Over the past few months, we’ve been inundated with emails asking this question. We get it. We’ve felt it. We’ve been there. And here’s what we have to say about it.
Sometimes I nod feverishly when I read through emails from readers who pour their broken hearts out. Sometimes I forget to actually hit reply because I’m so engrossed in the pain they are sharing with me. Their son has pushed them to the edge with his behavior…held the entire family hostage…traumatized his younger brothers and sisters to the point of everyone needing therapy…disrupted any ounce of a normal life.
It’s been a week since we opened enrollment for Oasis Community and the stories we are hearing have moved us, inspired us, and often, left us in tears. Here’s a little more about Oasis..
“I can’t thank you enough for Oasis. It showed up at the perfect time. I was drowning with my kids, with my marriage, with my life! I think you guys may have just saved my life!”
Over the past year or so, we’ve received hundreds of emails from people who have the same heart cry- “Is there anyone out there who will walk with me?”
I could feel her emotions through each word she typed in her email to me. She explained how she had adopted, with a full heart, a sibling group of 3 from foster care 7 years earlier. Everything seemed normal with both of them. The little girl, only 2 years old, was loving, and kind, and the oldest boy, while a bit rough and tumble, was starting to look like a leader among his siblings at only 6. The middle child, also a boy, was quiet, and introspective, but nothing concerned this loving mother too much. She went through with their adoption and they had found a forever home.
You never anticipate the emotions you will feel when you receive an official diagnoses for your child. You realize that a lot is going to change. But there is a way to let go of normal and accept your new reality.
No one ever starts out on their parenting journey thinking that their child will have special needs. Especially one that will make school and social interaction difficult. And yet, it happens. And we grieve. We adjust our life’s vision, and then we learn to accept our new normal. We eventually stop holding on to the ideals we had, and rather fall in love with the reality of our precious baby girl or boy. Our beautiful child who has special needs.
It’s been a month since we were in Seattle, Washington for The Refresh Conference and we are still overwhelmed by everything we experienced. Take a look at the highlight video below…
Have you ever had that feeling that you were exactly where you needed to be, at the precise moment you needed to be there, experiencing the exact thing you needed to, with the exact people you needed to experience it with? That was the thought that kept running through our hearts and minds on March 3-4 as we joined with 1600 of our fellow foster and adoptive parents in Seattle for The Refresh Conference.
It’s been a difficult 13 years with our oldest son. Some would have told us to give up a long time ago. On paper he seems like a hopeless cause. But we’ve found hope. And we refuse to believe his story is over.
It’s not what we pictured when we became parents 15 years ago. We wouldn’t have looked at you and told you we hoped to raise a child with permanent brain damage. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Once we discovered the reality of his disorder we struggled. We’ve been to the darkest places of anger, frustration, and the finally, into the glorious light of forgiveness and redemption. We’ve battled tooth and nail against our son, with our son, and for our son. We’ve almost given up a few times….almost.
I know what you want to do, and what feels natural, when all hell breaks loose with your child. But I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to do that anymore.
You are not alone.
If I had a dollar for every time those words left my lips and crossed the space between me and the person I was standing in front of? Let’s just say…beach house in Malibu. Or better fitting…1000 acre farm at the foot of a ginormous mountain in rural Montana where my kids could run wild and free, and any outbursts, meltdowns, glass-breaking, dish-smashing tirade, brought on by trauma (or that simmer we always talk about), wouldn’t be heard by a living soul for miles. Foster and adoptive parent: you feeling me on this one?
As much as we wish we were called into a journey that was easy, problem free, and had a lot less pit falls, we’re just not. It’s far from perfect and there’s a reason for this.
I’m typing this from 30,000 feet above the earth as I fly to Denver, Colorado for a one-day conference for foster and adoptive parents, called Spotlight. I was there last year, and it was amazing. Such beautiful people with hearts for the vulnerable children in their city. It’s quite amazing to see. I should say that I’m a bit on cloud 9 after last weekend at The Refresh Conference in Seattle. It’s been a week, and I can’t stop thinking about all we experienced. We absolutely loved our time in the Pacific Northwest with all of the amazing people we call friends and family. We feel this way every year after the conference ends. Yes, it’s that amazing.