So those of you who are on Facebook know that we've been in Pleasant Hill the past two work days reading Dora's file. AND, I know many of you are probably curious what we found in that file! Most of it had nothing to do with Dora and nothing to do with us. It was mostly to do with bio mom so there's not a lot to tell. I'm not going to publicly share the details of some one else's story. But, what I will say is that while the file didn't have a ton of new information it did fill in some of the blanks. I found birthdays, full names, addresses, phone numbers, information on the older siblings and grandparents, even a cousin. I found out the reasons that Dora was removed and where she lived when she lived with her bio mom. Who her first foster family was and what they were like. I found out that the bio grandparents did want to bring Dora home but that it really was just beyond them at their age to take on another child. Period. Let alone a toddler. I'm glad that we have that information for when she's older as she realizes that they took her older brother and sister but not her. I feel like over all I just got a better picture of who her biological family is and where she came from. In some ways it makes me want to be more cautious as we pursue a relationship with the bio mom because now I know her method of operation and it's a little scary. But, I can do cautious and scary. There's nothing in there that indicates Dora or any of us are in danger at all. But there's a lot to indicate that the bio mom loves her daughter. She's just not capable of being a mom right now.
Since there wasn't a ton of new information, the part that got me riled the most was when that one social worker... do you remember her? the one who was pitting bio mom and me against each other, belittling me, taking Dora kicking and screaming from me and refusing to give her back? etc. etc. etc... wrote reports for our visits with her supervising. I read five + months of reports of truthful facts that showed the relationship between Dora and her bio mom and the relationship between bio mom and me and the relationship between me and Dora. Then, we get to the reports written by this woman who made me tremble in my boots because she was the one writing the reports and she was obviously pro mom and all of a sudden I'm refusing to hand Dora over. I'm not listening to the SW's directions. I'm hoarding Dora's attention away from bio mom. I'm pushing my sweet Cinderella out of the way in my frantic attempt to get Dora away from bio mom AND ignoring her when she cries and telling her harshly to stop crying etc etc etc. It was awful and there was a TON of it! All the other reports were a paragraph, maybe two. These would go on for pages! I remember those visits very clearly because there may have never been more miserable moments in my life. I do remember being torn between my children and choosing Dora because I was going to be handing her over in seconds and I'd have an hour to comfort Cinderella. She was crying in the first place because they were taking her sister away! This SW thought that she knew everything about this situation before she even met us and pegged me as needy, fearful and possessive instead of concerned, falling in love with this child, interested the process and how things were going. We went from having a SW that we got along with well, who was in our court, who was supportive and understanding to this woman who wouldn't even let me talk to bio mom and created tension between us that I never wanted there. She never understood who I was and what my desire in the situation was. I remember thinking that I should call Dora's real SW and ask her if she could supervise instead but I never had peace about causing problems so I just prayed about it and next thing I knew she was no longer supervising our visits and our regular SW was back to supervising. We never had anything but positive visits with any other SW and the reports definitely reflected that. Although none of this made it into the actual court report it was really tough to read what she really thought of me. I just wish that during one of those visits where she was belittling me that she would have actually listened to what I had to say! Funny thing is... even her reports told conflicting stories. It might as well have been one of bio mom's stories for all the exaggerations and contradictions it contained! Oh well. I'm thankful that God went before us in the matter and that obviously it had no affect on the things to come. I'm still kind of in awe that they didn't reunify. The first termination of rights hearing when they DID NOT terminate she didn't meet any of her goals. The second termination of rights hearing when they DID terminate she met all of her goals but one and she was close to meeting it! Again, just in awe of how God has gone before us in this whole situation!
So, here we are. Done with the file. We won't be going back. I'm clear on the story (I should be. I read it and re-read it and re-read it with every report!) and I just need to type it out clearly so that we can remember it down the road. Tomorrow is our post-placement visit and I think that next we schedule our court date for finalization! So close!!!! What a journey this has been so far and I know that it is just beginning. The day we sign the papers in court is the beginning of our future together where we are in full control without having to check in with anyone or telling anyone where we're going! What a blessed day that will be!