Wednesday, May 04, 2011

They are more

A song for all of our kids... Because they are more.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The scars of the storms

As you all know, on Wednesday April 27, Alabama was raped and ravaged, chewed up and spit out, by storms that would challenge a Hollywood special effects department. This isn’t just high winds and thunder storms folks…this is houses, neighborhoods, communities that have been put through a blender and chopped to bits and spewed out again. It is horrific and those who lived through it and are living in it still will never forget or erase the scars it will leave on their memories and souls.

Less than a week later this historical event has begun to fall from the headlines and other events and daily life has seeped in to replace it, but in Alabama the destroyed communities are still in search and rescue mode. They are still tallying the dead and retrieving personal property and seeking a place to stay until they have a home again. In time more of life will push this tragedy farther and farther away from the thoughts of those who are not affected. They will forget. Not so for the victims. The survivors will never forget.

It is the same for families of children with severe emotional disturbances. Especially for those families who suffer violence, and loss at the hands of their children. To have to call the police on your child, or see a child arrested or place a child in a hospital or a residential facility, or lose a child to the system… it crushes your heart and saps your soul of life. It rips apart your dreams and hopes. As a parent you realize how short and precious a childhood is and your heart screams at the child…at God… to please stop! Just trust…please just listen… please believe that I love you and will never leave. Relax and enjoy these few years that you have. Heal and rebuild your foundation so that you can step out into the world and be a happy, responsible and functional adult.

The day after the storms Bright-Eyes ran away. It was the third time within a couple weeks. We have had to call the police on him. He says he wants to die. He claims he does not want to be here with us. We are broken and shattered beyond comprehension. His psychiatrist and therapist are seeing him with new eyes and asking if there is some attachment issue that has been hidden.

My soul screams “NO!” Not this child…not the one adopted as a newborn. I set out to build bonds with this one. I carried him, not in my belly but in a sling throughout his infancy. I made eye contact and built trust; I played with him and bounced him laughing and singing. He was attached… I know it…I want to believe it. He hugged us and cuddled, he sought us out when he was afraid…didn’t he? I am having trouble remembering now.

As a toddler he always ran away. He was never bothered by our absence. He would race off in stores and playgrounds while other children clung to their parents and stayed close. As a preschooler however, he became clingy…very clingy. Was he too clingy? Throughout his childhood he had to live in the trauma-filled warzone that was created by his brothers’ struggles with their own demons. I tried to protect him, but standing in the way of flying chairs, Tonka trucks and legos is a war zone still. Either the child is the target of their mother is.

So much anger at the older boys for harming their brother… so much guilt for even adopting him. So many questions about why God allowed this when HE knew what would happen.

How much of this is the fault of my choice?

Would he have been ok in another home?

Will he be ok now?

Will he grow up and have a life, or will he bounce in and out of hospitals trying to find help and stability?

Like the storm victims (and forgive me for the comparison) many don’t see our loss. Most don’t acknowledge it…a few say they are sorry and offer help, but as time goes by daily life fills their thoughts and they forget.

For a few, they don't even understand why we would be in pain and our saddness disturbs them. They find it dramatic and irritating.

For us, this is our life. The pain is in our faces from the moment we wake up. The empty rooms and empty beds are tombstones in the graveyard of our hopes. The empty chairs at the table make us retreat to the living room to eat our meals in front of a TV that can distract us from our pain.

We cannot forget. The tornado victims cannot forget. Loss brands the soul and marks each person as altered and different than they were. It’s a secret scar that others cannot see unless they choose to open the eyes of their hearts.

To help the Alabama storm victims go here