Before I give you all the update on what happened at court, I have to just say how amazing you all are.
I've received emails, comments, Facebook messages, and letters from people that I didn't even know were aware of what we were going through. People I've never met, friends I haven't talked to since high school.
Every written prayer, every positive comment, every word from Moms in similar situations I tucked in my heart and pulled out every time I started to struggle last week.
And I did plenty of struggling.
I was surprised at myself. I'm ususally totally steadfast in my peace. But last week was rough.
I had to fight for control of my mind every second and it was hard.
But when we pulled up to the court house, a calm came over me and I was ready to face whatever was behind those doors.
And I am 100% sure it was all of you, sending out prayers at 9AM, that I felt washing over me.
So thank you. From the bottom of my heart, for being my friend.
I didn't mean to leave you hanging. Yesterday was a long day.
And my First Day post wasn't meant to be cryptic! I started First Day a few months ago to remember what our life was like on the 1st day of every month.
But let's get to the good stuff.
If you've never been to Family Court, all the cases for the day are required to show up at 9AM and sit around until your called into the court room.
The first couple times we were called early. This time, we sat around for 4 hours before we had our turn.
Andrew decided to wait in the car and I had the joy of sitting inside with Birth Mom.
When she first started walking over to sit by me (yea, she thinks we're good friends) I cringed.
Then I remembered a Facebook comment I got from a very wise woman (that's you Nicki):
"GOOD for you! no more whining and fretting. You got this! and NO MATTER what happens tomm, you know your Daddy is in control. He loves Gabe more than you could....hard to imagine, but true...and He always has a purpose and a plan. Rest, momma...there's a reason his BM is still in the pic. Start asking Him, "why?"...lol, not in the 'WHY wont she just GO AWAY???' way, but in the, 'What do You want to use me for in her life' kind of way. Very hard, but possible. From what I've heard, this woman NEEDS someone to care enough to be Jesus."
So I pulled up a chair for her and we spent the next 4 hours talking.
Turns out it's much easier to talk to her when she isn't holding my baby.
While our conversation did not make me like her, it was very interesting to hear her opinion on the case.
Even though she has not completed a single part of her case plan, she was convinced that she had done everything. She spent the 4 hours blaming everyone except herself for the fact that Gabe wasn't going home with her that day.
It was hard to sit and listen with my mouth shut. I had to dumb down my questions and pretend I agreed with her.
She ended up giving me a ton of information on her life situation.
We did finally get called back around 1.
Our lawyer was very harsh and obviously disappointed in the lack of progress.
Her lawyer was convinced that not having a positive drug test is enough for Gabe to go back.
The Judge was sick of the excuses.
It was painful to watch.
It was feeling like it could go either way, and then Birth Mom took the stand.
And the DFACS lawyer tore her apart. Every question he asked she couldn't answer. I couldn't even look at her.
She lied about stuff she had just told me down in the lobby and accidently confessed that she is living with a woman who just had her kids taken by DFACS last month.
At the end of the day, she doesn't have stable employment (or even any proof that she's working), she doesn't have stable housing (or proof that she has a house), and she hasn't quite smoking which is a huge deal because of his heart condition.
We didn't get TPR, which was disappointing, but we did get a Concurrent Plan.
I'm still unsure of exactly what that means, but the caseworker assured me it is a win for us.
The case plan is now Reunification/Non-Reunification. We will now change our home status to Foster To Adopt and file our paperwork that, if TPR is granted, we plan to adopt him.
And we wait another 2 months.
We go back to court at the beginning of May and do this whole rigamaroll again.
I'm not sure if 2 months will be enough for her to prove stability so there's a chance it will get extended again but hopefully, that will be enough for us to get the TPR.
Gabe will have been with us for a year and the poor child will be 16 months old. I can't imagine dragging this out longer then that.
So I'm sorry I don't have a more exciting update.
We were really hoping for the TPR, but we knew it was a long shot.
I'm planning on calling the case worker next week to get some details on what exactly the Concurrent Plan means and I promise to let you know as soon as I figure it out.
Thank you again for loving my baby so much and for being my peace when I wasn't able to find it myself.