Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Unthinkable- As Reality

Days turned to weeks, then those weeks became months.

Life here has shifted in earthquake proportions. You will find us currently in a phase of rebuilding our lives.  You might say we are still digging through the ruins, learning how to live again.  Grieving loss, juxtaposed against the relief of peace & safety.

During the past six weeks I have begun this particular post and deleted it more times than I can remember.
 I’ve needed that time to reorient myself with my own life.

There is no easy way to sum up the last six months.   The hardest part is that anything I write can, and quite likely will, be used against me.   I might legitimately plead the fifth.  But I can’t seem to make peace with that option because I've committed to being honest and open, especially concerning adoption, most specifically our adoptions. 

For me that starts with the acknowledgement that

 ALL adoption starts with LOSS and that loss is tremendous and needs to be honored with gentleness.
Adoptions aren't all alike any more than people are all alike. If you can understand the loss portion that is attached to adoptions it will make it much easier to understand some of the rough portions that frequently come along with adoption. Though there may be similarities and stories may have commonalities each adoption comes with its own package of uniqueness. 

Some adoptions are relatively uneventful and beautiful and others are heartrendingly difficult and nightmarish. Just because you have one, or the other, or something in between, doesn't mean that that is what everyone else is experiencing.

Our own two adoptions are a study in contrasts-
our first adoption,  Nicholas, came home to us as a toddler - deeply wounded through extensive abuse and neglect, though we didn't know this at the time of adoption and unfortunately were not properly equipped.

our second adoption,  Alexis- came home to us as a newborn - less than 24hrs old, a super tiny baby bundle with all the promise of new life waiting to be lived.

Comparing our own two adoptions is like trying to compare oranges and orca whales.  

I wish with all my heart that Nicholas might have found his way into our home just like Alexis did  I wish that I could rewrite his early years and erase all that damage and remove all the pain he has experienced.  For seven years I clung tightly to the hope that, even if this weren't possible, we would make it through. I believed doggedly that we would find healing and he would be able to normalize.

I am comforted with the knowledge that we have done our very best for Nicholas.  We all worked hard to make life together work, to educate ourselves, to get him the help he needed, at all costs.  We did all that we could to adapt, nurture, and facilitate healing. In the end, our very best was STILL not enough. 

Nicholas continued to spiral out of control, getting worse and worse and more and more dangerous.

Our options became smaller and smaller and we grasped frantically at all possibilities.  In the end, after two failed out-of-home placements, I found myself once again on the phone in desperation because I had to pick him up because he was endangering other children and at the same time I couldn’t bring him home and place our other kids in danger. 

Countless hours were spent on the phone with therapists, attorneys, treatment facilities…. But…  we still ended up in the sheriff’s office with every other option exhausted.

May 31, Nicholas entered state care through a JJ officer.  Our parting was calm, and for him unemotional, his complete lack of normal emotional response will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Within 24 hrs, a home investigation was begun on our family. The standard questioning/interrogation of ourselves and our kids. From there we had multiple interactions with attorneys, social workers, court hearings, and finally,
court rulings.  This has been a very difficult and emotional time for all of us and for three months I have lived on the very edge never knowing what the next day might hold.  I am so grateful  for the protection that was hedged about us during this time and for the friends that covered us in prayer and interceded on our behalf.

Aug 5th the case was closed with the signing of relinquishment papers.

Nicholas is no longer our child and we won’t know anything more about what is going on his life. The last thing that I know is that he is in a therapeutic home where he is the only child receiving high level intervention, including 20 hours a week of in home counseling from a specialist. This is in addition to office visits with other specialists on a routine basis.  These are things we could never have provided for him.  I hold on to hope that this hard choice might be the next stepping stone on his road to healing.

Letting go doesn't mean giving up... it means accepting that some things weren't meant to be. - Lisa Brooks

Still there is certainly overwhelming defeat hanging above us in this place where we admit in every way that we aren't the right home for Nicholas and that he needs more than we can offer.

From the outside looking in, it may appear that disruption/dissolution is an easy answer to a tough situation.  I can only speak from my experience and say that this has been the hardest and most painful thing I have ever done in my entire life.

We are now rebuilding our lives, our family, and our marriage. There is a lot of healing ahead for everyone. I have been reminded on several occasions that the story isn't finished and hope is not lost.

"The greatest courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing HEART. "  - Robert Green Ingersole

That is my hope and prayer for our whole family!