Today was the conclusion of the termination of parental rights trial for Bella and Tootaw. All so very bittersweet. I was anxious going into it. I don’t think I was anxious as much about the outcome (it was fairly obvious what was going to happen) as I was about having to sit in the court room again with their parents and listen all day to all the things they screwed up.
If you find it impossible to have compassion for birth parents in a situation like this – if you just can’t connect with them and empathize – go to a termination trial.
They are just people.
Thrown into the pool of life in the deep end, head first.
Usually with no support system.
Usually having grown up without role models.
A life most of us cannot even relate to.
So, I was not looking forward to sitting in the court room with them all day while they were trampled in all the muck they have left in their wake the last two years.
We got there and made small talk with their parents. We’ve worked hard to develop and maintain a relationship with them and regardless of the outcome today, I wanted them to know that we still aren’t against them we are just for the best interest of the girls.
It took them a long time before they even started telling people they could come in the courtroom – attorneys in and out, lots of hushed talking.
Finally, the state’s attorney asked me to come into the courtroom. Mom and Dad were considering relinquishing their rights and wanted to know if there was any way we would maintain contact. Brian and I had already had conversations about this, I had discussed it with the girls therapist, and we knew that if possible, we did want to maintain contact to some degree. Both their therapist and Brian and I agreed that initially it would be better to maintain contact through e-mail or P.O. Box. We were hoping for an open adoption to some degree and to maintain as many ties to their past as possible. Both for the sake of the girls and their family.
I left the courtroom to find their parents crying in the hallway. The caseworker had just let them know that we were willing to maintain contact and Dad leaned forward and said thank you. I wasn’t sure what I was going to say, but I walked over.
We had a conversation about their fears. I promised that the girls would never forget them and would always know that they love them. My heart was breaking for them. It was excruciating to be a part of.
I am thankful that this is how it all happened if it had to. I felt assured through our conversations today that their Mom and Dad knew that we weren’t against them, that they trust us to care for their girls, and that we love the girls and will forever. We were able to offer support in such an awful time. I felt like it was the fruit of working so hard to maintain a relationship. Now, in the midst of such pain, they knew they could trust us, they knew we would not give up, they knew that all we wanted was what is best for the girls. And in the midst of all that, it laid a foundation for continued contact.
It was excruciating to watch.
We hurt because they hurt.
We hurt because of the loss that this day signified for our girls.
So much brokenness.
All this will take a lot of processing. I’m sure that I will post more on it as it all settles. I wish it could just be a celebration, and celebrate we will when we get to our adoption day – but for now it is bittersweet. So much hurt that is so visceral right now.
The sweet in all of this? Right now I am looking at my girls. My girls who will be my daughters forever. My sweet babies that I will love and cuddle. I will watch them graduate. I will watch them walk down the aisle. I will watch them pursue their dreams. I will watch them heal and grow and flourish.
And, I guess, that’s the end.