A peek into my journals from November 2017 to January 2018. This is while we were waiting on the judge’s termination ruling for the biological parental rights and then waiting to find out whether the biological parents submitted an appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals.
November 14, 2017: Trial for termination of parental rights (TPR) was wrapped up
November 22, 2017: Attorney briefs were due and the judge could begin to write his ruling
November 28, 2017
O Lord, please sovereignly direct Judge Apsley. On his behalf, I ask for generous wisdom to be given him (James 1:5) as he writes his ruling. But I also ask that this case would drive Mr. Apsley to his knees before a higher Judge. That he himself would be drawn to the God Who gives wisdom and that he would come to You with belief and not doubt.
December 5, 2017: Found out an attorney turned in her brief late, and the judge said he would give his ruling in court on January 8 (54 days of waiting) and not submit a paper ruling at the usual 30 day mark
There was a big ball of dread in me for a couple of hours.
December 11, 2017
The King in the manger
come to dethrone me from my little kingdom.
Only one king can reign;
may it not be me.
December 15, 2017
Hope. I’ve been re-reminded of this word in the last 24 hours. Mostly because I desperately need it. Ashley [our agency caseworker] shared her fear that the judge might/could rule to just send all 3 kids to [relatives in] Spain. He’s been given that option, and it would save him from the embassy breathing down his neck and appeals court looking at his decision. Did DCS do enough to make a case? How in the world can I prepare my heart enough to be able to sit there and hear his ruling?
I can’t. Will have to trust that He can.
December 23, 2017
Three Christmases. Three Christmases with the kids where they’re not-yet-ours. And this year feeling the weight of not-sure-if-they-will-be-ours. . . . Third year, here we are settled in our new home. But 30 months into this case and as unsettled as we’ve ever been–waiting for a verdict on January 8. Three Christmases.
December 28, 2017
The judge has 11 days to finalize his decision. Has he already completed it? Did he write his ruling yet? Has he been given any new information or received any pressure from the embassy? Why is he waiting until the 8th to tell everyone and not just submitting his decision to the court in the usual manner? Why do we have to sit in the court room and find out?!?!
All of these questions and wonderings could just weigh me down (understatement of the century). Thankful for a reminder today of Your sovereignty.
January 4, 2018
This feels so surreal to write this, but I got a call yesterday morning from our CASA [court appointed special advocate]. She sounded excited and she asked if I had heard from [the DCS caseworker]. I haven’t in awhile. . . . The judge submitted his order on December 26 and he terminated parental rights for all 3 biological parents.
What?! He actually did it! I was in a bit of shock on the phone with [the CASA]. She was just beyond happy–it was so sweet! I really had prepared myself for him not to do it . . . so it still feels crazy that it actually happened! And we didn’t have to wait until Monday the 8th to find out. And the window for appeals has already begun.
January 6, 2018
It’s been a strange week. I haven’t felt quite like rejoicing about the judge’s order. For one, it still feels like it can’t be true. We’ve been waiting for this for 30 months. Did that step really just happen?
Also, we just jumped into more waiting and more steps. 30-40 days for the appeal decision. 6-8 months for an appeal. A couple of years if they continue to appeal. What if it’s overturned? What if they go to the [Indiana] Supreme Court? And the time for DCS negotiations and setting a date for an adoption hearing. Oh the waiting goes on & on, and I think my heart is already preparing itself.
But I want to be able to rejoice in what you have done thus far. We prayed and You answered mightily. We prayed for Judge Apsley and we are so happy with how You guided him, and amazed. I want to be in a place of thankfulness and peace because of how wonderfully You’ve been walking with us. You are so faithful & good.
There’s one more reason I can’t quite rejoice and it’s when I think of [the biological family]. My relief and joy means that another parent is grieving & filled with pain. This judge’s decision is the severing of something precious and almost divine. This gift of child to parent has been removed forcibly, involuntarily. And it’s heartbreaking. How do I reconcile this sadness with my own joy? How do I let myself feel the joy of this step that has actually happened after all this time and all these prayers from so many people?
January 8, 2018: Routine foster case hearing
Ah Sovereign LORD. My heart is hurting and oh-so-weary. I just so desperately want to be done right now with all of this. 2 1/2 years of not being able to call them mine and family. Oh the significance of a name! And the wait just continues. Sometimes my heart literally hurts from the weariness. And no one can understand. None but You.
We found out at the hearing today that [at least two biological parents] are planning to appeal, which they must file by January 26. . . . Our attorney said to prepare ourselves for about a year before the appeals court makes their decision. A year more! 2019! And no guarantee of their decision. If they uphold–the parents can appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court. If they overturn–we’re starting the foster case back over.
This! This is why I couldn’t fully rejoice last week. It’s like we finished one race only to jump into the next with no recovery time. That 50 days of waiting for the judge’s decision seemed like an eternity. Now I have 365 (+?) days. With potentially no relief at the end of it–either way they decide there is most likely more waiting in store.
I am thankful for every day we have with them–I am. BUT I dread the small glimmer of heart-rending that always is looming. Oh Lord, how I need You not to live in the looming. Above all, they’re Yours and You’re asking me to keep and to love for now. Just today and tomorrow. That’s all I know.
“And I didn’t know I’d find you here, in the middle of my deepest fear. But You were drawing near. You were overwhelming me with peace.” Ellie Holcomb in her song “Find You Here”
January 9, 2018
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles . . . For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. . . . We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. . . . But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God . . . On Him we have set our hope . . .” (2 Cor. 1:3-10).
January 22, 2018
5 more days until the appeals window is closed (plus a couple more days for good measure). I can’t help feeling hopeful but I’m afraid I’m going to be so devastated. I guess it’s okay to hold onto hope a little bit. And then work through whatever happens next when it happens. It’s hard to prepare my heart for who-knows-what. Will the craziness of our case continue and will all 3 [biological parents] appeal? Oh Lord. Not sure what to pray but I pray nonetheless.
January 31, 2018
On Monday [the 29th] around lunch time I checked in with our CASA to see if she was able to check on appeals. And she e-mailed back right away that all three bio parents have appealed. I just looked at Bryce in shock, and told him and then pretty much burst into tears.
All 3 appealed
Surely it’s just a bad dream. My brain can’t even fathom waiting a year, and then what, more waiting? My hope-bucket feels pretty empty right now–we’re just going to be stuck here forever.
Ah Sovereign LORD.
How do we live here?
A great cloud of worry is threatening a rain of hopelessness. What in the world, Lord? Surely I have learned and grown enough already? Surely these children have journeyed a long enough road? Surely the bio parents have been given enough chances? Surely all the prayers offered up for this case have amounted to something? Surely you could do something for our children? These are my honest questions and heart cry.
“The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
Jesus, I’m so thankful that You are with me. Even in this. Even in my heart-struggle to adjust to this new phase of our adoption-hope journey. Thank you for being with me. Please bring quiet to my soul with Your love. Oh, how I need You to quiet me, to calm the turmoil within.
This is real and raw. And only a very small percentage of what I poured out in my journals over those couple of months. For me: writing = processing = healing. And now I’m so glad I can look back and remember. More to come on the feelings that came as we stepped into more waiting.