It's been five years.
Five years ago this past Sunday bio had her last court mandated visit with the three youngest children in state. The restraining order to not be able to see them out of state is still intact. My oldest son had already moved and started his life. It was at this point bio thought she could whisk oldest daughter off with her. The court stepped in and delayed that process by two years. The first year was heavenly. You could see the stress pour out of oldest and a sense of calm set in. Then as her eighteenth birthday approached you could tell bio was in contact. She seemed all smiles and pleasantries on the outside. She strives to tell people what she thinks they want to hear. But, living with her was like a hurricane, tsunami and a tornado brewing at the same time beneath the surface. A week after she left youngest sighed with relief and stated, "at least I don't have to lie any more."
She was planning to run away - after all wicked step mom was unreasonable and hubby didn't really want her.Those things had to be true - bio told her they were. She thought we would fight her. Legally we couldn't; she was of age ( I don't think she realized that). And on many levels we knew we had to let her go. She would not believe us until she lived it first hand. We couldn't change her decision. We could choose how to handle it. I threw her a giant going away party. My MIL thought I was crazy at first. Then thanked me afterwards. We needed to show her we loved her, supported her no matter what and make her feel comfortable to stay in contact. She still lives with bio (sort of). In three years she has moved out of bio's house at least twice plus did a 5 month stint at boot camp for the National Guard.
When she came for a visit a year ago she was a different kid. I think her eyes have been opened a great deal. She in no way tried to convince her siblings that Arizona was paradise. She refriended me on facebook and has been in contact. I even received a mother's day card. She is still figuring out her stuff and I hope someday she discovers who she is and lives accordingly instead of living to please others.
Son and youngest have not seen her since. Youngest has hardly any contact with her at all. Two five minute phone conversations in the past year. And a few unanswered facebook messages. Son talks to her via phone now and then. We held a letter writing campaign while he was at boot camp. Bio wrote only once so he stopped sending her letters. She promised she would be at his graduation. She never showed up. I was so glad we were all able to be there (hubby, youngest and myself along with MIL and FIL). Son has seen the light.
When bio first left with no forwarding address she told the kids she would see them soon. She told them they would come to her for the entire summer, thanksgiving and Christmas. She never contacted the school to have information forwarded to her. She has had no contact with hubby at all. I take that back - the first year she asked him for a copy of their school pictures. Year two she was still promising summers in Arizona. Then oldest joined her and contact came to a screeching halt. She had no one relaying messages any more. Son and youngest thrived - no one to report back to bio. Other than a box with cheap bizarre Christmas gifts they receive nothing from bio.
I don't get it. Don't need to get it. All I know is that her leaving was the best gift she could have gave them. The only thing nicer would have been to do it much sooner.