and maybe she will get some support but a cross country trek and then a side trip the other direction for a day or two just seems like she must be in some sort of episode.

So we have birth sister leaving, birth family coming out of the woodwork, and Stella has a family tree project that she misses for school.

Special instructions: If you are adopted you are special. You may choose either family.
Yeah...I re-read the sentence a few times so I could make sure I wasn't reading into it the wrong way. It really is as offensive as it seems to those of us in fostercareland. But people don't understand that. ::sigh:: Okay, I guess I'll educate everyone.

We are not choosing. ALL of these people are family. They make up the whole child.  Would you tell a bi-racial child they needed to pick either their white family or black family to include? No? Okay, well same goes for adoption. And while yes my kid is special, she isn't special because she is adopted. Just like she isn't special because she has black hair. The implication there is "different". Now perhaps my kid doesn't want to explain to everyone she is adopted, but certainly the traditional family tree model doesn't work for the majority of families anymore either?  What about divorced or deceased parents? (Or your biological sibling who has a different father and isn't related to either your mom or your dad!?!) Its crazy making. We can't be the ONLY adoptive family in the district .And the saddest thing is I love the ancestry and family make-up projects. Stella missing the deadline for it meant we didn't get to sit down and really go over and share about the people she was naming on her tree.

Oh well, I guess we do it with Sarah in two years. Hopefully, by then, the alternative format will be available.

*Sheila in the other state means that we are not put in another impossible position. If she is pregnant and she has a baby, then we don't have to make a choice. I don't want her to be pregnant and I don't want the baby to be in harms way if she is, but I don't want to have to follow her down the rabbit hole of poor choices.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 1, 2017 - A Letter to Solana

Dear Solana,

Today you and I had time just by ourselves.  Just you and I.  Its such a rare occurrence given that I'm the Mom in a house with 5 kids, a Dad and a dog. This was more than our 15 minutes alone in the car together where you either fall asleep or scream your head off.  We played. We ate lunch together. We snuggled. And I got to whisper to you "I love you" over and over again. I told you how smart you are. I told you that I was proud to be your "Mama" and you pointed to me and repeated "Mama" and then I said "Solana" and you pointed to yourself. And then you gave me a kiss and squealed in delight. And inhaled your sent, the baby detergent and the fine curls on your neck and I tried to burn the memory of how you felt in my arms deep into my brain.

This New Years Day marks time for us.  Time that will fly by. A blip in your life, really, but likely a turning point in mine. In 30 days you will officially cease to be my responsibility and Caseworker #4 will come for their last visit with us and take you to live with your Daddy.  I know your Daddy loves you and that you will be safe.  I know that he will continue to let us see you and that you won't know anything has happened because you will live at his house and at ours.  But that visit means you won't be our daughter and you will become the baby that we had to let go. The baby we never thought we wanted and had no idea that we needed. You completed our family in ways that I never could have imagined and its hard not to fear what a big gaping hole we might be left with.

But you were worth every moment. They will ask me how we could say goodbye? And I will say because she was worth it. Knowing that you will always know what a loving family felt like, what comforting touch and kisses were, that you flourished in a safe home, will be worth any amount of pain I feel about you leaving. They will ask "Didn't you get attached." And I will say, "Yes, that's what she needed. And I would do it again. I would crawl through glass to make sure she had the proper attachment." And they will say things like "I don't know how you do it" or "I could never do it" and I will simply shrug because you gave us such a gift, I can't imagine not doing it.

I didn't know we needed a baby. I had no idea how quickly love could come into my heart. I didn't know it was possible to love Daddy more until I heard him singing about turkeys while changing your diaper on that first day. I had no idea how helpful seeing a baby crying and parents caring for that baby would be to your siblings piece together unconditional love or at the very least, trust in parents who signed up for forever.  I didn't know I could find joy in something as simple as watching you experience music. Even as you leave us, you are still teaching us to be better versions of ourselves, freer in our emotions and feelings, and generous in our compassion.  It's been a privileged to be your Mama and its a privilege to be a part of your Daddy's support network. Only a special girl like you could make such a difference in so many people's lives.

You are destined for great things my little one. Great things.

All my love sweet pea,

Mommy R