Friday, November 30, 2012

Perfect Plans

It's been a while since I've updated, since I've even felt enough emotional energy to write, and I guess it's partly because I feel like very little has changed.  We're still dealing daily with the ups and downs of Reactive Attachment Disorder in the form of Miss M, who's done so much healing in the past eighteen months and yet still saps so much of her pregnant Mama's ever-decreasing patience and energy. 

On the bad days, enhanced by the pregnant emotions brought on by another RAD child that I love, I can hardly hold myself together.  No doubt Miss M is effected by her brother's behavior and absence as well. 

On the really bad days, I wonder why God ever chose me to mother these hurting kids.  Blunt, matter-of-fact, stubborn and strong-willed me...who has so much trouble exchanging my selfish will and my sinful feelings for His perfection.  What could He possibly have been thinking?

And yet, on the good days, I'm so profoundly encouraged by the bond that I know is blooming between my eldest daughter and myself; the hot tears of remorse and the hugs of forgiveness, the ease of conversation and the honest questions, the non-existent lapse of time between frustration and transitioning back to that crazy new love-and-acceptance-thing again.  I'm so thankful for the new-found evidence of compassion, empathy and conscience that I see awakening in my daughter.  And, if I'm being honest, I'm thankful that God is growing these things within me as well.

Two years ago, when God asked me to spend nearly every waking moment with a disrespectful, controlling, rage-filled, attachment-disordered child, I thought there was no way that we would both make it through the year in one piece.  And now we're well into our second year of homeschooling, and, minor daily difficulties aside, I am really proud of how far we've come.  Slowly and often painfully (for both of us), Miss M is healing.

All glory to God for miracles I can't even comprehend.   

For the present, I'm keeping busy at home with school and toddler-wrangling and Christmas shopping and gathering recipes and craft ideas for the upcoming month, and our minds are turning to decorating and organizing and preparing for the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus...and also for the upcoming birth of our own sweet baby boy in less than seven weeks.

The irony is not lost on me that at the same time my heart feels like it's losing one son, I'm preparing to welcome another into my arms. 

Trusting is so hard.  I lack the patience and the discernment needed to see what God is doing in my family right now.  I miss my oldest son...the son he used to be, the son I thought he was.  I ache that he's missed his birthday, the anniversary of his addition to our family, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and countless family memories so far.  My heart cries at the thought of celebrating the birth of Jesus...and the birth of our littlest son...without him.  I can't see how God is working in this.

But two years ago, I laughed at God when He told me to homeschool Miss M.  I fought him.  I tried to tell him that it wasn't possible for me.  That there was no way.

What I found out is that God's plans often don't make sense to me.  But they're perfect plans.

I'm putting all the energy I can muster into trusting God right now; trusting that somehow all this junk and suffering and senseless hate and violence has something to do with healing Mr. J.

Join me, and the rest of my family, in trusting that God has a perfect plan for our oldest son.

And please continue to pray for us all.

There is a hearing scheduled for December 12th where Mr. J's near future will be decided.  Because he is a threat to our family and to the community, he will most likely be made a temporary ward of the court if other arrangements are not made for him before then, in which case he would also be assured of having a criminal record follow him into adulthood.  Our hopes are for God to intervene before then, providing funding to allow us to send him to a therapeutic boarding school (where he has already been accepted) and retain our parental rights.  There is a strong chance that the charges would be dropped if this happens.  We hope that in heading this direction, our son (who is only thirteen) will be given a second chance regarding his criminal history, his relationship with his family, and his journey towards healing.  Pray that God will reveal His perfect plan for Mr. J's future. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finding the Funny

My funny bone has been fractured and is in dire need of repair.

That's a common side effect to living in crisis mode, I would suspect.  But for someone who thrives on seeing the humor in life and who loves almost nothing more than a long drawn-out fit of giggles, having serious, grown-up issues to digest and comprehend and sort out at almost every waking moment is getting a bit old. 

My current default emotions are anything but funny.
And it's wearing me out.

If we don't find something to laugh about, it's all too easy for my hubby and me to mentally curl up in a dark, cob-webby corner and lose ourselves in sorrow.  So we're having to make a conscious effort these days to "find the funny" in our lives...even in our current situation.

Let's face it: there is very little humorous about our son going off the deep end, assaulting people, and being locked up in Juvenile Detention.  We get this.  We understand.  Our son's future, his choices and his violent behavior are not a laughing matter...

               ...but sometimes...

                                  ....we still need to laugh.

For starters, it's amazing to hear how every single thing that's happened is not our son's fault.  I'm beginning to see how the jails are full of people who 'didn't do it', but I'm also a bit concerned about all the seemingly law-abiding people walking around know, all the ones who are actually to blame.  Like me.  And my husband.  And the police officers.  And the caseworkers.  And the cat. 

It's just a teeny tiny bit humorous (to borrow our son's rationale) that it's acceptable to threaten to report people to CPS just for looking at you funny, and that when any authority figure doesn't do what you want, it's perfectly logical that you should threaten to kill them. 

We also discovered recently through acquired documentation of his hospital stay, that after our son had been ripping up all the carpet squares in his hospital room, he went into a rage and furiously demanded that he be moved to a room with nice carpet.  How dare they keep him in a room with ruined carpet?  Seriously?!  I find this hilariously unbelievable, and yet so consistent with what we see at home.

A few weeks ago, we came upon a question on a form asking us: "What five things concern you the most about your child's behavior?"

Without missing a beat, my husband writes in:

#1.  He wants to kill me.    

The absurdity of it all sent us both into peals of laughter until tears were nearly running down our faces.  I mean, really, is it necessary to list four more concerns after that one?

#2.  He wants to kill my wife.

#3.  See #1 and #2.

#4.  "

#5.  "

Hee hee.

And then there's the funding issue.  The payer of last resort.  We're still researching residential treatment facilities and therapeutic boarding schools and what-not, and have participated in at least ten twenty thirty gazillion different conversations with various people about what is going to happen and who is going to fund it since insurance won't.  The state of Michigan adoption subsidy?  Community Mental Health?  The Juvenile Court system?  The Department of Human Services? 

After talking to countless places in-depth, each of them has claimed to be the "payer of last resort".  How can this be?  How does that even work?  If they all can pay, but are only the "payer of last resort", are they all going to refuse to pay until someone else does?  Or are they all going to decide to pay at the same time?  Is that even possible?  I don't think it makes any sense...but at least we've got an awesome new catch phrase in our home.  And when we're grocery shopping, you better believe that I'm gonna let my husband get his debit card out before I do.  I'm pleading my case as the "payer of last resort".

In all seriousness, there have been very few things to laugh about with everything our family has been through in recent months.  But laughter is therapeutic, and we believe that God made us with an innate need to laugh and to seek out joy in every we're trying. 

I've started to look around at all the other little people in my life with an incredible thankfulness for the joy that they offer to me freely, whenever I remember to watch and listen.

Just this morning, my 10-year-old daughter asked me what date the Fourth of July was on..."Is it July 24th?"   Hmmmm.

And my six-year-old has a new fondness for knock-knock jokes, none of which make sense to anyone besides her four-year-old brother.  And they laugh and laugh and laugh until they're both red-faced and teary.

My four-year-old son insists that counting by tens and reciting the days of the week can only be done while hopping up and down on one foot, ending up in a heap of giggles on the floor.  :)

And my 21-month-old continues to lift up my shirt regularly (even in public) to "see" the baby, demanding that "Baby come out!"  How great is that?  I don't think he really gets it...but he sure does love to pat my belly, say "Baby!" and ask to "See it?"

And I'm learning that joy really can be found in the midst of every "hopeless" just doesn't always come as easily as I'm used to. 

Usually, the world is knocking on my door, waiting to reveal the next episode of silliness to set me off laughing... 
...but now that the world is turned a bit upside-down, sometimes I just have to work a little harder to find the funny.

Keep laughing with us, keep loving us, keep believing alongside us.  As read in a comment on this very blog:  You, our prayerful friends and family and concerned strangers, are our "Aarons"...holding us up with your own strong arms while Scott and I are at our weakest.  It's a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ at work, and we're so blessed by and thankful for each of you.