Archive | May, 2017

I’m Not Broken, Just Bent

23 May

KidsCourthouses are always so stale. So much life buzzing around yet still so lifeless. Today was no exception. As I passed through the metal detectors I already felt an overwhelming sense of loss and nothing had even transpired yet. Well… Nothing and everything had transpired. It was complicated as everything in life seems to be lately.

I found my way to room W160. It was down another stale hallway filled with regret. The clicking of the lawyers heels resonated through the hall just magnifying the eerie quiet. First I passed him and then her. And then the team of people typing feverishly on their iPads trying to find some semblance of calm in the chaos that was this case.

I got this.

Awkward silences. I knew they were watching me. I knew I intimidated them. I knew I was the enemy to them. I understood.

Finally. Our turn.

I walked in the courtroom with the rest of them. I sat in the third pew back. Enough space to lose the intimacy, but close enough to show I cared. The room was quiet. Five people sat in pews and seven sat in the front of the courtroom.

Proceedings began.

It was all so formal.

I observed.

Stand when you are talking. Speak confidently. Speak with conviction. Ask for permission. ALWAYS ask for permission.

Legal mumbo jumbo. So much black and white in a case that only had gray in my eyes. The father must do this. We request that the mother does that. Progress. Setbacks.

Placement. Placement. Placement.

My hands trembled the whole time. I reminded myself to use my poker face. I pressed my hands on my skirt to both disguise the shaking and to wipe away the sweat that steadily gathered on my palms. This stale black and white hearing was going to change so many lives.

And then…

Is the foster parent present?

Yes, Your Honor.

Do you have anything you would like to add?

Yes, Your honor.

I wanted to tell them how Pixie has learned to love cauliflower. How she gives me the biggest hugs around my neck at bedtime. I wanted to tell them that she requests pretty braids in her hair each morning and that her favorite drink is chocolate milk.

I wanted to tell them that Rocco has the world’s most infectious giggle. How in the morning he zooms into our room to tell us good morning with a big smile on his face. I wanted to tell them that ten times a day he reminds me that his favorite colors are blue and orange and that Paw Patrol is his favorite show.

I wanted to tell the courts that we can keep these children more safe and secure than they can.

But I couldn’t.

I prayed they couldn’t hear the thumping of my heart and that the lump in my throat would disappear. I stood with all of the grace and poise I could muster. I spoke confidently. I spoke with conviction. I asked permission. I fiercely yet respectfully advocated for the two precious souls I had grown to love.

And then I had my heart shattered.

The system is broken. So broken. Pixie and Rocco deserve a childhood of laughter and peace. They deserve a carefree childhood. They deserve for their biggest worry to be what they are going to pick for dessert.

Pixie and Rocco were never “ours.” We fully supported reunification… When the time was right for reunification. This was not the right time.

Pixie and Rocco will always have a special place in my heart as our first foster placement.

We are bruised. We are bent. But we are not broken.

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