Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Lost Years Matter

Today I got one of the dreaded phone calls. Principal's office.

The boys are in an amazing Christian school. The principal was kind and affirming and creative in her approach to finding solutions. But, my day still ended with talking to the principal about my four year old son.

It was all I could do to hold it together through our conversation and the drive home.

It wasn't today's event. It was all the events leading up to, today.

LJ is loving and generous and funny (so funny). He is not the same little boy that came home with us almost two years ago, but there is still a part of him that is broken and although it's a small part, we haven't been successful at mending it.

I started talking to a child therapist and that has helped me, tremendously. I hadn't realize the ball of emotions I had stuffed deep until I started to talk about it. I discovered that despite my confident personality, I feel completely inadequate when it comes to loving LJ through his turmoil.

We've waited this long to seek out professional help because it has taken time to figure out what emotions and tendencies should be linked to age vs personality vs damaging events that took place in foster care. One of the things I did with the therapist was to walk through LJ's foster care file. One of the discoveries was that we were not LJ's sixth home...we were number seven. I know it's just plus one....but when you're talking in terms of two year old development, seven homes is an incredible number.

As the therapist asked me questions, I was able to start connecting dots.

The lost years matter.

In tearful admittance, I told the therapist, "I just want my son to be whole. I want everyone to see him the way that God sees him. The way Ben and I see him."

He stopped me and told me that I should adjust my expectation to "...as whole as he can be."

I am willing to pursue professional help and am looking forward to our first session with LJ in the new year, because our tool box is empty. We have tried everything we know to try and it's not working. I believe that God will work through therapy to help equip Ben and I, while giving us an outside prospective on what insecurities and crisis points exist in LJ's mind.

That being said, I am not willing to adjust my expectation. My son will be whole. The Bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind. God heard LJ's cry, plucked him out of darkness, and plopped him in the middle of a family that fosters the presence of God. The gifts and talents that were sewn into the fabric of LJ will come to life and his passion for people and praise will be actualized.

I am thankful, tonight, for my mother in law who reminded me of all of this, tonight. It can be very defeating to take six steps forward and two back.

I wanted to be angry. And found myself trying to cast blame to LJ's mom; his foster parents; the state. But as quickly as the anger came, the Spirit of God filled me fresh. What's the point? There's no going back. There's no undoing the hurts and losses that LJ has lived through. All we can do is move forward.

I still can't stop crying and my heart is heavy for my son. But, I am thankful for these helpless moments in life because without them I would forget my weakness. I would forget to cry out to God and seek his hand in earnest. And really, can it work any other way?

On our ride to meet daddy for his birthday dinner, LJ asked me, "Mom, why did Jesus have to die for us?"

I talked through many points connecting the truths he and Ty already know regarding the fall of man and our mortality, but my last statement caught in my throat before I said it.

"Honey, without Jesus, we would never understand the extent of God's love for us."

I pray that the Holy Spirit will circle those words around my own spirit tonight as I sleep.

I know God's love is powerful enough to see us through.


  1. You are doing a great job with your 2 boys! I believe that God can work miracles in LJ's life and with you having a strong, firm belief in God that will help LJ so much. Never give up hope and I know it gets weary at times. Your boys are so blessed to have you and your husband as parents. As LJ gets older, he will understand your love and God's love for him and he will do great! Thanks for sharing your heart and know that people do pray for you.

  2. We got those calls last year with Jordan. I was so worried about this school year. Low and behold he has been a model student this year and the teacher is so proud of him as well. If you ever need to chat you know where I am.

  3. Just remember that He WILL restore the years that the locusts have eaten! Praying for you all!

  4. You need a new therapist!! What that therapist said is NOT ok. LJ can absolutely be whole.

  5. You fight for him and never, no never give up! You are on the right track and God picked you for this battle! Christian love & prayers, Mari-beth

  6. Continuing to pray for you and your beautiful family! Glad to hear you're happy with a therapist who can help you and LJ work towards wholeness.

  7. as a mom of 2 adopted kids, one of whom endured some traumatic events, I urge you to read Beyond Consequences, Love & Logic by Heather Forbes. It is a unique perspective for parenting kids who have witnessed, endured, been exposed to trauma whether in utero or outside. The parenting strategies and advice go against everything I've ever read, but they make sense and they WORK. They change the family dynamic (in a good way!) and help the child to heal, feel safe and learn to live from a place of love. I can't express the impact this book has made for us and so many families!

  8. It is challenging parenting our children. My oldest son lived in one home prior to mine. My home is the sixth home for my second son and the difference is dramatic. My oldest son was comfortable from the moment he stepped in the door. Nearly two years later I'm not sure my second son is totally comfortable. He needs to be in control of most situations which challenges me as the parent. Both boys were sixteen months when they came. All I can do is pray for us all.

  9. Oh this makes me so sad...and yet, this is REAL life. Children who come to their families at 2 years old still carry those 2 years , and the impact of them, in their bodies, hearts and souls. The fact that you do not try to erase that is what makes you the EXACT mom he needs (so many adoptive parents I have worked with just can't seem to acknowledge the child's full identity). If you would ever want/need any extra support in MI, let me know. I think I told you before that I am a licensed therapist specializing in early childhood mental health (and now supervise an entire clinical program serving every single foster child ages birth to five in our area) and since I am originally from MI, I do have a professional network up there. Sounds like you have just what you need, but if I could ever be helpful, do let me know:).