Monday, October 9, 2017

Courtroom B

I have sat inside the 4 walls of Courtroom B more times than I'd like to count over the last 20 months. 
Courtroom B is the room where I have felt the greatest spectrum of emotions in my entire life. I have felt anger, sadness, despair, helplessness, hopelessness, hope, joy, heartbreak, frustration, defeat, appreciation, gratitude, devastation, shock, terror, outrage, and satisfaction-all in Courtroom B.
In Courtroom B, I have met a lot of people.
 I met my sons' birth mother for the first time in Courtroom B. I met their brother in Courtroom B.
 I met my sons' brother's adoptive mom in Courtroom B and found one of the greatest supports I could have imagined over the last year and a half through her. I met my sons' extended relatives there. I met social workers there.
I met lawyers there.
I met the judge who rules in Courtroom B, and who would decide the fate of an entire family right there in that room.
I met people who would fight for the boys,
and people who would unintentionally seek to ruin their lives. My life will never be the same because of Courtroom B. 
In that room I have sat and taken meticulous notes on my sons, their case, and their history. I have whispered to my closest foster care ally as we tried to figure out what things meant for this set of brothers and their lives.
I have shared updates on my sons. I have fought against human services, and I have fought with human services. All in Courtroom B. 
I have listened as social workers fought for the best interest of my sons, and I have wept in frustration as social workers did not. I have watched a woman defend herself and fight to keep her sons, and I have watched in heartbreak as everyone else said "no." 
I have supported reunification in Courtroom B, and I have supported termination of parental rights in Courtroom B. I have spent the last 20 months supporting whatever was in my sons' best interest at that time. 
I have heard details that would shock you in Courtroom B. I have heard my children labeled with words that would devastate you in Courtroom B. I have heard particulars about my sons' start in life that broke my heart and made me wish I could have been there. I have thanked God that He allowed me to take care of them for however long He willed, right there in Courtroom B.
 I watched and cried and celebrated in Courtroom B as my sons' brother was adopted by a wonderful family, and our families were intertwined forever. I whispered to my sons that it was their turn next.
As I took the stand in Courtroom B and promised to love and care for my sons as if they were born to me, for the rest of their lives, it occurred to me that another woman took this same stand and sat in the exact seat I sat in and eventually lost rights to the two children I was promising to love. I take no joy in the fact that another mother had to lose sons in order for me to gain sons. As I sat in Courtroom B, I thought back to the night, almost 1 year ago, when that mother called me and asked me to adopt the sons she knew she was going to lose. I thought of what defeat she must have felt, and how humble she had to be to call on me and ask that of me. I thought of the privilege I have been given not only to love her sons, but to love her, too.
I sat at a table in Courtroom B last month, and listened as the judge declared these boys my sons, and gave them my last name, and I thought of all of the events, of both extremes, that have taken place there. I thought of how much my sons have endured without yet knowing it.
I have felt God's love and presence in Courtroom B more than ever. I have been reminded that His love for my sons is greater than my own. I have been reminded that HE is ultimately in control, not the judge, not the social workers. 
Last month I walked in to Courtroom B for hopefully the last time in my life.
I walked in legally being the mother of 2, and walked out legally being the mother of 4.
I was reminded of the joy we had in every step of the journey, because of Christ. Everywhere that there was devastation, there was also joy.
Jesus has had His hand on my sons' lives. It's the only explanation I have for the way the last 2 1/2 years have gone. The only one. Jesus is and will always be present in Courtroom B, and I hope and pray that although my time is done, many others will be near to Him in that place. 
Courtroom B: you've given me a journey I never asked for but one that I will always cherish. 

Thank you to my precious friend, Megan, for these beautiful photos that perfectly capture the boys' special day. Thank you to all of our family, friends, lawyers and social workers who have supported and loved Z & Z, who fought for their well being and who did not give up on them. 

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