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!


  1. I've been there, done that. You are right on, everything you say. Your candid writings give words to the deep emotions I have only been feeling the last while since our daughter left, but had no words for. Thank you. Love and prayers, Becky

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment and be vulnerable too. Prayers of healing and love are sent your way.

  2. I'm so sorry for the difficult decisions you have had t make to protect your family and sorry for the loss of your son. I pray that you will all know God's presence in a new way during your grieving and healing journey.

    1. For a prolonged period of time I wondered what good could possibly come out of this hard, hard journey. I struggled with believing that God was really good. There was so very much pain and an overwhelming hopelessness drew me in the blackness of deep depression more than once. Though it hasn't turned out like I had hoped, and I won't ever have all the answers to my questions, there is peace and I have felt God's presence and His healing. Thank you so much for caring and praying for us!

  3. Thanks for your honesty. I know how hard that can be. Praying for healing for your family and peace for your heart.

    1. Thank you, my friend! I think of you often and when I do I pray for you and yours. Hugs.

  4. So glad to see you posting once again. We love you and our prayers are with you. ~ Mom B.

  5. Praying for you all. You all are on my heart and mind often. Love you all greatly!

  6. You too! It was so awesome to spend time together again in August! Thanks for the love and prayers!

  7. Dear sis. You are an example of an open life taking what God alowes.. One day at a time. What seems like failure to you may only be a small thread in the great weave of Gods design. I see a beautiful mellow heart of surrender. Praying Gods grace on all if you as you rebuild. Love your little sis.

  8. Praying healing- for you all. Hope to reconnect with you all soon. ~Judith M.

    1. Your prayers are being answered! Would love to see you too!

  9. LeAnn, this must have been so hard to write. Thank you for taking the time to write out your heart. May God continue to heal your family and Nicholas too! Much love and prayers!

  10. Thank you, Anonymous. I wish that I knew who you are. Regardless, I appreciate the gentle thoughts and prayers for healing.

  11. LeAnn,
    I have thought of you often, and have prayed for you, and am glad to see you writing in this space again. May God continue to comfort and heal your brokenness and the ache you feel at this loss. May you know His abundant graciousness and know that there is NO condemnation. You are so, SO loved by Him and He delights over you. God has brought you to this place-- closing the door on that chapter of your lives, and there is hope and healing ahead. May He be your refuge in this season of finding your footing again. Hugs to you,

  12. It is good to be back in the space writing again. Your words of grace are balm and I thank you!


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