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As we sat through days of court my heart sank more and more.  It no longer looked like our hard work was paying off and I could read it on Lawyers face.  The judge repeatedly questioned my Ex and I staying together even though we were engaged.  Finally the judge mentioned something that made me lose so much faith in God himself.  He asked who else there was that could help with this child.

The judge witnessed Bio Mom have outbursts in the courtroom and saw every piece of evidence but we looked like kids to him.  Unmarried kids who were clearly ruining this world.  So who else could step up?

There was no one else in the family that would come forward except for one aunt and uncle.  The only ones the Ex and I got along with.  I had been close with them and they had mainly stayed out of the court proceedings in general.  I don’t remember how the cards were laid out but there they were.  Saying if the judge wouldn’t pick us they would step up since the options were slim.  Here is the thing, I knew they were separated at the time.  I knew they were having problems with their marriage but I failed.  I failed to make the judge understand that we were the best option so I had to jump on Plan B.

One day they had to take the stand, one day our child slowly, no, quickly slipped from our hands.  I watched as my Aunt, then my Uncle, took the stand and swore under oath that they were in a solid marriage, when they weren’t.  I had no other options though.

I don’t really remember that last day in court.  I remember times where my Mom and Ex asked why I didn’t look at them while I was on the stand.  It was because I didn’t want to cry in that fucking room.  I waited till we got home.  If I were to look at them I was afraid I would never be able to stop the tears and I didn’t want to show weakness to that judge.  The judge said custody would go to my Aunt and Uncle.  People who had never cared for Rebecca in their life.  People who tried for years to have their own child but couldn’t and who were now on the path to divorce.  People who I had grown up having respect for showed up at the 11th hour and now had the reins to the child we had raised for years.

And just like that, it was over.

The Ex and I stood in shock outside the courtroom, with Lawyer, who looked equally as shocked.  There he looked at us and we all fought tears.  He told me he never expected us to get anywhere with this case.  Then he told me something that would stay with me forever….that every lawyer has a case in their career that sticks with them for forever.  A case that makes them realize why they decided to be a lawyer.  A case that changes them as a person forever.  We made him go home early more often than not and kiss his kids once more and thank God he had them.  We were it.  We were that case.  I send him a Christmas card every year and an updated picture of Rebecca because she sits in a frame on his desk for that reminder.

14 months from the time I set foot in Lawyers office till the final day.

2 private investigators.

1 job loss.

1 break-up.

1 engagement.

$26,000 total.

Life changing.

I wish I could say we walked out of the courthouse doors that day and life was good.  I wish I could even tell you we were happy.  You may think you know how the story ends but in truth, you don’t know how much pain follows us to this day.  Because honestly, to this day, that is what we hold in the most.  We nod that it is okay but to this day I have yet had a moment go by where I don’t worry about her and don’t feel a deep amount of regret and fear of the unknown.  To this day I can’t explain these last days in the courtroom in detail.  I can’t explain how everything twisted and careened out of control and then ended so abruptly.