Do you ever look at your life and ask yourself the question, "how in the name of all that is good and holy did I end up here?" Maybe not exactly like that, but something close? I have asked myself that frequently as of late. These thoughts have increased the last several weeks as we have successfully complicated our lives exponentially. We took in a 16 month old little girl (mimi) the end of April and quickly discovered that two toddlers are more work than one. I think I could possibly be successful in arguing that a new division of science having to do with energy and kids has been discovered by our household. One would think that it stands to reason that if you have the energy of one toddler and you introduce into that environment the energy of a second toddler, you would have the energy of two toddlers. One would be wrong. One has a tornado.
To increase the severity of the tornado and raise the craziness level of our house to three steps above the breaking point, we started the trial to terminate the parental rights of Bobo's birth mom (BM, not to be confused with BUM, that is who Rob thinks dad works for, but that is a completely different story) the first week of May. While this was a very good thing, the judge was dead set on getting the trial over as quickly as possible (another very good thing). This has meant court appearances two to three days a week on top of four visits a week each to different birth moms. I know everyone has a busy life. I'm not trying to saying you don't, just saying ours is worse. That's all. Lisa and I felt that at least one of us should be at each court hearing for the trial in case BM decided she would change her mind and surrender her rights. All through this, BM has been adamant that she wants her son back, this in spite of piles of evidence to her inability to take care of herself, let alone her son. Frustration was doled out evenly all around. We wanted to be done after close to two and a half years, BM wanted her son, and the judge wanted the trial over and done so that Bobo could have permanency moving forward. Witnesses were called and examined and cross examined and back and forth in very tedious fashion. Nothing like what you expect from Law & Order.
Throughout this process, the judge, and all three (yes three) lawyers have been pushing BM to surrender her rights for a number of reasons. It is simply far easier and less costly for everyone (and I mean everyone, especially if you are living in New York as your taxes helped contribute to BM's defense) because that would immediately stop the trial and any possibility of an appeal. It would also give BM more options as far as being able to legally see Bobo a few times a year instead of being cut off completely. Last week the judge was pretty straightforward with BM in saying that while he wasn't prejudging and had yet to hear her side of the case, the county had a mountain of evidence going back almost eight years and there would be no guarantee that she would see her son again if he sided with the county against her. She said she wanted to see a therapist in order to talk to someone about the surrender and we were adjourned until the morning of May 31st.
That Thursday, Lisa stayed home with the crazies while I went to court, fully expecting to sit around and have BM tell everyone that she was not going to surrender and that she wanted to have her say in court. As I waited and talked with a few of the regulars (of which I was one by this point) in family court, BM came in and talked with her attorney, the county attorney, as well as the stooge's attorney. She then came over to me and calmly announced that she had decided to surrender!!! I was told to quickly call Lisa and get her down to the courthouse so that we could get it all taken care of then and there. Mimi was on a visit, so I called to make sure that visitation could hold on to her until we were done and I could swing by and get her, and Lisa brought in skinny pants to the courthouse daycare center. It is still somewhat a surreal experience that we walked into court, the judge read through a number of documents and we all signed the surrender and we were done. Done. After two and a half years. Done. No more BM (according to the conditions of the surrender, BM gets three visits a year, but she has to initiate them and she has since moved out of state and would have to come back to us for visits). I'm still not sure that it has really sunk in yet. To further increase the level of surreality, the very next day, mimi was placed with a family member and so she left our craziness and the hurricane was down graded to a tropical storm. In one day we went from eight visits a week between both rug rats to no visits and just one terror. I'm not sure that Lisa quite knows what to do with herself.
Miracles do happen.