I’ve wanted to blog, wanted to get some of these words out, but haven’t been able to make myself sit and write. I’ve shared some of this continuing journey through the little 140-word bursts on Twitter, but nothing longer and more thoughtful. My sermons, these days, are like that too. Whether it is the beautiful warm spring weather or the uncertainly which runs steady as a stream underneath our day-to-day, sitting at the computer for long sessions of writing has been untenable.
Until today. Today, the sun has re-appeared after a couple days of much-needed rain. Green has burst forth in our little corner of the world. I finally have a tulip blooming, and see the purple buds of my favorite flower, the lilac, gathering strength in preparation to bloom. E is off at school, having returned from a four-day “heritage tour” around the Boston area. He clearly had fun, and is understandably exhausted. He had forgotten that last night was the school talent show, so he prepared for that after baseball practice and wolfed down the sandwich I made for him for dinner only after the show finished around 7:45. Today, he has his first baseball game. He is spent, and I’m glad he will be able to sleep in a bit tomorrow (and go to bed a little earlier than normal for a Friday tonight).
My last post shared good news. Our spirits were lifted, hope raised anew. Three weeks later, those hopes crashed when E’s social worker called to tell me his dad had filed an appeal. His dad. Who didn’t care enough about what happened to his son to show up for the termination trial. Who hasn’t seen his son in over 2 years. Who is not allowed contact with his son’s mother and has pretty much no chance (or desire) to regain custody of his children. I told E when I picked him up from school to bring him to therapy. Thank GOD we had therapy that afternoon, although I would have preferred not having to tell him while in a moving vehicle. His reaction was immediate and visceral. He slammed his fist against the door, stretched his body against his seat belt like a toddler and yelled. He was so angry, and so sad. We got to the therapist’s office early, so I suggested that kicking the snowbanks and throwing some snowballs might be helpful. He went and yelled and kicked and threw and swore. After a little while, aware of people eye-balling his snowball trajectory (even though I know he has great aim and would not hit any of the cars parked there), I joined him to throw snowballs into the river that runs right behind the parking lot. When it was time, we went into therapy. I think I’d already given the therapist the head’s up. E decided he wanted to call his lawyer to get the lowdown directly. His lawyer actually picked up, for once, and E said, “So what’s the deal with this appeal?” His lawyer’s answer: “Yes, Dad has filed an appeal too.”
WHAT?!? Apparently E’s mom filed an appeal a while ago and no one thought to tell us. Or E’s social worker. Or (supposedly) the DCF lawyer, through whom the social worker was getting her information. So all this time we were watching the days tick by, closer and closer to the closing of that 30-day window of appeal, hopes starting to creep up, and it was for nothing.
So both parents filed appeals, which the lawyer says is pretty typical. Basically, they can and it’s free, so they do. He said 95% of the time, they get tossed out, but in the meantime, it will take at least eight months to even get to the point where the appeals court decides to hear it or not. All parties get assigned a new appellate lawyer, who then must do research and prepare a report. UGH. As E’s therapist said, at what point does someone do what’s in the child’s best interests? Sure the birth parents have a right to appeal, but the dragging out of the process is now causing harm psychologically. To what end?
So, we’re back to waiting, and living our daily routines as best we can. Next month, we are going to have a little “commitment ceremony” (for lack of a better term) to bless our family and declare our commitment to each other as mother and son even if we don’t have the legal permanency yet. It will be at our church on a Saturday afternoon, and we’re inviting family and friends. It is the best we can do at this point, but I think it will be a nice way to ask for God’s blessing, feel the love and support of those who care about us, and assure E that no matter what, he has a permanent place in my heart and family.
Now, I need to get off this computer and go out and enjoy the sunshine!
I’m so sorry about yet another bump in the road. But the commitment ceremony sounds like a lovely next step!