Well, I found out some good news from my lawyer yesterday before court. Apparently the guy who did our evaluation was new, inexperienced, and is already leaving. He also is largely unknown to lawyers and judges, so maybe his report will be taken with a grain of salt.
Speaking of his report, one word: "ugh!" My lawyer gave me a copy of it for me to add my footnotes of explanation on whatever I wanted further clarification on. In this 6 page report, there were 22, yes 22 mistakes or things he said that I said, that not only did I not say, but most of them were answers to questions I was never even asked!!! There were some things that were so easily proven to be wrong, that I'm hoping it'll cast enough doubt on the not as easily proven ones, that the whole thing will just be tossed in the trash.
One of the more heart-wrenching parts of the report was in Chocolate Chip's section. It said that she said she doesn't want to come live with us, that she wants to stay with her dad. For 6 solid years (since we lost custody), she has been asking, and at times, begging me to let her come back and live with us (as if it was up to me). Even as recently as two weeks ago, she was talking positively about when she gets to live with us again. So, obviously, I figured she had been coached and/or bribed into telling the evaluator that she wants to stay with her dad.
I didn't want to ask her about it on the phone, so when I picked her up this afternoon, it was just the two of us in the car, and I asked her about it. I told her it didn't matter what I wanted, or what her dad wanted, I wanted to know what SHE wanted. She said she wanted to stay with her dad. *Insert knife in my heart and twist* I asked her what had changed her mind, and I never really got an answer.
I obviously can't say for sure, but I think something has happened. Somebody has said something to her, or something. Not only has she suddenly gone from wanting to live with us to the complete opposite, but she has recently started treating me like less and less of a parent, and more like a peer that she doesn't have to listen to. I just don't know what to do now.
On the one hand, I want to respect her wishes.
On the other hand, I think what she NEEDS is to be in an environment where she can learn respect, modesty, reverence, gratitude, obedience, and be allowed to flourish in all aspects. Nevermind the fact that she and her sister need to be sisters, she needs to spend time with her dying grandmother, and we need to be able to repair our bond. We are also so far along the process at this point, it would be very difficult to stop now. My husband says we go ahead, and keep trying to get her back. Of course, I still want her back, but I've definitely lost a significant amount of passion, fire, and "fight". I just don't know how much more I can take of all this.
Anyway, our final hearing will be June 6, and we have to go to mediation between now and then. Probably late April, or early May.
Please keep us all in prayer.