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Thursday, January 5, 2012


This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of my daughter.

You'll have to excuse me. This is going to be a long one.

Once upon a time, I was in a fairly unhappy marriage, trying desperately to get pregnant. After 7 years of infertility, we got a phone call that would change our lives (well, more specifically, MY life).

This beautiful little girl became mine when she was 18 months old. Her background had been very challenging and rather sad. She'd been in and out of several different homes while her birth parents tried to get their lives straightened out so they could get her back. Eventually, they had eliminated all their options and were about to lose their rights to her.

That's where we came in.

Shortly after this gorgeous child entered our lives, we found out her birth parents were expecting another child. Long story short, the day we finalized the adoption of Pirate Munchkin, we picked up her baby sister who was only supposed to be our foster child for 3 months. The birth mother had started a sort of rehabilitation program that was supposed to be really good.

She dropped out after a few weeks.

Unfortunately, in the time it took for her to enter and drop out of the program, the wonderful social worker who had Pirate Munchkin's case had too many cases on her desk. The care of our little foster baby was given to a different social worker.

Which started the biggest emotional roller coaster of my life. (Not to mention my sweet daughter.)

The birth parents went back and forth between trying to make the right choices to making really bad choices. The little baby girl who was supposed to be with us for just a few months continued to grow and develop into a delightful baby. She stole my heart. As the parents did poorly, I couldn't imagine my life without BOTH of my sweet girls. The happiest moments of my life were listening to those precious little girls playing together. The social worker started implying that we should probably start thinking about adopting her as well.

Meanwhile, my marriage fell apart.

The social worker asked me what my plans were for the baby once the divorce was final. She seemed pleased that I planned on adopting her on my own.

Then just days before my divorce proceedings, she dropped the bomb on me. In two weeks, the birth parents would be getting the baby back. This was literally just weeks after she'd told me they were doing badly, and that I should plan on her being a part of my life forever.

This was all terribly, terribly wrong. If we'd had the previous social worker, this nightmare would have been over 6 months after she was placed with us. But for some reason, this social worker was NOT doing her job - doing what was best for the child. She chose to favor the parents who had a record of YEARS of unstable behavior. (I firmly believe the social worker will have some major things to answer for when she meets her Maker.)

So picture a 16 month old little girl. She'd joined our family when she was only 2 months old. I was the only mother she knew. She had regular visits with her birth mother, but only 4 hours a week. She was taken from the only home she knew, the only mother she knew, and her sister - who she adored. Worse yet, the birth parents and the social worker voted against my wishes and kept her in the same daycare she'd been in. So every single day when I went to pick up Pirate Munchkin, she would see me and reach for me (there was no way I could ignore her and not hold her). I would pick her up, hug her, tell her I loved her. And then I would have to put her down and leave with Pirate Munchkin while she screamed. It ripped my heart out every single day. Who KNOWS how horrible that was for HER!

The entire situation was heartbreaking. For her. For me. For Pirate Munchkin.

To this day, Pirate Munchkin has a large picture of the two of them, hanging on the wall in her room.

Years have passed. Eventually, both families left the daycare (horrible place). We had some contact back and forth. Birthday parties have been attended for each girl. Then contact was lost. We moved here. Life has gone on. But Pirate Munchkin and I often talk of her sister and how much we miss her.

Since Pirate Munchkin was a toddler, I've been teaching her periodically about addictions. I've taught her that when someone has an addiction, they are no longer in control of themselves. The addiction will take control of everything in their lives, even to the point that they can't take care of themselves or the people they love. Preparing her for one day when we would have the inevitable discussion about who her birth parents were and why she's with me and not them.

That time came last night.

It started so randomly. We were playing around like we always were. Joking with each other. She called me a weirdo. I said I was going to put her in a box and send her back where she came from. She said she WANTED to be put in a box and sent to Mexico. I said "but you're not from Mexico. You're from Montana." That led to a discussion about how she'd come from someone else's tummy, and she couldn't understand how she could have been born in a hospital that she was familiar with. Her birth was such a foreign concept to her. Before I knew it, we were right there. The time had come. She wanted to know who her birth parents were and why they had given her up.

I pulled her onto my lap and told her the story. I was as honest as I could be, while keeping it at a level a 7 year old can understand. I told her how much they had loved her, but that their addictions had made them make bad decisions. They had tried to do what they could to keep her, but the addictions won. I explained that her birth parents were the same people who were her sister's parents. I explained how they were getting their lives back on track when they got her little sister because they didn't want to lose another child.

We cried together.

We talked about how much we miss her sister and how that wasn't fair that she wasn't with us.

It was really hard. But it was time for us to talk about it.

What I didn't tell her is that I'm still really worried about her sister. I've found out some things about her birth parents choices lately that scare me. I didn't tell her that I am constantly worried sick about her and really wish I could know that she's okay. I didn't tell her that I recently found out that social worker who made a mess of our lives without appropriate reasons no longer works at that office. I didn't tell her that I would to anything to have her little sister back.

I didn't tell her that my heart is broken.


Joan said...

My heart aches for both of you but also for sweet little E. We wept more than once over those unfair circumstances and prayed for her safety. I still pray for her.

B. said...

It must have been a tough day yesterday. I'm so sorry! I think about that frequently, and how hard it must be on all of you, especially the little sister.

It's great that you can be so open and honest about it already though. I have a niece who found out through a 3rd party that her dad was not her real dad, and she was 18 when she found out. It was bad enough that she was so old when she found out, but worse still that she didn't even hear it from her parents. I'm glad you are able to talk about these things with Pirate Munchkin.

On another note, that picture is one of my favorite pictures of her too!

TheUnicorn said...

My heart aches for you too... so not fair. (((HUGS))) I am so sorry for your broken heart and I wish we could glue it back together with your wonderful mint fudge... mmm, fudge... sorry, focus. I'm just a stone's throw away if you need anything my dear... but make sure you bring fudge ;)