Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Progress is Painful

I use Dictionary.com every day. I love words and their definitions. I'm kind of weird about it

Breakthrough has been on my mind a lot, lately, so I looked up its meaning today: "any significant or sudden development that removes a barrier to progress."

According to this definition, I would not say we've seen breakthrough, yet, with Sweet Boy. We are making progress (slowly), but not to the point that we've removed any barriers.

I'll try to sum up our last month the best I can without making this pages long. I have continued to journal Sweet Boy's days. This has been an extremely helpful tool that led to many discoveries. Before I get to that. Some changes occurred in the last month that have made a significant difference.

All five of us are home for the summer, now. Being home has offered me the opportunity to really see Sweet Boy. My radar is always on. Praying, thinking, measuring his reactions.

A few things have become clear. Sweet Boy does not feel like a member of our family; he requires time away from his brothers to recharge; and anxiety is not only affecting him, physically, but it is keeping his heart guarded.

We made a few changes to help Sweet Boy feel more ease and we have a child therapist coming to the house in a couple of weeks to meet with him for the first time, in his environment. 

Before this week, Sweet Boy had not had any diarrhea, gagging or throwing up episodes for weeks. This coupled with his small, but outward, forms of affection toward me, led me to believe that he was finally experiencing some peace.

A few weeks ago we sat on the couch together and I told him how proud I was to watch him scale the rock wall at the park (it took him all day to get up the nerve). He beamed with pride and then started crying. I rubbed his neck and asked him why that made him sad.

"I miss my mom and dad."

That statement socked me in the stomach. Not because he called someone else mom - there is no room for insecurity in my life - but because my darling boy has so much turmoil in his spirit that remains untouchable.

Each day that creeps by I feel more and more like his mom and I love him with a fierceness that is new. He is changing me. And I like the change. I like who he is helping me become.

We had Sweet Boy's foster family over, one day, this weekend. I have never seen Sweet Boy so excited. Interestingly, he referred to his foster mom as "Miss [name]" all day, but called his foster dad, "Dad". This made us wonder if Sweet Boy is starting to feel connected to me, but not Ben.

For the first time in three weeks, he threatened to throw-up, again, yesterday. We were coming home from an area that I was unfamiliar. I had told the boys to sit, quietly, and rest so that I could hear my GPS. I, vaguely, remember one of them saying, "Mom is so lost, she is never going to get us home." Insert Sweet Boy's gagging, crying, and warning of throw-up. I pulled over, quickly, looked him in the eyes and talked him through breathing exercises. For the first time, he didn't throw-up and I felt triumphant at our progress.

Today, I had a lot on my mind. Our termination trial is supposed to be on Thursday. I got word, yesterday, that a recent supreme court case is influencing termination trials, from here on out, and that we may not be able to move forward on Thursday. The judge called an emergency meeting with the attorneys, tomorrow, to discuss whether or not our case can be heard, this week.

I'm not anxious over the hiccup; I know that God will move in the direction of his plan (and I believe we are part of that plan), but it is frustrating to be put on hold. I was really looking forward to opening the adoption/forever family conversation with Sweet Boy.

All of these thoughts were rattling in my head on the way to a birthday party this afternoon. Ty and LJ were asleep when Sweet Boy said, "Mom, I have rocks in my tummy, again. I'm going to throw up."

It was probably more stupidity than bravery, but I was still rolling on last night's victory. I reminded Sweet Boy to take big deep breaths, "Honey, you're not going to throw-up...you're going to talk to me, instead...we'll work through it, together."

It worked. But....this was the conversation.

"Buddy, you're not throwing up because you're sick. You're throwing up because you're nervous. Let's talk about that. Do you know what nervous is?"

He didn't.

"It's like being afraid. You might get nervous about something that you're unsure of. Like if you don't know that we're going home, or maybe who is going to be at a party. I think things that you don't know make you nervous. What do you think?"

"I think I'm nervous."

"Okay, well, let's talk about it. Are you nervous about the trampoline party?"

I tipped my rearview mirror down for a better view of him, in time to see a shoulder shrug.

"You don't want to jump your brains out????"

He giggled.

"You don't have to honey. Mama is not going to jump. If the jumping makes you nervous, you can sit with me."

"Would you hold my hand?" Progress.

"Buddy, I will always hold your hand. You just have to tell Mom when you're feeling nervous...Do you know how very much I love you?

"...like a hundred?"

"Like a hundred buckets! I love you so much, honey. And I'm going to be your mom forever. Do you know that?"

"Forever? Why?"

"Because your Daddy and I want you to be a part of our family forever. We don't ever want you to have to move, again, or live with another family....Would you like that?"


I thought I might have misheard him so I asked, again, "Would you like to live with us forever."


I was stunned. "Why not, buddy?"

"You're not my mom. I don't love you. I want to go back and live with [foster familly]."

I faltered. I didn't know what to say. As if I wasn't having a conversation with a beyond-his-years four year old, I naively tried another approach. "Buddy, we'd be so sad if you left us. Wouldn't you miss your brothers?"


"I don't understand. I thought you liked it, here, honey. Why would you want to leave?"

"I already told you."

End of conversation.

I was told. And it was too much for my heart to hear.

I thought living with a boy that does not belong to me, was not birthed to me, and I only feel slight motherly leanings toward was an overwhelming challenge.

I was not prepared for the truth in this conversation.

Living with a boy that does not belong to me, was not birthed to me, that I only feel slight motherly leanings toward....that confirmed he does not love me nor want to be in my home feels impossible.

My heart is broken for him.

Ahhh! My Sweet Boy that I love more with every passing day is trapped inside his own turmoil without any authority to make his wishes come true. I have tears streaming down my face as I type this.

The only comfort I have is that my feelings are fleeting. I know what seems impossible today IS possible.

As we drove the rest of the way to the party, I felt the love of God surround me. Into my spirit, he quickened a knowing...that one day Sweet Boy and I will share a bond that cannot be compared.

Until then, I have to lay his life in the Knower's hands. It's all I can do.


  1. These kids....it is so hard to figure out what is really on their mind until they throw it up all over you. I could go on and on about the similarities I see between him and my son, but I won't. As of the past few months/week (after having them live with me for one year and eight months) we are finally becoming a family. Slowly but surely, all backwards steps included. And, on June 13th my Jordan accepted Christ...which then, of course, made the whole struggle from day one worth it. God is moving. God is healing. He will do the same for your son, thankfully.

  2. I will keep watch with you and pray. ((())) I'm so sorry he is having such a hard time. Christ keep you sweet Mama.

  3. well done. your faith through the pain is inspirational.

  4. I stumbled across your blog a couple years ago and have continued following your journey. Your faith is such an inspiration! You and your family will be in my prayers. Hoping Sweet Boy starts feeling more secure in your home soon.

  5. So thankful for the Spirit inside you that buoys your faith. Your last six sentences pack the best punch! Cling to those truths! Praying for Sweet Boy still.

  6. Ouch. That must have been tough to hear. I'm sorry. One thought I had after reading this post - he may not feel love for you yet but he trusts you enough to open up to be you and be honest with you about his feelings. That is no small thing. Keep up the good work.

  7. 'As we drove the rest of the way to the party, I felt the love of God surround me. Into my spirit, he quickened a knowing...that one day Sweet Boy and I will share a bond that cannot be compared.' this right here made me well up...... because it is the absolute truth! You are a powerful woman of God Rebekah and your gift of love reaches further than you know. May God bless you with wisdom, knowledge and understanding thru this journey. I CAN NOT wait to read your book...... I think its delayed because you have SO much more that needs to go in it. many blessings and please give hugs and kisses to Ty from all his cousins in Phx.

  8. I am feeling an urge to share a bit from the sermon at our church this morning. Sometimes God has us take the long way around a situation! But it is his timing and his love that will have us see the end soon.

    Amy B

  9. Deep sigh over here. "there is no room for insecurities in my life"...aint that the truth! Also thankful to hear the slight mothering inclinations. Sometimes I feel guilty that it doesn't flow a little more naturally for me. Beauty out of ashes.

  10. What a difficult time, but rewarding time this is for all of you. Rewarding when you are able to look back on this as see the progress that you have made. I agree with Pamela, it sounds as if he is opening up which is progress. Love to you all. Keep wrapping those kids in your love and faith.

  11. Oh Rebekah....my heart breaks for this little guy. I certainly see that he seems to be opening up a bit and trusting you. I'm wondering if that, in itself, can feel scary due to his past loss. Could it be a situation where he's going to "hurt you before you can hurt him"? Where he's so afraid that he'll lose yet another family that he's going to test the limits and revert back to what's safe? That he doesn't really mean that he doesn't love you or that he wouldn't miss his brothers? In no way would I insinuate that his words and feelings aren't authentic....I'm just wondering if he's so scared he might lose you all that he's going to lash out first.....Just wrapping you all in love and prayer.

  12. Thank you for your heart and your raw honesty, and your courage to share. We are in the process of thinking about foster/adoption/etc and are scared to death. And although this isn't a wonderful "feel-good" post about how happy your family is now, the honesty is refreshing and gives me courage to be vulnerable with a future child. Thank you.

  13. Something that has been echoing in my life is that love isn't a feeling, it's a choice! If we only loved based on how we felt (even through anger and sadness) then love would be so fleeting. We choose to love our spouses, our children, family, etc. through their imperfections. When we love someone we choose patience, we choose kindness, we choose not to boast or hold record of wrong... we choose it through all the good, the bad and the ugly. We choose to love unconditionally.

    I am believing that your sweet boy is going to choose to love. It's just so hard right now. And my heart also breaks along with yours that he has so much inner turmoil and pain. Hugs to you all!

  14. That poor, sweet little boy.
    Of course I do not know what is in his heart, but I can only guess he just has a longing no matter where he is. Nothing feels like a right fit :(
    I bet if he were somewhere else he would long for you and his brothers and sister. And with you he longs for something different. I bet that feeling is his normal. How I wish his little heart wasn't so broken. You are doing good things, Mama…this obviously isn't an easy path, but you are moving forward with grace and love.

  15. I remember the pain visiting day after day at an orphanage in Ukraine. We went to love on, bond and grow closer to our daughter. She would cry and pout and acted like we ruined her day by disturbing her schedule. Sure, as the adults we knew not to take it personally, but rejection is exhausting. hang in there, Mama. God is good. We are praying for you all.

  16. Remember, that for a child with attachment challenges, which Sweet Boy certainly will have, there is nothing scarier than loving someone or becoming attached because to do so is to make yourself vulnerable. Loving someone, as you even demonstrated, makes you open to being hurt by them, and Sweet Boy has surely been hurt in the past. For him, saying that he does not love you or his brothers may be a calculated survival tool or even a way of wishing that into reality to protect his heart. It is likely the closer you get to him the more he will push away to test that he will not be hurt. Though not an expert, I have heard that the best response is simply to reaffirm that you hear their feelings and love them anyway. And really, is there a more Christ-like love than that, to love those who reject us again and again because we know they need our love anyway.

  17. Did anything happen on Thursday? I cannot stop thinking about you and this dear little boy. You're all in my prayers but especially sweet boy's heart.


  18. Wow. I hate hearing how painful this is for him and for you. I can't imagine. But I'm so excited to know that God will redeem his story and I can't wait to hear about it. Praying for Sweet Boy's breakthrough to happen soon!!

  19. He trusts you enough to be able to tell you that. That is progress. Keeping your sweet family in my prayers!

  20. Why didn't the foster parents want to adopt him?