Friday, December 16, 2011

Highlights from the Hearing...

I know it's a couple of weeks overdue, but now that Monkey is finally healthy again, I want to update everyone on the happenings of the hearing.

I got to the courthouse, and they were running a few minutes late (no shocker there...  those things are NEVER on time), so I sat in the hallway outside of the courtroom and waited for Monkey's case to be called.  I noticed his parents a few rows down, but didn't say anything.  They were busy talking to one of their attorneys.  After a couple of minutes though, Monkey's dad must have pointed me out to his mom because she got up and walked towards me.

She looked great!  It is so obvious that she is working hard to get her life back under control.  She had a big smile and as I stood up, she gave me another huge hug.  And I was completely floored when she started to talk to me.  The first thing said to me was that she was sorry for her English the first time we had met.  She said that she has been working hard on her English lately though.  The story she told me was adorable, and made me like her even more than I already did.

She said that a few weeks before, when Monkey had just learned to clap, he was apparently just clapping away during his weekly visit.  She said, "He was looking at me to do something, so I knew he wanted to play 'that game.' (Patty Cake)  I sang the song, but in Spanish.  He look at me like I crazy!"  She went on to tell me that Monkey's dad pointed out that I speak English, and that's when she realized...  "Monkey is an American ENGLISH baby, so I work on my English hard so he can understand me." 

Then she won me over completely when she told me that she wants to learn how I do Patty Cake so he gets what he's expecting!  If you remember my letter to my Chunky Monkey before the hearing, you might remember that one of my big concerns was that they didn't know the "right" way to play Patty Cake.  The fact that his mom asked me on her own made me want to cry buckets of happy tears.  :-)

I gave her a couple of photobooks and prints that I had for them and she took them back to Monkey's dad so they could look through them.  She came back after a few minutes with a few of the pictures and lots of questions.  She wanted to know stories that went with the pictures, what all new tricks Monkey has so they can practice with him during visits, etc.  While we were talking, I glanced over at Monkey's dad.  He was looking through the photobooks with the biggest smile on his face.  Every time he'd turn a page, he'd chuckle to himself.  His dad may have some issues, but you can't fake that kind of love.  He gets all goo-goo, ga-ga over our little Monkey, and that's good enough for me.  :-)

When it was finally our turn, we headed into the courtroom.  It was totally uneventful in the sense that nothing major or unexpected happened.  Next (and hopefully final) hearing in March, as expected.  However, Monkey's dad somehow managed to start arguing with his attorney in front of the judge.  I've learned that Monkey's dad will argue with his own leg hair if given the opportunity, so it wasn't a huge shock.  But seriously, dude...  JUST SHUT UP!!!  You're not helping your case here.  His "arguments" tend to be mostly trying to get you to see things his way.  I've witnessed a couple myself and have heard about others.  He will go on and on and on and on, repeating his points over and over and over until you either give up and say, "OMG!  Fine!  You win!  Just puh-leeze stop talking now!" or just stop talking to him altogether and remove yourself from the situation.

Other than that, everything went well.

I visited with both Monkey's mom and dad after the hearing.  Some of the highlights in conversation were:
  • Monkey's dad insisting that the most important first order of business was going to be to get Monkey a cat because he can see how much he loves Kitty Cat Tommie.
  • Both of his parents thanking me again for loving and taking care of their son and telling me over and over how they can see how happy he is.
  • Monkey's mom asking me what kind of foods he's eating now and if was okay if they brought a  snack for him for his visits.  She went on to assure me that it would be a healthy snack.  I gave her several ideas of foods that he likes, and told her I'm sure they'd have fun with his snacks because he is just now learning to eat finger foods.  (Sidenote - She must have been hanging on my every word because they brought ALL of the snacks that I mentioned to the next visit and sent them home for him. :-)
  • Monkey's mom telling me more about her background, her fight with cancer, how they felt when they learned she was pregnant, the doctors telling her to terminate the pregnancy, her addiction, her lack of self esteem because of the surgeries, etc.  I had heard most of it before through the Invisible Caseworker, but hearing his mom tell it made it more real.  She told me that she knows that she messed up when she had Monkey (her words...  "I know I did this."), and that she is working hard to be a good mom and to be someone that he can be proud of.
  • Monkey's mom letting us know that she just had her latest PET scan a couple of weeks before the hearing and that she is still cancer-free!

But the thing that has stayed with me the most after two and a half weeks has got to be Monkey's mom telling me almost apologetically, "I know how much you love him, and how much you are going to miss him when he leaves.  But we need him..."  It is very rare to have bio parents even acknowledge that I have been raising their child, let alone thank me or acknowledge that I love them and that they know I will be hurting and miss them when they leave.  I think it just shows how caring his mom is...  The fact that she is genuinely concerned for my feelings in all of this...

As much as I love my baby boy, I really think I am okay when it comes to him going home to his mom and dad.  They have worked so hard and have come so far, and the love that they have for Monkey is apparent in everything they do now.  As much as it's going to kill me to lose another piece of my heart when he leaves, I know that I have been exactly what he and his parents have needed in order for them to be a happy, functioning family.  My prayer is that the transition is a slow and easy one, and that his parents continue to be the best parents they can be for him.  I really do believe that this family will be one of the success stories.  Everything I've seen with them over the past several months leads me to believe that this will work out exactly as it should.  Even if it breaks my heart into a million pieces before it's mended again...  Because it will be mended again...  And I'll get to be there for another baby who needs me just as much as Monkey (and all of my others) did when they first came through my door.


Nana said...

I know my heart is going to break again when Monkey goes to live with his parents but I'm so happy and relieved that they are loving and caring people and will give him a loving home.

It's just really hard saying goodbye to my grandbabies.

CherubMamma said...

Sounds like this is all working the way it's "supposed to". It's definitely not easy for you! (You're not running a hotel. You have given that baby a HOME!) It's obvious how much you love Monkey.

Monkey has been safe. You were there when his parents couldn't be. They are healing. Hopefully Monkey will be safe when he returns to his parents.

It makes me feel better when I hear stories like this one though. There is so much heartbreak, uncertainty, and fear when some kids go home and it doesn't look like they are going to continue to be safe and loved. I'm happy to hear all that Monkey's parents are doing. I'll pray for your heart as well. It's never easy when they leave.

MamaFoster said...

i could say so much but i will just go with "this post made me smile"

kate said...

I read so many stories about reunification that leave me shocked and worried and saddened. This story, Your story with Monkey and his parents, shows that things CAN work.

Thank you again for sharing.

I love his mom!

Rebecca said...

You are amazing <3

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