Today is the anniversary date of the removal of one of the seven dwarfs from our kingdom. Last year at this time, I was a mess. I was faced with a decision which required me to finally back up my three plus years of words, with actions.
For almost four years, the prince and I kept telling this particular dwarf that his life choices, his inability to do the right thing, to be a productive member of the family, was drawing neigh.
The parts of the story that are the in between, started over thirteen years ago. The meet and greet, smiles, reuniting of siblings, the adoption, the honeymoon period, the start of inappropriate behaviors, failing in the classrooms, questions on our end, testing, evaluations, twenty-six months of a therapeutic treatment facility. The RAD diagnosis and therapists, wrap around services, IEP meetings, behavioral specialists, phycologists, psychiatrists, medications, an inconclusive FAS diagnosis. Walking through our days on egg shells for fear of setting him off, holidays, birthday's, fights over homework, manipulation, fights about nothing and all things, his cursing, his tears, our tears, the growing anger, the lying, the continual battles of wills, the lack of being tethered to reality in his life, his inability to make good choices. All this pushed us, pulled us and challenged us to become his biggest advocate, his biggest supporter. Yet, nothing made the impact in his heart or mind to promote healing or growth in any lasting, tangible ways. Still we carried on with equal parts determination, and hope.
If you had told me when we started this process of parenting "special needs" children, that were classified as "special needs" because of the number of siblings in their grouping, I would have thought you were crazy. After all these years of living in the trenches, battling daily, an existence that very few people understand or even try to understand, I sometimes feel like I am the crazy one.
While I am secure in the knowledge that is a path that the Lord has equipped me(us) for, there are certainly times in this journey when I have not relied solely on Him or His promises. There have been times when for the sake of self preservation, I have gotten in my car and driven away. I have yelled until I was hoarse. I have cried. I have locked myself in my room. I have shuffled kids off to friends homes in the middle of the night so they would be safe so that we could spend hours de-escalating a situation. The number of hours of my life spent in negotiations, battles of the will, steeped in worry and fear and the struggling with the unknowns for this one dwarf alone, are unable to be counted.
In the reflecting of those minutes, hours and days we did all this and more clinging to hope. We battled in the trenches for his spiritual, mental and physical being. Hope for the next hour, the next day and for his ultimate future.
When it became apparent that this was a situation that was not changing for the good, only deteriorating, we were faced in that moment in time to say, enough is enough. That day was January 2, 2018.
In the midst of this past year, I find that there is nothing harder than knowing the name of the homeless man on the corner. Being torn between helping again, or running the risk of being an enabler. Knowing when to walk away. Knowing to not answer the phone. When to ignore that pleas of strangers and police that want to reunify because they only have one skewed side of the picture. Remembering when faced with the stories about the worst of times that he was enduring, that at the end of it all he is a liar and a manipulator, who has had countless chances to change and has not. How challenging and difficult it as been to stand firm in our decision to have him to leave our home.
Even in this, when the path for him seems hopeless. We, as his parents have hope. In the midst of the past year, there has been growth in the other dwarfs, in the absence of the one. Healing has begun for me personally. The stressors in our home has been dramatically been cut. As I write this update, tomorrow there is hope for this one too. It is going to take a monumental effort on his part. He will have to conform, and while he has agreed to this two year program, the hard work is going to have to be done by him. If I(we) could have fixed his broken parts there would be no need for any of this past year to happen.
Please join us in praying for our dwarf. While he has said with his words that he will participate, he is not yet there. The journey is going to difficult. He will be doing this alone. It will be at least 13 weeks or more until we hear from him, and even at that, the responsibility of communicating with us will fall on him to set up and organize, with the staff of the program.
"The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those that seek Him." Lamentations 3:25
May this time away be for our dwarf the final stop in his tormented existence. May he find peace from his past, come to terms with his current and find his own hope for his tomorrows.
Sometimes, I do wish that I was making this stuff up....
Oh Michelle, my heart is aching for you this morning. Know I am praying for your whole family.ReplyDelete
Susan, thank you for your prayers! There are times when I miss the simplicity of sledding in your back yard... I know that this is just some place in the middle of his story. God is in the details! Hugs to your gang!Delete
I want to encourage you, but struggling with a damaged child of my own tells me we both need to pray for redemption, but prepare for another failure. God be with us all.ReplyDelete
No doubt that the struggles are real on his end, and that most often there are more failures than successes, however if this is the time for him to thrive, then I will pray to that end, and if this is just one more stumbling block on the path to his being broken completely, then I will take joy in that as well as I know that the Lord loves him more than we do, and that it is in His timing that Joe will be made new.Delete
We are your prayer warriors! I love you all!ReplyDelete
No doubt sister ! I could not do it without so many of you praying not just today, but for the past 14 years. The journey that we have been called to has been hugely supported by our sweet family and friends. He has a ten day "probationary period"... here is praying for great things, trust the Lord for His perfect timing, and knowing that God is in the details!ReplyDelete
With you all the way, dear one. Wothout your voice speaking hard truths into the world, talking me through hard times, and laughing with me, Id be lost.ReplyDelete
When we do hard things with others by our side, they are no less difficult, but there is someone else to help shoulder the burden. At the end of it all, we just have to be able to stand before the Lord and say that without a shadow of doubt we did all we could to care for the least of these (the orphans) and our eternal rewards will be amazing!Delete
Praying for you and yours dear friend. You and your faith are so strong. I believe Joe was a very lucky dwarf to have landed in your kingdom. I love you dearly.ReplyDelete
Thank you dear one! I am not sure if he feels lucky, but the Lord knew who would be able to do the hard things in love for this one! I know his story is not over. It may still have many heartbreaking twists and turns, but we are grateful for the love and prayers of so many, for the resources that we find at the last minute, and for the fact that he is not hardened so much that he refused assistance. Keep those prayers coming!ReplyDelete
I have just come across your blog today, and I'm speechless. We have some mutual friends in PA who told me about your site b/c my family and I are dealing with some very similar issues. I can't thank you enough for your transparency. You have hit the nail on the head with so many of the deep issues that come with parenting a special-needs child. I was actually moved to tears. We have felt like we're alone in the world as this is such a unique situation. I've been desperately searching for other Christian parents who are also "in the trenches" in this way. Is there any way to communicate with you in a more confidential manner? I promise not to consume too much of your time. Thanks so much!ReplyDelete
First of all Carrie, I am so sorry that I am just seeing this post! I know that the Lord's timing is everything, so yes we can communicate any way you prefer - friend me on Facebook, and message me, or send me an email at email@example.com! Can not wait to see whom we know mutually!!Delete