I was getting impatient waiting to hear what was going on with the papers and if she had even received them. I was sure she had by now. I asked the attorney’s secretary to call the jail since Tiny can’t accept incoming calls from me, but she can from a lawyer.
Later that morning I got a call back from the secretary saying that a message was relayed to her that she would not be signing the papers, but she did have them. I was blown away, and confused. It had only been a week and things have changed this much? Why hasn’t she called me? What is going on? I was sitting at my desk at work stunned when the “jail phone” (the prepaid cell phone we set up to accept collect calls) rang loudly and I scurried into a conference room to chat with Tiny.
Tiny explained that she had the papers, but that she was served a subpeona to appear in court for a custody trial for Gem. It appeared that Tiny’s aunt had filed a motion in the courts to get the process sped up since there were no custody/guardianship papers signed. I told Tiny that regardless, it SHOULD be her choice where her child goes, regardless of whether she is in jail or not. I asked her to be honest with me and tell me what she wants, and we would honor whatever decision she made. She explained that she was going to let her Aunt have custody of Gem temporarily since Gem already lived with her, and that she would later give us full custody down the road if she is sentenced long term. I told her that I would check with my lawyer to see if she would indeed be able to change custody later on if a judge orders it through court now. We hung up and I told her to call me soon so I could relay any legal info to her before her court date. My lawyer said her Aunt could file for full custody pretty much at any point and be granted because of Tiny’s circumstances, so I waited for her call. I waited by the phone anxiously for days, literally.
She called me on a Monday evening and I told her that if she wanted to sign custody over to us before her hearing, she would have to do it the next morning and I would send my lawyer to pick up the papers so they could be filed before the court date on Wednesday.
Just hours later, I got another call from Tiny it was VERY odd to get two calls on the same night. She was hysterically crying. It took me several minutes to calm her down and find out what was wrong. When she mumbled the words “They just came and told me my Momma passed today.” my heart sank and then broke into a million pieces for her. I can’t imagine losing my mom, nevermind being in jail and not being able to be with my family through this time.
The next morning, my lawyer visited her in jail before a court hearing at the same courthouse in her town to find out what was going on. He spoke with her for about an hour, and she apparently told him that she still didn’t know what she wanted to do about custody. He really is an incredibly caring attorney, and also told her he was going to speak to the judge that afternoon about her case and see about getting her out of jail in Alabama sooner and into Florida so she can be finally sentenced. That afternoon, we learned that the court hearing was going to be continued due to the passing of Tiny’s mom. We also learned that Gem had a Guardian Ad Litem assigned to her.
When my attorney called me, he advised that we fight for custody because this little girl deserved a two parent family, and to grow up with her biological sibling. I do agree with that, but I also truly feel like this is a decision for Tiny to make – even though the judge will if she doesn’t. When Tiny called me, I told her what he advised us, but I told her that I would rather not fight for custody if it wasn’t what she wanted.
When I called Mr. Lucky to explain the situation, he immediately said NO. We aren’t fighting for custody, it isn’t meant to be, she isn’t our daughter, let’s be done. I was SO incredibly upset with him. I couldn’t believe that he was ending this just.like.that. My heart was already invested in this little girl who I have watched grow through Tiny’s letters, emails and photos. I had a brand new carseat waiting by the front door in a box waiting for Gem.
I begged him over the next few days to change his mind. We weren’t getting anywhere so I began to grieve what I felt like was a loss of a larger family for us. Building a family isn’t easy for an infertile person. It takes alot of money, trust, work, love, and partnership, on top of all of the investigative procedures you must undergo to even get on a “list”. Regardless, I know now that Tiny’s decision was ultimately going to be to give custody to her Aunt, and that makes it a bit easier to swallow. Somehow, Mr. Lucky and I need to figure out how to communicate better though, because this push/pull struggle isn’t resulting in effective conversation.
I hope that all of this craziness makes sense to you all – it’s quite complicated/convoluted.