December 21, 2012

I took Mara to see her mom, Veronica, yesterday afternoon. Her mom talked about how it’s going to be a depressing Christmas for her, but was lovely with Mara. We had some good conversations, got some pertinent medical history, and Mara was able to drop off the gift she’d chosen for her, proudly announcing “And it’s skin lotion!” Veronica and I both laughed about what a surprise it would be when Veronica opened it, and she had a candy cane for Mara. She got to see Mara’s beginning locs and was very supportive and encouraging about that and about getting Mara’s pica treated. She got to see Mara’s version of the moonwalk, which was adorable.

Veronica is visibly not pregnant now. There was a baby in the household, but the baby was seven months old and obviously not hers. I have no idea what happened between the beginning of November and now that changed things, but since she never told me she was pregnant I didn’t feel like I had room to ask. I was supportive in the general conversation about grieving during the holidays and I’m really glad she feels comfortable talking to me about some of the sensitive topics in her life. I really do like her, and it was great to see her looking as healthy as she did.

I know that one way or another, this is one more loss for Veronica, who’s lost so many loved ones already, but I was worried that no matter what, the state was not going to let her bring a baby home to the house where she’s staying. I was at least as worried that adding a baby to our lives didn’t seem like the right step for Lee and me, but that having Mara’s baby sibling go to another home also felt unthinkable. I’d been getting stronger and stronger in my resolve about saying no, but I’ve simultaneously been getting extremely sad about that.

I don’t know what happened and if I ever do it won’t go on the blog, but since I brought up the question of whether we would be making a decision about the baby, it’s a great relief to be able to say that this is no longer a concern. As things in Nia’s case seem to be trending toward termination of her mom’s rights and thus adoption, I’m glad we don’t have to factor a baby into the equation. And again, I can say what I’ve said before, that I hope Veronica won’t have another child until she’s ready and able to parent effectively. I would love to see it work for her, but I was really scared about how this would work out for all of us and I’m semi-selfishly glad that it somehow has without my having to be more involved.

Tonight, Lee and Mara are supposed to see Mara’s dad and maybe her little brother, who’s been visiting their dad more frequently lately. Veronica confirmed that Mara’s dad’s older kids know and ask about Mara, so we may be able to meet them soon, which I would like. I’ll do something with Nia’s hair (took out the ballies her mom had put in because the tightness was hurting her and the ballies were falling out of the bottom and she kept begging me to change it, which I think was for pain rather than aesthetic or emotional reasons) and she and I will go to a neighborhood Christmas party the next-door neighbor who kept the girls while we were traveling is trying to make a new tradition. I’m sure Lee and Mara will meet us there later, and the girls are excited to get to show all our neighbors “their” room where they slept! This weekend we set out for the land of cozy fires and family together, I hope without leaving their other families behind in any way except the physical. I will focus on the girls I have and all the families they have, the ones I know and the ones they know and all the ones we don’t know or may never even know about. There are so many people who love them and whom they love, and I’m so overwhelmingly grateful to be one.

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  1. [ but I was worried that no matter what, the state was not going to let her bring a baby home] The way our state law is written, having custody involuntarily terminated on one child is already grounds for terminating on future children. It is why my daughter’s attorney recommended that she “voluntarily” sign away her rights.

    So much pain…

    • If I’d gotten to know Mara’s mom before TPR, I would have recommended the same thing the lawyer told your daughter. Having an involuntary termination is grounds for further removal/termination here, too, but it isn’t a situation where that response is mandatory. No one seems to be very clear on what the actual decision process is, though.

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