The social worker had made yet another appointment with us only nine days after her last visit, which placed her next visit only three days before our court date. The visits normally occur once per month. The only reason this could be was for her to collect our answer to the question: "are you open to adopt Evie?" We had nine days to decide.
That was a very intense nine days. The pressure to give an answer for accepting a radical shift in the trajectory of the rest of our lives...my life as an individual, my life as a wife to my husband, my life as a mother to my two teens (etc.)...in only nine days? I also might mention that as parents, Tim and I also have to navigate our children through this decision. How do we do that? There is no radar for this level of stress.
To keep it short, I was back and forth daily. One day it was a hard no. No way. For all the reasons I stated in my last blog post, I am not prepared to give up the life I put off in order to raise Isaac and Juliet. That season is waning. I purposefully had all the children I planned to have before age 30. I didn't want to have a diaper bag over my shoulder and crooked posture for any longer than was sensible.
The next day, I would sit and rock in my second-hand glider and stare out my window to my garden and ask myself "what if you were willing to commit to raising her? What would that look like? Maybe she would like the garden. Maybe she would like to fish in the lake. MAYBE! she would bait my hook with fresh worms and get the fish out of the lake for me!" Could we do it? Could I do it?
It was in these moments where my heart was really challenged. Asking new questions and imagining new endings to a story that was written long ago.
The social worker came and sat very nonchalantly in our living room just like it was any routine visit. Her energy was relaxed, ours was not. I kept waiting for her to circle round to the only possible reason she could have made an appointment for her visit so shortly after her first one. She shared with us an update on the putative father (defined below) and where he stood in the case, but other than that, it was a ho-hum visit.
Tim was present that morning. I can't remember who brought it up, but when she didn't ask THE QUESTION, I asked her why she made a visit so soon after the last.
She was going out of town and wanted to get the visits done early. Womp.
If you've gotten to the end of a post entitled "False Climax", I applaud you. The title is true from the story telling side, but I will leave you with where we are in our decision-making.
We did communicate to Evie's social worker that we would be "open" to adopting her. This is not a firm commitment. No papers were signed, but it does give us a bit more time to think it through. And more time is what we need. We don't have to know right now. The list is long on both sides of the decision, but in the midst of our mental processing and discussion, our seeking counsel and our times of quiet introspection, there is only one question to answer: what is the will of God? What does He have for our lives? For Evie's life.
The next court date is in May. As it looks right now, both parents are on board to TPR (terminate parental rights). Anything can always change. It doesn't look like there are any other family members willing to adopt her, but if they appear, they have seniority as next of kin. If either of the parents change their minds, any presumed outcome is up in smoke.
I am not sure what it will look like when we decide what to do. Maybe we will be in a moment and God will speak to us. Maybe we will be out of time and just make the decision out of indecision. It is an impossible question until the right answer shows itself. And when it does, I hope we will all be at peace.
*A “putative father” is a man who is the alleged biological father of a child but whose paternity has not been legally established.