Ahhh.... it is done.... I feel so much relief now. It has been 24hrs. Took some time to decompress and to just fully immerse myself in the files.
We knew the worst of the abuses going in, so there were no suprises, only the very explicit details.
The meeting was not at all what I expected. Our social worker was there, the state adoptions worker, the county worker and the childrens therapist. All this time I thought I had been dealing with the county worker, but it was actually the state adoption worker..perfect because we have a great relationship. I genuinely like her. The county worker is wonderful, and so is the therapist. We gained some real insight into our children, and it was a very positive meeting. There are not as many problems as we expected, so that is relieving. Though, things of course may arise at a later time, and we have the tools to deal with them.
After 4 hours, we were finished, and back to another 3 hour drive. A very joy filled drive. Granted there is the formality of waiting till monday to say we want to proceed, but at the meeting we all knew it would move forward and made our visitation schedule!!!! YES VISITATION....oh how I love that word right now...
So, on monday morning I will call our worker and tell him we wish to proceed, he in turn will contact the state worker, who will contact the county worker. They will then take the photobooks to the children to 'introduce' us. On Saturday we go and meet, and sunday again we spend time. The following weekend we have them at our motel room, and so on every weekend for the next 4-6 weeks. Then they will get to come spend the night with us :)
For those not familiar with a photobook, it is customary in our area to make a photobook for the children to keep between visits. This book is pictures of you, the family in the home, inside/outside of home, pets, anything significant. That way when they finally come home, they are already familiar with the house, pets, etc...
It is helpful for the SW's and current FPs to use for transitioning the child/ren.
Now...here's the secret weapon...lol...make the album child friendly, to the childs age/gender. One for each child. Think as a child as you do this, not as an adult. Everyone was amazed by the albums I made, the SW said I score extra brownie points lol. I used full size scrapbooks I bought on sale at walmart. I bought 15n pages of stickers at the dollar store, girly ones and boy ones. I printed up pictures one each, and 3-4pics to a page. Each pic held in place by a fun sticker, puffy stickers, toy story, anything that catches that childs gender/age group attention. I wrote in colored marker on the pages. I started with our street, our driveway our house. next was a page each for hubby and I with about 12-15 sentences such as Christy likes dogs, Kevin likes cars, etc... Use the name on each sentence. The sentences give the children bonding points with similarities. Then I did a pet page, and info about the pet. Then interior pages and exterior pages, including a page of the playground in our yard. A car page, a vacation/ocean page, a bedroom page, a toy page. On at least every other page I incorporated pictures of us. Always bring them back to us. The last pages I inserted more paper, but left blank, and put sticker sheets in. That way they can begin to put in thier own pictures as we visit/transition.
We have a digi, and plan on taking pics the first/second day, then the afternoon of day two taking the kids to a photo kiosk center and letting them pick thier own pictures to print for their photo albums.
Okay, back to the disclosure, we have gone over all the disturbing and vivid details and medical records of the abuse, the court records, education records...everything. I AM MAD. I am ANGRY, that anyone could do such things to thier children....I am even angrier that a safe place (former foster home) also abused my kids.
I am full of love and head over heels in love with my son & daughter. I will be damned if anyone ever hurts them again while in my care. I will take every measure to ensure that they are given every tool possible to heal.
I cannot even begin to describe this joy inside of me... tears of happiness constantly threaten as I think towards next weekend and make hotel reservations.
I am a mom.
WOW...what a wonderful thing to be able to say... I'm a mom!!!!! WOOO HOOOO