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.