We seem to be making progress with Lil Sis's behaviors. She has had a few breakthroughs lately. As is usually the case, these were surrounded by acute crisis & meltdowns. However, after intense work with her therapist & following through with new techniques consistently, things seem to be leveling out.
She's still reluctant to deal with a lot of the underlying issues & trauma directly. However, she has gotten to the point that we can address some of the topics generally, without shutting down. This is HUGE progress. After staffing it with additional therapists that specialize in the specific issues we were dealing with, her therapist has started employing some new techniques. Because Lil Sis is actively participating in therapy now & seems to be making progress, her therapist is planning to hold off on recommending any move for her.
Also, the CW finally came for a visit on Tuesday. The last one was mid-September, despite the fact that they are required to lay eyes on the children every 30 days. In any event, since his last visit has made Lil Sis not want to be around him, I had him come over when her therapist would be here. She still didn't want to talk to him (and I don't blame her), but it helped her to not shut down as badly & to not get too upset, which was very positive. The CW still doesn't seem to see that he was out of line in any way or that what he did is the reason that Lil Sis no longer wants to be in the same room as him. The therapist plans to meet with him to discuss children & trauma, as well as Lil Sis's particular needs.
As I mentioned previously, after their visit with their dad, my oldest two boys went to spend a few days with my parents. Both managed to kill deer, one of which was given to my grandparents & the other is now in my freezer. The boys were so happy to be contributing to the family. Baby Boy is so happy to have them home now, though. He went through the house, calling their names every day that they were gone.
She's getting along better with Lil Sis, which is always good. However, she's been struggling with the issues with her Dad. She says that, during their visit, he told her that he would see them over Thanksgiving. To allow a visit over Thanksgiving would have been completely against court orders, so it was simply not an option. So, I got to have a fun conversation with her about that. It's not easy to explain that what she was promised by her Dad is an impossibility, while also trying to make certain to not say anything negative or to point out that he was lying. At almost 8, it's not easy to convince her that "it must have been some sort of misunderstanding", but I tried my best to break it to her gently.
Since their visit, he has called a few times. When he called last Tuesday, she asked him if I were telling her the truth when I told her that he had a girlfriend (thank goodness I did, since they apparently thought springing her on the kids during a visit, with no explanation whatsoever, was a good idea). He confirmed it & told her that she & her kids live with him. She told me all of this & seemed to be happy that I had told her the truth because, she explained, that, even though she was pretty sure that I wouldn't lie to her, she wasn't sure because didn't understand why her Dad hadn't told her any of this. I consoled her by telling her that he probably just didn't know how to explain it to them. That explanation seemed to satisfy her.
The next time he called, however, she was sobbing after hanging up. It took a good ten minutes for her to calm down enough to actually talk, so she could tell me what was wrong. Apparently this was the first time she heard the kids & the gf in the background, while she was talking to her dad on the phone. She just kept saying that she doesn't see how he can spend time with them & take care of them but not even come see his kids very often. Sigh. I tried my best to validate her feelings and let her know that it's ok to talk to me whenever she needed to. Unfortunately, I can't fix it, no matter how much I want to. Sometimes I just wish it were possible to make others do the right thing.
Its been several days since he called, so she's calmed down & doing fine for now. It remains to be seen how this whole process of reintegrating him into their lives goes, assuming he actually follows through with it this time. I have sent my request for what should go in the Transition, Safety & Visitation Plan to his attorney. I'm sure he'll have some objections, it is his job to make things as easy on his client as possible, after all. However, I didn't ask for anything outlandish or unreasonable. That's more than just my opinion, btw. I ran it by two different LPCs & and an attorney before it was sent. In fact, my attorney wanted a few of the points written more rigidly, but I declined. I'm trying to keep everything focused on what is best for the kids, not what is more convenient for any or all of the adults involved.
I was rather annoyed at Wasband's attorney, at the court date. He seemed to be trying to characterize my insistence that the gf not be allowed to transport the children or that they not be left alone with her until after they have developed a relationship with her as an attempt to keep her away from the kids. It's actually not that at all. I knew her growing up. I know her family. I've never heard anything about her that would give me reason to be concerned about her being around the kids. In fact, it's quite the opposite. So, I'm not trying to keep them away from her. I do, however, want them to have the opportunity to get to know her, so that they are comfortable with her.
Also, I think their dad needs to start being responsible for his relationship with his children. I am concerned that, if she were allowed to facilitate visits, transport the kids & supervise the children, that they would end up spending almost no actual time with their dad & she would end up being a glorified baby sitter for him. If that is what visits turn into, then they are pointless, because they are intended to be for the kids to spend time with & have a relationship with their father. Btw, for those that are involved in their lives: feel free to tell them what I said (yes, I can see when you visit the blog). I'd love for him to prove me wrong & become an involved father again.