Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Transition's Upon Us

It's been a while, but there's been nothing and everything to say.
We had another case review meeting (probably the last) a couple of weeks ago.
Niblet's case worker was actually civil to us, but only because we forced *our* case worker to come to the meeting to back us up, if need be.

The meeting was to be about planning the transition from us to Niblet's dad. Instead of a conversation, the case worker came with a calendar all laid out. It had been set up by her supervisor and wasn't up for discussion. Fortunately, it's not too bad and she did agree that if Niblet wasn't handling it well, that we could revisit it.

Basically, we're adding one overnight per week. This week it was 2 nights/2 days. Next week 3 nights/3 days, etc. So that by the end of the month, she's coming back to us for one day and then back to him for good.

I counted it up today and we have 16 days with her between now and the end.

Looking at it on a calendar is so painful. It makes it so real that she's leaving. She's really not ours anymore.

The dad has filed for custody, so it's possible that the judge will call us all to court and give immediate custody back to the dad before the end of the month. We discussed this possibility during the meeting and everyone seems to be in agreement that, regardless of who has custody, the transition should proceed as planned. We don't want to traumatize Niblet.

If there's one thing we are FIRM on, it's that this little girl is NOT going to end up with an attachment disorder because of the County's fuck-ups. We don't care what kind of trouble we cause, we will work with her dad to transition Niblet as smoothly as possible.

He's said numerous times that we're like family and that of course we will be welcome to visit Niblet after the transition. He's said that we could take her for overnights; that he'd probably welcome that. (Of course, this wasn't said in complete sentences, but that was the gist...I think...)

Our pipe dream, as of now, is that we'd be able to set up with him a weekly overnight. That we'd be able to have her Sunday morning until Monday morning. Give him some time off, give Niblet the security that we haven't abandoned her. I don't know if he'll go for something structured like that, and I don't know how long we'd want to keep it up. But, really, I'd be happy to do it forever. We kinda think of it as us being the "non-custodial parents". We can stay in her life, be a resource for her, and only see her once a week or whatever. Who knows how it would play out, but it's our hope right now.

She comes back to us tomorrow morning. I hope the extended visit wasn't too hard on her. I hope she continues to be as brave and strong as she always has been and starts seeing him as a parent. She's really the one who is going to make this work. I really do think she'll be okay.

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