I came to my blog this morning to update things for National Adoption Month, and can't believe how long it has been since my last post!
I guess, I was on a self-imposed gag-order? Dealing with divorce, custody and the ordinary parts of parenting while facing life as the single mother of adopted special needs siblings. Best not to share too many details about the darker side of personal life. Divorce is messy and ugly no matter what--no reason to document the trials of it all.
It has been expensive to do what needed to be done in order to maintain custody of children adopted from the foster care system. With the unusual situation of adopting special needs children, from a government agency, the costs were much greater than the "standard" goodbyes to life shared with someone else.
Last summer was filled with court hearings, and a complete Family evaluation with an Expert Psychologist who ultimately determined "which" parent would maintain primary custody during the school week. I never had any doubts about what was in the best interest of both children.
I was confident all of my "documentation" (learned in training and support groups as an adoptive parent) would make my case easy to present. What I have learned is that even with my great record keeping, diligent advocacy for the needs of both children, and dedication to the best interest of the children I still had to find some way to "Get" someone to read it all.
Just a tip for anyone else out there keeping great records and doing the right things: It will still cost at least a few thousand dollars to pay someone to be interested enough to read it all and make sense of anything. Good records are wonderful, finding someone with the power to make it possible for the Right Legal Decisions to be made requires some big-bucks. I think those of us doing these things for all the reasons we have been trained should probably put aside at least a thousand dollars for every File Box we have fill up to document all the things we have trained we need to document.
I would also recommend that in addition to the marriage contract, and the finalized adoptions parents might consider a "Pre-Adoption Agreement" between both them. I have found that even when families are put together in Unusual Ways, when it comes to divorce those unusual things don't really matter under the law. For example, an agreement between parents that mom would give up her career, and become a stay at home parent while the adopted special needs children grow up--only means anything to the adoption committee deciding placement... In Divorce Court none of that means ZIP! If I had it to do over again, there would have been a legally binding contract between me and my ex-husband before our children were placed.
All the promises that I would have no concern about giving up the most productive years of a career (My entire 40's) means nothing to those who decide things like custody, spousal support, and all the rest of that kind of stuff.
At 50 years old, it's hard to be attempting to Re-Enter the workforce. Especially after 10-years of being nothing more than a mother and failure in a marriage. Returning to college as a 50 year old has made my memories of returning as a 33 year old feel like I have done this over and over in my life. This time however, I am going to actually finish the one thing I have started three times and never got to the finish line. And, maybe it was because it took this long to figure out What I Want to do when I grow up?
This Fall has been eventful. We have managed to establish a great daily routine. Both children wake up easy in the mornings and usually have very pleasant attitudes. I have to admit the mornings with my kids are probably my favorite thing in life these days. I don't remember the mornings with my older children very well--I think it was because I lived that part of my life working myself half to death. I think they were happy in the mornings too... I knew it was easy for them to get up and catch the bus without even waking me up. That and the older I don't seem to need as much sleep as I did in my 20's and early 30's.
I am resigned to the fact that my life is always going to consist of setting a goal and doing whatever I have to in order to reach it. Surviving life has always just been the reason I am able to set an Unnecessary goal in life anyway!
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