By Diane Ponist
Now that the summer is wrapping up and everyone seems to be getting ready for back to school, we decided to do another year of our book bag drive, collecting bags for foster children. We started this last year and it was such a success. It is amazing getting the community involved for a great cause and competing each year for more than the prior total. We know how difficult it can be having a new child in a home and having to start fresh without notice, then also having to then get the child ready for school.
We have DeAndre starting a new school in a few days; he was advanced to a higher level autism class. Which as exciting as it is for him to be doing so well it also is a higher level of anxiety for him. So far we are prepping him as much as possible for a new school, teacher and new friends to make. Hopefully all stays this positive and he has the same open peers as he had in the previous school. We lucked out in the past having everyone love him regardless of being biracial, adopted and with 2 moms.
“Natalie”, our little miracle, has started a special needs preschool. Yes, she shouldn’t be alive, but she is thriving. She has come such a long way in such a short time, regardless of what the medical professionals told us in the beginning. She is going for only a few hours in the morning, but she actually loves getting therapists pushing her to be better. Unfortunately, she also has a down fall that has come up for us that no one ever expected.
Two weeks ago Natalie’s bio father was unexpectedly released from prison. He pled guilty to a slew of charges for the crimes he committed against her and her brother. Now, somehow this man is free and according to state law still has rights as a father. One of his rights is a one-hour supervised visit, every other week with his children. With no notice we have to deal with this now setting back this toddler’s progress, this just doesn’t feel fair for any of us. By law they can easily terminate his rights being he was guilty of abuse, it was not done yet, there was no need since he was incarcerated for the past 2 years.
The only visit she has had with him so far seemed to go ok, except for the aftermath. The first 3 nights she was terrified to be alone and in the dark. She had to naturally fall asleep with the light on, we dealt with it and overcame that for now. We reported this as required, although it means nothing. Visits at this point are to continue and this little girl continues to suffer until court orders otherwise. Court isn’t until October, we hope the right people come to their senses way before then so Natalie can work towards living a normal life. We (Kristin and I) are to have no contact with this man, he is a convicted criminal. It’s important they say for us to stay away from him. How in the world is it ok for his victims to be forced to see him is beyond me.