Last week I wrote about being blind-sided by a PTSD-like emotional trigger during a movie. It impacted me more than I had realized. While I enjoyed the movie, the thoughts this brought on were heavy and stayed with me for a while.
Unfortunately, though, our heavy day wasn’t over. Two days prior we had learned the news of our twin boys’ biological mom’s passing. Somehow the weight of that moment pressed more heavily than the sudden emotional attack from 12 years ago.
Regardless of what their response would be, this was a truly tragic event.
I remember when we had to sit them down a few months ago to inform them they weren’t going to have visits with her anymore, that rights had been terminated. This was the second time they’d lost their mother, the first was when they went into foster care. They grieved. It was hard.
At least the first time there were visits, for awhile. With the second, those visits had ended, but there was still hope that one day things could get better. She was still out there … somewhere.
This time she was gone. Forever. Eleven years old and they’ve lost their mom three times.
If history and statistics hold true, they will outlive their adoptive mom. Make that four times. They are poised to need to deal with the loss of their mother four times in their lifetime. It’s hard enough to deal with once, much less four times.
No wonder kids in the foster system have trouble attaching to things and people. Things and people go away. Over and over and over again. My heart was heavy for them. Their loss was so profound … and repeated. We didn’t really have words to comfort them. All we knew to do was “be there,” which seemed woefully inadequate, but it was all we had.
This repeated loss dramatically impacts these kids, not to mention the other traumas of their lives. I’ll never forget the time a coach told me when he refused to let our son play sports because of his behavior, “I think losing something in life will do him good.” Are you kidding me?
I guess losing his parents, his home, all his belongings, his entire family, and any stability he had ever known wasn’t enough. There is such a profound misunderstanding and under-appreciation for the impact repeated loss has on our kids.
It is heavy. The weight of a broken world often rests on small shoulders.
This is why foster adoptive care is so important. Might I even focus to say why adoptive care is so vital. Permanence. Every child needs a permanent place to call home, a tribe to which he or she can belong no matter what. Even when they make decisions that remove them from it, we must let them know their tribe still loves them.
I’ve seen enough to know my boys will experience loss again. This dance isn’t over. But at least when they do, they will have an anchor to which they can return, a bulwark to grasp when they are tossed. That anchor isn’t us, but Jesus working through us, through family.
There is a reason the family unit is used so heavily to describe the church in her relationship to Christ. We are the bride, He the Bridegroom, and we are simultaneously Sons and Daughters of the Most High. Forever. Nothing can take that away from us. Not even our own actions.
So it is with adoption. When the storms of life come on us, and on us they will come, these dear souls need to know they have someone, some family, on which they can count to love them forever. No matter what.
I thought the weight of things lost and experiences missed with my daughter were heavy until I was confronted with the loss my sons must feel from all the things they’ve missed; things they will continue to miss.
Foster care is important. Adoption is vital. It’s hard. It’s also worth it.