But when their CASA advocate asked their grandmother (who now has custody of them) if it would be okay if she passed along a small Christmas gift to the girls from us, she instead suggested that we meet up with them in person. I did not at all expect that and was so excited and grateful that we were going to get to see them again.
The visit went well. It was at an indoor playground which was perfect. At first, they were very anxious to see Rick and me. I'm sure it brought up all kinds of emotions and fears about being moved again. But they instantly hugged and locked hands with Harrison & Harper and ran off to play. Eventually they warmed up to me and even climbed up in my lap a few times, but I could tell they were being guarded and felt uncomfortable since their grandmother and siblings were also there. This used to happen at the visitations as well -- I'm sure it's very hard having two different lives and families in the same room together. Bless their sweet little hearts.
This was my first time meeting their grandmother. She was very kind and took me aside to tell me how grateful she was to us for taking good care of them and loving them so well. She said they still talk about us and look at their scrapbook frequently. And then she gave me a small gift to open. It was a frame with a picture of the twins in it. I think it might possibly be one of the most touching gifts that I've received. It was a simple gesture but it meant a lot to me that she took the time and her very limited resources to do something nice for us.
It was wonderful closure for the kids. It gave them the reassurance they needed to see that they really are okay. It was hard for me though. I was expecting that same peace and closure, but instead it stirred up some emotions that I didn't know were still hiding in my heart. It's one thing to know that they are not in your family any longer but it's another thing to see it with your own eyes. I'm still so thankful that I got a chance to see them one more time, but it was bittersweet.
|Oh how I miss this mischievous smile|
|wrestling like wild children|
|This was my house pretty much 24/7 :)|
|sweet hugs, even when they were playing|
|Harrison and Violet|
|He was showing her the cards he made. I love how he has his arm around her.|
|Harper and Lily|
It seems like the appropriate time to post the last pictures of the girls I have left to share here. They are from way back at the end of summer but I want to document them here since I turn my posts into memory books. They were sitting in a draft post that I couldn't bring myself to finish because it was still too hard to look through the pictures without feeling sad and gloomy.
On their birthday, we went to Space Center Houston. It was our first outing in a couple of weeks since Harper had just had her tonsils and adenoids removed and had had a rough recovery. We started off with a picnic breakfast with kolaches. I remember it being a great day. We had fun celebrating the twins and all the kids were so well behaved. It is quite empowering taking 4 preschoolers out in public all by yourself -- and successfully at that!
We came back home and I made rainbow chip cupcakes. The very. last. batch. ever. If I gave them nothing else while they were here, at least I gave them the beautiful experience of rainbow chip cupcakes.
|Rest in peace, RC. Thank you for making my life better for 31 years.|
And then we finished off the day with a birthday trip to Build-A-Bear. Lily chose a creepy looking tie-dyed octopus and Violet picked out a Hello Kitty.
And then we had a birthday party for them the next weekend. It was extra special because their big brother and sister were able to come. Of COURSE it was a Frozen theme, because they are obsessed with that movie. Along with every other small child in this country. I can still clearly picture in my mind all of the bajillion concerts that took place in our living room. And in our car. And in our shopping cart. And anywhere else we happened to be at any given time. Sweet memories for sure.
A few weeks after they left, I opened up Harper's folder and their school picture proofs were staring back at me. There were a handful of those in-your-face, catch-you-off-guard moments like that after they were gone. Harper's artwork assignment where she talks about how she has one brother and two sisters, finding a left-behind sock or toy, getting dentist appointment reminders in the mail for them, their speech therapist showing up and ringing the doorbell because I forgot to call and let them know they were no longer here. It was tough. And some days, it still is.
I miss these girls SO much. We all do. We still talk about them daily and pray at every meal that they have full bellies too. Even though it's been months since they left, typing out the title of this post stung. And technically, I probably shouldn't have said "final," because nothing in foster care is certain. We have friends that raised an infant for a year, had the baby unexpectedly removed and placed with a relative, to have the baby unexpectedly returned years later where they were able to finally adopt her. I would selfishly love to get that same call telling me they were coming back here, but for their sake, I do hope it is final. I hope that their family is able to provide for them and care for them in the way that they need and deserve. I pray that they are loved well and and never have to experience the instability and trauma of losing their family again. They are sweet, sweet girls and will always have a huge piece of my heart. Our family is better because they were in it, even if it was only a for a few months.