In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Monday, May 9, 2011

4 Years

Today marks a turning point in my life, my husband’s life and most of all in the little’s lives.

It was the day after Mothers Day 4 years ago that we officially became Daddy & Mommy again.

Even though they were already living here 90% of the time for the 8 months leading up to this day but was instead called “babysitting” while she supposedly worked. Even though they already had beds, dressers full of clothes, toys and all little ladies baby paraphernalia. Even though I had been hauling them with me to work every day. Even though we held the titles of  grandma and grandma and we did everything daddy’s and mommy’s do. Even though they had already bonded with us. 

It was Mothers Day 4 years ago when my eye’s were opened up to the truth that I had refused to see. I had been manipulated. I had been lied to. I had been used. My husband had tried to tell me. I didn’t believe him. Instead I felt sorry for my step daughter, closed my eye’s to the hurt she inflicted on us and believed that if we supported and helped her to start loving herself then she could get her life together and thus be a mother to the little’s. As you know it didn’t work that way.

She made that Mother’s Day pure hell and then walked out the door. Without her children. With my youngest daughters help we spent the rest of that day and the next getting to the bottom of the truth. And the truth was not pretty. When she came to our home the day after Mother’s Day, she was angry because she had gotten word that we had found her out. She threatened to take the little’s and that we would never see them again. As lies spewed out of her mouth I stopped her and told her that she needed to take her children and go home because I was DONE with her lies and manipulation. I told her that her father and I would be over immediately after he got home from work.

When they walked out the door and drove away, I sobbed. I hated sending the little’s with her but in reality these were her children and we had no rights to keep them. A couple of hours later, my husband and I went to her apartment. We were horrified about the condition of the apartment but even more so of seeing little lady laying in a filthy crib with a bottle propped up to her, while little man held a cup of juice that had mold floating on top, in his little hands. It was mere minutes of confronting her that she verbally asked us to take the little’s. Within an hour of confronting her, we walked back out of the apartment with the little’s in our arms, after my husband loaded up the remaining of their belongings into our car.

They have been with us ever since.

Now I could say what a horrible person I think she is.  I could lament about how much we tried helping her to be the mommy. But, I won’t. While it was wrong of her to lie, manipulate and use us like she did, it would have been worse for the little’s if she hadn’t. I cringe at the thought of what life would have been like with propped up bottles and dirty juice cups in the midst of a filthy apartment.  But even more I cringe at the thought of them not getting fed emotionally. She was and still is emotionally void. As much as it makes me angry that she did all these things in order for us to be constantly caring for the little’s, I am thankful she did. I am thankful that we were her safe place and that she knew we would love them.

She loved the little’s enough to manipulate us so that they were with us the majority of the time. When she was confronted with the truth of having to step up to the plate and be the mommy because we were not going to be helping anymore she loved them  enough to admit that she couldn’t be the mommy. She loved them enough to ask us to take them. She loved them enough to walk away. She loved them enough to want them in a loving safe home instead of the alternative.

There are those that throw stones at her and mothers like her. It could be easy to condemn her. In our hearts we ask how could a mother do this? Yet, when I heard this morning of another mother killing her children I thought more mothers need to walk away from their children before it reaches this point of no return. More mothers need to love their children enough to hand them to someone that will.

This doesn’t mean that she didn’t change her mind once we wanted to make it legal. This doesn’t mean that she hasn’t continued to lie and manipulate. This doesn’t mean that she hasn’t  told whom ever will listen that we stole her children from her. This doesn’t mean that it has been smooth sailing with her.

Over the past 4 years we have had a bitter sweet journey that led us to being called daddy & mommy today. Early on, it cost most of our savings and some of our sanity in order for us to have complete legal & physical custody of the little’s. I don’t care who you are, no one likes fighting their own child in court but you do what you have to do when faced with the alternative. Thankfully we live in a state that gives relative caregivers as much rights as birth parents in the eye of the law. 

At this point she has done nothing to improve her life or ability to parent so the likely hood of them being with us through the long haul is very high. The only way she could get custody of them is if we were proven to be negligent parents or if we see fit to hand them back to her ourselves.

She will always be the birth mommy. The little’s know she is mommy and that we really are the grandparents but prefer to call us daddy & mommy. She will always be in their lives and the little’s will get supervised visits with her. We are a family with more than one mommy.

We were newly married when we received these children. The plans we had  were put on the back burner.We thought it was just going to to be a temporary thing and we surely didn’t plan on being daddy & mommy. Almost 5 years later here we are. We may not be doing what we planned to be doing but I truly believe we are exactly where we are suppose to be.

You would think that with all they have been through they would be messed up little people but in reality they are very happy normal little people. Yes, on occasion we have issues with them being overly attached to us and they have difficulty being apart from us. They have an issue with people leaving them. If it were up to them all five of my adult children and grandchildren would all be living with us, along with various aunts and uncles. Smile

The little’s have changed our lives and filled up our hearts. They have expanded my family and added a whole new flavor to it. They may exasperate us every some days and we may not get many breaks but they add so much love and joy to our lives that I cannot imagine them not being here.  

I don’t share our story because I want  pats on the back or for you to praise me with accolades. I share this because if our story can help one person it is worth sharing. If our story can help others to be supportive of someone that is raising someone else child or children. If our story can encourage someone that is walking in our shoes. If our story can help others to be more understanding and less judgmental of parents that walk away. That just maybe if we all consider the alternatives…the children killed by their parents, children that are abused and neglected…the children that are all alone, that are not nourished physically, mentally or emotionally, then we could stop throwing rocks at parents that walk away instead.

Our story has a happy ending but not all do.  Motherhood and fatherhood is not a right but a privilege. Children are not but mere objects that we can discard at our discretion but sometimes walking away is the most loving thing a parent can do. I wish with all of my heart that mother’s  or fathers that take their children’s lives had thought about this alternative first.

That night, 4 years ago, when we walked back into our home carrying these two precious souls, we started a journey into unknown waters. So much has happened since then. We may struggle at times. We may lose  sight of where we are going at times but some how we always find our way. I know we are right where we are suppose to be.

I hope each of you that are mom’s, and those that stand in as mom and those of you without children but have mothers hearts had a happy mothers day this past weekend.  As I reflect on getting to be a mom to each one of my children and grandma to my grandchildren my heart is full. I could not ask for more. (Well, except that they lived closer. Smile )


Until next time, much love and big hugs to each one of you, Lori


PS Thank you for your continued prayers and positive thoughts that are sent my way. I so appreciate you!