This week comes the hearing to determine whether the county will stop the reunification services for our kids’ birth mom. It’s the next step toward her parental rights being ended, which will free them for adoption.

This is weird on many levels. First of all, we’re busy becoming a family, so the reminder that there’s still a possibility—however remote—that the kids could be taken away is an unwelcome chill.Since the mom’s done little of her reunification plan, and isn’t even managing to make visits, there’s not much chance they’ll rule in her favor, if she even comes to court. If she doesn’t show, which seems quite possible, it’s automatically decided against her. But who wants to know that there’s even a tiny chance everything could be taken away?

I’m torn about the kids’ mom. Having never met her, I have just stories. The fond ones our daughter tells are unconvincing; they sound like sad stories desperately dressed up as happy memories. We’re letting her keep the rosy glasses for now, but I don’t buy it.

The stories from the therapists and social workers, on the other hand, make it easy to hate this woman we don’t know, for what she’s done (and not done) for and to the kids. Immature, selfish, and self-destructive, she’s cursed at them, hit and ignored them, set them up for conflict, and left them with dangerous and inappropriate people. We have some Disney princess bath beauty products given our daughter by a pimp. You don’t want to throw things away that give your kids a tie to their past, but these are the creepiest children’s toys ever, tainted by the awful life our children used to live in.

But as much as I’m rooting for the system to take her kids from her and give them to us, I just can’t feel completely happy about it. This woman has a tragic story, and is losing her kids. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re better off with us. Yet it feels so strange to have this impersonal hearing. We don’t even go, and I don’t know when we find out what happened. I’m sure it would be worse if we knew her, so I should be grateful it’s not some community court in a small village or something, but it feels so odd to have such an intimate thing decided this way.

I have no idea what our kids’ birth mom is thinking. But I hope on some level she feels glad that the universe is taking care of her kids when she can’t. Maybe she’s relieved? I hope she gets her life together; not soon enough to get her kids back (it’s too late for that anyway), but soon enough to be able to stay in touch with her kids and let them know her a little. At least I think I hope that, or I want to.