Up until last evening, I wasn’t sure that we would finalize this week. We had one document that required my signature and the signature of some higher up in CPS. My attorney confirmed the date yesterday. Friday is Gotcha Day.
I told Hope last week that we would be finalizing soon. But I was nervous to tell Hope that it was happening this coming Friday. It will all be official in three short days. I just didn’t know how she would react.
I told her over dinner. She sat there stunned. Then she changed the subject and pretended like I never said anything about it.
She does this sometimes in therapy too. She was just avoidant. I decided to just let it go.
But of course it can’t be the simple. It’s never that simple.
Twenty minutes later she picked a mini-battle over a myriad of little dinner-related things. And then there’s the blow-up, followed by the stomping to the room, followed by the concert of badly sung Justin Bieber covers (done for the express purpose of annoying me), door slamming, muttering and other self-soothing behaviors.
I let her be, interrupting her only to tell her to ready herself for bed and to refill her water bottle.
She was still grumpy when I came in to tuck her in, hesitating about whether she wanted me to read her a story.
Of course she wanted a story, and I deliberately chose a longer one to read last night just to be close to her a few minutes longer.
Then when I kissed her good night, she huffed and she puffed, and she screeched at me to close her closet door. Then she bid me goodnight back.
Fear is wicked.
She’s been through this adoption thing before. It never got this far, but someone else tried to tell her that it was forever. It wasn’t. She’s been through this before. It’s terrifying to think that something awful could happen before Friday that would cancel forever. So, the best option is to try to trigger the worst possible scenario before it can happen on its own.
Finalization, for all its celebratory notions, is also a reminder of things that she doesn’t want to be reminded of: all the reasons why she even needs to be adopted at all. And that sucks. It really, really sucks. And when stuff sucks, everything around here sucks, at least or a while. It doesn’t suck quite as long as it used to, but yeah, it sucks for a while. Attitudes, short tempers, tantrums and tears, push/pull behaviors, fight picking, and sometimes, mercifully, the silent treatment. I don’t really like the silent treatment when she retreats into her own little world, but honestly of the choices, it’s the one that is easiest for me to face and for me to overcome.
And even though somewhere in there she’s happy, maybe even ecstatic, it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter that I’m planning a family party. It doesn’t matter that there will be cake. It doesn’t matter that she’s been practicing signing her new name for the last week and a half. None of that really matters.
All that matters is whether Friday is really going to happen. Hell, she’s having a daily meltdown at school and having the school staff call me daily to see whether I’m really picking her up or whether I’m going to be home if she takes the bus because she swears I’m going to abandon her.
This is happening every day. She was telling me that they were making her call. When I met with the staff today to discuss how the calls were heightening her anxiety, I realized that it had nothing to do with the school at all. She just wanted to know if I was going to be there.
Right now, all that matters is whether or not Friday is really going to happen. Will Friday be the beginning of forever?
Yeah, and after it happens, the all that will matter is what happens after Friday.
It’s a new chapter, and neither of us knows what the hell we’re doing or what to expect next.
It will be fine. We will muddle through. Someday we might even thrive. Hopefully, we will do more than survive. We will be fine.
But right now, we are a slave to Hope’s fear right up until the court’s declaration. Sadly, fear will still rule the next few days. I’m praying that the chains of fear will be broken before Friday.
This is my reality of getting me and Hope to permanence, and it continues to be the other side of happy.