Lately, I have felt like I have to fight for everything. I have to fight to get an important project off the ground at work. I have to fight LSS’s dysfunctional birth family members that have been besieging us with abusive and threatening phone calls. I have to fight to keep my past from holding my present and future hostage. This weekend I had to fight Hurricane Irene while dealing with people who don’t respect how we parent LSS and people who want to take her away. Everything is a fight.
I want peace. I need peace. I need an easy win.
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:26-28)
“May He grant you your heart’s desire
And fulfill all your counsel!
We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. ” (Psalm 20:4-6 )
I need an easy win…please God…tell me that it is coming!
For years I have been trying to run from my past. I have hidden from people who have hurt me. I have stashed my sins in a box and shoved the box as far under the bed as I could. I hold my breath as I round every corner, hoping that there won’t be someone who remembers who I was, what I did or what happened to me. Sure, there are people in my life who know about some of it, but it is only the stuff that I have told them. Even my family only knows the things that I allowed them to see. The one exception is my husband. He knows all and still loves me.
I have lived in fear that people will find out what I was and will never see past it to who I am now.
Today my past intercepted my present. Today I processed the new hire paperwork for the husband of the woman who knows who I was. She was my abusive ex-husband’s mistress. She gave birth to his child the week that he punched me in my stomach after I told him that I might be pregnant. She knows what I went through to keep that abusive husband. She knows what I did to keep her and her child away from us. She knows who I was. And that is all that she knows.
She doesn’t know my new last name. She doesn’t know how hard I worked to regain my life after I lost so much of it. She doesn’t know how abusive he became toward the end. She doesn’t know that he almost killed me. But she knows things that nobody in my life knows. She felt my hatred and my rage. It was well deserved, but I am still ashamed.
I am not who I was. But she doesn’t know that.
Over the past nine months, I have gone from feeling like LSS’s mom in my heart to her actually acknowledging me as her mom. She now regularly calls me “Mommy”. I love it!
But this little girl is not a typical little girl. We are parenting a hurting little girl who spent the first four years of her life facing rejection and heartache. We are parenting a child who, until she met Hubby and me, did not know anything about security or attachment.
When we first met LSS, over three and a half years ago, we quickly realized that we would be the only security that she would have. As she was bounced back and forth between us, her birth mom, her birth dad, and her biological grandparents (and step-grandparents), the only constant that she had was our house. Her bio-family is filled with drug addicts and alcoholics who frequently change addresses and even more frequently end up in jail.
We gave her a home to come back to. We gave her a comfy room. We gave her a house filled with love. But most importantly we gave her our hearts, knowing full well the risk that came with that.
The past nine months have been rough. This is the longest that LSS has gone without seeing her birth mom. We don’t even know where her birth mom is. She does a tightrope walk as she balances between memories of a house that was filled with rage, abuse, and neglect and a home that is filled with love, boundaries and security. There are days that she thrives. Days when she brings home A’s on all her tests. And then there are days where she struggles. Days when she spends her entire day in the principle’s office. There are days that go so smoothly that we almost forget what lies right beneath the surface. There are days that go so terribly that we almost forget that there can be good days too. There are days when she basks in our love. And then there are days where she rejects us entirely.
We are parenting a BEAUTIFUL child who is filled with God-given talents and gifts. We are parenting an INTELLIGENT child whose wit keeps us on our toes (when she doesn’t have us rolling on the floor in laughter). We are parenting an AMAZING child who is unbelievably resilient. We are parenting a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD).
Yes indeed! I took a break. A long, unannounced break.
Last October, LSS went to visit her birth mom for the weekend and when we went to pick her up, they were gone. Completely gone. No note. No warning. Just gone. Our hearts broke. We desperately tried to contact them. And as the days went by, we became more and more afraid that we would never see or hear from LSS again.
Finally a call came! LSS’s birth mom took her to a state on the west coast. (We are on the east coast.) She wanted a new life…a new chance to be LSS’s mom. We were relieved to hear from them, but saddened to even imagine what LSS was going through. We waited and prayed.
A week later, we received another call from LSS’s birth mom. She wanted to come back and give LSS back to us…no questions asked.
It took her two long weeks to finally get back here. We went to the airport to pick them up. When LSS saw us, she burst into tears and just stood sobbing in the middle of a crowd of travellers. I rushed to her and gathered her up in my arms. She sobbed and sobbed. Her birth mother yelled at her to shut up. I just cuddled and comforted her.
When we dropped her birth mother off at her boyfriend’s house, she didn’t bother to say goodbye to LSS. LSS looked at her mom and just watched her go. As we began our drive home, LSS began to tell us what had happened during those four long weeks that she was away from us. She had celebrated her 7th birthday. Been a frequent visitor at a strip club. She knew how to mix vodka and coke. She knew more than any seven-year old should.
But we had her back! And I had my work cut out for me. So I took a break from blogging and concentrated and getting my little one to once again feel safe and secure.
My friend used to sing all the time. When we were in college he taught me the song “God is My Refuge and Strength.” We used to sing it together in perfect harmony over and over:
God is my refuge and strength.
My refuge in time of trouble, trouble.
God is my refuge and strength.
My refuge in time of trouble.
And He will hide me in the cleft of the rock,
in the cleft of the rock, in the cleft of the rock.
And He will hide me in the cleft of the rock,
Safe in the time of trouble.
All week long, since I heard of my friend’s death, I have been singing or humming that song. Sometimes while I cry. Other times while I smile, remembering the fun times we shared.
My heart is heavy, but I will one day see him again in heaven.
Once upon a time, there was a girl. The Girl had just arrived on campus to begin her freshman year. Staring at all the buildings, she stood intimidated on the front lawn. Attempting to draw as little attention to herself as possible, she quietly went into the hall where the freshman orientation was about to begin. Picking a seat toward in back corner, against the wall, she wished that she saw just one familiar face. No such luck. But within minutes, a handsome boy with a smile on his face walked boldly over to her and said, “Hi! I’m The Boy and you’re The Girl and now we are going to live happily ever after.”
The Girl looked up at The Boy and couldn’t help but grin. The Boy sat down next to The Girl and began to tell her the names of many of the strangers surrounding them.
“That’s Ricky. Would you believe that he is all the way from Washington?”
“That girl over there is Jenny. Her twin brother Joel is here too.”
“That dude over there is Andy. He is my roommate. He is dating Lyndsey.”
“Wait! Wait!” The Girl exclaimed, “How do you know everyone already? Aren’t you a freshman too?”
“Yep,” The Boy replied, “But I don’t plan on being a lonely one.” And with that The Boy began introducing The Girl to everyone he had already met. And The Girl made lots of friends and was happy at her new college.
The Boy and The Girl hung out everyday. The Boy made The Girl laugh. The Girl made The Boy study.
Then one day, The Girl went into her dorm room and found on her pillow the largest, most beautiful long stem red rose that she had ever seen. There was a card attached that said, “From your secret admirer.”
The Girl ran to the hall and saw all her friends gathered around giggling. “Who did this?” she asked. Her friends just giggled more. They all knew, but were under strict orders to allow The Girl to figure things out for herself.
She ran outside of the dorm and looked around. “Who ya lookin’ for?” said a voice behind her.
The Girl swung around and saw The Boy. She saw his smile and knew exactly who her secret admirer was. For the rest of the semester, The Boy and The Girl were inseparable. The Boy was impetuous and romantic. He would give her his coat when she was cold. He would take her for walks on the beach. In the middle of the mall, he would grab The Girl into his arms and begin waltzing with her amongst the Christmas decorations.
Life progressed and one day, somehow they stopped dating and lost contact with each other. The Girl moved on. The Boy moved on. The Girl met her Prince Charming and got married. The Boy fell in and out of love with new girls.
One day, The Boy found The Girl on Facebook and they shared old memories. The Boy showed The Girl pictures of his daughter. The Girl told her husband about The Boy she dated a long long time ago. The Boy was glad that The Girl had found someone to make her happy. The Girl’s husband was thankful that The Boy had taken care of The Girl so well. The Boy, The Girl and her husband made plans to meet for dinner.
A few weeks before that dinner could happen, The Girl received the news that The Boy had been tragically killed in a car accident. The Girl’s heart ached for The Boy she once knew. Her tears flowed for the life lost. And she promised silently to never forget that day when a handsome boy with a smile on his face walked boldly over to her and said, “Hi! I’m The Boy and you’re The Girl and now we are going to live happily ever after.”
Today I found out that a friend died. I met him when we were in Bible college together. He was killed last weekend by a drunk driver. He was handsome. He was young. He had the biggest heart and would do anything for someone in need. He left a family behind. He left friends behind. I don’t think that he realized just how important he was to those in his life.
I am unbelievably sad.
I didn’t get to say goodbye.