The Awakening

Don’t worry about the title, I’m not going to talk about Star Wars. I’m talking about myself (shocker). Throughout my foster care journey I’ve stood in front of two child abusers, a murderer/child abuser, and a wife beater. I stood to help the children in my care. I stood shaking sometimes, but still I stood. There have been circumstances in my personal life where I’ve not had ground to stand. To be there for those closest to me. I had to stay silent and seethe in anger only to myself.

Life happens and now I have a voice for those two. The first few days I was scared. I was nervous. I was anxious. Then I realized, this is what I’d prayed for. To keep them safe, to let their voices be heard. To be their voice. Suddenly, late one night, a force awoke in me that I didn’t know existed. God had kept this small portion of my spirit tucked away until it was needed. Now is the time it’s needed and the force has been released. Gone is the anxiety, the nervousness, and being afraid. In the mirror is a woman I don’t recognize, but I’m quickly growing to love. A small town wife and mother, finally given a voice. A fierceness to protect my family and all those who dwell in my home. A platform to speak and be heard. All these have been awakening in me.

This is the right thing to do. This is what I was created for. To be a wife and mother with no regrets. What my husband and I are doing, it matters. It matters to hearts of two small children. It matters to my kids. It matters to my family.

The timing was always God’s. I can see that now. Now it’s my time to roar. And those standing against my God’s will are going to be deaf by the end of this.

I went to Women of Faith five years ago. The wonderful woman leading our trip had put a post card with a verse on it for me. I’ve saved it in my wallet all these years. I’d forgotten about it. I saw it today and this was the verse. Psalm 37:4-6

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

I have assurance the my cause, their cause, will shine like the noonday sun. This whole experience has awaken my faith in a whole new way. I’m seeking God and seeing His signs, hearing His voice, and trusting in Him. This was the catalyst that threw me into His arms. This is the catalyst that released the new me. And I know it will be good.

Today, I rage.

She came to me a broken little 20 month old. After over two years of healing and hoping and helping. She’s still broken. She still cries out from the pain of her seizures. She still chokes on her own puke that she brings up without knowing she can stop it. She has a hole in her stomach to receive food. Her ears don’t hear correctly. She deals with a disease that’s meant to be given to adults who have unprotected sex. Not to an innocent child. She still doesn’t speak. She still falls and stumbles and bruises her head. She still can’t play without mouthing the toy. She has zero self care goals met.

Most days, I can deal with this. Most days I see all progress she’s made and I know she’s a miracle. Most days, I focus on the good. Today is not that day. Today is the day I cry and I rage. I rage at the fact that NONE of this had to happen. She could have been a completely normal child. Today is the day I rage. She’s aging out of nursery, but we surely can’t put her in children’s church. We keep her home. Or only keep her in Sunday School. People offer to keep her for me and it’s wonderful. But she’s my daughter and I understand what caring for her entails. She’s too much when there’s a class full of kids. She needs one on one attention. And I don’t want to hear murmuring about the “four year old still in the nursery”.

Today I rage. She has a cousin just four months older than her and they can’t play together. I get so insanely jealous seeing pictures of my niece playing dolls and tea party. Will Carlee ever do that? I flipped through a catalog of American Dolls and I would give anything to take to get one. For her to understand what they are. For her to wait impatiently to get her first one. Hell, I’d buy her every damn doll in that place if she knew. Forget Dave Ramsey, I’d bust out a credit card and get her whatever she wanted. If she knew.

Today, I rage. I get online and all my sad feelings spew. All my anger. Later today, I’ll feel guilty for posting this, for feeling this way. Right now, I’m too pissed to feel guilty. Today, I watched her have seizure after seizure. See her cry. See her suck her fingers until they bleed, because that’s all the can comfort her. I watch her on her tip toes because her ankle muscles have tighten to much for her to walk flat. Can we get into a doctor? Nope. They won’t let me have the casting that was recommended by her therapist who knows her. No, they want to do braces, as if she could understand that. “Maybe surgery when she’s eight” because why make her life any easier than it needs to be. We’ll just let her lose all range so you can cut later. What’s the big deal with another surgery?

Today, I rage. I rage at her birth mother. The child who did this to her. I could forgive, I could, she was young, much too young. But she’s gone on to have FOUR more children since Carlee’s birth. And she’s pregnant with two more. They all suffer, they all have issues. Some more than others. Thankfully, they are being cared for and loved on and healed in their new homes. She just keeps doing this. She just keeps stealing childhoods from her own children. I can pray and hope for a normal life for Carlee. For dolls and and dress up and prom and graduation and a wedding. If I listen to the doctors. She’ll have none of that stuff. Of course, I believe in a God much wiser than those doctors. But, today, I’m drowning in their diagnoses. And it’s all her fault. The pain she’s caused the child she gave birth too. It’s her fault. She packed her bags at eighteen and LEFT. She abandoned her child. She didn’t want to deal with the medical mess she made. So she just went on to have two more. And then two more. And now two more. 7 kids in 4 years. My beautiful friend can’t get pregnant. She gets to have seven kids. At least she doesn’t get to raise any of them.

Did you miss the part where SHE WALKED OUT. In all the time that I’ve had Carlee, since April of 2012, she’s never seen her. Never even tried. She messaged me last Christmas “Will I ever be able to see her again? I love seeing the pictures” I had mercy for her. I set up a visit at her family’s home. So she could see the daughter she walked out on. She said she was coming. She didn’t. No call, no text, just never showed up. That was the last time I heard from her.

Do I feel badly blasting her? No, not right now. I pray the day will come when Carlee will understand what a treasure she is, that she was adopted in love, that she will ask me about her. I’ll be kinder then. I wouldn’t want to hurt her with the harsh truth. I already have to deal with that one day with Matthew. But today, I vent. I want her to feel what Carlee has to live with. I want her understand what she’s doing to these babies. But, she won’t. And I can’t make her. So I write here. I scream here. I cry here. I rage here.

Then I wipe off my face and go back into my world with a smile. I’d give anything to make her whole. Even if that meant I’d never met her. I’d do it. But she isn’t whole and we were given the responsibility and the joy of raising her. That makes me heart smile.

God’s Handiwork

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1

To be honest, most days I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I get up and I don’t know how Carlee’s day will go. Will there be seizures? Will she fall? Will she be happy? Every morning is a mystery. She’s usually quite happy getting out of bed. Sometime between her morning diaper and getting into high chair, she settles into her mood for the day. For someone who likes their day planned to the minute, this is nerve wracking.

Then there’s the day itself. Did she get enough one on one? Did I do the compressions on both sides? Did she get enough calories? How many seizures did she have today? Did we get through all our school work? Was I mom enough for my other four children? Was I wife enough for my husband? Did I spend one minute alone with myself and God?

I don’t always have the answers when I lay down. I question myself into the night. Carlee wasn’t born to me. I didn’t have any time to prepare for what was coming. I have to believe in God’s handiwork, that He crafted me to be her mother, their mother. I don’t know why my babies had to go through what they did to make it to me, but they did, they’re mine. And I want to be enough for them all. I don’t know why Carlee has to suffer. I can’t put it in a cliche, look at all the lives she touching. I’d rather her be pain free and have a normal childhood then touching strangers lives. Even touching my life. She’s taught me more about doctors and specialist and medicine and therapies than I ever thought I know. I’d trade all the knowledge for seizure free days and words from her lips. But there is truth in it. I have more compassion for other parents than I ever used to. I see the world differently. My kids see the world differently. I have more patience than I did my first ten years of parenting. I’ve met amazing mothers, amazing families. Yet, I’d give it all away for her to be pain free.

So I ramble. I write. I research. I vent to online groups. I pray for a cure. I stress. I have anxiety attacks. Then I dust myself off. Do a work out. Doodle a sketch. Read a book. I try to sleep and I wake up and do it all over again. Never knowing what that day will bring.

I trust in this:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

I don’t know what He saw in me, in my family. But He prepared us long before we knew she was coming. Long before we knew anything about special needs. He prepared us. prepared our way. He knows the ending. And it’s good.

 

Self Care

We were snowed in today. Again. Yesterday was 67 and I was able to get out on Main Street with a friend and walk. Today it snowed four inches. I am over winter.

When we started foster care our first placement was such a joy. When he left, we had a baby girl. A sweet little girl who screamed bloody murder whenever I held her. She much preferred my husband. The screaming and her leaving caused me to end up in the ER twice with a “heart attack”. It was anxiety. I’ve been dealing with that issue for three years.

It’s mostly under control. I have learned that I need self care to keep the attacks under control. This winter has been dragging on and on and on. It’s been hard to get out and walk. With Carlee’s appointments, the snow, homeschooling, being a wife and mother,  I’ve been running myself into the ground. Last week I decided I had had enough. I started walking/jogging and while I’d never win The Hunger Games or out run a zombie, it’s a start. Taking care of myself is imperative to taking care of my family. My Carlee needs me at my best. Especially since we’ve been spending every night this week waking the middle of the night. I know a lot of special needs moms need ‘me’ time. It’s not selfish. It revives me and makes me a better person for them. We all need to cut ourselves some slack.

1797361_10152031198703882_641966236_n