As a student in foster/adoption classes, you sit and listen intently to the cases and scenarios. The workers do their best to prepare you for all the possibilities but then they are quick to remind you that each case is different. There's no way to be prepared for what your case will hold. The twists and turns in each situation are unique and individual. So that's where we are today. We have hit a twist and a turn.
When we got our call almost four months ago we were told "this is the easiest case you are going to get." We heard words like "open and shut," "uncontested", and other buzz words that would convince anyone that the process was truly going to be easy. It hasn't been. Nor is it going to be.
Last week we had our first hearing. This was to be the day that all services were terminated for the birth mom of our little guy. From there we were to proceed directly to terminating parental rights and then on to adoption. It felt like a Monopoly card that sends you directly to "Go" and tells you to collect your money! But our twist and turn came in the form of his birth mom showing up to court. She contested the hearing. Then she showed up to the social workers office. She has a renewed sense of fortitude and wants to try again.
Open and shut.
Those are gone.
Now, we are faced with the reality that a judge can show mercy and extend her time to get her act together. She could do it. She could go to rehab. We could drive our sweet boy twice a week to see a woman he has never known. And leave him there. The thought makes me my head spin and my stomach flop.
The social workers are all just as surprised as we are. But they assure us that very little has changed. Parents do this. They reach the eleventh hour, realize they are going to lose their child, and make a last ditch effort. It's not a new game. That's what they tell us. They assure us that it will all work out in the end. But I am still shaken to my core. They say the judge will still probably rule against her and terminate her services. It's too little too late. I can't say that I wouldn't be relieved if that's the way it goes.
This is my baby. He's MY baby. I'm the one that snuggles him close and soothes him. I'm the one that sat in the hospital for three days while his little body healed from yet another respiratory virus. I'm the one that prays over him every day.
That's the part that's hardest. I prayed for him to be in our lives. I pray for him every day. Actually, WE pray for him every day. My husband and I pray over all of our children every day. We know whose they are. We are called to parent, but they do not belong to us.
We also know that we serve a great big God that is never surprised.
We know we are called to love. Love our little guy. Even love the mother that gave him to us. Don't get me wrong. We can pray and love and still understand that she is not the best place for our son to be. The love is hard though. It's mixed with anger for me. I'm angry that she didn't take care of her body when she was pregnant. I'm angry that he suffers the consequences of her actions. I'm angry that he has to be such a fighter because of his circumstances. I'm angry that she gave up. I'm angry that she lets her life be ruled by substances. I'm angry that she wouldn't just stay away!
But as a mom, my heart is broken for her. She got to carry him for 8 months and feel him move inside. She is the one missing out on his precious smiles and firsts. I know she showed up out of desperation because she is heartbroken too.
The emotional roller coaster of this process is often more than I can bear. I'm grateful we serve a God that is not surprised and able to sustain us when we are. Tomorrow we march back into battle and pray for truth and wisdom.
For today, we love.
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