I was dreading the call as much as I was anticipating it.
My angel of Christmas, in the voice of my social worker, gave me the only gift I had hoped for this year.
"The judge has terminated parental rights."
She reviewed the finer points of the decision. The parents' right to appeal. The process. The timeline. DCF's involvement. We discussed post-termination, post-adoption.
Both bio parents currently missing. Neither one successfully rehabbed off of the heroin they poisoned my babies' system with during pregnancy. One possibly in jail, the other who knows where this time. The court's leniency in future visitation. The likelihood of the appeal, and the certainty of the outcome.
We talked about the case in a factual, intelligent manner as if we were discussing politics and not the future of the little people who were waiting at home for me.
The two not-quite-toddlers we met for the first time a year ago November. Who have taken over our house with their toys and diapers and crayons.
Who have taken over our lives with their runny noses and nighttime fevers and tantrums in airports.
Who had taken over our hearts with their hugs and kisses, their cuddles and their sleepy-faced smiles first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
We covered every aspect of the thirty page ruling while I drove, barely noticing the highway as it sped past.
"I'll get these pages faxed over shortly and we'll talk again soon in the coming month. I think that's everything, any other questions?"
I thought about all the information I had just heard. The legal aspects, our responsibilities going forward, the adoption that can finally take place this coming spring.
And I asked the only question that really mattered.
"So they're ours now. Forever?"
"They're yours forever. Merry Christmas."