I've been under a lot of stress for several reasons:
Bear officially signed his plea bargain recently. He now has to serve 7 years with a significant amount of parole. Not sure how it all works with time served, time off for good behavior, only having to serve a percentage of the sentence... but we're assuming he'll be home within the next 6 months to a year.
Once he's home, I do not really expect him to be able to handle the rules and stay home for long. Hubby and I have already decided that we will make the rules very clear with Bear (in writing for sure!). Life will go back to the way it was before he left, because that's the kind of structure and support that he needs to stay out of trouble. No, I don't think he'll like it, but for everyone to stay safe, this is our only option. How long he stays will depend on how long his honeymoon period lasts. I hope it will be longer than a few weeks, but...
A big stressor in my life is that I do not feel my family is complete. I still feel that God has laid on my heart that we should adopt again.
I strongly believe it helped the adopted kids and our family to have a neurotypical biokid to be a role model of a "family kid." Bob is graduating high school and moving out at the end of this school year. My youngest child, Ponito, is entering high school this year so we only have a few years left before he goes off to college. This means that we have to wait a year until Bear gets out of prison, and then wait until he moves out again (we cannot have a foster child in our home while Bear is in the home) before we can adopt again, then if I want Ponito to still be home and have at least a year with the new child... then we're running out of time.
Grandma, who is a huge part of our support system, has expressed that she understands my wish to adopt again, but she thinks we should limit our choices to kids who are within a couple of years of graduation that have almost no issues, but just need a place to live while they finish high school. I've tried to explain to her that I don't think it's fair to adopt another child older than Ponito (14yo), plus I think Kitty would do better with a significantly younger child who is closer to her emotional age. So I was thinking about a child between 10 and 14 (since Ponito would probably be 15 when we were ready). Grandma disagrees.
Bear has been making lots of demands. He wants me to contact a ton of people and try to get them to write him in prison. Recently, I was confronted by a neighbor that Bear had lived with right before he ran to Oklahoma. The neighbor talked about all the things that Bear had stolen from his family, and mentioned that while he wanted to give Bear a break, the state was planning to press charges. I looked the man in the eye, and told him that Bear needs consequences, because he's learned that he can get away with anything. This neighbor is a rescuer though, and I don't think he believed me.
In a phone call with Bear after talking with the neighbor I went ahead and mentioned the stolen items (knowing he would deny the thefts). Bear of course completely denied it. I mentioned to him one specific item that had recently been returned to the neighbor by a boy who said Bear had given it to him as a birthday present. The neighbor had also mentioned other items that Bear had sold or given away that had been returned as well, but this was the only item about which he'd given me details.
Bear wrote a letter to this neighbor that he asked me to pass on. In the letter he admitted to taking the ONE item and saying he'd make it up to the neighbor. I'm assuming the neighbor will do what everyone else does and give him "brownie points" for confessing, ignore the fact that he only confessed to the one thing he knew he was already busted on and nothing else, and drop the matter. *sigh* I don't know for sure that Bear will ever be able to "get it," but I do know that he definitely won't get it if he never gets held accountable.
When Bear moved out, I had to rip out the carpet (it was stained and covered in spit) and repaint the walls (graffitied and covered in spit). Through a misunderstanding, instead of being "Builder White" which is really a neutral tan, the walls are a true white. After Bear had moved out, but before he left the state, he'd come home a few times and spent the night. Bear let me know on the phone that he canNOT stay in a room with white walls (which represent all the institutions he's lived in). I was feeling a bit vindictive and "little red hen"ish so I was going to tell him he had to lump it on the wall color, but in Sunday school today we talked about the Prodigal Son. I realized that while I cannot accept Bear home unconditionally, I could be more welcoming. It requires some forgiveness from me, but I can paint a few walls.