Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thursday, May 3rd, Nate and I went to the courthouse to be with Emma and Jordon's parents as they signed the paperwork where they voluntarily giving up their rights to the children. We were there for about 45 minutes before they were called back to the courtroom. I was glad to see the confidence in the kid's mom as she spoke with us. She seemed to be at peace in her resolve to do what she thought was best for the children. She was very nervous and her constant chatter was the tell tale sign of her anxiety, yet in that anxiety she seemed more confident than I had ever seen her. It was a great paradox. Her mother was with her and when we exchanged pleasantries with her, she could not speak. You could see the pain in her face and after a few minutes she had to leave the building. We did not see her again that morning. The children's father said hello to us and that was the extent of our conversation with him before their time in the courtroom. He has always been more emotional than the mother and less likely to engage in conversation with us.

I found myself listening to descriptions of the children from their mother's perspective and realized I could not recognize the children she was describing. There were moments of recognition, but over and over again she would talk of personality traits that seemed beyond what I have experienced over the past two years. How could we know such different children? Were her memories of the children distorted from time past? Were the children that changed by the circumstances of being removed from their family? I guess we will never know. I imagine these questions fall in the realm of nature and nurture and will never be fully understood.

They were called into the courtroom and Nathan and I waited in the hallway. We are not allowed in this closed court. We waited, discussing the new rules of age for 401K's and discussing the idea of refinancing our home; topics that were not important to us but words to speak as we waited, wondering if when the pen went to the paper, the kid's parents would do what they said they would. The father walked out passing us by clearly on a mission to get out of the building as quickly as possible. He looked at us for only a moment. Nathan stood and followed him to the elevator. He shook his hand and promised we would take great care of the children. Their father hugged Nathan and then fell apart just as the elevator opened. He turned and entered the elevator and didn't look at us again.

A few minutes passed before their mother walked out of the courtroom. She was crying, but still seemed to have a confidence in her decision. We embraced and I thanked her for loving her children enough to give them up. She tightened her grip around my shoulders and wept. We waited for the children's caseworker to say it was all complete and we all shared the elevator down. The last discussions were of the goodbye visit and what we would all mutually say to the children. We agree the children need to see consistancy and cooperation with us all. We agree the goodbye visit will be celebratory and focused on the children beginning a new chapter in their life. Then she asked if we will change the children's last name. She said she thought they would like being Joneses, she just wanted to know what names to look for in the paper for achievements. As we left I felt compelled to tell her how much I appreciated what she had chosen to do and how what she must be experiencing was not taken lightly by Nathan nor me. And then there were a few awkward moments before we finally left.

Once home we sat and talked with Emma and Jordon, explaining we had been to the courthouse and that their parents had decided they thought it would be best for us to be their parents and the judge agreed. The kids listened and Emma absorbed our words. And then she melted. She became very upset and just cried and cried. For about fifteen minutes we held her and allowed her to feel what it was she needed to feel. She calmed herself down and then wiped her face. She looked up into our faces and wanted to know if she could tell the Jones kids that she was going to be adopted. Then she jumped off Nathan's lap and ran upstairs to tell the kids that she was going to be a Jones. Nathan and I discussed that night after all the children were in bed how we hated to see her suffer and cry, but we were so glad she responded the way she did. She responded in a healthy way. She felt sadness and then recovered and was happy. Such healthy emotional responses are not overlooked when parenting children who have been faced with multiple traumatic events in their lives.

Tomorrow afternoon the children will meet with their biological parents one last time to say goodbye. I don't know what to expect from this visit. I can't imagine how any of the four of them will respond. I don't look forward to seeing the kids go through the pain I anticipate will come from the day. But I believe with all my heart that just like the pains of childbirth, these pains allow for a new life that is full of promise and hope. I hope that such a goal is not only for the children, but their parents who will be given a fresh start as well.

After the visitation, we will take Macy to drop her off for her trip to Europe. This blog has run on the metaphor of a journey and when I think of the simultaneous journeys of all the individuals in our home, converging and detouring from each other, I see days like tomorrow, which will hold the ups and downs of life and realize that the same faith that we have held to in this journey will sustain us as we move forward to a new chapter, is the same faith that gives us peace as our daughter travels across the ocean, is the same faith that makes the pain of the journey tolerable and the joy of the journey sweet.

1 comment:

  1. Unbelievable folks you and Nate are. As I always tell me wife that our children are our legacy. Well the both of you have 5 little ones that are going to have a tremendous legacy.

    Craig Maxey