A lot has been happening since the last time I've been able to post on either of my blogs, and things got rather ... tense.
At this point, however, I think things have finally started to calm down. For starters, we are no longer concerned that a mentally ill man is going to suddenly show up at our door or try to snatch his kids. He's under investigation by children's services for child abuse and steps are being taken to protect the girls and their mother from him, should he show up. The likelihood of that happening anytime soon has dropped - at least in part due to being served notice that he faces a restraining order, civil suit and various criminal charges on his return.
Communications between the girls and their father have been all but cut off. The Watcher has refused to talk to him directly, and when we tried sending an audio message she and Beetle Child made, his response was ... less than diplomatic. Beetle Child has since sent another brief message, but The Watcher didn't want to take part. After his response to the last one, she didn't see the point. There has been no response to the audio message Beetle Child has sent.
With Egypt spiralling into civil war, there's also that to prevent any travel. Their dad isn't in the big cities, but he would have to go to Cairo to come back, and things are not looking good there.
Since not having any more contact from their dad, either by email, Skype or telephone, the girls have become amazingly ... ordinary. The behavioural issues we'd been seeing are all but gone, with nothing more than normal, childhood issues to deal with. They're still not where I would expect them to be for their ages in some areas, but in others, they have bounced back remarkably. Children are so resilient! Best of all, they are getting to see their mom often, even spending almost entire days with her.
The nightly "talks" with The Watcher, as she struggled to find the words to explain her fears, worries and describe some of the things their father did while they were living with him have pretty much ended. Instead, our nightly cuddles after their bedtime story have ordinary chats about ordinary things.
The battle isn't over, by any means. We still have counselling sessions coming up, their mom is getting a Legal Aid lawyer for herself and another will be assigned to the girls. We're looking at more court sessions in the future, and there's still finding out just how extensive their abuse and neglect has been over the past 2 yrs. It's actually been good to hear the girls sometimes talk about pleasant memories with their father.
We don't know what's going to happen next, but at least we're breathing an little easier, even if we still can't let our guard down completely.
This whole thing has been quite disruptive, and our lives have been turned completely upside down, shaken and stirred. I am so grateful to my family for their patience - none of us expected things to get this crazy, but I was the one who brought this on us, and I'm thankful for their support in all this.
In an ideal world, their mother will be able to get an accessible unit in our co-op - she's still on the waiting list - and the girls would be able to be with their mother even more. With our assisted living staff, her physical and medical needs would be taken care of as well as in the care centre she's in now. Not being able to move into a place like ours is the only reason the girls had to move in with their father to begin with. It's unlikely she'd get a unit large enough for them to actually move in with her, but even if she got a 1 bedroom, we'd be just across the street and the girls could easily move between two "homes." If a larger accessible unit were to become available, priority is given to members before becoming available to people on the waiting list. Who knows - maybe someday, the girls will actually be able to live with their mother again! At least now, this sort of scenario looks possible.
On the down side, it means that our other plans have been diverted, if not shelved entirely. My father is celebrating his 90th birthday this fall and I have a nephew getting married, but I see no way we can make the trip out. I haven't seen my family in 2 years, and by husband hasn't seen his in 4. Not that my husband can physically handle the drive out anymore, with his own health problems.
Instead of heading out to visit the family in Manitoba, we'll instead be focusing on moving to another, larger unit. That's another hit on the finances, as my husband will not be getting a raise this year (due to a technicality, of all things - frustrating!). With two new youngsters in the house, there's no way I can get a job, but Youngest wants to get a full time job and Eldest plans to get a part time job after the summer festival season is over. They have both talked about wanting to contribute to the family finances.
I have the most amazing children. And the most amazing husband.
I am truly blessed.