Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Dimly Lit Mirror


My blog has been very quiet lately. The truth is, I didn’t have the energy to write everything has transpired in the past few months: the good, the bad…the ugly. I think part of me didn’t want to write it out because writing is very therapeutic for me and I know that I’m going to feel everything as I write this. But I hope what I write will not only give you an “update” but also maybe be a word that someone needs to hear..I guess that’s what I always hope to happen through my writing.

As I looked at the calendar I realized that one year ago today is the day that “J” came to our house. When she came I knew that there was a very large chance that “J” was not going to be returning to her biological family and that they were looking for a forever home for her. I thought we would be that forever home…or at least I was hoping to. Anyone who has read this blog knows that “J” has lived through a lot of rough things in her life and a lot of homes. From the day she came here, the road was bumpy, sometimes extremely bumpy. She hit some very “low” times within the first few months of being here and quite frankly we were exhausted and wondering if our family could withstand the stress of having her here. However, after a few more months and A LOT of extra resources “J” started to turn a corner. I felt there was hope. One of the big parts of J’s story is that she has a brother in which she is VERY close to and while I will not share the details, she was separated from him. Near the end of last summer, they began to visit one another. Two things happened: one was how overwhelmingly close they were and how apparent that someone made a mistake in separating them and two, her behavior started to become quite difficult again. It was so confusing for such a small child to be torn between these two worlds: her home here and her brother (who doesn’t live in town). Prayerfully, we began to discern whether it really would be best for the two of them to be reunited. I am thankful to have established a relationship with her brother’s foster parents and after several months we decided that it would be best for them to be together; being apart was difficult for both of them and the two of them have a bond like no other. We began transitional visits for about a month or so and then on December 2nd we brought her to her new home. We had prepared for that moment as best as we could. She had been excited to go and live there but when we got there, it was HARD. I tried so much to be strong for her, though my heart was breaking into a million pieces. I was praying that we were doing the right thing for her and for everyone. I love that little girl so much and she will always be my daughter. Her little hand is forever imprinted on my heart.

At the very same time all of this was going on, things took a MAJOR change with baby “Z.” A few days before we said goodbye to J, we had a surprising phone call that said his parents wanted to meet with us and talk about allowing us to adopt “Z!” It was an emotional roller coaster. I will keep private what happened in that visit but I can say that it was holy ground and we will forever be grateful for the sacrifice they were making for their son. TWO DAYS after we said goodbye to “J” we went to court where his parents would sign the necessary paperwork. I decided to get cards for his parents and also a special picture and frame of Z for them. As I was driving to court, I couldn’t help but think about the sacrifice of both of them but especially of his mother. I am not a mother who has given up my biological child and do not want to claim to know what that feels like, but I had just done what I thought was the right thing for J and allowed her to go and be raised by another family. I had let go of a piece of my own heart and knowing the heartache of that made me feel so much for the loss that Z’s mom (and dad) who were and still are, feeling such loss. I am so thankful for the ability to be a part of God’s redeeming plan on Z’s life. We love him so much and are overwhelmed at how much he is a part of our family and can’t imagine if he wasn’t our forever son/brother/grandson/nephew. He is a Barkley! We cannot wait until it is official (there is a lot of paperwork and legal “stuff” that needs to be done for the adoption and it can take 6-9 months+).

Now here we are not quite two months later. Things have continued to be a roller coaster ride. We received another little girl “K” back in early November. She has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition in which we have been fighting. I’ve been in contact with J’s new family and things have been hard for her. However, a bombshell was dropped yesterday when they called to update me. Her foster mom let me know that it was discovered that J has a medical condition, one that could have explained a lot of her difficult behaviors as well as things that we saw and were concerned about. It has raised up so many emotions. First, I’m mad that no one listened when I shared my concerns, I’m mad that no other professional discovered this and I think most of all I feel guilty, guilty that I didn’t push more until someone figured it out, guilty for not knowing the poor girl was suffering from a medical condition when it looked like a lot of behavioral issues…and I think most of all, wondering if it would have changed anything. Would she still be here with us…would life with her and her ability to live apart from her brother been more manageable. I still believe they should have never been separated in the first place but so much pain and heartache for both of them…oh how the system has failed them on so many levels. These children need advocates, people who will fight for them; who will be their voice. At this same time, I’ve had to FIGHT for “K” because I KNEW that there was something REALLY wrong and the doctor was NOT listening. She had to suffer for at least 2 months. So many things are just not right; they are not fair for these kids.

The truth is foster care (and adoption) is HARD. There is a lot of pain involved. One of the most painful parts is not to be able to see the whole picture (on so many levels). I’ve been thinking about 1 Corinthians 13:12 that talks about seeing things in dimly lit mirror, however, I really resonated with the New Living Translation of this scripture “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

In this world, we see thing imperfectly. I long for the clarity that God has. for the fullness of time when, we too will see with such clarity. It is so painful to not know things clearly, to wonder if decisions you’ve made or directions you have taken are the ones that should be. Only God sees the complete “puzzle.”So in the meantime, I pray for God to guide me. Then I ask God to redeem those mistakes that I have made and for those times that I go the wrong way, for God to turn me around and get me back on the path that God intends me to be on. So in this time of incompleteness and seeing things only partially, I will cling to my God and my Savior who sees everything perfectly clear.