Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not Ours Yet

There are those who make it their business, when I have not written for awhile, to funnel their dissatisfaction in my direction via whoever they know will be speaking to me. You know who you are, out there. So things have changed, and I should catalog our journey.

No, Amanda is not here yet. Apparently, after giving us face-to-face permission to have Amanda part of the time, the social workers decided "oh, we didn't really mean that, and even though we told you that we're extending the trial period by two weeks." Argh.

One night a couple of weeks ago I was woken at about 1:30 in the morning by a call on my cell from birth mom. She was feeling really down, and we ended up talking for well over an hour. It was a great talk, and for some reason I wasn't even really tired while we talked. She's a really special lady, and I'm glad we drew her in this weird lottery.

So she called again last week, same circumstances, only this time she was crying. Apparently there is a guy she has been letting crash at her house during some days when he doesn't have anyplace else to go. He's a guy from her church, and even has done some lay preaching there. Only this night, he apparently had a different kind of "lay" on his mind, as she woke up when he tried to climb into bed with her.

Guess he won't be doing a lot more preaching in church. There's now a restraining order on him, and birth mom said he may not be having children, either. Heh. I told you she was feisty. She's a great lady...just don't piss her off.

Anyway, we got our first lawyer bill yesterday. Gulp. Actually, it wasn't as bad as I was fearing...especially considering that the county has been so screwy with this whole process. The Wife thinks they're just being extra careful, so that the Tribe doesn't swoop in and make off with Amanda. Maybe she's right...but we have very good, solid and multiple reasons from our past not to trust this particular county's social services. Personally, I just think they're incompetent. But even the most incompetent, or even downright evil entity in the social system can only drag things out so long.

The latest target date for birth mom to get back official custody is a week from Friday. I'm pretty sure they set it on a Friday so they could keep us from getting on with our lives for just one more weekend. I think they sit at home and swill wine and smoke joints and laugh hilariously about how much they've toyed with us and thrown our lives into chaos. But that's probably just me.

But we've been getting copies of the emails the lawyer sends to those involved, and I get the feeling that things will move straight into warp drive once birth mom has legal, unhindered custody. Letters and phone calls will go to the Tribe letting them know what's up, our very experienced, very ICWA-aware lawyer will be talking to the right people and letting them know that what they did is NOT cool, and we will be paying through the nose awhile longer.

And it's worth it. When I first heard the kinds of amounts it takes to fight this kind of battle I sort of blanched. But now it doesn't matter...and the lawyer seems to think it won't drag out. I hope he's right about that...but it's no longer a matter of a simple adoption. It's a matter of being royally pissed off on several fronts.

We are NOT bad people, and yet this system has let us down...BADLY. At least on paper, we are eminently qualified to be adoptive parents, yet we see counties and the state repeatedly force children back into abusive or otherwise unsuitable homes. When a birth mom finally picked us, the Tribe interfered with an adoption that was sought out by the mother of a child that is less than 1/8 Native American. The county has put the child in protective custody for an extended period, apparently to protect the child from being adopted by a qualified family that already has a loving relationship with the birth mom and her first child, a home for her to go to and all the baby stuff she'll ever need.

Well, NO MORE. We'll play by the rules for as long as we have to, and then we will exercise our prerogatives and force them to follow the law when it's finally on our side. Fair is fair, right?

The number one reason for putting up this fight against seemingly everybody is that we were allowed to be the first to hold Amanda, and believe we were her parents until after she was born, and we've fallen in love with her. Make no mistake.

But there have been bad actors and a screwed up system here, and any help we've had we've had to buy. It's not right, and they WILL NOT outlast us. We will have our family, and no amount of hemming and hawing and screwing around is going to deter us. We will fight this until there are no legal avenues left to us, and then we'll make life miserable for whoever we end up losing to. It's that simple. Because it's our turn to be happy, and have our little girl.

Hang on just a little longer, 'Manda. Daddy and Mommy working on it, and you'll be coming home soon. For good.