Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Why I Refuse to be a Survivor.

I can call him my son and not allow him to live in our house. 
I can miss him and despise the chaos. 
I can grieve for him and laugh at stupid jokes.  
I can love him and let him go. 

The Roanoke Times wrote an article recently about my breast cancer story. You can read it here- I am a Survivor. 

I have had coffee with other trauma mommas seeking advice, and to just be heard and know that they are understood, as we compare our stories of parenting kids with early trauma. Parenting RAD- I am a survivor. 

I have survived my sadness and grief at the graves of many; but not like the world grieves because I know where they are. God's word tells me, based on their testimony of faith that they are happy and safe and free from all that we are left to survive here. 

October 23, has been a big deal for us since 2006. In the adoption circles, it is referred to as "Gotcha" day. The day we picked up our two youngest sons is forever engraved in my mind. The mad flurry of activity between the phone call around 3:30 pm and actually walking up to the social worker's car around 6 pm - picking my middle child (then 18 months old) up out of his car seat. I carried him beside their nine year old sister who carried my youngest (then less than a day from turning six months old) into the Emergency Room for routine physicals- done when children come into foster care. They came, literally with the clothes on their backs, filthy blankets and crib shoes. 

Immediately, we were willing to give everything for them. The cost didn't matter (I'm not just talking dollars). The forever day came three years later, in November. 

This year, October 23, wants to focus on the pain, heartbreak and a reality that I would never had imagined back then. The indignation that welled up in me when I was asked to sign annual papers acknowledging they would still be my sons. 

Who would do that? I mean, I was saving them from that very thing? And we were promising to love them forever. 

Who? Me. 

I'm the one who has had to let my son go. After more than 12 full years of loving him no matter what. Years of learning that I could not save him from himself. From his disorder. From the trauma that came before us. From his illness. From his anger. From his control. From his failure to attach. From his choices. 

Oh, how I tried to fix him. To fix us. To save what is so precious to me. 

October 4, 2019 a judge finalized the dissolution of the adoption for our middle son. 

It was never our plan-never what we expected. Because we loved so deeply, it was supposed to be enough. 

But, human love cannot always overcome human trauma. Some disorders are permanent and pervasive. RAD is such a disorder.

Often, grieving for our son feels more crushing than any graveside; we don't know where he is. We don't know if he is okay and we wonder if he can ever be happy. This reality would make it easy to say adoption doesn't work. 

But that isn't true. The relinquishment of our parental rights, to ensure our son gets the services and treatment the complicated Attachment disorder requires,  doesn't diminish that we had twelve years of pouring into him; of giving him more than he had. Of loving him. 

Because adoption does work our youngest is at home. We get to lay eyes on him everyday, ground him from his phone, argue about getting up for school and encourage him to make good choices and to remember who he belongs to and who loves him best. And whether my middle son lives in my house, or carries my last name, or ever speaks to me again the truth is the same... Jesus loves him best too. 

Because of our son's adoption we've gotten a better glimpse of God's love for us- that unconditional, letting us go to choose for ourselves who we give control to- kind of love. The love that assures that no matter what, once we confess and turn our sinful selves over to God, we bear His name. 

No matter how far we push Him away; how we fight for and decide our control of our own selves matters most; we are still adopted as His own and He promised forever. 

Gotcha Day 2019 well, honestly kind of sucks this year. We're trying to celebrate the happy and not fall under the weight of the sadness of it all. 

Within my own strength, my own love, my own abilities to be what my son needs most, I can barely claim survival. 

But giving back to God what is His, trusting Him to do and be for our son what we cannot; obeying in adoption, and again, obeying when He clearly asked us to let go...well that makes Rex and me more than survivors, it makes us Conquerors. 

Romans 8:37 says
"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us."

His love is perfect. 

In case you missed it, (I miss it a lot) His love is perfect. 

And it reaches me, and my husband, our sons in their pain...including Elijah in his. It reaches you, too. 

It is up to each of us to give the control to God. Let our indignation well up against sin, disease, and disorders that destroy but not against the people carrying them. Y'all, that is a daily, hourly, sometimes minute by minute struggle.  

The giving up is only possible in the letting go. 

How can I say I love my son when I let him go?
How can I grieve the loss of not parenting him when I know that contact limited to written letters is the only safe way forward? 
How can Rex and I get up each morning and walk into another day- not sure who, or where judgment and hurt will lurk from? 


I refuse to be a survivor.  
I'm choosing to be more than a Conqueror. 

And that promise to love him forever, it's a keeper. Because love isn't always the way we picture it, but once you give everything for it, you don't just stop it. 

Happy Wednesday y'all, 

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