Widgets Magazine

Aug 21, 2013

Guest Blog: And Then There Were Five by Bossy

Once Prima Donna said something that struck me as perfect to sum up my life with Gamer, "Bossy, you add children backwards." This comment came sometime last summer after we told everyone Gamer and I had realized he had another daughter. I am Gamer's second marriage. He is originally from Texas and he came to Utah in 2000 when his first marriage fell apart. He and his ex-wife were alcoholics and recreational drug users, and he came to Utah for a fresh start and to get sober. Unfortunately, because of his lifestyle he didn't have a good sense of his early adult years. When we were married he told me about Bean Dip and his daughter from his first marriage, who we can call Enchilada. Gamer hadn't had any contact with his children in over a year when we were married in 2004.

When Burrito was born, Gamer's mother came up to visit and told us his girlfriend from high school was claiming he had a child with her that was born a few months before Enchilada. She gave us court paperwork for a girl who wants to be known as Fajita. Gamer contacted the court who told him she had been adopted by her step-dad and he had no remaining rights, so we were shocked when in the middle of closing on our house last year he was notified he still had rights and we were served with change in guardianship papers for Fajita.

After we had settled into the house, Gamer and I talked about it and I immediately felt a strong impression that she would be coming to live with us. So we quickly typed up our response to the courts asking for custody. (This was her fourth transfer in custody to a different extended family member, but the first time we had been notified.)

I just knew she was going to live with us and I was shocked in October when the courts did not rule in our favor. Regardless, we started to develop a relationship with her. She and Gamer started talking over the phone. I think they spoke for four hours the first night. Soon we were adding her to our phone plan and sending her a phone. Talking to Fajita gave Gamer the courage to reconnect wit Enchilada and he began talking to her too. Shortly thereafter, Fajita's grandfather who she was living with began talking of letting us take custody of her after we met in person. At Christmas time we were planning on flying Fajita out, but plans fell through. So I knew we needed to plan a vacation...

After much thought and prayer, Gamer and I decided to go on a quick trip over Spring Break. Taco and Burrito would be "off track" so we had more time for the 26-hour drive to Austin where we would meet her. Then we would drive the 5 hours back to Gamer's hometown to visit Enchilada and the in-laws. Then we would again drive the 5 hours back to Austin to return Fajita before we headed home. It was a lot of driving time and an extended Spring Break, but it seemed important to go sooner rather than later.

Our vacation was a resounding success. Fajita and the boys got along great and Enchilada was fine with having an almost-twin sister. Gamer got to see Enchilada for the first time in thirteen years and meet Fajita for the first time ever. His family also got to meet Taco, Burrito, and Enchilada and we were told his mom's health had improved so she could come visit with Fajita in the summer. Although we had originally been told we could take Fajita home with us once he met us, her grandfather changed his mind so we still had to backtrack to Austin. We dropped Fajita back off with her grandfather and made plans for her to come out in May after school ended, but once again our plans didn't work out.

They are so much alike!
Right after we returned from vacation, the bad news started coming. Gamer lost his job. (He had a new one before the week was out, but at a significant pay cut.) And remember our truck was stolen? And at the end of June, Gamer's mom's health started failing. In mid-July she finally passed away.  Amazingly enough, both of Gamer's jobs were wonderful and allowed him to fly out to be with her before she passed and again two weeks later for the funeral. After a lot of prayer, Bean Dip's mother even consented to allow him to travel to the funeral. We made arrangements to also pick up Fajita for the funeral again in Austin and travel once more to Gamer's hometown. And for the first time in history, all of Gamer's children were together.

Things had not been going well with Fajita and her legal guardian. We had some concerns and while we had her for the funeral she asked if we would file for custody. We tried to get our paperwork in before we left town, but we ran out of time. Fortunately, Fajita was going to stay with other family for the remainder of the summer in Gamer's hometown so we had some time to get things going.

We filed our paperwork and worried how her grandfather would react. He had originally supported her coming to live with us, but that changed. We worked closely with the relatives that she was staying with, but Fajita had to return to Austin to start school on Aug 14. The Court reviewed and set a hearing for the 17th, but they would not make temporary orders that prevented her grandfather from picking her up.  One more hitch was even though we picked Fajita up in Austin, her grandfather actually lived in a different state and we had to wait nearly a week for mail to be passed back and forth. So for a very tense week we waited for him to be served and notified of our petition to transfer custody. The days were getting closer and the day before he was to pick her up he was served.

He called me and I chickened out and let the voicemail answer. After listening to gauge the anger in his voice, I called him back. With more joy than I can express, he told me he would not fight us and we could come pick her up. But all her stuff in his house was going in the trash.

Once again we had to get time off to travel to Texas for court, but this time we knew we would be getting custody of Fajita. Taco and Burrito still had school and we had a 9 am court time so we had to travel during the school week. Gamer and I made the quick journey while Mom and Dad watched the boys and then we returned with her and some items purchased by family members to help us out. After some discussion at the court and with Fajita, we have decided to proceed with me formally adopting her. Since coming home she fit right in with the girls, at fourteen she is between Crafty and Prima Donna. And other than having the same real name as Scout, things seem to be working out well. Oh that and I have really struggled with responding when she calls me "Mom."  It is awesome, but I am just not used to a female voice calling me that and I haven't been able to realize she is talking to me, especially because Bean Dip never calls me "Mom."

So just to clarify one more time, here are Gamer's children.
Fajita (14) female.  Now lives with us.
Enchilada (13) female, lives with her grandparents in Texas.
Bean Dip (11) male, lives with us on the standard visitation schedule.
Taco (8) male, Gamer and my oldest child.
Burrito (6 ) male, our youngest child.

We are so excited to have Fajita here with us! She played an awesome game of volleyball tonight with Mom's friends at the church, so she definitely fits right in. Maybe I'll have her write a bit about her past life in a few days if she wants to. Right now we are just busy getting her into school, and sports, and scouts... you know how we roll!


Denise said...

So awesome, great family.

Marci said...

Oh man! Welcome, Fajita! I'm so glad you were able to get everything worked out to have her come live with you guys, sounds like a lot of work to make that happen, but so worth it!

Anonymous said...

You and your hubs are just angels on this earth..You are so kind, loving and wonderful to adopt her plus you never complain about any of Gamers children..Isn't that just about right? you have your Mom and Dad's sweetnest, kindness and love of God in you..How wonderful for Fajita to have a Mom like you..Not many like you would do it, I was in foster care no one wanted me or my brother we were too old other than to work like slaves and to take our berry picking and babysitting money, we hated it, got into a nice place they were not the religion we were but treated all 3 of us (my sister too) like their own flesh and blood!!!!!!!!!!! God will bless you a lot for all your love and kindness, if more parents could love and cherish their own kids however they come to them, we would have no need for juvenile justice centers, they would be empty..Kudos, God's blessings, my love and give your Mom and Dad a big hug for what you do each day!X()

Anonymous said...

Also the picture of your familia family looks terrific...I don't think you do it backwards, you do it the RIGHT way...love and kindness will help in any family!

Natalie Ockey said...

I'm glad everything is coming together. I think the last thing would be to make a name change. Can't Gamer be Nacho Grande? Think about it-- it makes a lot more sense!


LeAnn said...

Wow, that was quite the story. I am so glad you were able to get this fantastic increase in children. I loved the pictures. You went through a lot in the process but you were deeply blessed.
You have awesome parents that I know are there to support you .


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