I have been pondering my “pre-mother” years, thinking of all that I thought it would be... the early years of diapers and bottles, I knew nothing, but thought I knew it all... The preschool years whizzed by with toys, Sesame Street and picture storybooks. Life was good... Soon, early elementary school began. Our family evolved just like everyone else’s did. Then, we decided to become foster parents. We loved kids. We thought we would do a good job. So, we opened our home to kids who had not been so fortunate. We loved each one. Then, we were asked to adopt two of them.
So many years have passed. Reactive Attachment Disorder consumed our home, our lives, and most of all, the two precious children I had fallen in love with. Our birth sons were angry and bitter of the life they were robbed of. My husband stayed away from home more and more. Our oldest son was now married with a son of his own, living a stone's throw away. They did not want our RAD children anywhere near their baby. I cannot blame them, yet it all broke my heart. My young woman dreams for my life and my family refuse to die... yet I was dying inside.
This week, I dug out the old family photo albums. The pictures swept me back through all the stages of our family... Happy times and holidays... I grieve how our family has evolved. Keeping up with the photo albums stopped long ago. I tried, but something inside of me refused to record this part of our lives. I wanted to never again look back on these years, but the battle of my hopes and dreams kept rearing its ugly head. One moment I do not want to go on, the next, I'm trying to embrace my life knowing God is in control.
I have also been thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. I wonder what hopes and dreams she had for her and Joseph. Surely, they never imagined what path their lives would take. In one night of
visitation from an angel, her and Joseph's lives changed forever.
How did they embrace it? They began their lives in scandal... A virgin with child. Even though they both knew the truth, the rest of the world was not so sure. They must have thought how their son, the Son of God, would grow up to rule the world. They must have been so confused when things turned out as they did. I'm sure Mary and Joseph were good parents, but I'm also sure they made their mistakes as well. What was life like for their other children as they were raised with the Son of God? Were they adversely affected? We have glorified Mary and Joseph in our stories, but did they struggle as we do?... Did they doubt?... Were they just like us?? When I look at the reality of the detour their lives took to submit to God's will, it amazes me. Mary responded to the angel of the Lord saying, "... be it unto me according to thy word." Later, in her song of praise before Elisabeth she sang, "... from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." Did you ever stop to realize that it did not happen during her lifetime? During her lifetime she was talked about, ridiculed, alone, and struggled as we all do. In John, chapter 19, verses 25-27, while Jesus is on the cross, He tells John, his disciple, to care for his mother. Where were her other children and family?... Mary hung on to God's promises to her.
I encourage you mothers to write a letter to your RAD child as if it were the day they came to live with you. Then, write another one as though it were the day they were leaving home, or getting married, or having their first child. Grieve if you need to. Turn the children over to the Lord again. Remind yourself despite all of your mistakes that you've made parenting them, that their path was pre-ordained as Jesus' was. No, they aren't perfect or holy, but their lives were known of God before you even knew them, and God would never allow us or anyone else to destroy His plan for them, not even those who abused some of them so severely that they are the way they are today.
Thank you for the opportunity to parent each and every child I have.
Forgive me for always looking for the blessedness for what sacrifices
we have made. Help me to receive the fact that I may never know
what impact I have had on these children and life in general until it is
all history. Help me to surrender my hopes and dreams and invest
that time into trust in, and obedience to you. Help me not to take
my children's failures and successes personally. I know my job is to
obey your word, love my children and let them take responsibility for
their own choices, trusting in your mercy, grace and judgment. Help
me to learn from Mary and the example she lived out in submitting to
Your will. In Jesus name, Amen