It didn't matter that it was hard. We pretended it wasn't. It didn't matter that we didn't sleep for two years. No exaggeration. It didn't matter that every.single.week. they saw her and came back home to us a little more scarred. We didn't allow ourselves to let it matter because we might have said out loud "oh my gosh, we can't do this" and they might take our boys and put them back in an unsafe, unhealthy, traumatic environment.
It didn't matter because we were so very blessed.
|National Adoption Day- our forever day, November 21, 2009|
And once that very special day was done- we didn't realize that it would all matter again.
Year after year of defending ourselves and them. It mattered every time we got "the look" that accompanies the question- "you've had them how long"- as if being adopted by loving parents erases all the trauma and memories and wiring of their little brains to "protect themselves at all cost."
Years - they all mattered.
July 21, 2014- exactly 1 year ago we drove our son to another city- nearly four hours from his bedroom, brothers and snacks at will. We drove him away from us- and left him in a residential home where all we knew was that we really new nothing. We didn't know if our family would be together- in one house- again. So much pain. So much uncertainty. So much exhaustion. So much anger. So much to lose. But we held on to Hope and believed that our fractured son mattered.
We rejoiced with trepidation when he returned home. Prayers mattered. Unconditional love mattered. His very hard work and willingness to feel out loud with words and not angry hands and feet mattered.
And just as he returned home- his younger brother could contain his own hurt any longer and picked up where Elijah had left off- because that neglect, and trauma, and substance abuse- it all mattered to Isaiah too.
Since Elijah came home in November we continue to find our way to what really matters.
In 2009, when we signed the paperwork promising to love our boys forever, our wise social worker encouraged us to make decisions regarding the availability of services and assured us how much they would matter to our boys down the road. The road she had traveled with many families but one that would be new territory for us. We didn't know how important some of those decisions would be in these days we are in now.
If you've read my blog posts or know us personally, you know that our boys get services. Lots of services. Intensive in-home, TDT at school, respite, outpatient counseling, Occupational Therapy- to name a few. These services add a lot of weight to our shoulders and time to our schedules. Some days we want to say- enough! Get out of my house. Leave us alone. It doesn't matter.
It was during one of my- I'm sick of this Facebook post during a VICAP appointment (required for services) that a friend reached out to me about.... wait for it. More Services. And yes indeed, after the process was completed, both my boys qualified. I've been told by at least one outside organization that we got a miracle. Yes, we did. These new services are life-changing. They are relieving stress instead of adding to it.
We can't say enough good things about what could be the best kept secret from families who greatly need their services- Moms in Motion - who guided us through the assessments and are now facilitating these new services for us. The information alone that they have passed on to us has been invaluable.
The services that we fought so hard against- maybe out of pride, embarrassment or lack of understanding- hindsight has shown really matter.
And now, I find myself embracing the intruders and questionnaires and check-ins and hotlines because we are seeing them pay off and help our kids become stable and our family more healthy.
Which, is allowing us to get back to what really matters- loving and enjoying each other. Even in the still frequent tough days, the laughter is increasing. The phone calls to come and pick them up are decreasing
|Enjoying family vacation- Madeira Beach, FL June 2015|
I started sharing our adoption realities because I had no idea that what we are experiencing is fairly common for kids with traumatic beginnings. RAD is more than a cute saying on a Tshirt in our world, but we learned that the hard way. If you're thinking about adopting, I hope our story doesn't scare you away. My intent is not to stop you, but to encourage you. Knowledge is power. Adoption is hard, but so very worth it. And there is no shame is using all of the resources available to you and your family.
Adoption is truly a beautiful gift- not one we give the kids, but one the kids give us.
Happy Tuesday y'all!
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