First of all, thanks again for all of the thoughtful and heartfelt comments. I truly felt comforted and understood by your show of empathy for a situation that we never dreamt would end the way it did.
You know how we didn't tell people we were thinking about adopting until the boys practically moved in? I admit to wondering now if that was a mistake. Maybe someone would've said YOU'RE CRAZY.
But Delilah (Hi, Delilah) pointed out to me, I don't think you would've changed your mind.
I think Delilah just called me bull-headed and stubborn. Kidding. But really, I do think she's right. We really thought we 'HAD THIS'.
It was a Monday when I drove the boys back to Indiana. I had Coach race home from work so we could tell them together that this wasn't working. They'd told us the night before that they didn't want to live here anymore, but one never knew if they meant that or how they processed things, etc. I sure don't think they could grasp what might result from their words/ actions.
As soon as Jo called me to say she found them temporary foster placement, I started packing like a wild woman. I ran around the house gathering up their things. I'd made a list of toys the night before, things they'd left in the basement, the garage, and all over the house. Curly was home and Lad came home over lunch to take the dog out, so I gave them both things to grab for me. I had Coach stop at the pharmacy - I'd begged the pharmacy to fill some RX quickly so I could send their pills ready to go and the temporary foster mom wouldn't run out right away.
I'd just spent a few hours organizing their fall clothes into drawers the week before. They'd tried everything on, voted for stuff to keep and toss. I boxed those things up straight from their drawers, labeled the boxes so the next person knew what box they were digging into.
This was a complete departure from how their things arrived at our house - back then I'd spent hours tossing out ripped, torn, outgrown, and stained clothes.
They had the day off of school, so they were mostly playing outside. They came in at one point and saw me closing boxes and writing on the sides in Sharpie. They asked what I was doing.
I told them: WELL, YOU GUYS SAID LAST NIGHT THAT YOU DON'T WANT TO LIVE HERE ANYMORE. WE FEEL LIKE WE'VE TRIED EVERYTHING WE KNOW HOW AND IT ISN'T WORKING. YOU NEED SOMETHING THAT WE AREN'T ABLE TO DO. SO I AM GOING TO DRIVE YOU TO INDIANA TODAY AND JO IS GOING TO FIND YOU ANOTHER PLACE TO LIVE.
Coach walked in JUST as I was explaining this. Again, unscripted.
The boys cried . . . I THOUGHT I WAS HAVING A FRIEND OVER LATER TODAY.
Me: WELL, THE KID'S MOM SAID SHE'D CALL ME WHEN SHE GOT HOME FROM WORK BUT REMEMBER I TOLD YOU THAT SOMETIMES WORK TAKES LONGER AND SHE WASN'T SURE IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN TODAY.
*totally true, I'd texted this mom the night before - just before we'd surrendered. She ended up texting me later to say sorry work took too long, another time.
Then they stopped crying and looked at the boxes: OH, CAN I HLEP LOAD THE CAR.
Coach and I just stood there. Stunned. He was like UM, SURE. We wonder if this is part of RAD - if we were fulfilling some part of their belief that they couldn't be loved and that this was what their messed up thought processes had expected all along? Or did they just not get it?They were happy as clams carrying boxes. I wrote an inscription, one for each of them, into their favorite books that were Curly's from when she was in kindergarten: Pigeon Rides a Bus and the Pigeon Eats a Hot Dog by Mo Willems. Larry saw me shove the books in one of their boxes and he reminded me that those were ours. I told him we wanted them to have the books to remember us. He was thrilled.
Harry asked Coach if they could still call us. Coach said sure. When we were driving for about 15 minutes, Harry asked me if they were only going for a few days and then they'd come back. Huh? Did my unscripted talk not really register. Why would we have packed everything they owned into the car?
While I was packing, I was getting text messages from Donna, their CASA. Court appointed special (something? - in this case ass hole). She wanted to zoom with the boys. I was like NOPE, THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW THEY ARE LEAVING YET AND WE AREN'T TELLING THEM UNTIL COACH CAN BE HERE FROM WORK AND I HAVE TO BE ON THE ROAD AT A SET TIME BECAUSE I'M MEETING THIS FOSTER MOM HALFWAY AT A GAS STATION. DON'T WANT TO MAKE HER SIT THERE AND WAIT. I'M PACKING.
I was under a time constraint. Dripping in sweat.
It poured rain the whole 1.5 hour drive. When we pulled up to the gas station a double rainbow appeared over the building.
Me: LOOK, IT'S A RAINBOW. THAT'S A SIGN OF HOPE.
Larry: A SIGN OF HOPE FOR US?
Me: YEP, HOPE THAT YOU GUYS FIND THE RIGHT PLACE TO LIVE. A PLACE THAT WILL HELP YOU. WHERE YOU CAN BE HAPPY.
I spoke with this very kind foster mom after we put the boys' stuff in her car. I told her I worried that I'd play the WHAT IF game forever and she shook her head and told me that so many of these kids have m ore going on than most can handle. "Don't beat yourself up. This is why my husband and I only foster."
The boys and I hugged it out as if we were going to see each other the next day and I drove home in a horrible rain storm.
On Wednesday Coach and I went to Curly's first basketball game. Later, when we were halfway through dinner, Reg hopped up and handed me a business card.
Reg: OH I FORGOT, THIS LADY CAME FROM DCFS WHEN YOU WERE AT CURLY'S GAME. SHE SAID SHE HAS TO TALK TO YOU. YOU'RE BEING INVESTIGATED BECAUSE THE BOYS SAY YOU HURT THEM. SHE WANTS YOU TO CALL HER. SHE ASKED ME IF I WAS BEING ABUSED AND IF I FELT SAFE HERE. (this made him chuckle).
Coach was like, HEY, IT'S THEIR JOB TO LOOK INTO ANYTHING THE BOYS SAY. IT'LL BE FINE.
Some things are just so much harder than they look - and then some. The next bit is truly unreal.
Ernie, this story is so very sad. My heart just breaks.
Wow. And now DCFS in the mix? You deserve to eat 4 desserts every day.
It really seems unusual how they reacted? I also wonder if it had something to do with the trauma they have experienced. So very sad. And DCFS then investigating...truly unreal, but yes I suppose they have to investigate everything. So sorry I you had to go through this.
Their reaction to leaving just blows my mind. Totally detached from reality.
Giggling at Elmo and the wedgie.
Thanks for ruining my life. I had no idea Apes and monkeys were different. :)
Oh, dear. I didn't expect your adoption experience could get any sadder or more stressful. I hope the DCFS drama passes quickly.
Your Sesame Street costumes are amazing! Glad to see they are still being used.
Oh my goodness! This just keep getting worse and worse.
Who knew problems could continue once you’d relinquished the boys. Wow. Yes, this calls for unlimited desserts, as needed.
How cool that your teens still appreciate the costumes you worked so hard on for them as little kids. How fun that they’re still being worn, even if they don’t quite fit haha
WTAF??!! Did not see that coming Ernie. I was thinking there would be a nice ending to this sad post that told us how your kids were appreciative of you and so happy to have you back and less stressed. Or something. Not this.
Nicole - It is sad. Their reaction to leave a home that they we know they were happy really in was unsettling. Perhaps move evidence that they had major issues.
me - The DCFS bit really does add insult to injury.
Pat - As much as they said they wanted to leave, we know they were happy here and thrilled with siblings and the fact that we were planning to do Boy Scouts and taekwondo, etc. I have yet to post about the friends they'd made - but it was all so strange the way they reacted, as if they'd expected it and orchestrated it because it was just harder than building relationships.
The DCFS thing is truly unreal. More on that soon as there is more to that too. More reasons that I should've named my blog I CAN'T MAKE THIS SHIT UP.
Suz - detached is a good word for their reaction. Yes, DCFS investigating us . . . well that is super frustrating. More to that too, of course. Why would anything be simple at this point?
Glad you enjoyed the Elmo wedgie, because hey - nothing like adding in a few of the day to day life laughs that continue regardless of the rest of it.
Delilah and I laughed our butts off the rest of the day referencing our ignorance at not educating our small charges in the PROPER names for the gorillas. Next week at my in home daycare: CLASSIFICATIONS AND HOW TO TELL A VERTEBRAE FROM AN INVERTEBRAE. Why not?
Jenny - We did not expect things could get worse either. It hasn't gone away quickly, but I credit that to the fact that it is clearly unfounded so no one is reacting quickly. Still, hassle with more layers that are ultra-irritating.
Curly kept saying she wanted to wear Elmo, but she planned to just do the head part with red sweats . . . which we don't own. Then there we were - Halloween and she was finally trying it on. Well, tying the arms around the waist was a quick fix. The wedgie was a good laugh though.
Beth - It really does. No kidding. I never could've dreamt this up.
AM - Yes, it was an unexpected twist and there I was still posting things like LOOK AT OUR FUN BEACH VACATION, even though it was so awful in real life. This is why I was like OK, TIME TO COME CLEAN. I CAN'T FAKE THIS ANYMORE. Wait till you see why the investigation came about. Get ready to want to kick a wall.
Before Halloween, a friend asked me if any of my kids planned to dress up. I stopped dead in my tracks. LARRY WANTED TO WEAR MY COOKIE MONSTER COSTUME BUT WE NEVER EVEN TRIED IT ON. Heart breaking because I thought those costumes were going to get more use. It is fun when the older kids use parts of them to pull something off.
Curly is at her science fair right now. Her project: tricking people to think green cookies taste mint, etc. Mini and I wanted her to wear the giant cookie (she wore it when she was 2 when Mini was Cookie Monster. She can still wear it - it goes to her hips now instead of a few inches above the ground but her face still sticks out of it) but she wouldn't do it. No guts no glory.
Charlie - We didn't see it coming either. Salt on the wounds. Wait till you hear what prompted it. Unbelievable.
It's funny my worker, Alice, has checked in with us a number of times and each time she asks how my kids are doing. Honestly, I think my kids are relieved. It got so out of control for two weeks after the med change that things had become unbearable. They are sad it didn't work out, but they all seem to be enjoying our more predictable lifestyle.
Oof, the reminding you that that's your book and being so happy that they get to keep them really hit me in the heart. I hope that double rainbow is prophetic in the very best way.
Ali - It was a moment that made me choke up and it was a high stress time to be sure so emotions were a little off and I was mostly feeling numb but there I was scrounging in their room to figure out what I was packing. Those books had been a staple during bedtime routine for the last few weeks. We'd checked out every other version from the library on our library visit. I was in WHATEVER WILL MAKE BEDTIME RUN SMOOTHER mode.
Yes, the double rainbow. Talk about timing. That storm part of it really sucked.
What an ending to your time with the boys. It's a difficult situation not of your making. I agree with the foster mom: "Don't beat yourself up." Great intentions gone awry.
Also just read your next post. What a tragedy x 2. I am so sorry for both of those kids.
Ally - We had no idea what to expect, because we KNOW they loved us and loved our home, kids, life that we were offering but yet they couldn't accept it as their own, or something. Very difficult.
Yes, the Houston concert tragedy is so senseless and heart breaking. Tank just told me last night that at the vigil Jake's former girlfriend spoke and he said she nailed the essence of Jake. She said HE NEVER SAID A BAD THING ABOUT ANYONE, JUST WASN'T HIM. HE WAS A FRIEND TO ALL AND EVERYONE KNEW HIM. A couple of girls have come forward to say that one of the guys called to the other HEY, WE HAVE TO HELP THESE GIRLS THAT ARE GETTING CRUSHED. The girls survived. Again, Tank said not at all surprising.
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