I write this post to you today with a very heavy heart. This blog was started to share our journey, joys and even sorrows. So, with the desire to be honest and forthcoming- and in sorrow- I write this post. And mostly, I want you to know that we aren't perfect and we (as a family and as parents) struggle every day just like each and every one of you.
For quite some time we have struggled with our two oldest Liberian children. They are very different children with different personalities and different backgrounds/history. Right now they are 18 years old and 17 1/2 years old. We've gone back and forth as to the reasons why they have struggled so much and have not been able to adjust into our family/family life. They are not bad people and we don't see them as that, we see 2 lost children who can't/won't trust anyone but themselves. We can see how this could have happened during their previous years in Africa (without parents, without a family structure, and having to take care of themselves even though they were in an orphanage- supposedly cared for). Life has not been kind to them, before coming here, and they are guarded. We know and understand this...
For 18 months now, we've been faced how much we allow our family (and other children) to be affected in trying to help 2 older children who don't want (or won't allow themselves) to be 'helped'. Our hope and prayer is that somehow, some day they will each learn to trust and allow someone to help them. We know God asked us to bring them here for a specific reason, what that reason is, we have NO idea. But, we've come to terms with the fact that we don't need to know. We just need to listen to God and obey what He asks of us.
As of now, both children are no longer in our home. Our oldest (the 18 year old) is living with a different family in a different state, by his choice. Our daughter (the 17 1/2 year old) is in a residential-type home. She struggles with so much anger and we're out of ways to help her on our own.
Even though things have turned out quite differently than we originally thought/hoped for, we still thank God for the opportunity to be parents to them (whether they are happy about it or not). We don't know what the future holds for them or for us. We, as parents, are working through the stages of grief. This is what we've worked through so far and where we are at:
1. Shock & Denial
2. Pain & Guilt
3. Anger and/or Bargaining
4. Depression & Reflection
5. Reconstruction & Working through
6. Hope & Acceptance
All of this to say, we are far from perfect and we want to be very honest about that. People have said to me, "You are wonder-mom. I don't know how you do it. It takes special people to do what you're doing. You must have un-ending patience, etc." I see myself as an ordinary person, relying on the strength from God to what He has called me to do. I desire to lead an extraordinary life but I need God's help to do that... and what I do has to be in His plan.
Even though our hearts are heavy regarding our two oldest children, we still have 6 more vibrant and happy children here under our roof! They are all so different and they keep us on our toes! We are blessed by our full quiver!
"In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6
"Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, when they speak with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:5