And will glorify Your name forever... Let everything that has breath praise [the LORD. Praise the LORD!" Psalm 86:12, 150:6
Today when we finally entered the court room after TWO hours of waiting my mouth DROPPED and my eyes POPPED out of their sockets - in my head of course - as the first words said following the Judge asking who asked for the contest were mom's lawyer saying, "I did your honor. It was crowded that day and since then I've been able speak with my client and we are going to submit to the termination." What??? Just... Happened??? Do you know how many times I've prayed that mom would be the one to relinquish? At least once, probably 5-10x a day for seven months! Holy moly people! I KNOW God answers prayer but in that moment I was just in awe. Like I was watching something that has been foretold come to be! My mind was spinning and I wanted so badly to record every word that came from the judge's mouth!
After they announced they were not there to fight the judge asked Dora's lawyer if he was in agreement and of course he was and they asked the department representative from CFS and of course she also was in agreement. Both included evidence as to why they were in favor. Then I think my heart stopped when the judge started speaking DEFENDING the work that mom had done up to this point! What??? She was talking about how well she did at her last hearing and how she was so close to graduating (I think mom said she's graduating december 11). My palms were starting to sweat because I thought she wasn't going to honor their decision to submit! But then came the reality. Mom has been doing well in her program. She's shown up to everything and is on track BUT she's also had some set backs and the thing is this was her last chance. They have given her all the time that the Law allows and the judge's hand were tied. The judge said that she was seeing behavior consistent with self sabotage and relapse. She was willfully breaking the rules (like asking us to lunch last week!) over and over again even though she hadn't had any problems with drugs or alcohol. So the judge said that this was a very painful decision but she was going to move forward and terminate. Then they accepted our petition to become de facto parents and set dates.
We were the first to leave the court room and we waited outside the door for mom to come out. You have to understand that mom and I are bonded and she had no one there. The ONLY support that she had there today were us. We had my mom and Kathy and our social worker (who had to leave only probably 10 minutes before we were called!) there and not one person was there for mom. She came out sobbing, tears running down her face and I hugged her. I didn't have anything to say. I didn't know what to say. I didn't leave that court room joyful. I left feeling sad (but relieved) and not really knowing how, but wanting to be a support to mom in any way that I could. My mom had been able to talk to her about the Lord earlier in the day and mom said that she was a Christian and that she goes to a Baptist church and was receptive to us encouraging her and telling her that we're praying for her. I really don't know what to think. She told my Mom that she became a Christian at 13, but it doesn't gel with starting to use drugs at 13 so I'm not really sure if it was a manipulative tactic or if it was genuine. Only time will tell, but I've been praying for her salvation and our relationship will either become a mentoring relationship or hopefully the doors are opened to continue to fill her with truth. She had pulled me aside earlier while we were waiting and wanted to make sure that we weren't going to cut her out of our life. I was able to remind her of our relationship with Rachel and I told her that as long as she was clean, sober and healthy (meaning emotionally) that we would love for her to remain in our life. I know people don't always understand how I can have the birth moms of my children in my life and all I can tell you is that God has given me the confidence in my relationships with my children to be able to have these women be a part of our life and not feel threatened by them and instead just love them. I can only liken it to the bond that I have with my brother. They're just family and I never want to loose them. They chose us to raise their children and become part of their family, and we choose them as our family! So I'm praying that she is able to remain clean and sober so that she can remain in our family without reservation.
All I can gather (and being new to this that's all I've got. I have no prior experience to draw from and I haven't had the opportunity to talk about it with a social worker yet so that they can help me figure out where things are going.) is that since mom has run out of time and submitted to the termination the termination will go on as planned without fear of a battle down the road, but nothing is done until it's done so February 29th can't get here soon enough! Until then I will praise the Lord for He has answered my prayers! This has been so much smoother than I ever thought possible! I have been more at PEACE than I ever thought possible. Do you remember the social worker who was trying to drive mom and me apart? Do you remember how I prayed instead of calling and complaining? Do you remember how she disappeared and hasn't come back? What an amazing God to be so gracious as to remove her from me without me having to do anything! Are you not in awe of how God has worked in Dora's life? She is NOT the same child who walking into our lives seven months ago. Her progress is not evidence of us being super parents. It's evidence of GOD working in our home and in Dora's life! I have prayed and prayed for my relationship with mom and now here we are and you'd never know that we only see each other in passing a couple times a month. We have a great relationship and even though she is caught up in a horrible lifestyle she still has character and is gracious to me - who has not only taken over the affections of her child, but is now TAKING her child from her. I can only pray that I would have the strength of character to respond so well if I was walking in her shoes. God is mighty and powerful and He has once again proved His faithfulness to me and exceeded my expectations and I am blessed beyond measure!