The pies and are baked and chilled, the turkey spent the night in Citrus Turkey Brine and is in the oven and potatoes, Shredded Brussels Sprouts and stuffing will be finished soon. I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving
dinner and am thankful that I have the means and the ability to put a wonderful dinner together.
But what I am really thankful for is that this Thanksgiving I will be celebrating with my girls, Hailie and Emily, and this year for the first time they are mine. After a long and unpleasant court battle I was given custody of
these two gentle, beautiful spirits last month.
I have always been part of Hailie and Emily's lives. They have spent weekends and many other times with me their entire lives. But I am not related so, for the most part, I was an outsider watching them being exposed to violence,
abuse and situations that no child should be subjected to. At the end of our weekends together my heart would break when they would become hysterical when I took them back to their mother, crying and clutching at the car and me and begging me not to make them
go home. Finally last fall, at age six, Emily simply refused to pay any attention to her mother and eventually refused to eat anything her mother tried to feed her.
Virtually everyone who was familiar with the family court process warned me that it is nearly impossible for a non-relative to wrest custody from a natural parent. But last month Hailie, Emily and I were successful and I was
awarded primary physical custody. I don't have to worry about what abuse they are being subjected to and when that abuse will escalate to a point where they will be permanently scarred. The girls exhibit symptoms of PTSD but together, in a loving, stable,
predictable environment, they are thriving.
My Best Thanksgiving Ever? Right here, right now, with the loving family I chose to create. Simply the best. Thank God.