The following parts were originally written in November 2011, just after my children’s first parents’ TPR trial. Obviously, things were considerably emotional. The day of the trial, I wrote:
I am thrilled that the children finally are safe from their biological parents and have a chance for permanency. I am thrilled that we’ll be able to pursue adoption.
However, today was NOT happy day. Three beautiful, wonderful, special children lost what could have and should have been their most precious relationship as youngsters. Two adults lost the relationship with three awesome, lovely, incredible kids. Today’s decision will allow for some beautiful things to happen; but it also was the culmination of six years of neglect and abuse ending in yet another hurt for these very young children. We would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t consider the gravity of the situation even though we are excited about the joy that will come from it.
So a couple things happened during the TPR trial that made me feel good.
The first is that as I was walking off the stand, the children’s caseworker turned to her supervisor and said, “she is amazing.” Okay, so I got the big head for a moment. Of course, then I went straight to beating myself up over two things not mentioned, one of which could have opened the door to certain other discussions. Obviously, it wasn’t a fatal error.
Second – Note to Defense Attorney: Don’t mess with Mama.
I may not yet be the children’s legal mother, but I most certainly *am* their Mama. Maybe the defense attorney missed that as he was preparing for this case? I don’t see how. Everything I say and do oozes love for these children.
So basically, my testimony was just to say the children are thriving, growing, and developing well since being put in my home. I put hard numbers to prove the point. I had clothing sizes, weights, heights, speech (and OT) evals broken down, a list of changed behaviors, a list of new abilities, a list of changed beliefs/feelings/thoughts, a list of new experiences, etc.
The defense attorney gets to me and says dismissively, “okay, [T-lo] has gained under a pound per month and [Swimmer] has gained just over a pound per month?”
Mama Bear was ready
“Sir, average growth for a 2-9year old child is 4-5 pounds per year. [T-lo] has gained that much from April 13 to Oct 11th. [Swimmer] *doubled* that in the same six months. That is catch-up growth.”
Mess with me!
So this came about because the caseworker had called and asked me if I could *prove* the children were thriving in my home. I said I could; but to be honest, I was a little worried about if I really could. Everyone who has known these kids during those seven months (and in the case of some CPS workers, family members, and the like, it was five years) could see that the children had taken off. But could I *prove* it in court acceptable ways? And to be honest, I was also worried of offending anyone while doing it. Honestly, a LOT of people had dropped the ball in terms of caring for these children. The court gave them back to their first parents. So did family after a “case closure” which was supposed to protect them from ever living with their parents again. Foster parents and caseworkers hadn’t made sure that certain care was given to them. More importantly, these first parents had severely neglected and abused their children. How do I say what all we had done without offending all those who messed up?
But I’m so glad I did the work to show the children really were progressing so beautifully:
I sat down with their folders (They each have three: one for school, one for history, and one with current case/health related items) and got the FACTS. I then typed them up. What I had was gold, hard proof my children were flourishing. I think this was much more important than being able to put a lawyer in his place. It allowed ME to see awesome progress.
One lesson that hubby and I learned is something we have to be reminded of many many times since that day in November 2011. Here is how I wrote it the day after TPR:
Another big thing came from yesterday in Hubby’s and My hearts. Sometimes 7 months seems like a short time and sometimes it feels like plenty long enough for certain changes in the children. Yesterday, hubby and I learned why seven months is NOTHING and why it may take us a few years for certain things to happen for our Littles. Those few years will probably be hard work for us in terms of attachment, teaching, and loving. We are up for it
Yes, 7 months was nothing. 15 months wasn’t anything either. Next week, we’ll be at 24 months. Some days are still *really* hard. Some issues come in waves. Others slap us in the face because things were going so well just before the issue comes up again. The “power of three” (I’ll write about that another time) drives me batty. Many days I’m scared for them. Most days there is some hope though. They’ve come so far. They may or may not ever fully heal from what their first parents and the system did to them. But we will be there every step of the way, here to love them, help them, and hope for them. With God, all things are possible….in this system or the next 🙂