Monday, April 29, 2013

A Time For Healing

In the fall, I wrote a post that was labeled as the hardest one I had penned.  This one trumps it.

This blog is being kept up to print for our children one day as a testimony to what our family journey was like, but the blog won't be public forever. 
At the moment I am going to use it to keep family and friends informed of what we are going through.  This is difficult to discuss partly because most people do not see what goes on in our home. 

This week begins the next chapter in our family life.  Our prayer is that it is a time of healing and hope.  Reading this post will not give you the details you need to fully understand our situation, but my hope is that you will gain enough understanding to be able to commit to pray for our family in the upcoming days, weeks, and months.

As you know, we chose older child adoption because we knew God was calling us to that, and we also knew older children are much harder to place.  We did our homework and knew in advance it could be a very difficult road.  If you'd like to read a well written post about considerations before adopting an older child, this is a good one:http://www.thefarmerswifetellsall.com/2013/04/25/rethinking-adoption-on-counting-the-cost/

But no one knows the extent of "difficult" until they are in a situation.  That's just life.  Until you walk a road, you can imagine what it will be like, but you won't fully grasp the enormity of the it.  You can try to foresee the bumps and branches along the way, but you won't see them all.  You're going to trip and fall and have to get back up and keep going. 

As many of you have heard, life with Yohannes has been unpredictable.  Go back to the website I gave you in the fall, www.attachment.org, if you'd like to read about some behaviors typical of what he displays.  We see things ranging from beating on the glass doors with a golf club, to throwing things, to general verbal and emotional abuse from morning until night (that's all the details I will publicly give on his erratic behavior).  Mostly done in the home setting.  Y does not know how to live in a family.  His brain did not make the needed connections as a baby to be able to trust, bond, and give up control.  He does not have any cause and effect thinking. 

After attending counseling for months and giving him therapeutic parenting (if you'd like to know what that is, go to www.empoweredtoconnect.org), we found out there is another option to give him the help he sorely needs. 

Through a long series of God-ordained events, we were accepted to a special ranch that specifically works toward the healing of children with RAD and PTST, etc.  He will be staying there and attending the program.  We are not sure how long it will take, because each child is different.  Alan and I and the children will visit and eventually he will be reacclimated into our family.

Here are some things we'd like you to know:

1)  Yes, this was a long, well-thought-out, well-prayed-over, difficult decision.  Have we considered he will feel like he is being abandoned?  Of course.  We have shed many tears at the thought of his feelings. But that is something that the counselors at the ranch will work with him on.  It will be a necessary part of the adjustment that he will work through.

2) This is the best option for him at this time. He needs to be healed and learn to live in a family unit.  Our other children need time to recover from the damage that has been done to them as well.  We are praying that the next few months will be a time of healing for everyone. 

3)  We will be visiting him as often as we can.  Alan and I will visit, then eventually bring the other children to go through counseling there as well.  When the directors of the ranch feel Y is ready, he will come back for a home visit, then for good.  That's the plan.

4)  Paulos is going to need your prayers, too, as he works to move forward while Y is away.  Paulos needs help in many areas.  This year we have been forced to focus mainly on Y above anyone else.  Hopefully Paulos can make great strides when we are able to finally give him some needed attention in the form of therapeutic parenting.

5)  We believe God put Y in our family for this purpose.  If he was still in Ethiopia he would not be getting help.  Depending on the family he was adopted into, he may not have been able to receive this help.  Programs like the ranch have a large cost in many forms:  money, time, and willingness lay down what we'd like to do and instead do what we need to do. 

Our prayer is that Y is healed and grows into a whole person in Jesus.  That his proper brain function is able to be restored and make connections.  We pray someday he can live a full life including holding a job and having a relationship. 

Please join us in praying.  If you can pass this on, do it.  If you have a prayer list at your church or Bible study, please add him to it.  The next few months are going to be difficult as he adjusts, learns, and grows.

Pray for our other children as well.  Paulos needs to learn to trust as well and he will miss his brother.  Jayde, Alana, and Easton need to have the emotional damage undone that has happened over the past 9 months.  They all need to know we love them and will care for them no matter what.
 
Our family would appreciate it if you would address all questions about what we have experienced, the facility Y is going to, the program, etc., to either me or Alan. Please do not ask our children any questions. We want to respect their feelings. They will not be privy to every detail.

Psalm 147:3 says, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds".  We know all our children belong to Jesus.  We have prayed for Jayde, Alana, and Easton since they were in my womb, and we prayed for Yohannes and Paulos before ever catching a glimpse of their faces.  Holding our children with open hands is the hardest thing to do as a parent.  They were bought with a price and made for a purpose.  Their lives will bring glory to God. 

This song makes me think of Yohannes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9ArVuqm324