A Lot of Uncles

The last couple of days have been a bit stressful in our household. Our next court hearing for Sugar Ray and his brothers was scheduled for next Wednesday, May 4 - affectionately known as Star Wars Day in our house! We felt good about that day. :-)

Well, we received a call on Tuesday of this week that it had been rescheduled for this Wednesday (yesterday). We all scrambled to rearrange work schedules so that we could be there - that's a whole different blog. Our CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) wanted to try to meet with us that day to give the best report she could the next day. We just couldn't - time wasn't there. We had back-to-back meetings and appointments all day.

On the bright side though, our day was full but filled with good things. We had a wonderful night of celebrating Grant's induction into NJHS at his school ahead of us. But the stresses of the day continued when I picked Grant up from school and he needed a button-up shirt and tie to wear THAT night. Grant doesn't own a button-up shirt. We just aren't that family - we're pretty casual. So, off to Old Navy where I won the mother of the year award by telling Grant that he wasn't able to speak, grunt or sigh about this shirt. He would try it on and love it no questions asked! (Have you ever shopped with a middle school boy? It ain't easy!) First shirt off the rack fit perfectly. Yes, thank you, Lord, for the small victories!

And we were off to dinner with the grandparents to celebrate and then the ceremony - which was perfect. We gave thanks again for good things in the midst of stress.

Then, we went to the car at the school and realized Shannon's wallet was missing. Thus, the search commenced. We tore the car apart, the house apart and even the church apart. No wallet. And to top the day off, while I was tearing our living room apart, I was greeted by a snake in the house. Yes, a snake. It was a baby but I don't care it was a snake. Poor Shannon left our house after 10:00 to look for his wallet and take the snake far, far away from here. It was a long day.We fell in the bed exhausted. Still no wallet.

So, then comes yesterday morning. We walk up to the courtroom a little frazzled and still tired from the day's events beforehand. We go through security where salt was poured in the wound when the guards look at Shannon and say, "Sir, you don't have a wallet?" No. No wallet. Shannon and I looked at each other and thought, "If he only knew."

We go to the waiting area and wait and wait and wait. The boys' mother had been told about court and she said she would be there, but didn't show. The cases where the birth parents are there are called first. And we wait.

We were called into court really not expecting a whole lot to happen. We were there for a permanency hearing which is a routine six-month check-in. We thought best case scenario we would get a sense for what they were going to do next. Pretty quickly we learned that the TPR (Termination of Parental Rights) petition was in court that day waiting to be delivered to the judge. This is huge! When the TPR is official, the children are legally free for adoption. We've been waiting for six months or more for this petition to appear in court. It was there - we could see it in the attorney's hands. The only hiccup - she forgot to bring her notary stamp. Yep - good times. But, she assured the court she would notarize the document and have it turned in no later than today. Yay! We should have a TPR hearing very soon.

Beyond that, the court was more clear than they have ever been in stating that it felt the boys should have permanency established in their current homes. The CASA, DFCS, the judge and GAL all agreed. We have a small issue with Smalls (one of Sugar Ray's brothers) and establishing paternity to work through, but the court was clear that the window for someone to step up is small. They want to give these boys a permanent home and want them to be with us and our friends. So good to hear! Such a relief for all of us. The court seemed to get it right this time and we are thankful.

All this to say, we are not completely in the clear. I'm not sure any of us will fully exhale until signed adoption paperwork is in front of us. But for today, this is a big victory for our boys.

Grant asked me in the midst of all the chaos on Tuesday - "So, if we get to adopt Sugar Ray and the Heberts get to adopt Biggie and Smalls, that technically makes us extended family, right?" I replied, "Yeah, it kinda does." Grant said, "Man, my kids are going to have a lot of uncles!"

I loved it. I love this big fat foster family and the little boys that have brought us together. Praise God for establishing order in what oftentimes has felt like chaos. Praise God for His blessings in the most unexpected ways.