Dissolved: When Always Isn’t Forever. . . Part Five
“Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him…”
“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord..”
Dissolved. The word even sounds abysmal. I knew what this word meant, but it’s application to adoption was foreign to me. Through the five years the children had been in our home, I’d never heard of such a thing.
Dissolving an adoption could happen in several ways. First, it was possible to return the children to the state’s custody. However, we would then be charged with neglect and be required to pay child support to the state while they sought a new home for the children. This would also put the custody of our biological children at risk because of a charge of neglect.
There was also an adoption agency that specialized in second adoptions. I never knew this was even possible, let alone a necessity. For a sizable fee, they would help to connect the children with a family seeking to adopt children in our situation. This process was costly and there were no guarantees of success. The third option was private adoption. But where do I start? What on earth would I do?
The reality was, our adopted children were not attached to us. They did not consider us their family. This was not their fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault; it just was. We did not have a family bond with the adopted children, and we were told (by doctors and “friends” alike) that THAT was the problem, and what was likely the cause of the children’s behaviors. My research told me much differently, but all these people cannot be wrong, can they? Could the problem be as they say? The children were never diagnosed with an attachment disorder, though I sought many doctors evaluations. We believed it had to be us, and we couldn’t bear to deprive the children of feeling as though they belonged to a real family. Looking back, we know this wasn’t true, but at the time, under the circumstance, we believed them.
We wanted the children to have the family experience. Our chance was gone, but maybe, if given the right opportunity, another family could do things right from the beginning, and the children would have the chance to bond as a real family. We believed they deserved this. There were no guarantees, of course, but we had to try. We loved them enough to know that we had done all we could do and it was time for someone else to try. We also had our biological children to consider. They, too, had given their lives for the sake of these children, and they were drowning because of it. They needed relief. They needed a life without trauma in it. It was hurting all of us.
Through a series of events and the sovereign grace of God, I was put in touch with a local mother who had endured a similar experience as we had and recently dissolved her adoption, through private adoption. She had made many contacts in the adoption world and she offered to help us find our children the home they needed. This was a long and difficult process. There were interviews, emails, and phone calls. There were rejections and broken promises from those seeking to adopt.
But this new friend walked me through each and every step, holding my hand along the way. She was using her heartache and trial to help another in need (much the same way I am using this site). She fielded many inquiries and finally thought one worthy to pass along to me to consider. This family had previous adoption experience, they had dealt with difficult circumstances that accompanied trauma children, and they were completely ready and eager to offer our adoptees the opportunity to be a part of their family.
Through many emails back and forth, and many questions on both sides, we believed these were the ones the Lord had brought to take the baton of parenting the children from us. A private adoption requires all the same legalities as any adoption. There are home studies, home inspections, attorneys, affidavits, and court dates.
And though I was overwhelmingly grateful for the Lord’s provision during this process, my heart was deeply grieved. I had given my life, all I had. I was not perfect, but I was the best I could be. I wanted to be their forever. And now I was having to fully realize that was not the plan God had. As you can imagine, I was a mess. Not knowing from one day to the next what the future held. There were many touch and go moments along the way. Some days we weren’t sure things would work, and we worried we’d end up back at square one.
Still, we pressed on. The new family was very pro-active. Since they were from another state, they communicated weekly with the children via Skype. They sent us a photo album of their entire family. It had each of their pictures and names written in it, to help the children learn who they were before they met in person. They also had pictures I’d sent them framed and put up on the walls of their home, to make the children feel welcome when they arrived.
We knew the twins would not quite grasp the situation (though they were extremely excited), but Jason was fully aware of what was happening, and he was thrilled. The children became seemingly more and more attached to the new family as the weeks went by. They became increasingly excited about their new adventure. And we were standing on the edge of our future too. When we adopted, we were given a monthly stipend; we used this money to help pay for our larger home to accommodate our large family. Obviously, we would no longer be receiving this stipend, so it was necessary for us to sell our home. Our fifteen passenger van would also no longer be necessary, so that had to go as well. So many changes, all at once. After months of back and forth, paperwork, meetings with attorneys, and court dates, the day had finally come for the children to go begin their new life. In the days leading up to this, my heart was again broken into a million pieces. While packing their things, I was keenly aware that our dream of adoption was dying.
I played everything over and over in my head. What could we have done differently? Why did this happen this way? Why couldn’t we make it work? Those are questions that still haunt me today, but I trust the Lord and His perfect plan for all things. And then we were left with what to say to others.
Our list of support was virtually nonexistent. With all the harsh criticism and vitriol directed at us – what would they say now? I no longer cared about their criticisms and judgments. I had an entire family to consider, not just three children. They were not in this battle with us. I knew, however difficult it was to accept, we were doing the absolute right thing for everyone, no matter how much it broke our hearts to do it.
There are those who will claim otherwise, that we chose to “get rid of those children” (actual words said by one of those mentioned in earlier posts), and abandon them in their time of greatest need. This is naively ignorant, at best. It will be no surprise to you to learn, once word did reach the ears of our critics, their harsh words and disdain continued. But we were not doing this for them.
The day arrived, and we were up early to take the children to the agreed upon meeting spot. Both families met the night before, and the children were anxious to go and begin their forever. I had no time to ponder the gravity of what was happening because our meeting time was quickly approaching. As we arrived, a light rain began to fall. This meant that a quick transfer of children, from one vehicle to the next, was necessary.
I look back with gratefulness since the Lord provided the rain to help me get through this agonizing process quickly. Once the children were loaded, I stood there in the rain, amidst all the chaos that was happening around me, and watched each child be carefully belted into their car seats by their new siblings. A flood of memories flashed through my mind at once as I looked at this final moment of our dying dream. The van door shut, and just like that – they were gone.
The next day, I received a text from the new adoptive mother informing me that their court appearance was over and that their adoption of the three children, that we had raised for the last five years, was final.
It was over. I was numb. In the weeks that followed, we sold our home and moved our family to a new town, had to sell our large van, started attending a new church, and somehow managed to continue life in our new reality. I received a few updates on how the children were adjusting and was assured by the new mother that they were all doing just fine. I wanted to cry, but I was out of tears.
I did pray. I was eternally grateful to the Lord for all that He had done; though He brought us low, it was for our good and His glory. And now it was time to rebuild what was left of our lives.
How do you go on? How do you pick up where you left off when so much has been broken? I can tell you, it is a slow, long, hard process. My perspective on many things has been changed. I can’t hear the phone ring or receive an email or text without being filled with anxiety.
Is it someone coming to shame us or persecute us again? Was that knock on the door someone coming to investigate our family because of an anonymous call? The post-stress of a traumatic situation is all too real to us. But we were never promised an easy life. In fact, God tells us in John 16:33 that we will have trouble in this world, but that He has overcome the world.
This was a constant source of comfort to me as we maneuvered our way down this difficult path. I no longer stand in self-righteous judgment of others trying to manage a difficult child. I do not know the underlying causes of their seemingly undisciplined behavior.
I needed to be taught that not every situation and circumstance has a black and white solution, and some things are impossible to understand from an outside perspective. It is still difficult to enjoy activities or new friends because we never know how someone will react to our story.
Our comfort comes from our belief in God. We trust Him. Though we were brought to the lowest valley by those who profess to be His own, yet we trust Him. We still hold to the belief that all human life is precious, made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27). We know that our ways are not His ways, and though we don’t always understand, we trust Him. We are not those who are without hope. We have been saved. And through this trial, we’ve realized just how much saving we needed.