After all the trauma and drama, we had a lovely Christmas. Despite the awful situation with B's family, we discovered that actually, Family Of Choice is what counts. We discovered that we have a shed load of friends who are there when it matters.
And they were there. And it did count, massively. We received parcels of presents for the children, and cake (and gin). Some with signed cards, some anonymously. Ma and Sister Natalie cooked Christmas Dinner and arrived on the doorstep with it ready to serve after they had been to church. We received messages of love via facebook, by email and by card.
I did cry, but it was good crying.
Obviously for B, this has been much harder than it has for me. What sort of parent takes their child to court for spurious reasons? The sense of rejection and loss must still be immense for him, even though this has been rumbling on all these years. However, I also know that knowing we have this strong, safe network of friends who are there for us has made a difference to him as well; although he's not so verbal about it as I am.
We then went to the hospice for a few days at New Year. It was restful and quiet. We shared space with a family who lost their little girl on Christmas Day. The baby was in the Chapel Of Rest and it was a strange feeling. Not bad. But strange. An extension of the 'being held by people who care' thing that we were experiencing from our friends; but this time it was not us being held, we were able to do some of the holding - not in any obvious way, the family were very much surrounded and protected by the hospice staff - but we were there, sharing that loving space.
I couldn't help but think 'one day this will be us'. Which took the edge off the New Year a bit, to be honest. But it's the truth and we have to live with that.
So now. Back to school, back to routine, back to work. Getting the incubator going, setting eggs for hatching, considering what stock to keep, what to downsize further. Whether to stop breeding bantams, whether to stop breeding at all.
We have another session with Social Services next week to try to convince them that we need them to support us with overnight respite. We've got an Advocate coming along. I'm sick of it all to be honest. They don't care about us, we're just an output on their balance sheet and if I could wave a magic wand and put them back in Pandora's Box and manage somehow on our own, I'd do that. They are more trouble than they are worth - the amount of time and energy I spend putting in to interacting with them versus what we get back is a waste.
I'm reading up on the legal obligations under Disabled Children/Carers legislation so that I know what we are entitled to. Apparently they have to provide us with 'eligibility criteria' that they assess need against if we ask for it. We asked earlier this week but so far no response. I am hoping the Advocate will have all this at his fingertips.
I am cleaning the house. No. Really. Also fixing the incubator and doing some writing.
For today, that is all.