A Season of Change

Things I Learned this Summer: 2019 edition

It has been a while since I have written anything here.  Things have changed a lot in the last two months.  I am slowly growing accustomed to this season of change and trying to re-order everything to live in a way that is consistent with my priorities.  If I try to keep everything as is was and just stuff all the new in the nooks and crannies of family life, I would be creating so much discord.  There is only room for so much and some things have to go or be rearranged so that the people in my care can flourish and we can find harmony in our life as a family.  What has caused all this upheaval?  Keep reading.

Lesson One: a Phone Call Can Change Everything

change comes with a Black vintage rotary phone and books on rustic wooden table, on a white wall background

In 2016 we said yes to caring for two children who needed a home.   After saying yes we went through the process of becoming a licensed foster home.  We fell in love with our kids pretty fast and then found ourselves surrounded on all sides by forces intent on repaying our kindness with wickedness.  For 10 months we weathered the terrible and unrelenting storms that trauma triggers.  And then the children were taken away and sent off to navigate that storm on their own, with no one to trust and no safe place.  It was heart-wrenching and we grieved for two years.

Then one Thursday at the beginning of July 2019,  a stranger called me while I was shopping in the Target Dollar Spot.  She identified herself as the new caseworker for the children we loved and she was just wondering if we would be open to. . . had we ever thought of. . . adopting.  I had to clarify what she meant.  She indeed was calling me to ask if we were open to adopting the children that had been planted in our hearts years ago.  We had missed them every day,  at every family event, no family photo had seemed complete without them.

Were we open?  It was the only dream in our hearts and the answer to our prayers.  We welcomed them back home a month ago and now so much has changed and will continue to change in the months ahead as we move toward adopting two more children just when we were getting ready for an empty nest.

Lesson two: People change

Young sad girl huging a teddy bear hoping for changeWe knew that two and a half years of additional trauma would change our beloved children.  In fact, the past two and a half years has changed us all.   We are all older and wiser.  Our brains are scrambled by grief and trauma.  Our tolerance for change and difficult people, our ability to take orders from an authority without justice has been tested.  While we have failed those tests in big and small ways, the change they have brought is good.  That is so mysterious to me.

For Ed and I, we have lost our desire to pretend that everything is ok when it is not.  We both grew up in a church tradition that values looking perfect and making everything appear fine when it is not.  We are not doing that anymore.   It will be the work of years to untangle all that has happened but this change especially is what we needed to face the challenges of parenting kids with PTSD.  We live in the real world, with real problems.

Lesson three:  Minds Change

Kids running through school hall changing classI love homeschooling.  I love it as a lifestyle.  I love the freedom.  I just love it.  And let me also tell you that this homeschool mom has never been so happy as the morning I dropped my little kids off at the public elementary school.  I don’t feel guilty about doing it and I don’t even feel guilty about being glad to do it.  Will I always do it?  I don’t know.  But for right now I know that this is what we all need.  They are in a great school, with great teachers.  We need time and space to stabilize and adjust to the change this last month has brought.  I always said I homeschooled based on each child, each year.  And this year two of my children need to go to school.  It is a different kind of freedom.

I imagine that things will be changing here on the blog.  I am starting some new projects and searching for a good rhythm for my weeks to find time to write while making sure the people in my life are my priority.  I had it all figured out before that one phone call that changed everything.  Now we will have to come up with a new plan and that is when a story gets really interesting.

Thank you to Emily P Freeman for this lovely practice for keeping track of how things change and my dear writing buddy Erica Baldwin who encourages me to keep going as a writer.