Monday, March 14, 2011

13 months, 396 days, 9504 hours, 570,240 minutes

I sat in the living room recliner & watched a Scooby Doo video with her in my lap. Neither of us were really watching the video. We were both sobbing quietly. Watching the tears run down her cheeks & seeing her chin quiver broke my heart. Again. She clung to me. I couldn't help but breathlessly whisper "I love you, I love you, I love you" over and over with my lips pressed against her sweaty forehead. I wanted to say so much more, but it was the only thing that seemed to matter at the time & it rolled off my tongue. Neither of us wanted to say goodbye, but it was time. B peeked in the front door & motioned that they were ready to leave and I had to nudge K. She reached up and hugged me one more time. I didn't think I could let go. She blew her nose & wiped her tears one more time & I walked her to the car.

A was already there, standing by the open door talking to his new 'brother' inside the car. Ready for a new adventure, he stood by the door waiting for K to get in. He looked over his shoulder & waved, hopped into the car & shut the door. That was it for him. That's how Reactive Attachment Disorder works. Thirteen months of pouring into him emotionally, spiritually, financially, mentally, physically. Fifty six weeks of laying beside him in bed every night, talking, giggling, remembering & praying with and for him. Three hundred ninety six days of showing him what a healthy family looks like. 9504 hours of hoping things would get better. Countless tears. Lost sleep. Pants worn thin on the knees from all the time in prayer. Hours & hours in the counselor's and psychiatrist's offices. Numerous scriptures taped to mirrors & walls around the house. Hundreds of people praying for us. And in that one moment, a wave over the shoulder was all he needed to say goodbye. And my heart broke. Again.

The previous Sunday, we'd reached our breaking point...the moment we realized that it was time. We had long hoped that time would never come. We knew we weren't safe anymore. We were all in danger if he stayed. Threats of burning down the house & stabbing my husband in his sleep were harsh realities....but hearing K's cries "Help! He's hurting her! Come quick!" that Sunday morning was when I knew. I walked in to find him beating Savannah over the head & face with a metal can. It was horrifying. The can was what he'd spotted on the way to her room. What if he'd seen a baseball bat? Or a knife? The outcome would be completely different. I had to physically remove him from her and he still came up swinging. She was cowering in the corner of the bed, trying to get away from him. Two minutes earlier I'd broken up an argument over something silly...who got to use the toothpaste first or something equally trivial...and this was his response as soon as I walked away. Unfortunately this wasn't the first time. SO many times we'd seen this sort of response to minor situations. He'd never grabbed a weapon before, though. And usually a command to STOP from across the room was enough. Not this time. The problems & his rage were escalating. You could see anger & rage in his eyes every day now.

The brutal reality of needing to move him somewhere else threatened to rip my soul apart. Every maternal instinct wanted to love him through be there & help him rebuild his little hold him while all the hurt & loneliness & rage poured out of his little body. But at the same time, I knew I had to protect the other six people in the house, myself included. I can't even begin to put into words the mixed emotions that brewed in my spirit that morning. I sobbed. I wailed. I screamed at the Heavens. Why? Why are we doing this God? Why did you trust them to us only to have to take them away? Why were we given so great a load if you knew we couldn't bear it? Why did you let any of this happen? I hated having to face the decisions ahead of us that morning. I cried until I had no more tears and then I cried some more. There is a pain in disrupting an adoption that no one can understand or describe until they've lived it. Hearing people say "You're doing the right thing." helped. A lot. But still, the anguish & grief of coming to the point where you realize "I am not a good enough mom to fix this" is horrific. As moms, we all want to love our babies through their problems. We want to figure out the right resources and give our kids everything they need to get through tough times. Our instincts say to nurture the little ones in our charge, even during the hard times. And to reach a place where you have to say "Sometimes, love isn't enough"....oh my soul, there are no words to explain the heartache.
As the kids drove away that day, March 16, 2007, I collapsed into my husband's arms. I could barely stand upright. He held me and we cried together in the front yard for a while. Our families left to go home, also in tears. They knew it was the best thing for all of us, but they knew how badly we all hurt. Our children waited inside the house, reaching out for comfort & hugs as well. And my heart broke. Again.

It's been 4 years this Wednesday. I haven't seen A & K since the day they drove away & waved goodbye. There have been phone calls and letters. In the early days, hearing K cry and tell us she wanted to come back killed me. I wanted to climb through the phone & pull her into my lap and hold her and keep her safe in my arms forever. But I had to the strong mama & tell her that I loved her and that it was best for her to stay there. And then I had to hang up & cry while my heart broke. Again. As time has gone by, the phone calls are less frequent and the cards and letters hardly ever get answered.

I know we made the right decision. I don't regret it. But then again, I regret everything. I know we did what was right and I know that God had the kids here for a season to pour every ounce of Him into them that we could. I know that they will remember their 13 months here. I know they will remember putting a white cross in the ground for their mom and releasing balloons at her grave on the anniversary of her death. I know they will remember the day they moved away and I pray...oh how I pray....that they will always know how much I love them.

This year, as I see the date looming on the calendar, my heart breaks. Again.

But I choose to bless the name of the Lord anyway. It is my choice to dwell in the grief or move forward and thank Him for the 13 months we had with A&K....for the 396 days of powerful prayers coming from all over the globe....for the 9504 hours of hope....for the 570,240 minutes of grace. If I could go back in time & do it all over again, I would. Even knowing the anguish & pain & heartache of how it would end. Even knowing that my heart would be broken. Again. Ya know why? Because HE takes us in. Again & again & again. And we break His heart. Over & over again. I can't imagine NOT showering them with that kind of love for 13 months....396 days....9504 hours... In the grand scheme of my life, that's not very long.


Wife to the Rockstar said...


Susie said...

Liz, I never knew why your story was what it was. I'm so sorry for all the heartache you've gone through. My heart is with you --- you're such a strong woman!

Amber @ Striving For 31 said...

This is the most amazing post you have ever written. I can't imagine your pain even now as you look back on this. I'm praying for the Lord to continue carrying you through and someday, you will see the purpose in all of this I know.

Would it be okay if I quote part of this post in something I'm writing? Email me if it's okay and I'll explain more.

Love you girl!

Lauree said...

What an emotional, loving, heart-wrenching post! My heart hurts just reading this post. Prayers going up for you and those kiddos.

Tara and Ryan said...

sobbing-cant breathe!
These words pierced my heart,
because I love your heart!
I mean I thought I did:(
Oh wow, I need to regain composure!
As if I didn't love you before-
You love like our Father!
Thank you for sharing that
with so many. They were with your
family at the perfect time. No
question. xoxo!

Rachel said...

The gift you gave those two children in that 13 months will last a life time. They know God now through your family. They know love now, because of you. I hope A&K are living beautiful lives now in their new home and that they both grow up knowing the way.

Darcy said...

Praying that on this anniversary of them leaving, your home, the Lord will surround you with His loving arms.

It was your taking in of those two children that brought me to your blog!! I'm thankful for that and the friendship the Lord has given us!