Today was an exceptionally special day.
Today was the final adoption hearing which made official my husband being our children’s father.
Although they are not biologically his, he has always treated them as such and never complained or so much batted an eye at the responsiblities. He’s provided for them financially and emotionally. And he says it’s his privilege.
He is a true father.
We may not be traditional but we are a family. We are blessed and I am so grateful.
My cup runneth over…
I just got done speaking at a cross-training seminar for various county agencies who provide services for at-risk youth on the “Parent Perspective”. The idea was to give counselors, special education teachers, MR/DD workers, county protective service case workers, etc, etc the perspective of the parent utilizing these services or involved with these agencies. A lot of times when these people are working with parents, they are so busy taking notes and developing plans and ideas of what they can or have to do in their head while they meet with the parents that they don’t always HEAR us. The ladies leading the training wanted them to do nothing but actually listen to the stories, behind actual cases.
When I was approached about this I thought it was an excellent idea. It still is an excellent idea. In fact – I recommend it. Brilliant! What better way to cut through red tape and get people from all these different agencies to realize how great the sum of all their parts is put together.
I guess I just didn’t realize how emotionally exhausting it would be to really relive the story of Pickle. It’s been such a long road. It’s so hard to talk about everything from the day I met my pickle, raising a child traumatized from a sexual assault, raising him as a step-parent to adopting him, his “Dad” walking out & now helping the Jedi, another traumatized child, cope from the exposure to inappropriate behaviors and aggression, and Pickle having to leave the home.
It’s difficult to share with a room full of strangers how to reconcile the dreams of the family you thought you’d have or even the ideas of what others think a family is, with the reality of what it actually is and living it day to day. I’m sure every mother/wife might struggle with that to some extent, but not everybody is dealing with having an adopted special needs child with such severe cognitive/psychological issues that impact the literal safety of the other children in the home that the adopted child must be removed and the overwhelmingly sense of guilt and failure the accompanies.
I got to tell them what services worked for me, what didn’t, what could work better. It’s hard to find enough words to express to the group how I might be another case they are working, that they can put away for the day and go home….but for a parent living it…this is my life, this is my child and I live it everyday and I do need help…lots of it….and so hard to admit it to yourself, much less ask for it.
I really hope the points came across and at the very least the prospective helps…someone…anyone…a little more.
That will be worth it.
I’ve dealt with my ghosts and I’ve faced all my demons
Finally content with a past I regret
I’ve found you find strength in your moments of weakness
For once I’m at peace with myself
I’ve been burdened with blame, trapped in the past for too long
I’m movin’ on
I’m movin’ on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there’s no guarantees, but I’m not alone
There comes a time in everyone’s life
When all you can see are the years passing by
And I have made up my mind that those days are gone
I spent a great deal of time yesterday putting things in place to move forward. Things were put away, thrown away, moved out of sight and out of mind, and even burned. That’s right – burned. Hey, I cannot tell you the healing power of putting items from your past up in flames. It’s over. It’s done and I’m moving on.
Just before I went to bed, I went into each of the kids’ rooms and kissed them good night. I laid in bed for a couple minutes and prayed. I just gave it all over to God and let go. When Jer came to bed, I heard Pickle call him into his room and ask for a favor, which Jer lovingly did. I cannot tell you what it does to me to see how good this man is, not only to me, but also to my children. I just listened and thought about what a legacy of love we have created, that we BOTH treat Pickle as our own without any hesitation. It hit me that even though I’ve been put through the fire and horrible heartache, I finally have all the things that I’ve wanted.
I am blessed and I am so grateful.
Because the kids are finally in a safe and in a healthy enviroment. I am safe, physically and emotionally. I am appreciated. I am respected. I am loved unconditionally, just as I am.
I’m standing my ground and my head is high. And ya know what? I’m PROUD of myself. Truly, I am.
Whatever happened – it was worth it to end up here.
I just had the greatest sense of peace come over me and I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.
Pickle’s new birth certificate arrived in the mail yesterday.
I am now OFFICIALLY his mother.
I just went and checked the mail and found this:
ADOPTION CERTIFICATE FOR PARENTS
This letter is to certify, that in an action pending in this Court, on a petition filed by STEPHANIE —– ——- to adopt D ——- ——-, a minor, satisfactory evidence was submitted to prove, and the Court found, that the minor was born on March 25, 1996, at Ravenna, Ohio and that all necessary proceedings relative to an adoption were complied with; and the Court on Monday, October 24, 2005, decreed that the minor is hearby legally adopted by STEPHANIE —– ——- and the minor’s name shall remain D ——- ——- in the records of the Court.
WITNESS my signature and seal of said Court, on this 25 day of October, 2005
THOMAS J. CARNES, PROBATE JUDGE
* I’m off to pop a cork and have myself a glass of champagne!!! *
We went before the magistrate this morning and he did a short interview with us. He says that I am an appropriate candidate for adoption and that he feels it is in Pickle’s best interest for the adoption to be granted. He then passes his recommendation on to the judge who then sends us a letter saying the adoption was granted and filed.
At the very end of the proceedings, they had us all come into the courtroom together while he read his “official” recommendation. He asked Pickle if he had anything he wanted to say to him and he shook his head yes, which shocked and scared me, so the magistrate told him to go ahead and he leaned over and put his head on my shoulder and said….
” I want this to be my Mommy.”
Everything seemed to go well. After she asked me 100+ questions about myself, and I gave her all the required paperwork, she explained to us the rest of the adoption process and how it would proceed and be granted, which only leads me to believe – she sees no issues and we’re almost finalized. We’ll have a court date next month and meet with the judge mostly to testify about the last contact with his “egg donor”. Since we can’t find her….we have to actually enter testimony under oath stating she hasn’t had contact or provided support for over a year. (It’s actually been closer to 3.
Last night after the court assessor lady left, Pickle came up and hugged me and said
“You’ll always be my Mommy, no matter what. Nobody can split us up- ever, cause you’re in my heart.”
That was about the sweetest thing I could have even scripted for him to say to me.
I can’t explain it, but everything just seems so, dare I say, perfect right now. Everything is falling into place, everything is as it should be. Right now things are fantastic, never better, great talks, great sex, The relationship A’s are in place (i.e…..affection, appreciation, adoration). the kids are great, my relationship with them is great…..
I’m just really content right now, comfortable and settled.
It’s a good place, no place else I’d rather be.
When the court lady came for our home assessment today, we had to provide her with a bunch of paperwork, one of those things being reference letters from people who know me and our family and what they think of me becoming Pickle’s adoptive mother. My brother-in-law wrote one, Pickle’s doctor wrote a very flattering one and even one of my Jason’s parents wrote me one that was completely astounding.
Anyways….she told me that there was one reference letter that had been written on my behalf and sent to her office that she made a copy of for me because she thought I should read it. It was from Pickle’s first therapist, Nancy.
I have soooo much respect for this woman, not just professionally but personally as well.
I cannot tell you how much her words meant to me.
June 21, 2005
To Whom It May Concern:
I had the opportunity to meet and work with the M* family in December 2000. My role with the family was to assist Mr. & Mrs.M* in parenting a very angry and confused little boy as he had revealed to Mrs. M* concerns with sexual abuse and abandonment. I continued to work with the family until my change in employment in the November 2003.
Mrs. M*, Stephanie, always considered him as her son; even with the birth of her own children, he was the big brother. I am convinced that Stephanie believes that with her heart. Stephanie was also a wonderful advocate for him and her family. She encouraged Mr. M* to pursue counseling, counseling for the family, and to intervened with biological mom selflessly when he was reporting frustration
with his mother or his half brother.
Stephanie does an excellent job of being *’s mom and I would be honored to recommend that she be given the legal right to be known as his mother.