Friday, September 5, 2014

An Overdue Update

A couple of days ago, Decemberbaby left a comment on my post Family Relations.  I just got around to approving it, and realized that it has been a very long time since my last post.

You know the old saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same?"  I would say it's pretty applicable to what's going on.

FosterEema and Danielle moved out well over a year ago now.  When they left, Danielle was confident that her life was going to be perfect once mean ol' FosterAbba was out of her life.  Danielle started having problems with FosterEema immediately.  There was no honeymoon at all.

The day Danielle turned 18, she withdrew herself from high school.  The next day, she boarded a train and then a bus to travel out of state so she could reunite with her biological half-sibling.  Less than a week later, she was on the phone to FosterEema asking to come home.  FosterEema said no.

Other than a couple of messages on social media, I have spoken to Danielle only once since she turned 18.  We only chatted on the phone for a few minutes, and it seemed like neither of us were happy about being pushed together.  My father, who was trying to be helpful, tried to "surprise" the two of us when I called his house and Danielle happened to be visiting.

These days, all of the news I receive about Danielle comes secondhand.  From what I've been able to piece together, things didn't work out with her first half-sibling, so she moved in with another.  That didn't work out either.  Now she's living with her biological mother and aunt in another country.  From what I've heard, she's not entirely happy with the living arrangement, but she has few options.  She never finished high school nor is she working.  I have also heard that she is "desperate" to have her birth control implant removed, and that she would very much like to get pregnant.

FosterEema is living in a city about an hour away, working at the same job she found after she asked me for a divorce.  While I rarely speak to her directly anymore, we stay connected on a social media site.  Her posts there seem to indicate she's happy.  I'm genuinely glad for that.

While I never would have asked for the divorce, and it was certainly unwelcome at the time, I am much happier for it.  My life has a lot more joy and substantially less turmoil than it ever did in "the before."

I am still working the same job, and living in the same house.  With the exception of my mortgage, I am debt-free.  My house, though in need of some significant repairs, is clean and tidy.  I have written, and published, a couple of novels.  I am still with the gentleman I mentioned earlier.  We have become quite serious, and he recently moved from his hometown to come live with me.

It has been:

  • 8 years since Danielle came to live with us
  • 2 years and 2 months since FosterEema asked for a divorce
  • 1 year and 5 months since we signed our get (Jewish religious divorce)
  • 1 year and 2 months since FosterEema and Danielle moved out
  • 11 months since Danielle turned 18

I am still in contact with a handful of people from my active blogging days.  Some of those folks are still parenting very difficult children.  When I speak to them, I hear and empathize with their stories.  I remember what it was like to feel so trapped in a situation where there was no real help, no respite, and no relief.

I can clearly remember the absolute irony of spending Valentine's Day 2012 with my soon-to-be-ex.  On a day when I desperately wished I was exchanging love notes and chocolates, we were sitting in juvenile court dealing with Danielle's most recent violent outburst.  Days later, we were again under investigation and had a pair of social workers interviewing us and inspecting our home.  Just like the previous five times we were investigated, we were cleared of any wrongdoing.

All I can say is that it does get better.  While it might not seem like it while one is living it, these kids turn 18.  They grow up.  Many want to return to their birth families and they do.

Despite what social workers will say, adoption isn't necessarily forever.  While it seems like the destruction, turmoil and emotional impact of traumatized kids will continue indefinitely, it eventually stops.  They move on.  They take their turmoil elsewhere.

Now I can sleep with my bedroom door unlocked.  I no longer have to count knives and scissors.

I'll close this post with a musical quote that comes to mind whenever I reflect on the past eight years:

Lately it occurs to me: What a long, strange trip it's been.

~ The Grateful Dead


  1. So on to the important stuff-- Who got the birds and the show car?

  2. I answered your question in a new post.


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