No One Asked Me

Funny how a year changes everything. At this time last year I was just getting used to the idea of taking on another child. Yesterday, I let him go...

My time with him will forever be etched in my heart. Even if it was all turned around to sound ugly and wrong in court yesterday. I know it wasn't his idea to pretend the experience with us was not a good one. It was his mother's. It was clear by her reaction when the guardianship was terminated that she wasn't doing it for the right reasons. Surprisingly enough, she was actually mad. Mad that the "judge" asked Jeffrey point blank if he was asking to go back and live with his mom, in order to take care of her. Obviously the question hit way too close to home and explains why immediately afterward, she stormed out of the courtroom.

Her reaction made it all the worse for me. Because it gave confirmation to me, that her intentions were not honorable. For Jeff's sake I had hoped they would be. I wanted her to want Jeff back because she wanted time with him, I wanted him to be the reason. I fear it was more about something else entirely.
For two months I had quietly been grieving;  knowing inevitably I would have no say, and no control in this matter of such importance. If he wanted to, he was going to go back to her, no matter what I said or who stood behind me in support. Earlier this summer his mother filed paperwork saying we had been unfit guardians. (Although she eventually ended  up dropping her accusations). After court, a mixture of helplessness and anger fueled me through the rest of the day. I asked myself over and over, could I have fought the decision? Yes. Would it have done any good? No. Jeff is 16.5 and the court has no real option but to consider his wishes. Just like when his wish was to join our family to get away from his mother; they listened. In the end, it didn't matter, no one even asked me what I thought. I guess the "judge" could see what was written all over my face. I had no choice but to let him go back to his mom, and back to the life I thought I had saved him from.
How dare she be mad! She got what she wanted, she got Jeff. He sat in court and said he wanted to be returned to her. To cover for her perjury on that original paperwork, he lied in court yesterday and insinuated we took him to Pine Rest because of several attempts at self harm. (We took him to get tested for ADHD and a learning disability.) He told the judge he had gone to therapy while living with us, and had gotten better; in reality I dragged him there three times and he barely said anything.

I'm sorry she put him in a position to have to lie. He knows very clearly how I feel about lying, it can't make him feel good about himself, or his decision to leave us to live with her, knowing that we all know the truth. My heart breaks for that kind of pressure on a kid, no wonder the testing at Pine Rest came back and said he had PTSD---more than likely caused by his own mother.

I remember writing my post about how happy I was last spring because it felt like he had settled in and found a comfortable place here. I look at pictures and see what I thought was a happier kid. One who seemed calmer, and one who smiled and laughed more. In retrospect maybe I was just projecting my happiness onto him, and reading more into things every time he opened up, even if it was only just a little.
Thinking of him now brings tears to my eyes. And an ache to my heart. We will be spending this Labor Day weekend without him, and it will remind me of the promise of last year, and the hope we all had for a better life for him, and with him.
Good luck Jeffrey, I hope someday you realize that everything we did, we did completely for you. Because we believe in you. Our door is always open.
P.S. Didn't I once say that sometimes the hardest part of parenting is letting go? I was right.