… continued story from Part I…
(Baby Girl's ("A") time in court)
After C and I embraced, she left. I hoped I would see her again soon, and the DFCS social worker assured us that she would schedule a “last visit” between C, us, and the kids. I was hopeful that this would take place because earlier A was not very pleasant to her mom outside the court room. A kept insisting that she “did not know what to talk about” with C. I didn’t want C’s last memory of her oldest daughter to be unpleasant.
Then it was A’s turn to come into the courtroom. Background: she had been wanting to “talk to the judge” for a while, knowing the process and what would take place because we had been explaining this day to her for months. I was a bit hesitant about this because 1) she didn't have to (the age they usually ask a child to testify is 6), and 2) well, frankly, as with most five year olds, she can be pretty unpredictable with what she says! (Take the previous day when we were writing a letter our Christian Relief Fund girl we sponsor in Kenya: "Let's write a letter telling her (Kenyan child) what each member of the family likes to do". Well, A responded by saying things like "Bub's likes trains", "Mia likes dogs", and "Daddy likes Frisbee but only with other adults". Fair enough. But when she got around to me..."Well, my mom likes for you to leave her alone and just let her cook and go play and not bother her and stuff". THANKS! So I like cooking by myself and being left alone! Like I said, unpredictable!)
The GAL and the judge asked me if I even wanted her to come in, since things had been different (C surrendered her rights instead of a trial). I thought about it for a sec and decided that it would be best for her to still talk to the judge since she expected to do so and since she had so badly wanted a part in this day, a day that she couldn't seem to fully comprehend. So I said "Yes, lets go ahead," for the sake of her being a part of things.
She came in and they had her bring a picture she had been coloring outside (a Rapunzel-like princess with a rainbow and drawers of clothes :). The judge asked her to tell her a little bit about her picture, and she told him a lot a bit! Colors, rainbows, what the drawers were for. Then the GAL (her attorney) swore her in so-to-speak by asking her what color was pink, and if someone said that was green would that be a truth or a lie? She did well with that part. Then they started getting a bit over her head. There was talk of papers (as in legal documents), and the judge "had to go through a lot of papers". She was stuck on the papers when the questioning shifted to: "Is there anything you think the judge should know since he has to make a big decision?"
- A: "Just to use his mind" (She had been praying for the judge, and all the people in his "office who help him to decide" to know what is right and use their minds/hearts/listen to God/etc- totally on her own for weeks.)
- GAL: "I'm not really sure what you said."
- A: nervous laughter
- GAL: "What do you think of all this crying business that's been going on?" (referring to C's crying in and out of the court room most likely because she was giving up her kids this day, which A was OBLIVIOUS to!)
- A: "I was like, waaaah, waaah! On my bed" (Back story: she had cried when she woke up on her bed that morning, and she must have thought that the GAL had eyes everywhere including her own bedroom that morning. The question did not phase her at all, but she definitely was referring to an entirely different "crying business"!)
- GAL: probably thinking, "what the what?" says, "Okaaaaay"
- A: "Are those your papers?" (now we're back on the papers again!)
- GAL: "Well, is there anything else you want the judge to know?"
- A: "No...(looks to me) Can I go, Mommy?"
- Me: "Yes as long as there is nothing else you want to say"
Really? Wow! After weeks of her begging to tell the judge that she would "cry, and cry, and cry if she had to leave daddy and mommy", or "I want him to know that I lived with C a long time and now it's time for me to live with Momma Eryn and Daddy David"! That's it? All you felt like saying today my sweet 5 year old? Just a mixed up conversation was all that resulted of A's testimony
But then I realized that this was how it should be. She didn't have to choose. She could just be a kid, while at the same time getting to be a part of this big process that would forever change her life. I'm actually quite thankful that it was just a silly, 5 year old conversation between a lawyer, my daughter, and a judge. She never actually chose sides, she was just herself. Silly, a bit hard to understand, and also beyond her years all at the same time ("use your mind" judge :). And it was fine that I couldn't interpret for her. She will just remember that she met a nice older man in a big room who asked her about her Rapunzel picture :) And for that, I am thankful!