So after three painstakingly slow and torturous weeks of this back-and-forth with the girls and worrying about how they’re being treated where they’ve been staying…and losing all faith and hope in a system that SHOULD have protected them, but didn’t…we’ve finally made some headway. Finally.
My grams and my sister had a sit-down with their lawyer this morning and he apparently told them that it’d be in their best interest to contact the girls’ mother and try to work out some sort of joint custody arrangement–rather than my grams take her chances with the judge and a trial…because even though we have years of evidence of her not being a fit parent and her neglect of the girls–and all the recent evidence that has since come to light–she’s still their mother. And judges in New York are wont to rule in favor of the mother or sole parent in most custody cases rather than the grandparent–even when the grandparent has been the one to raise the child or children–like in my grandmother’s case here with the girls.
So, they went and met up with her tonight and worked out a deal. Custody will be shared, with the primary residence for the girls being at my grandmother’s, so that they can stay in the district for school and so Emma won’t have to go through the wringer with the special needs programs in a different district. So my grams will have the girls during the week, and their mother will have them on the weekends. It’s not an ideal arrangement…but at least the girls get to come back home and they’re somewhere safe and loved and not being abused. It levels the playing field and now my grams and their mother will be on even ground as far as the girls are concerned, which is a hell of a lot better than how it was before with their mother calling all the shots and using the girls as leverage whenever it suited her…while my grams meanwhile had to basically stand by and do nothing…and say nothing.
They still have to draw up the papers, so nothing’s set in stone just yet and the agreement probably won’t be finalized until they go to court on the 10th and get the judge’s approval…but it’s progress…and it gives us back a smidge of hope, at least. I’m just hoping she doesn’t back out or renege before things get finalized. These girls need to be back home with their family. You can tell that all of this back-and-forth has taken a toll on them and it’s only been three weeks. They’ve lost weight, they don’t talk or smile like they used to…they’re just not the same little girls they were before. And hopefully them being back home will fix that, in time. And it’s going to take time, I know. I mean, you can tell that they’re scared…and that every time they walk through the door they’re desperate for someone to tell them that this will be the time that they don’t have to leave and go back. I just hope this hasn’t caused any lasting damage on them because I miss my little Emmie and Avie J, the precocious, loud, chatterbox little nuts that I remember them being before all of this happened.
Again, it’s not ideal…but it’s something. And something is better than nothing. At least now I can go back home to Nashville next month and not have to worry that the girls are still being used as pawns and being abused by babysitters and carted here and there with no stability whatsoever in their lives. Now I can leave with the assurance that they are somewhere safe and cared for, which people I know and trust–and that I know love them and will ALWAYS put them first. I was so worried that there’d be this long drawn out trial…and I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to leave and go back until things were settled. But now I don’t–at least hopefully–have to worry about that. Now I can get these doctor visits and clinic appointments out of the way and head back next month to Tennessee.
Speaking of, I can’t wait to head back. Don’t get me wrong — I love my family (well some of them and most of the time) — but with all of these doctors and everything that’s happened with the girls…I’m more than ready to leave the Land of Insanity, so to speak. It’s just been crazy. Totally and ridiculously crazy. I need the break from the drama and the chaos. I need some peace and quiet…which even on a good day, is generally a rare commodity to be found in conjunction with my family. I’m going to miss the kids and everyone, but this isn’t home for me anymore. I know that now more than ever. My heart may be here in New York, but my life is back in Nashville. Everyone keeps asking me if I’m going back, and have taken it upon themselves by just assuming that I’m not–though I have no idea where they would have gotten that impression from. It certainly wasn’t me. I neither had nor have any intention of moving back to NY. Not in the slightest. In fact, as far as intentions go, I didn’t even intend to still be here or stay up here in NY as long as I have this visit. But things got dragged out with the doctors and whatnot, so I didn’t really have a choice.
But I have just a few more appointments left, so I should be set to go back by mid-month next month (September). I figure that’ll give me time to settle back in and get some things taken care of before the film circuit starts up the beginning of October and things get really crazy.
So, fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly from here on out…