Nine years ago, we drove from one side of the state to the other and back in a day. On the way there, we were anxious, nervous, and suffering the adoptive parents' version of labor pains. We had painted all the second hand furniture the colors she picked out. Purchased bedding in her favorite PowerPuff Girl motif. Got some random toys and books. And packed som things to do in the car.
Would she like us? Would she be as bad as the kids we'd heard stories about? Did she really want to be adopted? How much did she remember about her life with her birth family? What did she think about the tall bald guy and the short fat lady? How much of her heart was left untouched?
On the way home, we were beyond anxious. Terror. Sheer, blinding, brain-numbing terror had set in. I couldn't think of a single open-ended question to ask the little brunette with the sad brown eyes watching me in the rearview mirror. So there was a lot of awkward silence.
Since then, I have learned the answers to these and so many other questions. She does not like us. She is worse. Ambivalent. Too much. Suckers! Not much at all.
Since then, we've gone from expecting high school graduation and some form of after high school education to hoping she at least gets to go to prom before she drops out or is kicked out. We've gone from looking forward to her getting married and having a family to making plans to take custody of a child from her should the unthinkable happen and birth control fails. We have given up mentioning our kids around people who have successful kids. It's hard to compare the happenings of probation and mental health court with academic decathalon, honor roll and soccer goals.
"Yay sweetie! You didn't cut yourself or anyone else this week! Good for you! Let's see if NEXT WEEK we can convince that soap is not the devil and make you not stink!"
As mentioned in a few posts, we met BioMama and BioGranny last weekend. One of the stories BioGranny told us was of a visit to a court ordered psychiatrist shortly before Leigh and her sisters were taken again. Apparently, Leigh was covered with bruises from head to toe, where BioMoms evil boyfriend kicked and beat Leigh for falling asleep when she was supposed to be standing in the corner. Leigh told the shrink that they didn't hurt because she liked it when he paid attention to her. BioMom chimed in, "Yeah, he used to beat and kick the hell out of her." (And she probably didn't feel the pain, or at least not for long. We got her when she was six. It wasn't until about age eleven that she started to actually experience physical pain.)
BioGranny then said, "You must be doing somethin right for her to be as normal as she is, because she's always been crazy."
Insert whatever your outrage statement and/or sound effect is. I used a lot of them over the weekend. Repeatedly. Then I just sort of began relying on old fashioned cussing.
But I digress. Today is the ninth anniversary of what we have tried to celebrate for nine years---- Gotcha Day. A kind of bonus birthday to celebrate the day we got her. Today, I paid to have a second set of holes pierced in her ears. This in an attempt to get her to stop poking random holes in her ears.
Happy Gotcha Day, Leigh. I love you. No matter what. Always and forever. My number one job is to keep you safe. I sure wish you'd help us out with that sometimes. Have we helped you fix any of those holes in your heart? Do you still need the angels to watch over you?
Still, so many questions to answer (and most of those are statements or ideas we've used over and over with her). Maybe this time next year, I'll have more answers.
ba-deep ba-deep ba-deep . . .
6 years ago