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Mediation from Monday (3/21/22)

We had a scheduled mediation this past Monday. I’d love to have something exciting to share. Unfortunately, this is not the case. My lawyer, her lawyer, the mediator, and I all showed up. Mary was did not. Her lawyer informed us that he told her she had to be there, but that Mary said she had to work. The mediator then asked Mary’s lawyer what her issues with the adoption are. Mary’s lawyer stated that Mary feels that I have stopped her from seeing Carter along the way. That I am the reason she doesn’t see her son. This is the part that is hard for me. I am constantly sitting in court hearings not able to defend myself, while my sister someone I love lies about me. Even still on the court record last April, Mary admitted that I said she could go to any therapist as long as they were willing to talk to Carter’s therapist, the court, and Me (if there were any issues so I am prepared to handle Carter’s reaction). So while she can say these things, in the back of my head I’m hoping the judge remembers this.

The Mediator called and texted Mary’s phone. She didn’t answer. We waited a little bit, and just as we were going to reschedule she texted back. Mary stated that she thought her lawyer could represent her interests. Her lawyer stated again saying “I don’t know what to say, I told her she needed to be here.” I felt bad for the guy, I mean he is court appointed so he isn’t getting paid.

We ended up rescheduling it and yes I did say rescheduling for April 14th. I am frustrated as I took off a whole day of work, and now by the time I get myself together and changed, it’s too late to go into work. I know they want to make sure that they give her as many chances as possible. Here’s the thing I’m a sub right now, so if I don’t work I don’t get paid.

They did put the order through for her hair follicle test. She has until next Thursday to get a hair follicle test or it is an automatic failure. We shall see what she decided to do here. If she does get it done or not.

I hope she can agree to the adoption, even though I know she probably won’t. It’d be the best possible situation for Carter to be honest. If she just agreed then he won’t have to testify, say all the reasons he doesn’t want to live with Mary, and why he wants me to adopt him.

I’ll share updates as they happen.

"We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never life through it. In face, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God, who raises the dead." - 2 Corinthians 1:8-9 

Final Restraining Order

So today took a strange turn of events. I went to court assuming we would adjourn for another day. My lawyer had another case at 10am. One of his associates who was new came along.

I get to court and I’m trying to figure out where to go. I see my lawyer so I wait for him. He tells me he is going to ask for an adjournment, and he introduced me to his associate. We walk and then wait outside the court room for a little bit. The court officer comes out and takes our attendance.

We are let into the court room and Mary is no where to be seen. The police had told me she was served on Sunday afternoon, so she knew about today. My lawyer told me that she will probably ask for an adjournment and it will be granted so she has time to get a lawyer.

Then finally after waiting a while the Judge comes in, she goes over the consequences of the restraining order for those involved. She said some other things but to be honest I was so nervous I wasn’t focusing well. I couldn’t help but notice that Mary still wasn’t there.

I also noticed that all those people who had a restraining order filed against them were in one place, away from their accusers.

Then the Judge addresses the lawyers in the court room and asks who they are there for. The judge calls my lawyer by name and asks who he is representing. She asks if Mary and I are present. My lawyer says that I am, but Mary isn’t.

Then she has him approach the bench. They say a few things and I hear the Judge ask can your associate handle the default. The associate says that she can. I ask what is going on and she tells me to hold on for a second.

Then the three of us go into the hallway. The lawyer explained that default means that they will go forward with the hearing without Mary there, because she didn’t show she didn’t get a chance to defend herself. They go over what will happen in the court room and they tell me that his associate will handle the default. Unless Mary shows up before the judge calls our case.

We went back into the court room and it wasn’t long before the judge called us. Mary still hadn’t showed up, so I gave testimony and after all was said and done I was granted a final restraining order, Carter is also listed as a protected person on it as well.

The court said they were going to order Mary to get a psych evaluation and medication management. I really hope she gets the help she needs.

Temporary Restraining Order

Mary threatened to come after me yesterday. Along with the threatening text messages that have come through lately, the fact that she wanted to kill our dad back in May. When she is like this she is very unpredictable. I was really scared. Thank called the police and I ended up getting a temporary restraining order.

I had to go down to the police station. I talked to the officers and showed them my evidence. Then they called a judge and I had to talk to the judge. Then they told me it was granted. Then I waited for a long time for the paperwork. I couldn’t figure out what was taking so long. It was hours. Finally, they came out and gave me the paperwork. Turns out they were trying to serve her before I left. They also informed me that because of the history they charged her with criminal harassment. I honestly don’t know how I feel about that. She has mental illness and a drug problem, she needs help. I don’t know that a criminal charge is going to do that for her. I just need to try keep Carter and I safe. I know some people won’t understand and they will judge. The thing is I need to do what is right for us.

We will have court in the coming weeks for the temporary restraining order. Hopefully she gets served and things can move quickly.

Snapshots

Carter got his yellow belt today. I posted a picture on social media. If I’m being honest I did it because I needed something to celebrate with him. These small moments are the things that keep me going.

This weekend was really rough. He is a teenager with the emotional level of 10 years of age and the wants of a teenager. It is a battle for him everyday. He struggles and he takes it out on me. While that might not be fair and it isn’t right that’s just how it is.

This Saturday Carter was super angry. I caught him watching something inappropriate, and I confronted him. I was not happy, and either was he. Carter claimed that he didn’t know he couldn’t watch the tv show. He knew and he eventually admitted that later but in the moment he wasn’t going to own that. It’s hard for him to do that.

Things snowballed from there and they got hard. I’ll spare you the details but I was in tears and so upset and honestly so was he. The next day he is wanted everything to just go back to normal. The problem is that he crossed some lines he can’t uncross. I forgive him and I’m sad and hurt. I also have my own stuff going on. He was having a hard time because I wasn’t all bounced back is the best way to put it. So come Sunday afternoon he started to say he was sick. I asked him what was wrong and he said his chest hurt. He also said his eyes were a little blurry at times. I was pretty sure it was anxiety, and I still think so. I gave him some tums and some Benadryl thinking it might be allergies too.

Things eventually got worse, he kept complaining and I told him to go lay in his bed and try and sleep. I wanted him to feel better and sleep was in my mind the best idea. This became in his mind that I didn’t want to spend time with him. I told him several times I did, and I also wanted him to rest so he could feel better. He ended up yelling and again we had a rough and late night.

This morning I woke him up and he said he couldn’t get out of bed. I told him if he wanted Tv later today he’d get up. He got up and got dressed. I praised him and tried really hard to be extra patient and positive. To be honest he wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to get up this morning. When we got to work, we were early. So he stayed in my classroom and ended up laying on my he carpet in my room. When it was time for him to go and work I told him so. He said he couldn’t get up from the floor because he was too depressed. He said he wanted to die but wouldn’t kill himself. He was serious and I believe he is depressed to be honest. I mean who wouldn’t? The kid just found out his mom doesn’t want to see him, he is grieving that loss. I had been talking to his therapist all weekend long. I was running low on patience and I said sternly that he needed to get up and do his work that it would help him feel better. He then said where is the lovey-dovey mom who was here before, you aren’t being very nice to me. I felt manipulated and very frustrated.

I walked out of the room and went to the bathroom. I called his therapist and my good friend. With their blessing and support (to me verbally on the phone) I went back into my classroom. He was still laying on the floor. I looked at him and said very calmly and directly you have a choice. You can get up and go to work or you can give into your depression and not move. However, if you choose to not move I will call crisis, because if you can’t do life then you need immediate help. I told him he had 5 minutes to make a choice. Three minutes later he went to work. Once he was moving and seeing people he was smiling and I could see his spirits were lifted. He came back to my classroom for lunch and we talked. He asked me if I still loved him. I reassure him of this often. I looked at him and said listen we had a rough weekend. You made some bad choices and didn’t control your anger. You apologized for it and I forgave you. I am not mad at you I’m just sad. I will get over it and it will be okay. I will ALWAYS love you no matter what. There is nothing you can do to stop me from loving you or leaving you.

He cried. He got up and came and sat on my lap and I held this teenage boy who just so wants to know he is loved, he is enough, he is worth it, and that he won’t be abandoned. We finished work and I had to then tutor. After I took him straight to karate. He had testing today. So when he came out with that smile on his face and his yellow belt I snapped a picture and posted it. I was so happy to have something good to celebrate with him, something that I could tell he was proud of himself for.

Then we celebrated. I had a gift card to Starbucks so we went through the drive through. Even our dog got a pupachino. We laughed and we had a treat.

Pictures of Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. They are just snap shots. If you hadn’t seen me this weekend you would have thought that everything was great in our world. You might even be jealous of our celebration.

The truth is so much more simple. It’s just the one thing I could celebrate with my son today, after a long hard weekend. A chance for me to show him I was proud of him for something. A reminder that even in the midst of all the chaos there is some normalcy.

Carter is a great kid, and I said that often this weekend. As much for myself as the person I was talking too. Carter has experienced trauma, and he has learned unhealthy coping skills. We are trying to work through those and help him make changes. It is hard, it is a daily thing, and it is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I also wouldn’t change it for the world. I love Carter, and I will do everything I can do help him, always.

Finding the bright spot

Carter is having a rough time lately. After my last post Carter asked me if he needed too much or if he was bad. I said no why? He said he was wondering if that if why his parents don’t want to see him or be apart of his life. He then texted a bunch of adult males in his life and asked them to go out to eat. It was already 6:30pm on a Sunday. So no one was available, however they made plans for future days. I really appreciate these men who make space for him. I think he is so longing for that validation that others want to spend time with him.

Carter has been acting out and very emotional all week. The other day he acted out for over two hours. Trying to find any reason to be mad at me, blame me. At the end of it, he was was crying asking me if he was bad or needed too much or if he had been better would Mary be so messed up. He asked me if he had tried harder when he did have visitation, would she want to see him. Then he was asking me why he can’t have a normal life, with a mom and dad. Over two hours, and this has been building since the weekend really. He kept getting little things out over the last few days but it didn’t feel completely right. Anyway, in the end I think it’s good he got it out.

I have learned to try and make things fun after one of these moments with Carter. Truth is he feels so bad after, and like he is undeserving of my love. I constantly tell him that I love him no matter what. It’s the little things though, the little thing we do to brighten the day.

Tonight was one of those nights, although he didn’t act out just was really emotional. He’s grieving I think, he said he doesn’t think Mary will ever want to be apart of his life. Anyway, after we talked and he let out his emotions. I told him let’s do your hair.

Let’s do you hair… you are probably like what? Lately Carter has been trying to get a new look. He wants to grow out the top and keep it short on the sides. His hair is more wavy though, so it’s not quiet going the way he wants. So I sat him down and I used my hair dryer that also straightens and I did his hair. At first I did really funny ones. He kept laughing, I kept saying I’m going to make him go out in public like that. We were laughing and having a good time. In the end he loved what I did with his hair. He asked if I would do it again next time. I agreed, then he gave me a hug and said thank you. He then said thanks for making my day better.

He came out for three hugs and I love you’s before bed. I tucked him in (yes I still tuck him in), and kissed his forehead. These are little things that most teenagers won’t let you do. For Carter, I think it’s about reliving or getting those moments he missed out on. He doesn’t take it for granted, and he loves when I make space for that “kiddish” stuff.

The light in my very long day/week was his smile and his laugh. It was such a simple thing, I did his hair. It’s also something I’ve always done with him. When he was a little kid I would always play with his hair. Make Mohawks, and other cool hair styles. He loved it! We ended our night on a high note, one filled with love, kindness, and gratefulness. We found our bright spot.

Family Fractures

Drugs and mental illness has fractured our family. It started when my mom’s mental illness became too much for my dad, and he left. I was six at the time. We still saw him every other weekend, and some time a little longer, but he no longer lived with us. He couldn’t handle my mom’s illness. My mom has bipolar and abuses prescription drugs like Xanax. Our mom slept a lot and then would go shopping like crazy and spend money on shoes we didn’t have. This left us kids unprotected.

Since I have taken over the care of Carter, a lot of things have happened to our already fragile family. I wanted my dad’s blessing before I went and filed for emergent temporary custody. He agreed saying that Mary had plenty of chances, and that Carter shouldn’t have to live the way he was. I was the only one living in state, my brother is in the military and isn’t around. My mom and step dad live out of state, as does my dad and step mom.

After I got custody of Carter, it became like it was me against Mary. In my mind, that was never the case. I understood and still understand why Mary might feel this way. However, my own family got to “stay out of it”, and they “didn’t want to choose sides”. It was super hard and frustrating for me. I took on a lot, and I had no support. It has been so hard on my already fragile relationship with my family. If I’m being honest, my family can be pretty toxic at times. That being said, they did agree that I was doing the right thing keeping Carter.

My family also didn’t want to celebrate when we got KLG, because they were torn. They felt like it was sad for Mary so by coming it was hurting her. Truth is it wasn’t about Mary, it was about Carter’s stability.

My family did support the notion of KLG though. They thought it was best, especially because Carter had been with me so long. However, when Adoption came into the conversation they were not so happy. Carter wanted the adoption, I’m not saying that I am not happy with it. The truth is the adoption is and was for Carter and his sense of stability. They don’t see or experience Carter the way I do. All of a sudden it was like this was all my idea and I was pushing Carter into adoption. That wasn’t the case, and it hurts that some of my family believe that. They don’t understand because they don’t live it. For Carter, he is old enough to understand that with KLG, Mary could still get him back. Even though I reassured him that it was super unlikely, it wasn’t enough for him. He wanted to know that he would be staying with me forever. He wanted me to legally be his mother. I don’t expect anyone to understand it.

Carter has been through a lot of trauma, a lot of trauma. He has nightmares, and sleepwalks. He has unresolved issues with his mother and father. Everything we do is still tied to Mary even when she is not there. He has behavioral issues, for example recently he started making himself throw up because he thought he “looked” fat. When we were in therapy talking about it, we asked him where he learned how to do that from. Carter then explained how Mary taught him how to do it when he was young. She would tell him to go to school, and make himself throw up so the school would call her at work and she could leave. To say I was annoyed at this, would be an understatement. These are not things I have communicated to my family. They don’t ask, and I know they really don’t want to know. They have no idea the extent to which Carter was abused, and neglected. They know some things of course, but they don’t know most of it. My father got to see Carter’s sleep walking first hand last summer, when we went for a long period of time to visit them. My dad didn’t think much of it, and I guess most people wouldn’t.

Some of Carter’s stuff is normal teenage growing pains. However, it is exacerbated by the trauma he has experienced. I find that when he is really acting out, me going to him and offering to run him a bubble bath, helps to calm him down. He loves bubble baths, and letting him do that now helps him to relive those childhood moments. I remember the first time I did it, when I asked him he asked for extra bubbles. He then played in the bath for over a half hour with the bubbles. He called me in to show me what he was doing, and he was just so happy. He was upset because of something he was triggered by, and then I offered him a bubble bath it seemed to change the script of his behavior.

If I’m being honest, most days I don’t know what I’m doing. I am doing the best I can, and Carter is in therapy. We are doing all the things. I love Carter, and will do anything I can for him.

Am I glad we got the adoption? Yes of course, but it wasn’t the path I wanted. When Carter first mentioned wanting me to adopt him, he’d only been with me for 5 months. In my mind, I thought for sure Mary would get it together and get him back. I never thought it would come down to adoption. Even in the beginning when DCPP said that it’d be 6 months a to a year before Mary got him back if she ever did, I thought for sure it wouldn’t take that long. Yet now she hasn’t even seen him in over two years, and that is all her choice.

It has been a really hard week on Carter; and me too. Mary has seemed like she was going to set up therapeutic visits with Carter and then the place told me she hasn’t been returning their calls or emails. I reached out to Mary and she reached back telling me to keep Carter and to loose her number. Carter has been very upset and anxious about possibly visiting with Mary. He was even more upset this week when his therapist and I told him that she wasn’t going to do it. Another broken promise, it breaks my heart. Carter said he was fine when we told him, but that night he had a bad nightmare. Then he ended up coming to me and asking to lay with me and he just cried for a while and I just rubbed his back. Those moments when he is so upset like that, just breaks my heart.

The hardest part of Carter is his trauma, his pain, I can’t take it away from him. I can’t make it better, I just have to sit in it with him, and love him. I have to constantly reassure him that I love him, and that I’m not judging him. I have to know when to give him space and when to give him that hug he really needs. I don’t always get it right, but I do the best I can. We always talk about it after and we both own anything we need to own. It can feel so personal at times, when he is upset and lashing out. It can feel like I’m failing him, and like I’m doing it all wrong. The truth is I’m not doing it all right, yeah sometimes I get it wrong but that’s life I’m human. I still show up, and if I make a mistake I apologize and own it.

So my family who doesn’t see all those things, doesn’t really know what’s going on. They don’t understand. I don’t even totally understand and I’m here everyday doing it. What I do know is that I wish they would just support us. Not judge me, or accuse me, but love and support us. My fractured family just isn’t capable of that. I’m lucky that I have a good church community. They are good to us both. I am so thankful for them and the support they have given us. God is so good to us.

The hard parts of Kinship…

Written on May 1, 2022

Kinship care is hard. I’ve never fostered a child who wasn’t related to me, but I’m guessing that no matter what it’s hard. The parts that are hard for me is the family part. Mary is my sister and I love her, and right now she blames me for her not having her son. She blames me for her not seeing her son, and she blames me for her lack of relationship with her son. Now I know that I am not the reason she doesn’t have her son. I also know that she is hurting, it just hurts me that she is so angry with me. I mean in some ways she is right. I have Carter, and I take care of him everyday. I have put up boundaries and lines, and protected Carter as much as I could. So while I don’t agree with what she is saying, I can understand why she feels the ways she does.

Today I went to a bridal shower for my cousin. I sat across from his aunt, who I’ve known for most my life. I don’t see her often, but I saw her today. Everyone was talking about their families and lives. I knew that talking about having Carter would make it hard, so I didn’t talk about him. Then she flat out asked me if I have any kids. I could feel my aunt tense next to me. I simply said yes and she said I don’t remember him. I pulled out a picture and just talked about how he is doing. I will hopefully be able to say next month that he’s my adopted son and say no more than that (update: I adopted him on May 18th, 2022) . The truth is I don’t want to feel like I have to hide my life, and I also don’t want to have to explain that I have my sister’s kid. I also know that for some family members it is awkward for them. It makes them uncomfortable. It just sometimes feels so isolating.

It isn’t just at family events this happens. My father it’s like we just don’t talk about it. He is glad I have Carter and he knows it’s for the best. He just doesn’t want to talk about it. He doesn’t call me, or ask me how we are doing. Talking about Mary at all is a big no no. He doesn’t want to know what’s going on. At times it feels like this whole thing has torn apart our family. Of course we all love and care about Mary, we want her to get better. What it comes down to is that she needs help, and she needs to want it get it.

People often say that he is so lucky to have you, and it’s nice that people say that. It doesn’t take away from the loss Carter is suffering. Both of his biological parents are not in the picture. Carter has nightmares and sleep walks. He has trauma, and he has a lot to work through. When things bother him or he gets triggered he takes it out on me. I have to constantly remind myself it’s not personal. He loves me he is just hurting. When the feelings/moments pass I know this is true. I am glad he has me and I have him. These are just some hard things that we have to navigate through. Some days we do it better than other days.

God has been so good to us. He always provides. I know through this all he is growing us and that he will use all this hard for good. That is who God is, I can already see the fruits. So I know there will be more.

Motion for reconsideration to overturn the adoption

Today was a good day, but it was also a hard one if I’m being honest. I was stressing all day about how this hearing would go today. I was worried that the adoption would be overturned. It wasn’t, but it came really close.

We got onto the zoom call and we were all on. Mary’s lawyer, my lawyer, Mary, the Judge, and myself. The judge opened it up to Mary’s lawyer first. The Judge asked him why we were here today.

Mary’s lawyer explained that we were here because Mary wanted a chance to say a few things. The Judge pointed out that she never filed a formal filing, and asked if the plan was to sign on to zoom the day of the adoption and state her objection. Mary’s lawyer said yes, he also stated that she had wanted him to file motions but he couldn’t do so without knowing why. She wanted him to remove the judge from the case was one of the motions. The judge said she wanted me to recuse myself? The lawyer replied yes. The Judge said ok, I’m not sure why there are no grounds for my to recuse myself but ok.

The judge asked to hear from my lawyer next. He explained that Mary came in two days before the original hearing. Well out of time and objected to the adoption. Then the court ordered a case conference. On the case conference your honor asked for a hair follicle test, and medical records to be released. Mary is still in violation of these court orders, as she never has done these. We set up the times for the mediations and the trial date on that case conference. Then Mary didn’t show for the first mediation. She came to the second mediation and a third and she agreed to the adoption. She emailed the court saying she is withdrawing the objection to the adoption. Then after she signed the agreement she then said she wants to object to the adoption again. The court informed her that she needed to file a formal filing and that she could appear via zoom on the day of the adoption. She was given the wrong time, yes she was. We were all set to do an adoption on that day. However, if she has shown up on that day she would have just stated her objection to the adoption. Without a formal filing would you have not done the adoption? This is what the child wants, and if Mary truly just wants to know this is what Carter wants then your honor can release the transcripts under protective order and have that part read to her by her lawyer.

The judge said that she wanted to give Mary a chance to address the court. Mary said that she didn’t agree to the hair follicle test and that she didn’t know she could file a motion to not have to do that. The judge interrupted as she couldn’t remember ordering that. It took a few minutes and my lawyer reminded her of the situation in which is was ordered and then the judge said. The judge addressed Mary asking her to be in the zoom with the camera on at all times, she said she really needs to see her. This is why zoom is bad, it was good during the pandemic to keep things moving, but it really should be in person now. Things are open now so we really should not be doing zoom. She addressed the lawyer and Mary and I saying, that is for my team that is not your fault. The problem is being turned over on appeal, we could be right back here. I know you are going to be upset when I grant this motion Mr. Walton (my lawyer). My heart sank, I felt the tears start to fill my eyes. How was I ever going to explain to Carter what just happened.

My lawyer addressed the judge again saying that Mary had plenty of chances to make a decision before the adoption hearing. Was it really the place for her to be there that day to say she objected? My lawyer then said not for nothing judge but Mary has been doing her hair, vaping, moving away from the camera, and turning the camera on and off. She has been told to stop and yet she still is doing these things. She doesn’t seem to be respecting these proceedings. Then my lawyer continued let her appeal if she wants. She would have to hire her own lawyer in order to file for appeal, it wouldn’t be provided by the court. The judge nodded her head, and then said ok I’m going to hear from Mary now. I interrupted her and I would like to give her a chance to tell me what she wants to say.

Mary started by saying that she has been blocked from seeing her son at every point and that it’s not right she should be able to see him. The judge asked by whom she was blocked and Mary said not by you judge. The judge asked her if you called the program for therapeutic visitation. She stated that she had three times. That she never gets through and no one ever calls her back. She said the adoption happened and she was trying to call but then she was in the hospital for 10 days. The judge asked her why she was in the hospital. Mary said I don’t know and it’s none of your business. The judge said you don’t know why you were in the hospital. Mary said no I don’t. The judge said that in 10 days no one once told you why you were in the hospital. Mary said no. The Judge said I’m going to deny this motion. I exhaled, and couldn’t believe my ears. The judge continued you are playing games and I find you not creditable, you are going to sit there and not answer my questions. You were in the hospital for 10 days someone must have told you why you were there.

The judge continued and Mary started yelling on zoom but we couldn’t hear her over the judge. If we overturned the adoption you would have to answer harder questions than this. Your son wants this adoption, he has made that clear in so many ways. He made it clear to me the day of the adoption. You have had plenty of time to file a formal filing or set up visitation with your son. That still has not been done. Mary interrupted and said you wouldn’t let me answer your questions you kept interrupting me when I was trying to speak earlier. The Judge said and I apologized to you I was trying to understand what you were talking about with the drug test. I needed reminding of the situation, and I came back to you and apologized and gave you a chance to tell me what you wanted to tell me. The judge then said but you won’t even answer a simple question and I’m going to deny your motion for reconsideration at this time. Mary said f*** you and disconnected the zoom call. The judge said let the record show that Mary cut herself off from zoom, we didn’t disconnect her. The Judge then addressed Mary’s lawyer. I know that you have been assigned as Mary’s Pro bono attorney. You have done a good job, and I thank you for your help. Your client seems to be playing games and won’t answer a simple question. She says she called the program three times, she may have done that today. That program has been in this court during the Covid shut down, maybe they are only in three days a week but I know they are servicing clients. As I have people in the court room using them, they are testifying here as well. It can’t all be everyone else’s fault. I’m sure she loves her son, and I feel bad for her I really do. Mary’s lawyer said well she wanted to be heard and she was.

The judge then addressed me. I’m glad you didn’t tell Carter about this hearing, it would have only caused him more turmoil that he doesn’t need. I then added and it would have likely ruined what little is left of their relationship together, possibly making Carter unwilling to want to do therapy with her. The judge thanked me for adding that as well.

The judge addressed all of us and asked if there was anything further. Mary’s lawyer asked if he could motion to be removed as Mary’s lawyer. We all laughed a little. The judge said so granted, and thanked him again for all he did. We all signed off the zoom call.

This was hard, really hard. At the same time I’m glad it happened this way. For Carter the adoption day is one day he will remember for the rest of his life, not a day his mother tainted by showing up and contesting that adoption at the last minute. This is the way God preserves this day for him. It was a good day, and he has no idea any of this other stuff has been going on. He got to be protected from all of that. For that I thank God. Carter has had so much instability in his short life so far. The adoption was grounding for him, he has been doing really well since it has been finalized. I’m so grateful that it wasn’t overturned, that his peace wasn’t disrupted. This is what we do for our kids though isn’t it. We shield them from problems that they don’t need to worry about. We let them be kids a little longer, let them not have to worry but enjoy their childhood as much as they can. Thank you Lord, for your provision over this whole situation.

Brokenness

Mary called me this morning saying she was coming and everything was going to be okay. She thought our father who lives in CA was here and hurting Carter and I. I told her we were both fine, but she came anyway. I took a picture of Carter who was sleeping. I showed her he was okay. She kept asking if our father was hurting us I said no. I also told her I wouldn’t let that happen.

She started talking about hurting people and it got scary pretty quickly. The cops came out and she went to the hospital.

Mental Illness and drug use is just so bad and damages a persons mind. Mary is not a bad person, she is broken and hurting. I hope she can get the help she needs. Please pray for her, and for healing. Thank you.

Adoption overturned?

So, on Friday I got an email from my lawyer. I had been told that the Judge put a stop to Mary coming on zoom. Turns out that was true but it was because it was during the actual adoption hearing. Apparently someone in the surrogate’s office told Mary and her lawyer that the adoption was happening at 9:30am. Well it was scheduled for 9am. So now we have a hearing for reconsideration on June 10th.

My lawyer thinks that the end result will be the same. He also thinks that the adoption will be overturned and a trial will be scheduled. He also thinks that the adoption will be granted. At what cost to Carter? This means that Carter will have to testify. Carter has been so settled and so happy this past week and a half. There is a lightness to him that wasn’t there before. I’m literally going to have to tell Carter that the adoption was overturned and we have to go to trial because someone made a HUGE mistake. I know the judge has to give it air, because if not it can be turned over on appeal so quickly and easily. Im so tired to this broken system. This was supposed to be done, and yes I expected her to appeal. This is just so much worse.

The other thing that kills me is that Mary is his abuser, and she will now get to traumatize him again. She has all this power and control. We would never do this to a domestic violence victim. An abused child though? An even more vulnerable person? We will allow that to happen? What has happened to this country? To this justice system?

I know God has a plan, I know God is in control. I just also am so hurt and angry. I love Carter and the idea that I’m going to have to break this news to him… ugh. He keeps going around and praying to God and thanking him for the adoption. Today at church so many people came up to me saying congratulations and “it must be a load off”. It’s just not right now.

I will update after the hearing on the 10th, but I’m pretty sure I already know the outcome. Please pray for Carter’s heart in all of this. Thank you.

Adoption Day

On Wednesday May 18th, 2022, Carter was officially adopted. We arrived at the court build and went inside. When we got there my lawyer pulled me aside to tell me that they gave Mary a zoom link, because she wanted to object. I asked my lawyer if I should tell Carter as it will set him off for sure. The lawyer said I’m going to ask that if she gets on that they will clear the court room including Carter to deal with that matter.

Many friends were there to celebrate with us. I gave a couple of adults a heads up, this way if it happened they could help keep Carter calm.

We got called into the court room. The Judge came in and said that the adoption was moving forward. The Judge explained that we aren’t going to go through all the reasons as to why the adoption is taking place today. That if need be she will add to the record, to make sure it is all documented well. The Judge explained to my lawyer to ask me yes or no questions as my head was probably spinning from all the excitement. We all laughed a little bit. My lawyer started asking me questions. The Judge then said that no one in the back can hear you. She invited everyone to come up to the jury box so that they could hear better, The judge stated that if you all got up to be here their early you deserved to be closer. Everyone moved around so that they could hear. we thanked the Judge. My lawyer asked me a lot of questions and I answered them. Then the Judge addresses Carter. The Judge said you are under oath. Then she said as you sit here today is your bed made at home? Carter as needed yes. The judge asked did you do it? Carter answered yes. The Judge then said to me “You’re getting a great kid.” Then the Judge asked Carter if he wanted to be adopted, and he said yes. The judge asked if he understood the permanency of this? Carter said yes. The Judge said asked if he understood that there is potential things in the future with biological mom? Carter replied “Yes”. The judge asked “Are you okay with that?” Carter said Yes I am. The Judge then pointed to me and said she clear loved you very much. She also said that you have quite a lot of people here as well that love you. The Judge then stated you must not be a rotten kid. Everyone laughed. The Judge asked Carter if there was anything he wanted to say about this or why this is important. He said no. She asked him if he had any thoughts about what he wanted to do in the future. He said Marine biology. The Judge stated that she knew that, someone had mentioned that. She explained that if she didn’t do this that she wanted to do Marine Biology. She asked him if there was anything particular that he liked about that. Carter said yes I like marine life. She said to him that it’s a pleasure to meet you. The Judge then said that there has been a lot of legal stuff going on around this but that’s how it is right. The Judge continued saying even though you had the KLG there was a nuance difference right. The Judge then said that is something that you want right that extra layer. Carter replied Yes. The Judge said that is very understandable. The Judge then said I want to make something of a record here. This case has had a lot of ups and downs. She said she has been with this case since the beginning. She said we were prepared to do whatever we needed to do here today. The Judge continued “We wouldn’t have had a hearing today but if there were any issues we would have discussed it. The Judge then said as a Judge for the last 15 years I deal with children and families. She said that in that there is a purpose, and love, and adventure. She then said that in all her years she has never seen a case where the biological parents don’t love their biological children. She continued saying that sometimes things happen they can’t get their stuff together. Sometimes that is because they don’t have internal fortitude. Sometimes they have issues that aren’t their fault. Sometimes we can blames them oh your not doing things right. The judge continued let me tell you something no one wants to not be well and have a productive life, and I know from this file that this is clearly not about a lack of love. It’s about a lack of ability, and I think it’s important that you understand that. She explained that none of us are perfect no matter what age we are, we have mistakes and regrets but you are here for a reason right. She said that everyone had talked to her about Carter and that he is a wonderful young man, and how smart you are. The judge said I didn’t know how handsome you are but (saying to me) but you gotta watch out for that because that can be trouble. She then said in all seriousness I know you are a wonderful person, and you are going to do great things.

The Judge continued, I have to say this next part and it is hard to hear. You’re parents rights have been terminated, and Shelby will now be your parent. The judge stated that she is entering an order of adoption. I’m very grateful for that judge and her decisions in this matter.

We took pictures with everyone even the judge. It was a great day and we are so happy for the outcome. I will continue to post updates about our journey. While the adoption is final, our story isn’t finished yet.