I recently saw one of those Facebook memes, CLICK LIKE if you hate child abuse. SHARE to STOP child abuse.
I did nothing.
Our foster-to-adopt journey has been the scariest, saddest, most joyful, rollercoaster of my life. I have learned a few things:
- It’s not about me.
- Every foster to adopt story begins with a horrible tragedy.
- Sometimes, to pray for that which I want more than anything in the world, means I am praying someone else must fail in the worst possible way. I cannot pray that prayer and so I only whimper, “Thy will be done.”
- Child abuse is not something any one of us is above.
Piety. Just when I think I have heard it all, I get the wind knocked out of me. One of the hardest things I have dealt with is being questioned about my morals because my two young sons “obviously” have different baby daddies. Yep. And mommies. But, I had to look closely at this. Was I embarrassed that my morals were being questioned? Am I congratulatory that I have been married to the same man for 23+ years? And do I give a prideful response, “They are foster, or they are adopted.” So as to receive kudos for my commitment? And then I realized that wasn’t it. It is not about me. Frankly, I don’t care what you think about my morals, sex life, marriage, or politics.
It’s none of your business.
No, I realized that I am offended by this because you are questioning the legitimacy of my sons. And I WILL NOT defend them to you. Their birth mothers chose LIFE for them. They, like me, are far from perfect, but they are LIFEGIVERS. And the vandals’ story is theirs. Use your judgmental imagination to make up all the perverse stories you’d like about their conception… seems that is your problem, not mine or my sons’.
That being said, Justin and I haven’t slept in 8 days, actually, we haven’t slept since 1995, but the last eight days have been the most traumatic.
We are still at my parents’ house for the long holiday week. Justin and a couple kids will head back today. I will stay behind to deliver one of the kids to the airport late Sunday afternoon. The teen sons are deer hunting with my dad. And our eldest daughter’s boyfriend arrived last night for a couple days on the lake.
The vandals have not slept. My parents’ home is large, but the baby boys sleep in a room with Justin and I. When one wakes, the other wakes, and no one is getting much sleep.
At 8:00 last night the living room was alive with laughter. Sam and Charlie were performing sidesplitting shenanigans. Sam was talkative and trying desperately to excuse the fact that his jeans were mysteriously wet, and he had no idea why? Charlie was passing out kisses and being chatty. The commotion was uproarious.
9:00 they were “jammied-up” and in their temporary beds. Sam said, “Mommy, I ‘wike’ you so much I need one more ‘tiss.’” And Charlie said, “Me to mommy! Me too!”
1:00 am we are awakened out of precious, deep, REM sleep, by Sam’s shrill cries. He is SCREAMING. And, he’s either praying in satanic tongues, or he is a true “Treky” and is fluent in Klingon. Whatever he is chanting it is not in English, and it is freaky. And there is no consoling him.
I lay him back down, and he kicks me in the lip. He is flailing and chanting. “ravDaq Qong ghewmey neH HaSta jIH ‘ej ‘ej qamuS legh vIneH” which I googled and isn’t Satanic, it is, in fact, Klingon, and loosely translates to, “I want to watch television, I don’t want to sleep on the floor. I hate you.”
For two hours, we are up and down and up and down. We are like a well-oiled machine. Me, then Justin, me, then Justin… And at 3:00 am Charlie stands in his porta-crib and starts hollering, “MILK, ELMO, MILK, ELMO.”
Sam falls asleep.
There’s the point you just lay there, succumbing to the madness. I can hear the echo of my heart pounding in the old Serta mattress, or is that my pounding head? Either way it is a rhythmic strumming that is obvious but doesn’t drown out the screams. It is beyond stressful.
I literally can feel my skin start to break out. Chin acne is my body’s first line of defense against stress. Bless.
My emotions run the gantlet, sad, frustrated, fury, weepy, mad, exhausted, worried… I think I laughed out loud at one point.
We are old to be up with non-sleeping, Klingon-speaking, crazed toddlers. We have been sleep deprived for years. It physically hurts to be awake. Call me crazy, if I was them, and someone put lavender lotion all over my body, “jammied” me up and lay me in cool, clean, sheets with Aunt Kelly’s homemade quilts and diffused essential oils into the room I WOULD FREAKING SLEEP!?!?!?! And I would do it for long for long periods of time???
This is a phenomenon that eludes me. Truly youth is wasted on the young.
All this to say, it is easy to judge broken families, broken babies, broken mommas, and daddies. It is easy to click LIKE and say you want to stop child abuse. It is easy to question the race of the babies in the basket in front of you in the checkout line… it is easy to assume you know what you would do and when you would do it, but parenting is the hardest of gigs, and the greatest truth of parenting… “It’s not about you.”
And at our very worst moments, sleep deprived, kicked in the face, mouth full of blood, chin acne like a pubescent thug, we come to serve, not be served. And it was modeled for us by our Father in Heaven. Willing to do anything for the least of these. But by the grace of God go I. That I have Justin, and that Justin has me, and we parent together – sleepless nights I am most grateful for this. In my delirium I pray for single moms and dads, sleep deprived ones, heartbroken ones, parents with empty arms, and the life givers. Strength, abundance and rest upon each of you.
Remember these things when the frazzled mom of many is in front of you in the grocery line, or when you see horror stories on the news. Remember the fatigue, and the frustration and remember to pray for these tired parents and their babies: But by the grace of God go I…
And, how can I serve the least of these?
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
Learn more about Foster Care, Adoption, Foster-adopt, and other ways you can help children and families in need on the Sacred Ground Sticky Floors Foster & Adoption Page or contact your local Child Protective & Family Services for programs, services, and options that are available in your area.
Check out this blog..http://jenniferfulwiler.com/ she’s cool, and I accidentally stole one of her pics… yipes.