It's January 15, 2014.
I say that because this post will sit as a draft for awhile.
You'll understand why.
Based on a tremendously long string of events (more accurately, lack of events), biological parental history, the sheer amount of time the Fries have lived with us, and much, much more, Hubby and I came to a very painful but necessary decision back in late August.
We would file petitions with the court to involuntarily terminate the parental rights of Bro and XSIL, and petition to adopt the Fries ourselves.
Our fabulous attorney had first brought up the notion back in May 2013, when we had sent her an email just to kind of update her on life for us.
Our attorney does not advise towards whimsical, flighty courses of action.
We weighed the matter heavily. We prayed about it...A LOT. We held our own counsel for awhile, and then sought out friends whom we deeply trust to confide in, and begged for their prayers for wisdom.
We knew what this would do.
We went to my parents. We had many conversations.
We made the decision just before school started. Admittedly, a big motivating factor was that XSIL's current hitch in the Army was up in January 2014. She does not communicate with us, and so we had no idea if she'd reupped or not. If she hadn't...well, that could cause all sorts of ruckus with our nice, comfortable life.
And then I proceeded to decide that I really needed to have two surgical procedures and a massive staph infection and put in some new entries in my Magnificent Medical Maladies history...and our talks with the attorney got delayed.
I finally got in touch with her in mid-November.
By the time I was allowed out in public again, and could drive myself down to the office, it was early December.
The petitions were filed with the court the week before Christmas.
We have lived on tenterhooks ever since.
We didn't know when the judge would send out the filing with the hearing notice. We did know that the fallout was going to be ugly. The best predictor of future reactions is past reactions, and his past reactions when we've done something to anger him told us that his response to this one is going to be off-the-charts mad.
Christmas went by. So did New Year's. (Neither biological parent of the Fries called.)
Our lawyer emailed us; the paperwork was still with the judge.
It finally came back to her office last Friday.
It arrived in the mail at our house yesterday...and at my brother's house today.
He called our dad.
Oooooooo, he's mad. So mad he hasn't even tried to call us yet.
I wasn't surprised by any of his complaints. Nothing new there.
But...every single one of the complaints—EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.—is because of choices that he himself has made. All of the angst? The result of his choices. Finding himself in the position where we are petitioning to sever his parental rights? Ultimately, due to his choices.
We love these girls, and we are currently charged by the court with parenting them, raising them to be good and profitable members of society. That includes protecting them from those who would do them harm, especially at these young ages, even if those people are their biological parents. We have poured years of our lives into them. We have told them countless times that we are here in their lives for good, to stay, that they will always be ours, no matter what.
We feel the rumble of approaching teen years.
We need to confirm the stability of our family before that freight train arrives.
The Fries deserve—NEED—to be assured that our family is forever.
This decision, this upcoming hearing in February, protects and preserves what they already know.
We are mom and dad. They are our daughters.
Soon, it will be legal, and we'll be shouting it to the world.
I can't wait.