Saturday, October 14, 2017

Part 10

Eventually the adoption worker saw she would not be able to place all four siblings together.
So the plan became the two older would go back to their previous foster home and we were given an ultimatum.
We could adopt Z if we would also adopt her brother.
I will not go into details
but we had to make a really hard decision.
We knew before even talking about it that we could not say yes to him just to get her back.
That is not fair to us, to him, to our children and to our family.
We would not be ultimatum-ed into doing something if we could not give a full yes.
We read his referral. And spoke to his therapist. And had a visit.
We went into this knowing this could very likely be the last time we see our precious baby.
     (people get real up in words -- when I say our baby, yes I know she's not technically in any
      form "ours" but in our hearts she has always been ours)

The weekend was a weekend full of allllll the things, feelings wise.
I felt in turmoil all weekend.

I will not lay out all the details of the decision, because that's ours and his story is his.
But we had to make the hard choice to say no.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Part 9

We had three people who really helped us during this time.
My father in law.
Mother in law.
And Doug's grandma/Nini.

We were getting what usually takes six months done in 3 1/2 weeks.
We ended up sharing our story several times with newbie foster parents.
Gosh, there's something so pure. 
It's not pure ---- it's naive
about newbie foster parents.
We were there once too.
Sat in those classes ready to save the world.

Not only were we trying to get these classes done but we are in the middle of a home renovation. 
To say life was hectic feels very much like an understatement. 

Earlier in the year, after Z left Douglas felt our word was endure.
It wasn't just about living after she left, we also were driving Alex to a private school that was quite far from our previous house.
Once we moved into our new house I thought our season of enduring was over
But, I was obviously wrong thinking that.

It seemed like it was somehow all just beginning. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Part Eight

On August 29th my best friend, Cassie, came to give Addison doughnuts before school and then we headed to Ikea. There is nothing better than being with your best friend in Ikea on a Tuesday. It's a known thing, that if I go with you to Ikea on a weekend that I really truly love you. But a Tuesday is the best.

I had a great time with Cassie and her kids. I was feeling so light and full from our time together.

And then I got a text that would flip my current plans and expectations.

Her aunt let me know that she would not be adopting Z and the three other siblings living with her. As soon as I read that text I lost it. Like ugly cry lost it. I felt so confused. And immediately ready to do whatever we had to do to get our precious Z baby back into our home.

Our foster care license had closed in July so what were we to do.
We tried to request kinship. Nope. Not doing that.
Then we decided to do the crazy thing.
Be super crazy and start pre service classes again.
See when you let your license go, you have to go back through allllll the pre-service classes.
In Ohio, that's 36 hours of classes.
Our agency worked with us and helped us figure out how quickly we could get those classes done because by the beginning of November was when new placements would need to be finalized.

So we started the classes, we were told right away that there was a very slim chance they would place her back with us, but she's worth it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Part Seven

Communication started back up.
And I was invited to their home.
I was terrified.
I was honest, how am I supposed to not be mom but be like an aunt. How could I do that.
We started meeting up with all the kids.
I kept encouraging.
Mothers Day just about killed me.
I put on all the brave face I could.
I kept reminding myself how lucky I was with the three kids that I birthed, but she was missing. She wasn't with me.
I sent her aunt a mother's day text because no matter how much I hurt, she was the one caring for Z, she was the one loving her. She was the one dealing with her added trauma.

Every time after a visit my heart fell apart.
Everything hurt.
Everything felt wrong.
And I cried a lot.
This girl, the loss of her was so heavy, but I had to face that this was how life was now. That the time she had with us was special but it was over.

Or was it?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Part Six

Part six is where I tell you I got over it quickly and life became sunshine and unicorns.
Except I'd be lying if I told you that.
Days that I didn't cry felt like I accomplished something truly hard.
The little things would bring tears.
Like the space in the room she once slept in.
Her and Addison shared a room.
Some days I couldn't even walk in there.
It felt so empty, so bare.
It hurt.
But what truly made it hard was Addison.
She struggled sleeping.

Her aunt didn't want to kick us out of the picture so her and Z and then Doug, Addison and me met up for lunch. Z just wanted me to hold her and sobbed when it was time to go. Her aunt and I kept communicating and it hurt with every fiber of my being, but I tried my best to encourage her. And then silence. One day the communication ended. I sent her a text letting her know that if it was too hard for Z to see us I understood if she wanted to end us seeing her but to just let me know. Nothing.

On Christmas day I felt the nudge from God to text her and wish her Merry Christmas. I didn't want to. I was mad God would even ask me to do that. I sent it quickly. That day hurt so much. And I would soon find out, every holiday would hurt. I don't think people knew, but for every holiday after it felt and still feels like pain. My heart still feels unwhole.

Later that day I received a text. She explained why she cut off communication.
The county told her we were trying to sabotage the placement and told her to cut off communication, and then she decided they might be wrong and decided to re start communication.

I decided to read Ann Voscamp's book The Broken Way.
It helped in a way I needed it to.
It didn't give me ways to get over it, but acknowledged how real my pain was.
And then it lead me to the what's next.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Part Five

We packed up the caseworkers car.
We gave her some of her favorite things.
We said good bye and we all cried.

And then we jumped in our car and drove to my mom's in Pennsylvania.
Breathing felt heavy and wrong.
The world was still spinning while my life had just been torn apart.

The moment she left I had decided if I can't be her mom, I will support her aunt the best way I can. That though felt like a knife slowly pushing through my chest.
I'm supposed to be her mom.
I could still hear her voice saying mama and feel the way she would lay on my shoulder.
I could still smell her breathe and feel the texture of her hair.
My life as I knew it was shattered. How do you come back from shattered?

Here's what I know. You don't come back.
The old you is gone.
Once your heart breaks from loss, no matter that loss it changes you.
No matter your heartbreak it's ok to know the old you is gone and now there's a new you.

I felt like a shell of myself. On the outside I was still Katie, but on the inside breathing hurt, looking forward felt like pure negligence of her life. How was I supposed to hope without her. How was I supposed to make plans and smile and fucking be me?

On Thanksgiving day I was somehow supposed to be thankful. All I know is that I ate 3 pieces of pie. And then I got a facetime from Z's aunt and I got to see her.
And then I cried surrounded by my husband, kids, brother, mom and step dad.
I'm not sure really what happened that weekend. It's all a blur.

And that lasted for awhile.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Part Four

Visits with the aunt were starting.
The very fist visit was at the Children Services building.
Z baby cried when she had to leave me
And I cried the whole way home.

We asked for updates and nothing.
No calls, no emails, no texts and no more monthly visits.

We last time we saw our worker was in August just before the TPR meeting and that would be the last time she visited Z in our home.

I eventually was told the case was going to kinship, but not from a caseworker, or the GAL or literally anyone else on the effing team that makes decisions, but another foster parent.

We didn't know what to do, we were losing our baby and we did what any parent losing their baby would do, we lost our shit. And we lost it hard. And email was typed up and sent. That email, where we put everything out there. With the main idea of "how will Z be protected?"

That email caused us to be the bad guys. Another fun foster care fact. You are supposed to advocate for the child in your care but if you dare do that, they will use that child to get you to shut your mouth. We were called manipulative and a whole other slew of crap.

After that first visit at Children Services visits started at the aunt's new house. She again started throwing up after these visits. I reached out to the GAL, with no help in return. For the record I freaking dislike GALs, they are terrible. These people are supposed to come out before every court hearing, we saw Z's once. ONCE. Court happened way more than once.

On November 22nd at 5:30 pm is when we were officially told she would be leaving our house. Guess what day. The very next day. So at 10am on November 23rd I said good bye to a little two year old girl that was not mine in any sense that matters to anyone else, but to us, she belonged with us. We were here home. Our home was hers. Her mess was ours.

And now I knew I had to do the hard hard hard job of mourning the loss of a child that was still very much alive. Alive and only an hour away from me. How would I survive........