I thought, now that the initial emotion of the situation is over, to add an update to my last post. It has been an incredibly difficult month and one that I am glad is over. I have never thought of myself as a particularly naïve person. I’ve been around the block in more ways than one. But these last few weeks have shown me that maybe I’m a lot more naïve than I thought I was.
Our two ‘inherited’ daughters are gone from our house. It is a long and complicated story, but the condensed version is this: after YEARS (literally) of inactivity, CPS sprang to action about 4 weeks ago. The girls were formally removed from their mother’s custody. Although we had been told differently on many occasions by a few different social workers, the girls were both split up and sent to different homes. In spite of their patronizing explanations, their smug and condescending looks, I have bouts of nearly-uncontrollable anger when speaking with the social workers involved. They had turned me into a liar in the eyes of the girls. I had always told them that if they were honest and spoke up, that I would protect them and that they could stay with us. Now, they are apart and alone.
The way the ‘dominoes’ fell, the older daughter left us on a Wednesday and her little sister left us on the following Friday. All weekend long, my husband and I struggled with our own grief and consoling our children, who were afraid that the social worker would come to take them next. My husband is a tough guy; I’ve only seen him cry a handful of times in the nearly 12 years that we’ve been together. But he cried for hours that week. He still seems sad a lot. The girls’ absence has left a gaping wound in our family that I’m not sure will ever completely heal.
I’ve really thought a lot since then, about what the Lord would have me learn from this whole experience. It’s been a struggle. My faith has wavered more than once. I have been driven to my knees in sadness so great I wondered how I could ever be happy again. I think it’s really hard for reasonable people who are trying to do what’s right, to see things turn out so wonky. Reasonable people expect reason to prevail. We expect right to win. I guess that’s where my naïveté’ showed through. The real world is harsh and people are fairly unforgiving, generally speaking. I’m not trying to be pessimistic, but that’s what I’ve learned.
But, I have also learned about the capacity inside me to love. I love these two girls just like they are my own daughters. I love them to the point I would lay down my own life for them. They are my heart and soul, just like the children I bore myself. Loving anyone like that is a calculated risk: the more you love, the more it can hurt. If you ask my oldest son, he’ll tell you that family isn’t just the people who are your brothers and sisters; family is about the people who God sends into your life to love you. In that way, they are my daughters too. Just as literally as if I had given birth to them myself.
We’ve been able to keep in fairly regular contact with the older daughter. She is struggling, much more than we are I’m sure. I feel such guilt that I wasn’t able to deliver on my promises to her. I hope she knows that if it were under my control, she’d be here safely tucked under my wing with the rest of my chicks. The younger daughter went back to her mother yesterday. It’s, again, a long story, but I doubt if I will ever have the opportunity to see her again. I hope that she will remember us. But, I will think of her, of them both, and worry about them forever. I will pray for their happiness and safety every day. I have to believe that the Lord has them in His hands. That He will watch over and protect them, even when no one else will. I have to believe that He knows what is in the future for all of us, that He can see the end AND the beginning. I have to believe and I DO believe that His will will always come to pass, even if it takes longer than my mortal heart would like.