Sunday, September 15, 2013

One Thing Remains

We have had a long week. Lots of bumps, but some really good moments of growth for our Sweetie.
It has been a week of many "I'm sorry" moments. That phrase is said so much it has no meaning.
At one point I made a comment that I understand that she is saying it, but if you say and it and repeat the same action over and over again you are not really sorry. The next time she was harassing the dogs, she immediately said "I'm sorry, wait not I'm not". I couldn't help but to laugh.
My child is very insightful and overall very honest with me. I am grateful for that.
And even though she does not really mean she is sorry, I can appreciate that she is practicing saying it. It has been a week where I can really see how truly shameful my girl feels all the time. She doesn't accept the 100 times a day we praise her. But then goes completely off the deep end because we give a small redirection where she becomes defiant and argumentative. Things snowball from there. It always ends the same with her crying making comments about how we don't love her and don't care.
I can't even count how many negative comments she makes about herself and us. She calls herself stupid and states how she messes up everything. I try to comfort her and build her up. At times this is hard to do, especially when I watch her intentionally sabotage things. I am working so hard not to get triggered by her and not to engage in her arguing. She keeps coming back over and over trying to push more. I understand why she does it and I am able to stay calm with her. But I am screaming inside. Everything in me wants to shake her to make her stop. Stop pushing us away, stop being defiant, just stop arguing. Her newest thing is to refuse to do what is asked and say she doesn't have to and I can't make her. She is right, I can't make her do anything. She is 120 pounds of raging hurt child. Last night it was over going to her room at 9:00. She refused to go to her room, she stood in the middle of the living room yelling "you can't make me".  After asking her nicely several times and getting the same response I said "you are right I can't make you, but then again you can't make me drive you to your friend's house next weekend either". It's a logical consequence.
If she can't go to her room when asked, I can't trust her to follow directions while with a friend.
Today was another long day with similar interactions but thanks to the support and prayers of many of my friends I was able to keep my cool really well!  So now I will focus on something good from the week. This past week she was having an issue with a girl at school talking about her. to other girls. Sweetie told me about the girl being mean. I asked her to remember if she could have done anything to make her feel bad. She remembered a couple weeks ago making fun of her scratching  her armpit. I talked to her on the way into school about the power of a real apology. I asked her to empathize how it would feel to be her. I encouraged her to talk to the girl. And you know what? She did it! She apologized! That is huge for our girl! I am so proud of her! I know many adults who could not do that. I celebrate this positive moment. I also chose to celebrate the tender moment we had in church where she had her head on my shoulder and her hand on Cris' shoulder. I love how she held my hand during one of my favorite songs and looked up at me during worship excited that she knew the song. It made my heart smile when I heard singing the words while she was taking her shower and right before she went to sleep this evening. We are getting through! I know it is challenging most of the time, but she is coming to know our love and God's love. There is not much else I can do but that for her.

I have spent a lot of time praying lately. Praying for healing for my sweet girl. Praying for my own healing from the wounds that she can inflect on my heart. But I am also praying for the next chapter of our crazy journey. Back in January I went to the Create for Care Retreat I had signed up for several breakout sessions on older children adoptions, but somehow was put into one on foster care. To be honest I skipped the breakout session and went and took a nap. My friend Kim was picking on me that maybe that was a sign that I should be fostering. I laughed and said absolutely not. Then a few weeks back on Sweetie's last day in residential treatment I sat next to one of the younger kids who has been living there. There was a moment that we had to share our favorite birthday memory. The little girl looked up at me with these huge brown eyes and said in this little voice that she didn't have any. It was in that very moment that I felt in my whole body that fostering is what I need to be doing. Over the last year my daughter has shared bits and pieces of things that happened to her in foster care. I think of the total lack of medical and dental care she received. I think of her being treated like she was less than a person, that she was damaged. And I think mostly about how many times someone gave up on her and threw her aside like the garbage that was in the garbage bags she brought with her when she moved here. It breaks my heart to know there are hundreds of thousands of children living in the United States being treated like this. I know I can not help them all, but I can perhaps make a difference in some children's lives. And perhaps those seeds of love that will be sown will grow beautiful fruit that will then be shared with others. I know it probably sounds crazy to take on more when we are already spread so thin. But isn't that one of the greatest gifts back to God. To give to his children when it is uncomfortable. I am faithful that he will provide for us what we need to be on this journey. So with that being said Cris and I are going to become therapeutic foster parents through NC Mentor. These are the people that we are working with as Sweetie's Intensive In Home Therapy. The children we would have in our home will come from backgrounds like our Sweetie and with behaviors like our Sweetie. There are not many people with the skills to parent kids with these trauma histories. Sweetie has given me such a gift, she has shown me what my purpose is. What I believe to be God's plan for me. My journey with Sweetie has strengthened my trust in the Lord. There is no way I could be staying afloat without him as my life preserver. He has given me strength when I did not feel I could go on. He has given me patience when I had none. And he has continued to pour into me his love so that I could continue to pour into Sweeties heart. God has helped to pave the way in my husbands heart and in Sweetie's. Both have been completely on board with this. This has been and will continue to be an uncomfortable journey. But it too also has many rewards. And in the end it may even help Sweetie & other children to heal. As of Friday the agency was trying to reactivate our foster license. If they can, I will just need the therapeutic training. I am praying that we can do that. But if not that is OK too. There will be a reason that we are in that training class. I know I will be able to share our story with people that are wanting to foster just for the money. Maybe that will change those people's minds. Or maybe it will encourage someone to prepare themselves more. Or maybe there is someone in that class who will need to know that you can do this. That you can love a child even when they are acting unlovable.

So as I sit here typing this I am brought back to I'm sorry. But this time it is me that is asking for forgiveness. Forgiveness for ignoring what God asked of me. I want to show your love to those who do not believe they deserve to be loved. That they will know that your love never gives up. This it always remains.

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