Community support. Let’s be a village of change.

We all have things that ignite our souls and also things that send a justifiable rage through out our bodies. For me they are both of the same thing. Injustice to children and the pursuit to help children. This is undoubtedly my life’s purpose. Any one of us can get on social media today and see so much anger behind what people strongly believe in (usually political these days.) Everyone has a passion, a conviction and a drive in them. But I think there might be better ways to fight our battles and that is together. We as a community can ignite actions for real and tangible change. Change that will help so many families and vulnerable children in our very own communities and back yards. From the beginning of this storm our family has been in the fight of our lives against a system designed to fail families like ours. While simultaneously also fighting against mental illness that is bigger than I ever knew possible. We have heard over and over how our situation is so unique or there aren’t protocols in place for families like ours. We have been told over and over that no one knows what to do. We have fought to clear our names, fought to keep our family intact and now we are fighting a fight that is so big, so powerful and perhaps intimidating that if it wasn’t for the truth that God is bigger, I would have surely crumbled by now. But here’s the thing. We are not the only family in this situation. Many don’t raise their hands and publicly say “me too” and I don’t blame them at all. The ridicule, the judgments, the lies and slander, the false allegations, wrongful charges and so much more that came upon our family with standing up against our very own Goliath has been beyond what most of you know about. There really are SO many of us. So many families that said yes to bringing big traumas, devastating abuse, horrific neglect, and some of the most severe complex mental illnesses one will ever experience in their lifetime into our homes. Families that adopt children from super hard beginnings don’t need your judgment, they need support from an educated community. These families are not the problem, they are fighting desperately to heal the child filled with the devastating problem. You can give real and tangible help to these families by showing your support. Showing up when many others have walked away, because the journey is long. I will never stop fighting or be silenced about the injustice of our story. Because it’s not just our story. It’s a story so many families are living or more appropriately said, barely surviving through.  So here is how you can be part of change for families and children like ours in your very own community. If you can’t foster or adopt children, please support the families that are. We are not saviors or heroes. We are ordinary families with callings on our hearts in which we said yes too. Here is my dream for my community. If you’re in the mental health system, a first responder, a doctor, a nurse, a teacher, a pastor or personnel in the legal system, please educate yourself and your work place on what severe complex trauma and mental illness in children really looks like in a family setting. Don’t just read books or go to classes that teach about reactive attachment disorder, disassociate identity disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, sociopathic tendency or so on. Talk to the families living with these very real, preventable and devastating mental illnesses. Dig deep with your time, love and resources to learn, support and engage in ways that will really help them. By helping the family that are being the cast around the child filled with trauma, you are helping to change generations to come from more trauma and preventable mental illness. All of which will forever change our communities for the better. This problem is big, devastating and affects families in every state and corner of America and beyond. If you know a family that has adopted children from hard beginning, even if you don’t see the trauma first hand, go today and tell them you see them and you are with them through this long, beautiful and sometimes devastating journey that God has called them to. Ask them questions, learn ways you can help, listen to their hearts for their children and respect the boundaries that must be put in place for everyone’s safety.  And if you already have a purpose that is bigger than yourself. I support you, I see you and I’m proud of you for chasing after it. People with a purpose bigger than themselves inspire me and people that come along side others to help carry those purposes further along are true saints and the kind of people I want and need in my community. Imagine how beautiful and strong our communities would become if each of us picked something that God has already put into motion to get behind and support. To help ignite the fire of change and be part of something bigger than any one person could do alone. Maybe I’m naive and thinks the impossible is possible.  But my heart believes strongly in the notion that my pastor Ed Waken often says, “When a lot of people do a little, much is accomplished.”  We as a family are going  to accomplish something bigger than ourselves, so no other family ever has to be in this horrible situation and separated from each other. Families belong together. I strongly believe that education is our first step in achieving this goal. I can put professionals and families in your path for you to learn more and help enable change for one family and child in the trenches of trauma at a time and let’s watch and see what God will do.

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We found hope in surrendering.

In the Old testament it says that Abraham had been given a promise of a son. For Twenty-five years he waited for God to keep that promise. God kept his word and gave Abraham a son named Isaac. And then this happened in Genesis 22:2

“Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’”

Can you imagine what Abraham must have felt. He begged God for this son, he waited so long for this child and he finally had his boy, and now God was asking Abraham to give this child back to him?!  And somehow Abraham mustered up the faith to do just that. 

The Bible says it was a three-day journey that Abraham and Isaac took together. I wonder how many times during their journey, Abraham looked over at his son with tears streaming down his face knowing what was to come. 

For the last year we have cried, more like sobbed, with many of you, but to one person in particular, it has happened more often. I would tell her that I couldn’t do what the Lord was asking of us, that it was going to shatter me, shatter us and change everything and I desperately did not want it to change. Every time this conversation would come up between her and I, she would respond to me with, “I see a vision in my head of Abraham and Isaac and the faith it took for him to obey God.” And each time she would say this to me,  I would respond back with, “I do not have that kind of faith, I am not that strong. I can’t do this.”   I wonder if Abraham said something like that internally to God during his three-day Journey with his son to the top of the Mt. 

But still Abraham and Isaac eventually did reach the top of the mountain and In Genesis 22:9-12 it says, 

“He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham! Do not lay a hand on the boy.”

A few Monday nights ago, Ben and I reach the top of our mountain. I was laying on our bed and Ben was on his knees next to the bed. With a pen in his hand and a document between us that we both knew once signed would change everything forever. The grief was unbearable. I started sobbing in ways I have never cried in my entire life. Ben was also crying and he didn’t know what else to do, so he prayed. He asked the Lord to give us strength to hand our son over to him and that we both knew that He loved our son more than we did and to help us to trust that.  Then Ben stopped praying and said, “I feel that the Lord is asking us to dedicate little man’s life over to him at church this coming Sunday.” So after talking for a while together and with others people we decided that we would take that week and on that Sunday we would dedicate him and his life to the Lord. We went to bed that night smiling and something was lifted from us for that moment because, we knew we had a few more days with him, a few more days before our hearts shattered in ways we can’t describe. But three days later on that past Wednesday, we woke up like any other day and seemly out of the blue things came to light and transpired quickly regarding him and about where he was staying. Everything got flipped upside down and by 4 o’clock that afternoon he was home, in our house for the first time in 18 months. We still do not know what the future holds for him or for us as a family. But we did find hope in surrendering. 

God didn’t ask Abraham to surrender because he wanted to punish him, but because He wanted to bless him. And God did exactly that. When Abraham surrendered to God, God blessed him above and beyond. When we surrender, God blesses us and in our case he blessed us with hope. This doesn’t lesson the pain or struggles of this journey but it does give us hope and a trust that we needed in order to continue on. So no matter what God does in all of this, we are learning to trust and believe it will be good and perfect because God really does love him more. 

So in this moment and for the last 12 days, we are a whole family, under one roof and my heart is more at peace than it has been the last four years combined.IMG_2611

….no mountain unturned


Would we still say yes to being our little boy’s parents knowing all that was in store for our family?  
Goodness that is such a loaded question. One I have sat and thought about, on some really hard days. On one hand, if I never met him I would never have fallen in love with him. So maybe not saying yes might have been much easier at the time. On the other hand, if I never met him, I would never have been able to love him and that is equally as devastating to think about. But I did meet him and I did fall completely in love in love with him. So here we are and this much I know, I will never regret loving him but loving him is the easy part. The darkest and most painful days of our lives have came with bringing trauma into our lives and home. We have second hand trauma from living in the chaos mental illness brings. It’s not our son’s fault, not even close. Which makes some of the choices we have to make even harder. My childhood of abuse doesn’t hold a flame to the anguish of the last couple years has brought our family. As a women, your identity to a degree is wrapped up in being a mother, at least it is for me. The nurturer, the safe place, the person that fixes the boo-boos, the one her child runs to when they’ve had a bad dream. But I can’t be that for him and it’s so dang painfully hard. As his mom, my arms should be his safest place and they are actually his scariest place. No matter how much it is explained to him, his basic instinct kick in and his soul screams, ‘moms can’t be trusted.’ Which is ass nine backwards for most of us to comprehend, but his early years taught him it was true at a primal level. So each day; I wake up and still choose him, I choose him over my own selfish needs and wants. I choose to do the hard things over the comfortable things for him. I choose my other children too and place our family as a priority above all else right now. I choose to put on thick skin and fight the clueless people trying to hold us back as we are trying to push forward. Daily I still choose him. We have to leave no stone or mountain unturned in the fight to save our son and hopefully I will have a heart that is at peace of knowing we have done everything within us to give him the life he always deserved and hopefully that life will be something beyond what we ever could have hoped for him. IMG_1391

Victories and Struggles

Your child’s story is his to share….

It is and much of it is also our story.  Trust me only those closest to us know the deepest and darkest parts of our story. There are valleys of sadness that aren’t shared, mountains of victories left unsaid, days of desperation that only a few have held us through. Moments of great grief that I was literally carried, like, physically held and carried by family and friends, because I Just couldn’t. There are things ahead of us that most know nothing about. But I strongly believe our lives are meant to be shared and I hope I always share our story with dignity and truth, without compromising anyone’s own story. Sharing the hard parts comes with sharing the good. Isn’t it deceiving just a little to only share the victories and blessing, while leaving out the valleys and the storms? I have shared very openly of my childhood of abuse but I also left out a million pieces to the story and yet, what I did share, helped many, healed myself deeper and led me to a healthier and better version of me. A book came from it, a non profit was started and friends were made that will hopefully last a life time. All because I chose to share my heart. We live in a world of secrecy, privacy and where we only share what is safest with those that are safest. But what if our stories have bigger purposes than just for ourselves to learn from? What if what we walk through can help another person? Would you share differently if you knew it would? I know for me personally I am drawn to people that let folks into their own struggles and not just their victories. I share our world openly, because that’s me, I enjoy writing, I love what it has done for me personally and I love you all enough to let you in. One day I hope to share more of it and I pray it helps someone that’s also in the trenches of life. So many of your struggles and victories have blessed me and encouraged me to do more, love deeper and be braver than I was the day before and I am thankful you trusted me enough to let me in. Sharing parts of most areas of our life isn’t a bad thing, it’s an okay thing to do, even if it’s a little terrifying. Each and every time I have shared a part of us, I have always been scared with being so vulnerable, but so far, I have never regretted letting folks in.FullSizeRender

It’s a RAD world

Welcome to Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) as we awesome parents like to call it. Take RAD, mix in PTSD, anxiety, conductive disorder and oppositional defiance disorder, add a bunch of good hearted, well meaning adults, and you have the perfect storm for  CPS to be called and investigations to be done and false judgment by pretty much everyone that is not in your inner circle.

Children with RAD are masters at triangulating the adults in their lives. They thrive on controlling the situation, and learn from an early age (like babyhood) how to manipulate folks to get what they think they need. If that means turning the rest of the world against the people that love them, who would die for them and are fighting like hell to help them, that’s ok, it’s all about surviving life the way they think they still have too. You can’t blame these kids for it either, it’s how their little broken brains works after their early years of trauma. But, knowing all this doesn’t make it any easier on the parents who are watching themselves become the no longer good parents of the neighborhood, by child’s therapist, at school, with family. These loving parents that would do anything for this child have people questioning their hearts. Here is why, the child with RAD is telling everybody what horrible parents they are with words and in actions, all day, every day, it’s what they believe they have to do. I call it shopping for parents, when the child are trying to charm and manipulate every person they see. But really what it comes down to, we (the parents) are no longer safe, because we are pushing emotions that scare the heck out of them, calling them out on behaviors that are not acceptable, expecting them to be authentic and feel those big scary attachment emotions. Any outside adult, friend, family, stranger, teacher, mailman etc. RAD is trying so hard to convince them all, they are good, cute, perfectly behaved and that you do want to take them home. For a better or perhaps lack of words, they are selling themselves to you.

My son, that has reactive attachment disorder is prostituting out his heart, his mind and his body every chance he gets, not so much in a sexual way, but in a real way, because you are safe to him, he can control you, manipulate you with his charm, with his sweet voice and perfect manners and soon you will start doubting what we as his parents are saying. You will start wondering what it is that we are doing wrong or why he is so good with you and horrible with us. You will soon start to wonder if our hands are just too full with the other kids and your heart will feel such sorrow for him. You’ll think he’s starving, he will eat so much and keep asking you for more that you will start to wondering if we are withholding food from him. He will tell you lies upon lies, all to see yours eyes soften and for you to pull him closer to yourself. He will come across as starved for affection, attention and love. He will be a model child for you and he can hold this façade together for awhile. He did all those things the first few months he lived with us too, it wasn’t until we started catching on to his behaviors and calling him out, while having real expectations of him, did we start to see the real side of him. Once he started to feel emotions and have true expectations, we were no longer a safe place because, he could no longer manipulate us and that’s when our world turned upside down. Every time we have a new evaluation, therapist, doctor, coach, teacher or someone new come into our lives, I feel I have to over emphasize that we are good parents in the hopes they will believe us, because, I know once they meet him they’re going to wonder if what we were telling them, is even true. Until you have been questioned about your ability to parent correctly, you can’t fathom how frustrating and lonely the road of trauma can be. It isolates you. Your circle of trust becomes smaller and smaller and your world is forever different. You have now seen firsthand trauma, brokenness and mental illness in your child, a child that you love more than anything in the world, in such a real, raw way and you are forever changed. You quickly realized how uneducated the world is on early childhood trauma, and the devastating lifelong effects these children have to face and the families have to walk through. So the parents keep outsider at arms length a little more, they protect their family unit and do what they know is right because at the end of the day they are what matter the most.

Welcome to the world of RAD.

This is the very real world of reactive attachment disorder. It’s not uncommon, they’re so many parents that have adopted children or have biological children that have experienced severe trauma early in life and this is the world they live daily. The parents that are walking this road are forever changed and yet, most of these parents would still say they would do it all over again, most don’t regret saying yes, most go to bed each night exhausted only to wake and ask God for extra wisdom, extra patience, and a giant extra dose of love to make it through another day. Mental illness isn’t just panic attack, depression and ADHD sometimes mental illness in children is scary, it’s devastating and it’s a lifelong sentence. Let’s keep this topic going, let’s shine a light on mental illness and early childhood trauma, so more people understand it, more people show compassion towards it and maybe more doctors and therapist expand their education about it. ribbon

Upside Down

I think I have read probably every single book, blog and scribble note ever written on RAD by other trauma parents or at least it feels that way with all the sleepless nights I spend searching the endless internet suggestions and best ways to parent your child with RAD links…Most have helped me in some way or another. Some give me a sense of, YES, see, I am not crazy. Other books or blogs give me tools to parent my guy better. But most if not all that I have  read from actual parents in the trenches have helped. So to all you bloggers, Authors and Facebook posters, THANK YOU, from one trauma Momma to another.

While talking about books, I have one that if you haven’t read, and you know, teach or are raising a child with complex trauma and attachment issue, run, I mean that, run and get this book today. It’s called, Upside down, Understanding and Supporting attachment in adoptive families by Shannon Guerra. IT. IS. SO. GOOD. Since you just ran to buy one go a head and buy an extra few and give it to people in your circle, a book like this is what the world needs to be educated on attachment issue and the struggles we go through in trying to help our children heal.

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A broken season of healing

Broken times, call for broken words, ramblings and tear smeared ink. Do you ever have so much in your brain and heart that you HAVE to sit down and write it out, or you may explode? Because you feel like talking about whatever it is that is weighing you down is too exhausting after you have repeated your words 45 times a day for weeks and even months, to doctors, nurses, therapist and state workers.
So, today as my house is calm, quiet, safe and a few of my little humans play next to me, I will spill my heart and I am sure share more than I should. But what do we have to lose?
Our home is filled to the brim with love, like crazy, I couldn’t breathe without you in it kind of love. There is no place like home to me, the people God filled this home with, are my tribe, my safest place and have my heart completely. I love the crazy noise, the laughter and 98% of the time, I love how perfectly the kids fit together like a glove and I am not talking about OJ’s glove, but a perfectly tailored glove. Even as I write this, I can’t help but smile thinking how awesome our kids are. How much they have made this house a home and how blessed I am to be their mom. I am sure all of that sounds beautiful and what so many folks thInk of when adoption is brought up, because it is. Adoption is beautiful and at the core of God’s heart. But there is also another side, a broken side, a hard as hell side to adoption, a side most of us just don’t want to talk about for so many reasons.
Trauma.
The absolutely devastating trauma some of these kids go through, is life shattering, DNA changing and crippling to name just a few things. There is a secret society of moms and dads that none of us wanted to be part of, but there are thousands upon thousands of us. The tired and yet very determined parents that are fighting to save their child’s life, all while being aware there is very limited help and understanding out there.
We have spent the last year and a half learning about abbreviations like, RAD and ODD. We have tried to educate friends and family as much as we can. We have spent the last five days between home and a hospital, between eight parts of our hearts being at home and one part being away. Although, it is the safest and best choice for us all right now, we are broken at this decision, our hearts are bleeding and we are so dang mentally exhausted. We want more than anything to see our child through this pain to the other side of his trauma and yet, it’s becoming painfully apparent how deep and hard this road is going to be. He is worth it, our other kids are worth it, our marriage is worth it and peace in our home is worth it. But here, here lies a gut wrenching hard spot to be in as a parent, wanting your missing link to be home in its rightful spot in the family, while also seeing the difference your home has when that child is away. Guilt, shame and brokenness, those are the words hanging around Ben and I. They hang around reminding us of those moments we feel a sense of exhale, as we also feel a sense of not being able to breathe, because our baby isn’t home. There is just nothing like it, no amount of PS MAPPs training classes, well intended and informed people that walked this lonely, hard road before us can prepare a Foster and or Adoptive parent for what severe trauma will look like in your home. There is also no class or preparation that will prepare you for the fight you will have inside you for that very same child either. The natural momma/poppa bear that will come out of you, all while guilt, shame and brokenness are dancing around simultaneously, is immense.
Our family is on hold right now, we are in a moment of stand still and yet moving at a fierce speed. Have you ever road The Gravatron at the state fair? Is that still it’s name and is it still even around or did I just age myself? I use to love this ride as a child. It’s a circular ride that looks like a spaceship, you go inside and it moves so fast that you stick to the wall from the gravity racing around you. You are moving so fast that your body literally sticks to the wall and yet when you get off the ride you realize you never really moved anywhere. That’s where we are. Somewhere on that ride moving fast and yet not moving at all. One day we will get off this ride and we will move on to the next, but for now this is the ride we are on and sometimes it makes me want to puke and other times I go on for a second and third ride.
Do you all see how much I trust and love you? I just let you into our home, our hearts and the hard broken places, not just the rainbow and unicorn parts, but those places we like to pretend don’t really exist. Thanks for loving us so much and giving us a safe places to be, sit and even cry with us. Those gifts are priceless. There’s always extra seat on this ride and if you can stomach the speed and dizziness of it, please come sit next to us and join us. Life would be impossible if we didn’t have the friends and family we have. God set us up long before this season, knowing just what we would need and it included you!

Healing may look different for him

I struggle.
That sentence on its own is and could be the beginning and the end of this writing. It’s how I was feeling and wondering how to over come it all. I struggle with so much lately, well lately, might be an understatement, perhaps, more like the last 34 years, but who’s counting, right? I want to be open, transparent and vomit some of my heart on a few of you safe folks, with what I am going through, but in that lies the real struggle. Sharing my heart would mean, sharing my children’s lives, pains and exposing their brokenness and as a mom, I want to be the holder of their pains and that is hard to do sometimes, because holding on, means not letting go and I need to let go. I have three children with pretty big special needs, two of them have more obvious abilities, and one has an invisible illness. Mental illness, sucks, it’s hard, it’s invisible and devastating to walk through, but as a mom, to watch your child walk through or really be stuck in the depth of this illness is heart breaking and a level of frustration I can’t even begin to explain. It has brought me to my knees, rage, tears and back to joy and some times I go through each of those emotions in a single day. The amount of trauma some children have walked though or better yet barely survive through in order to have so many broken pieces is heart breaking for me to grasp and I thought I knew trauma. I mean doctors at one point in my life, labeled me with all the letters of the alphabets. Healing has mostly been attainable for me, but can or will healing always come? Will healing come to our small innocent children that never asked to be filled with all the inner turmoil they carry inside of them? What if healing looks different for them, what if it doesn’t come the way I beg God for? What will our lives look like, feel like and be, as the years past?
After the last while of asking God, “will this get better,” and feeling as though I am failing daily at parenting one of our kiddos. No, really, I mean failing for real, whether I really am or not, that’s how I feel so often. Recently while sitting in a doctor office for another one of my children, I started crying to the doctor about my fears, my failures and my heart to help one of my children win at life. This Dr. probably wanted to prescribe me some happy pills but honestly, it was what I needed, I needed to cry, vent and feel validated and then walk out knowing, my child will see healing one day. Maybe not how I want him too or maybe even better than I could have hoped for, but he will see healing, he will! I know this, because I know he will always know love, unconditional love, he will never again feel the pain of unthinkable abuse, neglect or the fear of not having Ben or I meet his basic every day needs. He will never have to question if he belongs, if he is wanted or how deeply he is being prayed for. His mind might not know how to trust all these thing just yet, but day by day, year by year, his heart will begin to see that he can trust and let his hyper vigilant little body relax in his momma’s arms that are so desperately waiting for such a chance.
I said I always wanted to be open and I do, I really do. Its been life giving to me to be more transparent. Adoption for us has been one of the most beautiful roads we have ever been on and yet, some of the deepest pains, lost dreams and many tears have entered into our lives over the last two years. Somehow, mental illness isn’t talked about as easy as other illnesses are. Maybe, it’s because it makes us feel weak or there was something we could have done differently, maybe we feel like we haven’t prayed hard enough for healing or maybe it’s just too damn painful to talk about but, we need to start talking about it, because it’s real and it’s stealing lives and breaking families apart and if I have breath in me, I will not let it win in our home. One day, maybe not for awhile, I will be able to say just how far he has come, how deep he loves and how big he trust, all while being wrapped up in my arms. There is always two sides of every story and every story has the beauty and heartbreak, sharing both is equally as healing and life giving.

Observing the symptoms ~ Treating with love

 

There is a different kind of love story developing in this journey of ours, that I never expected. When someone goes into fostering, they know there will be children to love, most with severely broken hearts, but at least for me, I didn’t go in thinking God was going to push me and by push, I mean hands on my back, as my stiff legs and feet are dug deep in the dirt kind of push, to love the biological parents to all the children that we will be blessed enough to love on. Often these parents are the ones that have broken the children we are tirelessly trying to help mend back together, often these parents are angry, broken, filled with bitterness and yet I know they each love their children to the absolute best they know how, even if that looks different to how we may give love. God from the day we brought our first little one home, spoke directly to my heart, asking me to love the bio parents, even when almost every fiber of my being wanted to scream at them, lash out at them, or simply wished I wouldn’t have to deal with this side of the story. God spoke, he pushed, he showed, he led and day after day, struggle after struggle I continue to see glimpses of His promises shining through. Then there are set back and I want to quit, to not walk in love, to just be raw, real and say everything that my heart wants to scream. That’s about the time God slips his sweet, gentle, kind, yet firm voice back into my raging heart and whispers how these parents have their own broken story, their own heartaches and their own need for love and understanding. I think it was Oprah Winfrey that said, “The greatest human need is to hear someone say, “ I hear you and I see you.” They need some control, some love and some grace thrown their way just as the rest of us do. They need to see Jesus in us, as desperately as these babies also do and at times that is a hard pill to swallow, because if I am completely honest, they scare me, they have the power to break my heart as deeply as their own hearts are breaking right now, two sets of parents that love the same child to the absolute fullest each knows how. There has been days in this short eight month journey of ours so far that I have genuinely fought with God, saying he couldn’t possible know what he is asking of me. To love the sweet victims, even when they bring ragging fits, broken screams and terrified hearts in to our home has felt like first nature to me, but loving the ones that caused the pain, that is hard, that isn’t natural, but the more I observe the symptoms, the more I see how to treat them, with a large heaping dose of love. Love really does cover a multitude of sins. If ever I have needed to pray for love, peace and understanding it’s now, because one day these children will need this part of their story and my heart needs too know that I have preserved the integrity and love of their ever after. I think this part of the story is were I want to close my eyes to and fast forward, scared of what I may see and what He may ask of me. I guess I just need to keep asking for a little more understanding, a little more grace and a lot more love, because the days I have, have made all the difference in the world. How many of you have been asked to love someone, to sit with them in their brokenness, even when it doesn’t feel natural. Have you started? It’s hard and it sucks at times, but you just might see what I am slowly and often reluctantly learning

Stolen Voices

We have six children in our home, three of which are under three years of age, as you can guess, life can get crazy busy and hectic around here at times. Sometimes we feel as though we just don’t have enough time to follow through, to go the extra step or always be consistent, but we don’t have that option, at least not with some of our kiddos. Our two toddlers come from horrendous abuse, neglect and because of this, the results are, they don’t communicate well, they shut down, they hide, they run, they have melt downs for what seems like no reason at all, to the unknowing eyes. As the parent, we will ask a simple question, in which we get a blank stare that is often filled with fear. It goes something like this, “Hey sweet heart, do you have to use the restroom?” In which, we get two glossy eyes starring back at us and usually an accident to follow, because of the fear an adult talking to them will do. One of our littles is an amazing talker, she sings every word to every Frozen song there is, she talks and talks the ears off to our children, but the moment an adult, whether Ben or I or her preschool teachers speak to her directly, she shut down, instantly. It can be so frustrating to say the least, but not at the children as much as the horrible adults that caused these pains in these babies. I often wonder if these adults could see the day to day horrific pain they have caused, would they get it? Would they weep with remorse, would they give up the fight and let these babies go to a better home? The external scars on these babies have all healed up, but the day to day fight by us, of being constant, being present, working tirelessly to connect and restore has just begun. Everything isn’t better the day they are removed from the care of their abuser, to me, it seems that’s the day the pain really begins. These children are use to the chaos, neglect and abuse, so bring them into a home with rules, love, boundaries and little, to no chaos and they will fight it, they will crave it, they will demand it to return, so they can feel normal and at peace again. So what do we do? We resist, we love, we fight them and we stay constant, day after day and night after night, until one day it starts to click. We say, “I love you” several times a day to our children and one of our littles response is always the same, she turns her head, says, “no” and walks away, until last night, she looked at my daughter and said the words back to her. Maybe she has never heard those words before, maybe those words were always attached to pain, there are a million maybes of why they do what they do and maybe we will never know, but today my heart is frustrated, broken and determined to give these babies back their voice. I hate what they have gone through and I hate that so many abusers get so many chances at the cost of children, but right now, they are here and while they are, if all they ever receive from us is to know what love feels like and find their voice, I will know we have done our job. #lovewins