Saturday, April 12, 2014

More

We all have more strength than we think we possess.

It is miraculous that Ben and I made it through the past eight weeks. Really. Those early days seem like an irritating blur in an alter reality. I'm not sure how we got through it, but we did. This morning, Ben and I enjoyed an early morning snuggle on our back deck. The sun warmed our backs as we watched all three boys don rain boots and bike helmets (the boys wear them like uniforms). Little Miss played on a quilt at our feet and we soaked it all in.

Our property; our kids. Time stands still when I think about the fullness of God in my life. Just a few short years ago my empty arms ached for babies to hold...and, now, I have four.

For YEARS we dreamed of a house on property where the boys could run and shout and catch frogs. Today, we sat in awe at all that God has given us. It's more than we asked for. More than we imagined. But, that's our God, isn't it? The God of so much more.

This was a week of more.

Sweet Boy and I are friendly with one another, but when it comes to affection, I have been traveling on a one-way street. Similar to our experience with LJ, Sweet Boy took to Ben right away and never held back warmth. I'm just the mom. And, sadly, in foster care, that doesn't mean much.

A couple days ago, the boys were watching Cinderella. It was toward the end where the animals are trying to free her from her locked room and the fat cat has the mouse, Gus, trapped under a teacup. Sweet boy was frozen with fear. He looked at me and said, "M-o---o--m--m, will you hold me? I'm scared!"

He often will paralyze at any sign of conflict, but this was the first time he had ever reached out to me for comfort. I held him tight and urged him to look at the TV and told him we'd watch it together. I explained what was happening and told him how the story ended, so that he wouldn't have to fear for the mouse's safety.

Yesterday, I was feeding the baby, and he asked if he could sit with us. He didn't want to talk, so we just sat, quietly, together, with my hand resting on his knee. It was the first time he sought me out on his own, without the other boys around.

Today - oh, today! - he crawled into my arms when I was resting on the couch and asked if he could lay with me. I, nearly, cried for joy. He snuggled right in and I held him as close as I could without smothering him. When I said, "I really love you, buddy," he was quick to reply, "I love you, too."

For the first time.

And, now, I know we're going to be okay.

 
  
We're going to be more than okay.



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pre-Trial

I got a text message. A little underwhelming. Visitation was suspended and our termination trial is at the end of June. That's all it said.

We have an "unannounced visit" from our case worker, this week, so I hope to hear more details. I know mom was there because we requested her to sign a consent form to let us take the kids out of state. She signed it.

I'm grateful for no more visits, but frustrated with the two month plus trial date. We are ready to have this portion of our story behind us.

I'm not sure how we'll handle conversations with Sweet Boy from here. LJ told him, yesterday, that when he is adopted he'll have to become a Detroit Tiger fan. He, vehemently, opposed and yelled that he'd always be an Eagles fan (his last foster brother's high school basketball team). I didn't intervene in such an important conversation - just smiled.

I know the Holy Spirit will guide us on what to do and say as we move forward...

Monday, April 7, 2014

On the Farm

Today, I had the rare treat of spending a full day with just the three boys. We headed out early to our local Metropark farm so that we could catch the cows getting milked.

It's one of our favorite places to visit as a family...and it's free!


On the way, Ty and LJ prepped Sweet Boy on all the fun we'd have. LJ told him about the cows "gutters" and how the milk goes through the tubes for cleaning. Ty named his favorite animals by name and wondered if Shortcake's baby (from last spring) would still be there.


 Sweet Boy was quiet.

As soon as we got out of the car he asked to go home. 

I was taken back two years. 

LJ still deal with light shades of insecurity, but nothing as dark as those early days. He was so gripped with fear, anything out of routine resulted in an anxiety so palpable, it nearly crippled him. 

EVERY time we left the house he asked to go home. He would cry in the car and ask to hold my hand. And he was two. Sweet Boy is four.

The insecurity is the same. 
They were never taught to hold home in their heart.

I hurt for Sweet Boy, yet, I watch LJ and know rescue is on its way.


Sweet Boy was very nervous around the animals. He tried to hang back and not get involved, but I'm not that kind of mom.

Life is a delicate balance of knowing when to push and when to pray. I do a lot of both, but today I pushed...because I know the sensitivity and tenderness that is waiting for its chance.


He never let go enough to enjoy our day, but we did get quiet moments together on the bench, watching the boys play.

I held his hand and told him he would love the farm one day, too.


Pray for us tomorrow. Our pre-trial is in the morning.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I'm a foster kid.

At breakfast, this morning, Ty and LJ were imagining a special button in my car that we've never seen before. Apparently, when I push said button, the car transforms into a rocket ship and has the ability to blast us to school! I was enjoying their creativity, but noticed Sweet Boy was quiet; thoughtful. It was early, so I left him to his thoughts.

LJ was in mid blast-off countdown when Sweet Boy blurted out, "I'm a foster kid."

It was hollow; matter-of-fact.

"What does that mean, buddy?" I asked.

"It means...I have no family."

............................................................................................................

My heart stood still, gripped with emotion, but the Holy Spirit didn't miss a beat.

"What?????? No family? What are we??? Ty are we Sweet Boy's family?"

"Yup, we're brothers!"

"LJ, are we Sweet Boy's family?"

"Oh, yeah!"

"You know what, buddy? I am your family. And Ty. And LJ. And Daddy. (Ty reminded me that I forgot baby sister). And do you know what we're going to do? We're going to adopt you. Because we want you to be in this family forever."

I said it.

I'm done with politics. My heart knows it and his needs to feel it.

"Would you like us to adopt you?"

He shrugged.

"Come on....Don't you wan't to be a Pinchback?"

He gave a slight smile and scrunched his nose.

"Yah...I know, it's a silly last name, but we all share it!"

He smiled, but spent the rest of the morning inside himself. When we were getting dressed, I asked him to tell me who called him a foster kid (thinking someone at school must of said something; we don't use that language at home). His reply was, simply, "No one said it. It's just in my head, mom."

By the time I dropped them off at preschool, he had moved on. He was excited that they were going to be talking about planes in class, today.

His words, however, hang in the air...haunting my thoughts.

My four year old son has accepted the world's label.

What's even more troubling is that he associates it with isolation; lack of love; family.

I need you, Jesus.
Right now.




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

More Mess

I am done with the emotional ping-pong.

When I was feeding Little Miss, this morning, she kept looking at me with her beautiful big blues. So happy; content. I snuggled her close and thought about today's pending visit with mom. I didn't want to share her. After all these weeks of chaos and screaming, my baby girl finally settled-in, and for the first time, I feel JOY in her presence.

I don't want mom to even touch her. Selfish, I know.

Sweet Boy had a difficult morning. His emotional responses are identical to LJ's. Neither of them have the ability to regulate how they express what they're feeling. It's frustrating, but after two years, I feel more confident in how to parent and direct their irrational sobs.

It was such a fight to get him in the car to preschool, I worried about our visit and what the aftermath would be.

I dropped the boys off and sat in the school parking lot for ten minutes, waiting for agency to call. It wasn't worth driving away, just to come back and get Sweet Boy.

They called. She didn't show.

I should have been elated. Happy to move on with my day.

Sadness settled in the deepest part of my heart.

I feel so much loss...I haven't broken it down, yet, to know who I mourn for more, but I am definitely in a state of grief. I can't feel victory with so many complexities swirling in my heart.

I'm not able to go to the pre-trial, next week, because the kids are on spring break. I am thankful, now. I know the next two trials are going to be humiliating for mom; I would prefer to only have to witness one.

As if this wasn't enough mess to have to sort through, LJ's mom is pregnant. Again.

I hadn't visited her Facebook page in several months, but went, this weekend, to look for any appropriate pictures to download and print for LJ (there weren't many).

That's when I saw the news. Due any day. Another girl.

Fury filled my belly.

This is baby number seven. SEVEN. The other six have been adopted by families, the last three (including LJ) were removed from the hospital and never spent time with mom.

She is only 23.

I know I am living such a small corner of this dysfunctional, messed-up, life cycle, but the portion I'm experiencing is too heavy to bear, sometimes. I am overwhelmed with love for my kids and their moms. The mom in me wants to heal hearts, the human in me wants to fix problems, and the God in me wants to trash the enemy for all the injustice.

I hate this.

And I feel bound. The little we've done (which is A LOT) is so insignificant compared to the scale of need.


But. I know I can't focus on the big picture, right now, as my two new baby hearts are in the details.

My heart just swells with pride for them and that keeps me going.

My little fighters are home and I think they're starting to understand what that means.








Thursday, March 27, 2014

Progress

Our case worker visited, today. She couldn't believe the change in Little Miss. It's only been two weeks since she was, here, last. "She's just so happy...I wish (foster mom) could see this..."

(As a matter of fact, foster mom is coming to spend the day with us in two weeks!)

Before bed, I took Little Miss to her room to rock. We turned on Pandora worship to drown out the boys. She laid on my chest for an hour before falling asleep.

She just looked at me, with her chubby hand on my cheek. Cooing along with my singing.

My heart swelled at the progress; at our love.

My baby girl knows she's home...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Conflicted

Conflicted. That's how I feel.

It's been a very strange two weeks.

We have had a lot of great moments with the kids where I have thought, "We really can do this!" But we're also drawing more and more out of Sweet Boy that ensures a long road ahead.

When I met their mom a couple of weeks ago, I had such genuine compassion in my heart for her. The day after our meeting, I was out with two girlfriends and I cried through the events of the day. I was so tore up with the weight of it all.

Then, of course, last Tuesday was horrendous. The protective mama in me was so angry that she didn't show up for the visit, I think I could have, physically, harmed her had she been within reach.

Then today. Tuesdays are the day I wait in the balance to see what my day will hold.

She didn't show up. Again.

I don't know why I can't believe it...but I can't.

As a mother, I don't understand. Showing up to see your kids is supposed to be the easy part. Her daughter is so little she changes, dramatically, with every week that passes. Does she care...but just not enough? Was she high? drunk? or just indifferent?

Sweet Boy is none the wiser and had a great day...but I couldn't stop stewing.

I'm not sure why I care so much.

It's better for all of us if she doesn't participate. It brings the end closer.

But, I do care.

I'm so bothered by it.

I think it's because I love her.

I want what's best for her.

Next week is probably her last shot. We have one more Tuesday before our pre-trial and suspending visits is on the list for petition (again). If she doesn't show up, next week, I don't think the judge will think twice about approving the request.

And that makes me sad. Really sad.

It's conflicting to feel such warmth for a woman who has/is wreaking havoc on her son - who is really my son - and his emotions. But, the connector in me wants to connect...to help make it right...to help make her whole.

It's too complicated to peel back the layers of what I'm feeling, so, for now, I'm leaving it all alone. Our case worker has been very honest with her about what to expect at termination and has encouraged her to spare the embarrassment and sign over her rights, voluntarily.

My heart has already broken...so I'm trying not to go there, yet.

Mom loses in both scenarios...and that makes the win hard to bear.