Sunday, 7 July 2019
I am not okay. My breaths feel shallow and my chest feels tight. My legs feel heavy and my brain feels sluggish. Our son gets in a car with a stranger and drives off to spend the day with his dad. And I hear nothing and I wonder. I catch myself listening for his babbling and crawling only to remember that he is not home. And then my heart trips over the word 'home' yet again and I wonder where these next months will take him, will take us. This road of letting go, of letting grief wash over me, as hope builds for the rejoining of the family that should be.... this is the road I know I need to walk for our son. This is the road of healing and there will be much joy. This is a slow, painful, necessary road, but I am not okay.
Friday, 29 March 2019
When your decide to be permanently hospitable in your most precious circle: your family...
A Recipe for Redefining Family
1 dose of pride and self-righteousness (this is for throwing out the window right off the hop)
2 spouses on the same page (because it's a bumpy page any other way is a terrible idea)
3 stages of paperwork, classes, and invasions of privacy (also known as a home study)
4 a moment you wonder if you are crazy and then suddenly you have a son/daughter
5 days and nights of sleeplessness, drowning, praying, and general overwhelmedness (actual amount of days may vary)
6 months of deliberate, conscious actions, touches, words, prayers, and effort to start to connect heats with a stranger who is looking to you to fill every need but would rather not even look at you)
7 twists and turns and heart-plummets as you fall in love with your child and the broken, hurting people who are the other parents of your baby (again, the amount is approximate and can often exceed all expectations)
8 everything that is chocolate; and then ate everything that is salty
9 million ways your heart is breaking but that one little smiling face is worth every one of them (even when tantruming, go figure)
pre10d you're a normal family it's all no big deal because it's way too much to process and talk about on a daily basis - besides, the case worker is calling
11, one more than a nice round 10, because once you've let yourself go to this place of redefining family (and thinking you were in control of the definition), it seems God likes to take it a step further, or a van size bigger. Do they make bunkbed cribs? Just kidding. Mostly.
Monday, 26 November 2018
All day long their circles of exploring, adventuring, and learning loop out and back to me. And in the hundreds (or possibly thousands) of cycles, I meet their needs for comfort, for nourishment, for regulation, for connection, for cuddles. Some big, long loops. Some small, short, frequent, tiring loops. And I love it, more or less. I have the honour of being their center as I ever-so-slowly try to work myself out of a job – or at least try to share the job with Jesus.
One successfully performs at his first recital and the relief transforms his body as he puts down his guitar and bounds over to spill his pride onto me and absorb mine too, partly because he succeeded but also because he was brave. With courage he chose to act on the belief that I was speaking truth when I said he could actually really do this, though his face, jaw, eyes, and shoulders clearly revealed that he did not feel any part of this truth. With this success, maybe bravery of believing will be a touch easier next time around.
Another is faced with newness and her lip quivers as she burrows her body into mine. She doesn’t want to cry, but this might just be too much. With deep breaths, my heartrate slows hers and we turn around to face this new person together, one of us confident that new means great things ahead and the other desperately wanting to bravely trust that this could be so.
Yet a third calls out to me every few minutes. Sometimes he needs a bottle or a diaper, but most often he needs a cuddle of reassurance. I marvel at his ability to bravely trust again after the greatest betrayal. Trust that his needs will be met by someone new, trust that he is safe, trust that his world will not turn upside down again tomorrow. He snuggles into my chest, I breathe him in and I wonder where my bravery is hiding.
It has been nights and nights of bad dreams. Random dreams on random themes, all with the residual feelings of dread and of being overwhelmed. I wake up knowing that I can’t do this. That it’s too much and I’m not going to make it. I rewind the video of my mind to the night before and it’s not hard to see the source. I close children’s doors with a sigh of being emptied as the day ends, sink into the couch for the slow-sipping, end-of-day filling back up with my husband. And then when the lights are out my mind starts to spin with what is ahead.
This is the babe we are going to have to let go.
The words are not truth.
But they feel true and they permeate my heart in the darkness. This is the babe we are going to have to let go. His dad seems kind, caring, and genuine and though it is early days, the end seems painstakingly inevitable. In the best possible way and in the hardest.
Of course I have been through this wrestle before. I know that it is precisely because I love and care for this child as my own, that I pray for the best for him. And I know that the best for him is to be with the healthy, loving, stable version of his parent(s). And so I know that there are no prayers I can pray that will make this easier for me, because I long ago gave up easy and the right to have it be about me. If this is the road we walk with Chase, then all I can do is look at the models of my children’s stories above. I can be brave – which, if I recall from their stories, does not mean trying and doing and striving and conjuring up feelings of courage. Brave means choosing to trust a truth I do not yet feel to be true.
Brave means choosing to trust a truth I do not yet feel to be true. I can’t do bravery more or less or better or worse, as long as I make each choice, big or small, on God’s truth over mine. And so I am freed from striving, because this is about His truth, His strength in me, His grace through me, His glory not mine. He must become greater; I must become less. Is there greater bravery than that?
But oh man do I dread what lies ahead. The grief so deep, the pain so paralyzing. I have not forgotten that feeling and my dreams reflect how little I want to walk that road again. Will I be able to be brave? Will I be able to cling to the truth of God’s faithfulness and goodness in my life and in Chase’s? Will I choose to cling to it when it does not feel true? Dammit. I hate the grief that is integral to this road of my son’s healing and mine.
Wednesday, 17 October 2018
The email is only two sentences long, just about scheduling and logistics. On the surface anyway. But my heart catches in my throat, because of what we’re scheduling. Yesterday your dad got his second chance at life and freedom. Today he showed up for the meeting that mattered. And next week he meets you, his son.
This is good. This is great. Chase, this could be the beginning of setting things right for you. This is what you deserve, a Dad who loves you and can hardly wait to meet you. This is what I want for you – at least my mind does. But my heart has spent months preparing for the possibility of loving you and weeks doing the things that make me your Mom and you my Son. And, of course, I suspected I loved you already. But the feeling is more real than ever, when suddenly the possibility of having to let you go takes on a name, a shape and the first step in that direction. I’m way ahead of myself, of course, but the edge of uncertainty is suddenly looming closer than before.
Oh Chase, my selfish soul is already scared of the road I will have to walk, when what matters is the road you will have to walk. I can’t even type it without crying, dammit. Let us both put our hope in the One who is Faithful. The One whose beauty and love chase after you every day of your life, son. For you will be at home in the house of God no matter where you spend the days of your life. And so will I. Home in Him, where there is peace, assurance, and hope for whatever road we walk, together or apart.