Category Archives: children

When a parent quits

Having Pipsqueak in our home, our firstborn turning 13 recently and an ongoing family drama has made this a difficult and reflective season for me. I look at her tiny little face, her big blue eyes and sweet smile and repeatedly think, how? How does a parent just quit? I laugh with my son, his sense of humor becoming more mature – his take on life more adult-like than child-like and I am baffled again. How can any parent quit? At any age?

But parents do quit. They quit all the time.

Sometimes they really don’t have a choice. Their addiction overtakes them and they put that before the well being of any other person around them including their own children and families. Sometimes they become ill and lose their fight and leave their children through death.

But most of the time, they do choose. A woman who chooses abortion over adoption is a parent who quit. Who said, “You are not worth my effort.”

A father who walks out on his family and doesn’t fight for time with his children is quitting. He put his needs, wants and desires above that of his children and family.

Many kids who are in foster care have parents that are working hard to get them back, but there are some who’s parents do quit. They quit trying to go to the meetings, the visits, the court dates. They do not show up when things are hard and ugly.

So how do parents live with themselves? How can they just quit on their kids? And what affect does this have? Do kids really care? Do they know? We naively think that a baby won’t “know” if she’s been without her birth mother. That she won’t remember or realize.

We think older kids and teens will be fine if dad walks out. They’re almost grown, right?

Wrong. When Pipsqueak gets a little older, when she’s 10 or 12, she’s going to know. She’s going to feel that loss, she’s going to know there are unanswered questions and missing pieces of her puzzle. When that teenager is consumed with doubt and trust issues, he or she will realize, this is because dad walked out.

Even as an adult, the pain that hits you when your parent quits is a different kind of pain. It’s a rejection of who you are as a person, of your worth, your place in the world as “child”.

Last fall, my own dad decided that politics were more important than a relationship with me or my children. He decided that his right to be right was more important than love, commitment and family. It has been a hard pill to swallow.

In some of my darkest moments, God has spoken to me and He reminded me that one of the greatest times of pain and suffering for His own son came when Jesus was crying out in pain on the cross. That moment in time when he was separated from God and felt the rejection of his Father.

I do believe there is a deep cavern in all of us that can only be touched and filled by God’s spirit and love. It’s the first need.  We are made to be in harmony with our creator. Our spirits don’t rest until we find that with Him.

The second need is to be connected. We literally grow into humans inside of another human. That basic need of attachment does not leave us.

 

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
                                                                                                                  -Matthew 27:46

 

 

 

Jonah turns 5

Jonah-baby turned 5 in September. When we refer to Theodore, Parker and Jonah around here we usually say “the 3 little boys”. Now that they are 9,7 and 5 they aren’t so little but Jonah is technically the baby of the family. Well, he was until 4 days before his birthday when Pipsqueak joined us. Jonah is…SWEET. He has big brown eyes, precious little verbal and facial expressions and loves to cuddle. He tries his best to do everything that all the big kids are doing. He is well-behaved and quick to learn if he gets in trouble. He is a little bit of a daredevil but he’s made it a whole year without a trip to the ER so that’s a plus. He’s recently gotten the chance to see what it feels like to be the “big” brother and he has excelled at that role. I’ve been surprised at how nurturing he is toward Pipsqueak. Since she’s been here he’s started to care for his Mickey Mouse the way I care for her. When we went to the dentist the other day he insisted on having a bag for Mickey’s stuff and that Mickey needed a diaper and a bottle. As I suspected at the beginning of the school year, he has excelled in his K4 year and knows many of his letters, phonics and numbers. He isn’t catching on with handwriting yet but we have time! In this house, you get to be a little boy first and a student second.

Katie turns 11

My first little baby girl turned 11 years old in October. She has continued to be thoughtful, kind, giving and loving. She loves to laugh. She’s been changing and becoming a little more sensitive (pre-teen years here we come). What makes her such a good helper now and what will make her an excellent leader in the future is that she MUST know what is going on. She tends to eavesdrop on adult conversations so she can have all the information and then likes to quickly pass on the info to her brothers and friends. She has requested that she have her own planner she can write in and one of her first questions every day is “so, what’s on the schedule for today?” She likes to plan ahead and make cards for others (I think she made 40 Christmas cards to hand out to different family and friends). Her enthusiasm for life is contagious! It was her turn this year to have a party so we had a family dinner and a friend party. Nothing Pinterest worthy, but she said it was the best one yet.

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Theodore turns 9

NINE??? How can it be? He turned 9 in August with a small celebration. Theodore was the first little blond haired, blue-eyed boy in our family. After having Foster and Katie with their dark hair and eyes, he was such a different creature in every way. He looked different and his temperament were night and day different. He waited the longest to walk and talk than any of our other babies so far. He’s been a later to learn reader. But, don’t let that fool you. His personality is a go-getter. He will jump ahead and do the hard or dirty job with very little complaint. He rarely is fearful of things even his older brother has trouble with. He’s full of energy, spunk and competitiveness. He will sniff out any dessert or treat from a mile away. All boy, this one. My husband and I claim he will be the heartbreaker with those eyes, that sweet smile, those dimples and more importantly his soft, sweet spirit that leads him to always need affirmation and love. I’m so glad he’s 9. I’d like to keep him here a little longer. This growing up time when he smells like dirty little boy and he still argues about bathing, schoolwork and brushing his teeth.

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Cross Country 2016

First call (calls, actually)

Yesterday it finally happened. I was enjoying time with my children and a couple of great friends at my parents’ pool. We were just about to pack up and come home and get ready for church and my phone rang with a local number I didn’t have listed in my contacts. It was DCS Placement! I quickly walked to a quiet spot and held my breath while the lady gave me the details. I told her that I needed to talk with my husband and I would call back as soon as I could. The catch? Chris is in Guam. That’s a HUGE time difference (14 hours to be exact) and he was trying to sleep. It was early morning hours there. She told me that she would continue to try and find a home and then she would call me back if/when she did. I told her I would call her back as soon as I was able to speak with him.

Chris and I had agreed that we would not take a placement without first discussing it and getting a “yes” from both of us. While I waited the 3 or so hours for us to be able to communicate, I prayed like crazy. For any placement, I want our family to be THE place that God would have the child be for the time they need us. I am not so concerned that the child will be a good fit for us, rather the other way around. I want God to be able to use our family, church family, friends to minister to that child. He has to be in control or this whole thing will be a train wreck.

Before I could get Chris on FaceTime or via text, DCS called back. They had found the little girl a home. I was so thankful. Thankful that she would have a place to sleep and more than thankful that God handled the situation better than I would have. In fact, if Chris had been a phone call away, which he almost always is, I would have probably relied on my own logic and arguing to get him to say yes. I don’t know that he would have. We’ve prayed and planned and know that 0-3 years is the age range we feel equipped for right now. But I am a good debater. And Chris, well, he’s a big, ole teddy bear.

That first call came at 3:30pm. When she called me back about 5pm and said “we found her a home,” she was sure to reassure me that they would be calling again. At 8pm, as we pulled into the garage from church, they did call again. This time for a boy, the same age as Foster. I knew I had to say “no”. But that “no” was more heartbreaking than the first call. Thinking of my amazing 12 year old and his friends. The ones who are so full of life, humor, confidence, ideas and insecurities being taken out of their home and placed with strangers? It’s enough to keep you awake at night. Foster said, “I need to start building a room on the house so we could take kids like that. It’s not fair.”

I completely agree with him.

First Day of School 2016-2017

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It’s back-to-school time! I cannot believe I get to spend every day with these crazy kids. Here’s hoping they learn something this year.

Foster: 7th grade. He has been going on and on about how his life is over now that school has started back. It’s like prison he says.

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Katie: 5th grade. My precious breath of fresh air. Excited for school to start, couldn’t wait to go over her assignment sheet, look at her new textbooks and jump right in!

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Theodore: 3rd grade. He’s changed so much. The extra time to let him mature and grow could already be seen as he began tackling multiplication today.

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Parker: 2nd grade. This boy. He NEVER SITS STILL. He’s a cuddly, little, intense boy. We will see how school goes this year.

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Jonah: K4 (Kindergarten – year one). Yes, he wakes up this handsome. I couldn’t believe what he knew today! He’s excited about schoolwork. Maybe he’ll take after his sister.