This blog was not born out of a defining moment in my life or my husband’s life; It was born when we made an intentional decision to turn our tragedy into Our Moments Defined. I know many of you have done the same. Tragedy and heartache have come your way, but you’ve sought the Father and have redefined those moments.
Sandra and I have not ever met, but we are in an online group of adoption bloggers that regularly encourages one another and shares ideas. Sandra is writing today about a topic that is usually not discussed in the adoption world – dissolution. I appreciate her bravery, and I know you will as well.
When my husband and I stood before the judge on Barry's* adoption day, we never dreamed that just six years later we would be signing paperwork to dissolve that adoption. When we said we wanted Barry for our son, we fully intended to be his parents for life. We loved him and even though he was a tough little guy, we praised God for the privilege of calling him ours.
Dissolution wasn't even in our vocabulary for many years after we entered the adoption world and when it did show up on the fringes of our radar, both Dean and I shied away from it. The very word conjured up images of things like failure and coward. But the time came when this word became part of our everyday vocabulary and I began to associate it with words like overwhelmed, last chance and amazingly enough, love.
How could I come 360 degrees in my thinking? Simple - by dissolving what Dean and I considered a "forever adoption." In that process, we learned that dissolving an adoption is not cowardly.
Barry, along with his younger brother, came to us when they were six and seventeen months old.
For two years we were court ordered to take them for visits with their birth parents. Barry hated those visits; he cried when we turned onto the highway that led to the courthouse where the visits were held. When I left him with his parents, he would pound on the glass doors and scream, "Mama, mama!" The visit supervisor told me to keep walking. "He will get over it," she said. Except that he didn't. No one had ever loved Barry before he came into our home. We gave him a taste of love only to return him twice a week to the people who neglected and hurt him.
Barry also suffered brain damage in utero due to his birth mom's alcohol consumption. This brain damage hindered his ability to believe that we loved him.
Barry spent 2 years in an intensive therapeutic environment without lasting progress. Eventually, the day came when his team sat down with us and said, "We are unable to help Barry, it is time for him to move on." We couldn't bring him home and there was little hope that another treatment program would be beneficial. Someone on his team mentioned dissolution; "I think Barry could heal if he were given a fresh start. He will probably never be able to bond with you because he views you as untrustworthy."
We had a decision to make. We could try other treatment programs, or we could find another family – someone who could finish what we had begun. It would have been "easier" to find another program because I am sure he would have been eligible for them. Going that route would have saved our ego.
As we agonized over Barry's future, someone spoke this truth into our hearts: "Paul said some are called to plant, some to water and others to reap the harvest. Perhaps God only called you to plant the seed."
We prayed that if dissolution was God's will, someone would come forward and offer Barry a home. God graciously answered that prayer and a godly couple came forward to adopt Barry.
Dean and I met with Barry's therapist prior to saying our final goodbyes, as we needed guidance on how to proceed with this delicate task. His therapist shared this with us, "Recently I asked Barry what he needs in a family for him to be successful. He said, 'A mom and dad who have lot's of time for me.'" Dean and I had to divide our attention between five children, while in his new family there was only one other child. He also said he needed, "A dad who is home, lots of dirt and animals." Little did he know that was exactly what he would have in his new family! I felt God smiling down upon us while assuring us he was in control.
Our God is in the work of redemption and he is always right on time! He created a perfect family for Barry when we could not provide what he needed, so despite the pain of the past years, we have to say, "God, you are so good!"
When you are up against a wall with no way out, remember to pray, God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us and God always keeps his promises!
*Barry's name is a pseudonym
Sandra has been married to her husband Dean for nearly fourteen years. He provides steadiness in their marriage, while she tends to flit frantically about. They have been blessed with four children – one biological, and three via adoption. They had five children, but recently dissolved the adoption of their son who they adopted when he was three. Sandra loves Jesus, caring for her family, reading, writing, coffee, and chocolate.