Archibald Family

Archibald Family

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Conviction

Duane and I have been walking this adoption journey for the past four months, and continue to walk through this fire.  I don't know if I could capture the hardship of the journey.  But for one, life doesn't stop just because there is a new child in our home.  Pets have died.  Pets have had to go.  What was normal, isn't normal anymore, and we can't seem to even find what normal is.  Work demands have become greater.  Financial burdens are heavier.  And in the midst of trying to stop time and turn a child's thinking into truth, the expectations of school, county and councilors are demanding.  The stress has taken its toll on all our relationships including our marriage, and even my health. 

It wasn't until today to told the school "no".  "No" to the book report that is due in a week.  "What?", you may say.  Let me tell you.  Our son is extremely behind in school.  And what the school sees, is "lets fix it".  One teachers fix-it ways, is not the others.  So we have had several teachers and professionals throw their opinions our way, giving us the brunt work to do, threw all their confusion.  However, I'm reminded, that they are fixing the symptoms not the wound. 

Our son has gone through so much trauma in his life.  And if you look into trauma and the affects of it, you'll see that there is actual, physical brain damage.  And the affects of the damage, and the many losses in his life are the results of what you see.  Cognitive issues, attachment and trust issues, fear, worry, academic struggles and the list goes on. 

If I was pregnant, and birthed our son life would be so much different.  Not only would we have nine months to prepare for the child that is coming our way, but we would have had a little idea as to what to expect from the models that were before him.  And we would have already had some sort of bonding.  If my son was birthed, I would have nursed him, and cuddled with him and would have proven to him that I was trustworthy; as I would feed him when he was hungry, change his pants when they were wet and messy, and give him warmth when he was cold.  His world would have a total different look.  And if I would have birthed my son, I would have had about five years of bonding with him before I sent him off to school.  And when my son  became a fifth grader, he wouldn't be far behind or at least because of his environment he was raised in.  And from my experience with my three biological children, If I had birthed our son, we might have even had a shower to welcome him into this world.

I have finally said "no" to the countless "busy work" of assignments that have come into our home to "try and catch him up", because we still need time bonding, and him learning that he can trust us.  I'm not saying no to everything...just the stuff that is about ready to break us.

Our number one focus right now is trying to bond as a mother and child, father and child, siblings, and a family as a whole.  And unfortunately it takes time ... and life doesn't stop.

What is frustrating for us too, is that we look at him as a ten year old boy.  I should be able to set a knife by his plate.  But I forget that I can't when I see him cutting something on the table.  No one has taught him how to properly cut his food. 

I forget that when I send what I see as a ten year old boy up to take a shower and he comes down all wet, complaining that the hot water is "broken" after his 45 minute shower, finding he never soaped up or washed his hair we remember we put too high of an expectation on him.  And now Duane has to spend a week teaching him how to shower.

And we haven't even talked about his social graces.  He could say something that is so untrue, but he believes it as true, and no matter how many times you argue with him, he is going to believe what he knows as true...after all, all adults have lied to him, why would we be any different.  And what about the times he just says something that just puts a knife through your heart.  Not because he wants to hurt me...but because he has never been taught to think of others.  He has had to learn to defend himself in order to survive. 

And we are doing this alone. 

Remember, if he was birthed...I would have had a shower?  I'm not looking for things.  But I'm looking for support, and even a friend to talk to and have tea with.  Someone who could listen, empathize and definitely not fix our life.  And someone who could bring me laughter! 

We came from a church who supported adoption.  We also came from churches that support us.  And right now, at this very moment I stand confused.  Please let me explain.

I have heard countless times "I will pray for you", "praying" and "God will see you through this".  But truthfully I don't want more prayers...I want help!

I have those rare comments that come our way that tell me:  "how can I help you?"  or "if you ever need a babysitter."  And I've called those comments out, only to find them invalid.  Right now, to be involved in our lives would be extremely messy.  We, even as Christians, don't want messy.  ME included!  To be wrapped in our life, we would need for you to take a background check to be able to watch our son for a day or two so we could rest.  It might take just coming over and listening to us, and walking through our struggles.  It would take a whole lot of time.  And it may even take building a relationship with my girls, who are now questioning their own faith.  But like I said it would be messy.

And we, in our society of busyness don't have time to get involved.  We talk the talk, but instead we just stand from the sidelines to watch those who are called....and we sometimes pray. 

I'm in NO way knocking prayer, I spend a lot of my time on my knees.  However, I just took a few moments and looked through the book of Matthew and saw Jesus doing a whole lot of doing.  Healing, even willing to go out of his way to heal, talking to those who need encouragement, allowing children to come into his lap.  He often spent his time speaking to those who were forgotten and set aside, and reaching out to them.  A matter-of-fact, wherever he was, I see in the scriptures that Jesus saw everyone who was in that scene...I really don't think anyone was overlooked.  He took his rest when needed too.  And called out to God when he was emotionally drained.  And I have to believe that if he was walking this earth, he'd not only come and heal our son and baby-sit him to give us rest....but he'd reach into your world and meet your needs too.

And through our journey I have seen how I have fallen short.  I have seen how I have not been willing to get messy with the lady in my church who needed a meal, because of the physical distance that put me out of my way.  It was out of my way and would make me late to give the man on the street corner a warm cup of coffee and any source of encouragement. I didn't want to babysit for my neighbor as getting involved with down syndrome is not my thing.  God has put people in my path that I was to be Jesus to, and I wasn't.  In spite of my current exhaustion...I want to be Jesus.  I'm seeing so many of us doing life alone, and I am reminded in scriptures we weren't created to do life that way.  We were created to praise God, depend on Him, and build each other up.

Life was meant to be together.  Isolation is not from God.  And if I feel alone, or if you feel alone something is wrong. 

So I challenge you.  What is the cry of your neighbor?  What is your co-worker struggling with?  Who is sitting in your pew at church that needs a friend because their spouse just left them?  Who is God calling you to? 

I know, that my eyes and ears are going to be opened a lot this week.  I may be exhausted, and I may need Jesus myself but I want to be Jesus ... and a whole lot messier!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Treasure of Jesus, and We are the Key.

It was during the end of Lent season that our son started asking us questions.  He came up to me when I was standing at the fireplace and he told me "Jesus is dead.".  I told him, "no, Jesus is alive.".  We continued to have this little debate, and he was adamant about Jesus being dead.  I finally told him:  "Well, it is in your Bible".  He challenged me:  "Prove it!".  And I did.

A whole new world opened for him and me that day. 

You have to understand something else about our son.  Even though he is in fifth grade, he is at about a 1st/2nd grade reading level.  He struggles with hearing the phonics of reading and he was never given the foundation we all take for granted.  You also have to know that he received a Bible at a church camp a couple years back, and carries it around.  He chooses it over other Bibles I have given him that are his reading level.  And you have to know our son has dealt with trauma, and longs to just know the truth.

Our son came down with Bible in hand, I was able to turn right to the Easter story and read it off the Bible he has treasured so much.  I saw something new and I was astonished. 

This treasure that our son has had in his hands for years was never unlocked to him because of illiteracy, the ripped and tattered pages were now a new found treasure, and we were the key to help unlock it.  It was truth that I have never seen betrayal, no lies but everything was set right before him.  And now all his answers were just words away.

And the questions began.  We sat and read the Easter story.  We pulled out our Resurrection Eggs and another book that helped explain the beauty of Jesus and what he did at a child's level.  Everything was new this year.  So many questions and so many answers.

We decided to attend our Easter service on Sunday morning, not at the Saturday night service we normally attend.  And we decided to go to the church plant we have called home for the past several months.  So because of our decision we watched our previous church online, and our son saw several people come forward.  He questioned about it.  And I explained in a simple way, how all those people decided to believe in Jesus and the Easter story and accept it as truth in their hearts. 

I had a thought wouldn't it be nice if our son would accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior on Easter Sunday.  But as quick as that thought came, I pushed it aside.  I said "No, I'm not going to force the issue.  What happens, happens.  I don't need to be involved, for it has to be meaningful for the one who receives and the One who gives."

Easter Sunday came.  We celebrated.  We rejoiced.  We bonded that Easter morning.  Our son decided to sit with us during church, and as the sermon was preached he asked for help to find the verses the pastor was referring to in the Bible.  And then that moment came.  The pastor asked if those who want a relationship with Jesus who never had one before would raise their hands.  And as our heads were bowed, and I had my arm draped around our son, I felt something flying in my face ....

my son's hand.  I looked at him, in bewilderment and he told me "I have never done it before".  I looked at Duane, he looked at me and the tears began. 

My son has taught me so much.  I have taken for granted the treasure I have always had access to, and have even allowed to collect dust now and then.  I
have seen a heart that was hungry, a heart that has been lied to and betrayed long for the truth, and we were the key to unlocking that truth.  I have learned that as much as he needs us...we need him.  Jesus is the center of our relationship.

And now is the center of our son's heart.