I named this year my “Year of Hope”, not knowing that there would be many days when hope was all that I would have left.
The past year has seen us hit rock bottom in many ways. It has been the most exhausting and dark time that we have ever experienced as a family, and, I think especially for me as an individual.
I have had lots of people question me recently about when this all started with Nicholas. What happened?
It hasn't been smooth from the start (seven years ago). I probably should have talked a lot sooner. I should have asked more questions. I should have admitted that I was freaked out of my mind before we ever even finalized the adoption.
It sounds crazy, but I thought there was something wrong with me. I rationalized a lot of stuff away. There was so much I didn't know………so many warning signs that screamed… but I didn't know, and I couldn't read them, I was illiterate in this field.
During the first four years we faced a LOT of unusual issues with Nicholas. Being blissfully ignorant I embraced it all and believed with all my heart that this stuff would go away with love, structure, and discipline.
It has to be God, because without even knowing it we did do a lot of things right, and we DID make relational progress and growth was happening. Our training and consistency and structure did make a difference, it just wasn't enough.
In 2010 Alexis’ joined our family, as a two day old newborn. Seeing the love and nurturing of a baby seemed to opened up all of Nick’s past issues of neglect and abuse in a whole new way.
At first this seemed like a good thing, and we felt that now maybe we could make some real progress. It seemed hopeful, he had finally reached a place after the previous four years that he was able to open his heart to us like never before and share his painful memories.
We HAD done well, we had built enough trust that he felt safe enough to share all the pain.
But he has not been able to process all of this in a positive way and he spun into huge regression and a rapid, crazy downward spiral.
We are thankful for the information that found its way into our hands, for a diagnosis (Reactive Attachment Disorder) that pointed us towards additional help, for friends and family who held us up in prayer. And for two very special couples who educated themselves and have taken turns providing a much needed 2-3 day respite for us each month. Still it hasn't been enough, nothing has been enough.
Nicholas has had much counseling, and therapy, combined with the best parenting that we are capable of, (and boy, have we learned a lot). But we are faced with what we have always known. We are not enough. Only God can change Nicholas’s heart, heal his wounds, and restore what has been lost.
We have continued to face intense difficulties everyday for many, many months. Due to various issues, including the safety and well being of the other kids, we have been forced to move toward some type of out-of-home placement. We have explored many different avenues and options and will continue to do so over the next weeks and months.
Right now, Nicholas has an opportunity to go to a Christian Therapeutic Wilderness Camp School for a year and a half, possibly two years. There is a waiting list, and placement is not available until March.
I still have hope for Nicholas. It’s that whole “faith like a child” thing… he is still young, his heart is still green, and now is the time.
This is the best option that we have available to us, and it comes after several other doors have closed to us nearly crushing all our hope.
We will continue to leave our hearts and lives open to God’s leading as we pursue this residential program. Currently, it looks like he will be returning home to us after camp, but only God knows what lies ahead. Right now we can only hope for the very best, and ask that God will draw Nicholas to Himself and make the path ahead clear for us.
We really believe that this may be where God can really reach his heart. In Oct Duane said, , "You know, everything is a power struggle with Nick. His ultimate power struggle is that we cannot make him work on his problems, and so far he is winning. I think Nick would work on his issues but he is so entangled and embroiled with power struggles that he can't go there because that would be letting us win and, to him that means he would lose."
We feel that this may be the perfect opportunity for him to be able to work on his issues without having to feel like he is losing to us. We don’t expect it to cure EVERYTHING, but we have big hopes that we will see healing and growing in significant ways. Even more importantly we are praying that he will surrender his life to Jesus, the great healer.
March (or April) seem so very far away. I am trying to just take one day at a time. There are so many details that have to still fall into place, including the astronomical costs.
Some days I am not sure I can make it for three more months. Other days I am absolutely sure that I can’t make it. But there is grace, more than I can even conceive and I am learning what it means to take one day at a time. Sometimes just fifteen minutes at a time.
Having Nicholas in our family has (literally) led us down roads that I would never have even known existed. It has steered me to people and relationships that I will forever cherish. It has made me aware of injustice, prejudice and oppression that I never saw before.
For That I am Thankful!