Hello friends and family. Some of you know, some of you don’t, but under the Holy Spirit’s prompting I decided to start a new blog. I have loved blogging here and have grown so much in my writing and I felt it was time for a sort of “graduation”. You can find me at scatteredlilacs.com where I hope to continue the ministry of writing that the Lord has placed on my heart. 🙂
I haven’t written much on the waves of grief in regard to my miscarriage. It’s just been something I have dealt with privately. But one of my close friends shared this beautiful song with me and I wanted to post it here for a Melodious Monday.
Let’s say you’re building a home. You’ve done all your due diligence. You have the perfect lot. Soil test is done. You have beautiful house plans drawn up by a reputable architect. You’ve got your general contractor who has all the right people in place. Green light to go. You start with your foundation. Seems to be a perfect pour, situated just right on your property. You are so excited as you envision this home you’ve dreamt about for years. People are excited for you. Finally the time feels right and here you stand before this massive slab of concrete on this gorgeous piece of land.
But then you notice a crack. How could this be? This was carefully thought out, carefully poured. But it’s your foundation. It’s what this house will be built on. You can’t ignore this crack. You can’t proceed with building and hope that one day the crack will resolve on its own. That’s not how it works. If the crack is there now, the crack will only get larger with more materials, weight and pressure. Maybe you won’t see it, maybe others won’t see it as you mask it with dry wall and flooring but it’s there. And it’s a hazard. It’s a danger to your whole house.
Let’s just say we have a crack in our foundation right now. The foundation this adoption hinges on. The deeper we go on this foster/adoption journey the more I get why people further along than us (and MUCH wiser) say how full of pain it is. It’s just not going to be tied up with a neat little bow. Trauma sucks. It’s ugly. It seems so unfair. I hate it for these boys, I hate it for our family and I hate that I can’t rescue them with love and hugs and kisses. It’s just not that simple. I wish it was.
I feel crushed under the weight of raising five kids, two with tremendous emotional needs, a husband who works quite a lot, and very limited support. I have been crushed under the weight of this RAD diagnoses. I’m running ragged carting everyone to all manner of appointments to accommodate the needs of these little guys, all the while being hit and screamed at by them. I feel frustrated and slightly abused and I am so consumed by how to help them. So consumed that I fear it’s cracking my foundation; my marriage, my three older children, myself.
As it stands we have to put a hold on moving forward with this adoption so we can re-evaluate what’s in the best interest of everyone. The boys are still with us. We’re getting more services in place to help them. But I don’t know what the future holds. I have cried a lot. I don’t want to contribute to their trauma by them moving. But I also don’t think it would be fair to them to move forward with building their lives on a cracked foundation. They need strong. They need stable. Maybe things will get better. Maybe we will strengthen and unite and move forward. Or maybe changes in plans will occur. I just don’t know but I’m asking you to please pray.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever- help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Psalm 46:1-11 NIV
I opened up my Bible this morning for the first time in over a week. Nothing beats reading a physical copy of Gods Word. I wanted to dig in a little deeper so I went to Blue Letter Bible to do some word searching. This was featured. Such a beautiful song and story behind it.
“Why did we even adopt the boys?”
This was the question my six year old son asked me yesterday. We were driving home from school and J was clawing at him, trying to pull his hair and blowing some really impressive raspberries that Caleb did not appreciate. This is totally normal. Car rides are the worst and particularly for Caleb if he is sitting in between the boys.
I was slightly caught off guard by his question. I say slightly because he and I have had conversations before regarding the boys behavior toward him. One evening after a few stories, I was laying next to Caleb before bedtime and he asked me why they were “so mean to him”. I know this is hard for Caleb. He’s been the youngest for a long time and had two very sweet, accommodating and patient sisters. On one hand I recognize this IS difficult for Caleb. He’s only six. At the same time I see tremendous opportunity for growth in his character. Of course it’s hard for him, he’s never been challenged in this way. He’s never had to love the hard to love. I reflect on when Jesus instructs his disciples, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” Luke 6:32 NIV Caleb is not the only one who is getting exposed here, our whole family is. Because trust me, I struggle to parent children that are unkind to my other children. I’ve never dealt with that, and it’s tough. In those moments I forget their past and their trauma when they are being so mean spirited to Caleb. Or me.
After a few moments of silence Caleb began answering his own question. “Is it so they can learn to not be mean and to stop saying no all the time to you, mommy?” Six year old minds. 🙂 I responded, “Caleb, the boys have been hurt. Hurt by their mommy and daddy, hurt by all their moving around. They act the way they do because they are hurt. And Jesus calls us to love them even when they are unkind to us. And yes, I do hope they will learn to be nice and obedient from living with us and seeing how much we love them. I hope they learn how to love because we loved them when it was hard.” That seemed like a good enough answer for Caleb. How do you translate the gospel in six year old terms?!
When we got home I suggested he play with J for thirty minutes before doing anything else. Because it was just the two of them this was doable. There are definitely some strong bonds that make it hard when the three of them are together. Caleb is the outsider to them. But when he can get one on one I get little glimmers of hope. Hope that he can love them. Hope that they can bond. Hope that one day all three of them will be a band of brothers.
I will not give up hope.
C and K working on Christmas lists.
Upon hearing that our three year old suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder (a lot of children in foster and adoptive situations experience to some degree attachment issues) I have been on what feels like a Psychology crash course. Maybe you’ve never heard of RAD, maybe you are unfamiliar with attachment disorders. I can not even begin to express the tremendous weight and importance that I now realize proper, healthy attachment holds. The things I naturally and unknowingly was giving to my biological children that make them into the happy whole kiddos they are today. Simple things that I did a hundred times a day and each time forming not only a bond and relationship but the foundations of trust and security. When I nurtured my kids in my womb, giving them proper prenatal care, giving them a safe, peaceful environment to develop in, it all played a critical role in their understanding of felt safety.
These two little guys didn’t receive this. Their life in the womb was considerably neglected. Their first years in this world were harsh to say the least. Every time their needs were ignored their brain was rewiring itself into a state of survival and their emotional stability was being disturbed. Young children have no other option but to trust and rely on their caregivers to meet their needs and when that is disrupted it’s extremely detrimental. The first three years of life in particular are so formative, so critical.
Every time we hold our babies, give them food, change their diapers. Every time we get them out of bed in the morning when they wake. Every time we smile and coo with them. Every book we read. The times we swing them or dance with them in our arms. The times we give them structure and discipline that they can depend on. Every time we make eye contact. Every brief touch or long hug. I knew all this mattered, but I didn’t realize how much until now. Now that I’ve seen the effects of its absence.
And I’m a scared mom wondering if they can recover.
It’s not a simple fix by any means. It’s not a matter of giving them those touches and meeting those needs and wants. Because the effects have caused them to distrust and act in ways in an effort to keep a safe distance. What happened in those first few years legitimately effected the way their brain works. They have to ensure their survival and self preservation. They have to be in control. Of everything. Adults have neglected them, left them, failed them. They don’t realize they are safe and loved here and can trust us. They don’t even have the communication and developmental skills to process all they’ve been through. But they KNOW.
This is hard for them.
This is hard for us.
Its hard to give and love and nurture and be met with opposition and screaming and fits of rage. To be hit or spit on and told “Don’t touch me!” I wonder how so much anger can come out of such little bodies? And even in what I’m learning and understanding about attachment I still fail in my responses. I become impatient, frustrated, and defeated. I wonder if I have what it takes? Do we have what they need? And what exactly DO they need? My former naive self thought “love is all they need”. Love and affection and a safe home. To an extent that is true but I’m learning what they need is so much more complex. And it’s been exhausting trying to parent.
Enter the Holy Spirit whispering His Word.
“My grace is sufficient for you……” 2 Corinthians 12:9
And encouraging words from another author/blogger, Abigail Dodds, “Elisabeth [Elliot] was right, “God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.” And what we do need now, we do have now: God the Father’s loving, sovereign hand working all things for our good (Romans 8:28); Christ the Son as our advocate, Savior, and righteousness (1 John 2:1; Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:30); and the Holy Spirit’s intercession, help, and comfort surrounding us day by day (Romans 8:26–27).”
This is for me.
This is for our boys.
This is for our family.
I bought J a “taggy” hedge hog. Well actually my mother in law purchased it but we were checking out at Belk and I could not resist this adorable stuffed hedge hog and J has a thing for tags. In some of my researching I recall an author (likely from the book Parenting the Hurt Child) comparing hurt children to hedge hogs. I’ll allow this little snip from an article to explain:
“When a hedgehog is calm, their quills are in a relaxed position. It is at this time that a hedgehog can be held without worrying about the sharp quills……
A scared or angry hedgehog is another story though since the quills are raised and tend to point in all directions. Trying to handle a hedgehog in this defensive posture is sure to be a prickly experience…..” (Taken from article at The Spruce Pets)
And thus, we have two little scared hedge hogs that we want to promote a sense of calm and trust and safety deep within them.
Please pray we would be directed to the right material, services, and professionals that can inform, equip, and assist us in helping these boys continue the healing process.