As the mother of four children I could go on and on about the ups and downs of our life. But that’s not what this Journey blog is about. There are plenty of other mother’s, with much larger families, that blog about their daily life. And I bet their words are filled with more wisdom than mine.
No, this Journey has to do with love, a hopeful heart, a trust in God and His plan and sheer strength.
Two of my children, the middle two, did not come from my womb. And this is hard, even to this day, to say “aloud”. I think of them as my own. I treat them as my own. And for a couple years I was able to pretend they were my own. And when I say “own” I mean blood. But I’m guessing you knew that.
In Decemeber 2006, my brother in law went missing. The whole family was worried. It was unlike him to disappear and have nobody know where he was. He had a hard life. In and out of prison, and drug abuse. But since his little girl had been born 1 year before he seemed to be shaping up. And when we found out that he had another little one on the way, it just made everyone even sadder that we couldn’t find him.
On New Year’s Day 2007, someone did. He had been found less than 10 miles from home. He had been shot in the abdomen and dumped in the woods. We were all devestated. A life gone at 42. Our brother gone. My mother in law almost didn’t survive it. And had it not been for our dear little girl, she wouldn’t have.
After we had said goodbye to my brother in law, we all set our sites on making sure his two youngest children were taken care of. Our little boy was born that March and thankfully he was healthy. Small, but healthy. The mother, or as I call her, the incubator, had no pre-natal care and had done so many drugs. We were shocked that he was alive. And this is where my Journey really starts.
My in laws were starting to decline in health. The incubator had never really parented our little girl and sure wasn’t going to change now. So after she took off (for weeks) we consulted an attorney. The state wasn’t going to get involved as the children had a safe place to live. If the incubator wasn’t taking them into dangerous situations, then there really wasn’t anything they needed to do. So we were on our own. Our attorney advised us to bring them into our home ASAP, so that we could start our clock running and stat documenting the incubators lack of parenting and interest. So that’s exactly what we did.
May 18, 2007 I became the mother of three. Having struggled with infertility for the last 9 years this seemed a blessing to us. Though the circumstances that lead up to this moment were tragic, we couldn’t be happier. When our eldest asked us why her uncle had died and why we had the babies, we explained it like this: “God has a plan, He always has a plan. But He never takes away our ability to make our own choices. I think God saw that your uncle was going down a path that would lead to his death. So, He made it to where Daddy and I could only have you. That way we had room for the two babies that were left behind.” It seemed to satisfy her.
After they moved into our home and our life had begun in a way I can’t even express, that’s when it became hard. The incubator tried to get them back. In her drugged out state and disheveled appearance, she would try for 3 long years to prove to the courts that she was a better parent than we were. We were in constant fear that they would listen to her. On one occassion I remember being so frightened that we would lose that I prayed harder than I ever had before. And this wasn’t down on my knees praying, no, this was yelling and crying at the top of my lungs to God (as I drove to the court house) that He wouldn’t give them to me, just to take them away.
And he didn’t.
After three long years, she finally screwed up enough for the court to take off their rose colored glasses and grant us Permanent Custody!!!
I had not felt relief like that in my entire life. They were ours. FOREVER!!
I cried and so did my husband.
Oh, the incubator still gets to see them. But she still isn’t consistant, she still doesn’t really care. And that’s ok. Because they have us. And we have them.
You know, people have said to us “Oh you are such a blessing to those babies, it’s so amazing what you’re doing for them”
But my response is always the same. “Thank you, but they are the blessing and I think God’s amazing for doing this for all of us.”
2018 UPDATE: The incubator hasn’t been in our lives in over 6 years. Which is just fine by me. Kids know their story and they don’t give it a second thought. They are our babies, and will always be. We will be pursuing actual adoption, but have chosen to wait a couple years. It seems silly but it gets her off their birth certificates and just makes it more official and final. At least with that move done, she can’t just come in and disrupt their lives whenever the mood strikes her. They are still a blessing to us and will be for the rest of our lives. I thank God each day that these sweet humans were given to me to raise!