Feb 23, 2009

All morning in court (Part II)

Here we go again; back in the same court room as the first hearing. Only this time we never made it up to see the judge.

Things in court today went well, but not as well as I had hoped. I wanted my attorney to tell me that this is almost over but instead I found out that it could drag out for a year or two if neither side is willing to give in. I wanted Bio Dad to realize that he’s case is weak at best and that he’s just throwing his money away. I honestly don’t know what he wants from this in the end. I know exactly what I want, to keep my family intact.

He’s coming by to take the Teen out to dinner tonight…my guess is that he’ll show up with gifts and take her to eat where ever she wants to go. Not that it’s a bad thing, but that’s all he ever does. He’s not a real father. He’s never taken her to the doctor when she’s sick. He doesn’t check who her friends are or, in my opinion, even care. He doesn’t call regularly to keep in touch with her; although that part I don’t mind so much. At one point in the past he was court ordered to call her…court ordered. Who has to be court ordered to call their kids?!? To make it worse…he only called 4-5 times then we didn’t hear from him for years. But it’s hard for me, because I know it’s hard for her.

Mindy and I used to talk about how one day our Teen would look back and realize how inept he has been in making sure he was involved in her life. One day she would realize that what he says and what he does don’t often match up. I think she’s starting to see that through these proceedings. She wanted to know all about what happened this morning in court when she got home today. I gave her the censored version that doesn’t include all my opinions. And I hope tonight at dinner Bio Dad has enough sense to not talk about it to her all night long. But either way, I’m okay with it because she’s smart enough to see through his words and look at his actions.

Really at this point I guess I have to decide if I am willing to settle with managing conservatorship or if I press for full termination of his rights and adopt. I’m leaning heavily to termination because I think it’s best for the Teen. But I have to be honest it’s hard to be certain if that’s what I want or what I really think is best for her. I hope the answer to both of those questions is yes. If I settle, this could all be over within a week, but I’ll spend the next five years dealing with him on visitation disputes and nonpayment of his child support obligations. And he would still have some, albeit limited, influence in her life. If I press on, I’m confident that I’ll win, but it’ll cost a lot of money that I could use to take the kids places, put to their college, or whatever else. I wouldn’t have to worry about his influence on her or what she does. If I settle now what message does that send to my Teen or does it have any impact at all? What impact, if any, does it have on my two little ones?

It’s times like these, as I ponder these potentially life altering details, that I’m thankful I have so many family and friends praying for me and the kids. And I just found out that more of them read this than I ever imagined; until just recently I thought it was just my brother and his wife. But I’m wandering from my point.

Along with the prayers there is action to back it up; Mindy’s parents have offered me a plan to get the Teen to/from summer school should she fail her classes. And there are so many teachers in this family…it’s really kind of ridiculous. Ridiculous that she might fail 7th grade with so much help all around her. And again I'm wandering...it’s not who does what. It’s that everyone is doing something and that continually amazes me. And you would be surprised how little the big things are sometimes and how huge the little things can be. Aunt Jen did laundry, and started dinner for us the other night before taking Princess to a Mother & Daughter PJ Party at the church. That was huge. It was the first meal we ate that wasn’t eaten in or picked up from a restaurant or fast food place and it was fantastic. She didn’t ask, or even suggest anything; she just did it because she knew we’d love it and it would be one less headache for me to deal with when I got home.

Would the Teen have family like this, so caring, thoughtful and attentive, if she were to have to spend a summer in another state with Bio Dad? I would have to say that I’ve not seen these qualities in what I've seen of his family, and I guess that’s part of what scares me. Children inherit so much from behaviors of their parents, and teenagers especially need to feel secure and loved while learning to stand on their own. Mindy wasn’t okay with our Teen spending that much time with Bio Dad, she fought him on it in court. She knew him much better than I do and she was uncomfortable letting him attempt to care for his own daughter. So I guess, through the process of working this all out for this post I’ve answered my own question. Maybe this was all just my lack of confidence rearing its head again; but in any case I know what Mindy would’ve wanted to do. And I know that she always wanted the best for our children. I’ll pray about it and let the answer be revealed, then no matter what happens I know it is the right thing.

Well, it’s off to the grocery store to replenish a few missing items, then dinner. I got to bed by 11p last night (early for me) maybe I can get a repeat tonight.

I would love a repeat of that tonight.

OK so it's now almost 2am...no repeat.

But I was reading Mindy's bible and I almost never get an immediate answer like this, but I know what Mindy would want; I know what our Teen wants. And I know what I am supposed to do.

There is a reason that I want to take the hard road here...because it's the right road to take. As much as I dread pouring money into this for legal fees and as anxious as I am for this to be completed, the quick and cheap route out of court is really the harder way to raise her. And if the last six months are any indication it's going to be tough enough without his interference. So I'll duke it out in the court room for the next year or so if that is what it takes. Compromising now and hoping it works out for the best later is too big of a risk to take with all of my children, and this doesn't just afffect the Teen.

1 comment:

  1. Dean can say Mindy... Actually it comes out Minnie. He likes to point you and her and Ryan out in a pic in our kitchen. He's still working on saying Karson. :)