Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

C: Fields of Rejection

They were, by all accounts a successful couple—not rich success, but happy, church-going and well-employed.  They had all they needed and some to save for old age.  Except for one thing.  They had no children.coupleholdinghands

BB was the leader of a home fellowship group for his church.  He and SS opened their home each week to worship, pray and counsel with fellow church members.  BB was an elder, in leadership and close communion with others in his church’s leadership.  Everyone around them was praying for a child for this wonderful couple.

Then BB was hit with a revelation from God:  He had no children because there were so many of God’s children without homes!  He went to SS and told her.  Reluctantly she agreed to take the several-month program of instruction and counseling in order to become eligible to adopt from child protective services.   As they went through the program, SS still had her doubts, but she wanted a child and BB said “Think of all we can offer a child from this situation.  He or she would have a stable home, and we could show the love of God to children who otherwise have no love at all.”  She capitulated and they moved from discussions of “whether or not” to “boy or girl?”

The social worker knew of their discussions and hit them with a new idea: one of the hardest placements was for siblings in one home.  Why not adopt a brother and sister?  That way, they could have one of each.  They viewed profile after profile and finally agreed on a group of three siblings, two boys and a girl, ranging in age from 2 years to 6.  These children had only recently been taken from their mother and were the subjects of terrible neglect and abuse.  The new parents’ hearts broke thinking of all these children had been through and of the relief and lovchildrens' roome they could offer.  They formally adopted all three children and moved them into their  newly-decorated bedrooms.

A year went by, and it became very apparent that these children were damaged beyond all prior estimation.  Even the youngest, who was assumed to have little memory of her former life, had all kinds of issues and seemed to take up the bizarre behaviors of her elder siblings.  BB traveled with his work, so often it was SS who had to deal alone with school expulsions, teacher conferences over playground fights, children who had very abnormal toilet habits both at home and at school and bizarre nighttime behaviors marked by hysterical outbursts and middle-of-the-night threats.

pregnant In their second year of adoption, a miracle occurred. SS was pregnant!  Even the stress of dealing with her damaged brood did not dampen her enthusiasm, and the baby arrived healthy and to great fanfare.   To everyone except the older siblings who worried and threatened and pouted.  The stress began to compound.

As time went on, the problems with the children only increased.  They each had psychiatric treatment regularly.  It was nip-and-tuck that all children could stay in school.  There was constant danger that one or all of them would be permanently expelled, creating a crisis of where to put them next.  Worst of all, resentment against the youngest member of the household grew.  The elder children began turning their self-destructive behaviors outward, toward their mother and her youngest child. 

Learning the system, the older children began to report abuse by their mother.  Time after time SS had to meet with child protective services to fend off charges against her that she was cruel to these children.  There were dozens of reports.  Not a single one of them was substantiated.  All understood that these children were not truthful but were acting out of their hurt and wounds.  Still, having child protective services knock at your door repeatedly and being on the defensive all the time takes its toll.  SS soon found herself basically held hostage, afraid to discipline these children in any meaningful way for fear that it would be turned into an abuse charge.

This family toiled through the mayhem, taking each day and challenge one at a time.  Although BB’s job required him to travel, it also allowed for some flexibility and off days put together so he could be involved in his children’s lives.  He could spell his wife, so she could get her breath before he had to be gone again, and he willingly did so.  They were making it.

But, then, the unthinkable happened.

BB came home from four days on the road.  He strode through the house wordlessly and grabbed another suitcase to augment the one he had left in the car.  He began to pack it with more clothing and a few personal items.   Upon her demand, he turned and spoke the first words to his wife since he had entered their home:

I’m leaving.  I am not happy here.  I have not been happy for a long, long time, and my life is marching by me.  This life is doing me no good and in the long run it won’t do you any good either.  I’m leaving so that we both can get on with our lives.”

SS was stunned beyond belief.  She had no idea this was coming.  Dealing with her life with a loving husband at her back was one thing, but broken heartdoing it alone and through a veil of tears of hurt and loss was another.  Fear gripped her.  She begged her husband not to do this to her, to their children.  He went on out the door.  He did not answer her calls to his cell phone; he did not return her desperate voice messages.

It took her over a week to come to see me because of shock.  Over a week without any word from the father of their household.

I told her there was another woman involved.  Fact of Life: Men rarely abandon one nest without having another one prepared.  She disputed.  “He says there is no one else,” she still defended him.  “He says it’s just that he’s ‘unhappy.’  Besides, infidelity flies in the face of all that BB believes.  It’s the stress with the kids causing this, I know.”

Right.  Whatever you need to think to get you through…

Because BB traveled, getting him served with papers was a super challenge.  It took us weeks.  We tried everything.  We called his employer, who was no help.  BB”s mother either did not know where he was or would not tell.  Finally, my resourceful client located him in a motel by sheer motel perseverance.  We got him served.  A month had gone by with no support from the major breadwinner in the home.  Another month would go by before our court date.

And the stress in the household ratcheted up; it was reaching crescendo levels.

Even the most well-adjusted children feel the strain when one of their parents depart.  Having Dad absent, having Mom heartbroken, having shoe-string budget with nothing extra for diversion was more than these little ones could take.  The acting-out grew out of control.   The eldest child was permanently expelled from school.  The next two were on their way.  Two of the children began talking about what they could do to Mom and her youngest in the middle of the night.  Mom’s life turned into siege mode.  I thought she would break.  She had only her own devoted parents to help her.  Who else would want to take these children off her hands, even for an afternoon?

And, don’t forget, Mom had to work each and every day.  After all, she was now the sole breadwinner for her family.  BB did not care even so much as to call and inquire or answer her calls, let alone send money their way.

Then SS did what would have been unimaginable to her in the past.  She phoned the state agency and told them that she must return her adopted children.  She did this without counsel from me because she had already spent her last nickel to hire me for her divorce.  I stepped into the mix to find that she had made up her mind: she was going into survival mode, and she felt that the only one she could save was her youngest.

The three adopted children were returned to foster care.   Accorcustody fightding to their therapists, they suffered unbelievable pain over this; really, I cannot begin to imagine.  In most divorce cases, the children are damaged by fights over who gets to keep them.  These children were tossed to the side: by one parent who felt she had no choice, by another to whom they mattered no longer.  I am at a loss for words at this.

SS had to face the judge in this case alone—BB was nowhere to be found in theseangryjudge legal proceedings.  He let her take the anger of the Court and the shame alone.  The judge railed at her that you cannot reject children “just because there are problems—families struggle through…”  He  was furious with her.  She agreed with all he said--she just could not do it.

Later we found that BB was, indeed, involved with another woman.  We found them holed up together in a motel room—with the other woman’s two children. 

I cannot believe the devastation that this man’s lustful selfishness has caused.  These poor children: abused and rejected by their birth mother; now rejected again by their adoptive family.  What, on earth, will happen to them?

For what?  So that BB can be “happy?”  To the extreme unhappiness of every single person for whom he is responsible? What gives???

SS gave me permission to print this, although I have disguised her somewhat.  The facts are true, sad to say.  The drama is not yet over.

SS wanted me to use this story.  She wanted at least one slim silver lining to the cloud her life has become.  She wants others to hear and, perhaps, learn. 

Learn what?  Maybe this, in the wise words of none other than Jon Bon Jovi:

Map out your life;

but do it in pencil.



Vickie said...

Oh my goodness. To know that this is a true story just leaves me shaking and tearful. I don't blame SS, I blame the guy she married. I'm so sorry for the children involved. They'll probably never be "right" in this life. I pray that God will be with them and that they can find Him and the love of good people in their lives and healing. And for SS, that she can be relieved of her guilt feelings that she'll probably bear for the rest of her life. God be with them all.

How you do this job is just beyond me. You muse develop nerves of steel. God bless you, too, dear.

Linda Lou Rogers Averitt said...

This is heart breaking, I will be praying for those children and her.

Vee said...

My heart just breaks for this woman. My heart breaks for the children. What a mess and I hope that you are somehow able to help her through it.

Anonymous said...

Oh God have mercy...There are other families with similar stories. I have a long time friend who's in a horrible situation and awaiting trial with a story much like yours. What can be done? How do you help? What else could she have done? Questions, questions... Not only are the children broken, but also the mother. I am supporting my friend as best I know how. I pray for her six adopted children. God's heart must bleed for all the children and adults affected by such decisions made by boneheads.
I think God gave us an appropriate word for scuzzbags: It's better for them to have concrete shoes on and dropped in the river than to offend the little ones.
God bless you for defending the helpless.

Janera said...

If I were in charge of Hell. . . .

jan said...

My goodness, what a tragic situation! It is amazing that someone could just walk out and 'start anew'!

Monalisa said...

Another amazing human story. You get to meet them all...

KathyB. said...

Oh, there just aren't words for this tragedy that will have devastating life long consequences.How does a parent just walk away from their children? How does a parent get to a place where they just don't care? Or did they never really care in the first place.

Can a man like that be penalized more severely?

I am learning of more and more divorces with so-called "Christian" spouses just throwing overboard all their professed beliefs and leaving their families...for shame.S'pose this is an old old story, but still shocking.

Paul C said...

A very sad true story of faith, hope, love, and rejection. So many people get deeply hurt in something like this.

Debbie said...

I can't add anything to that that's already been said. Just wanted you to know I'd stopped by.
Some people carry an incredible load the rest of us can only imagine.

Pierced Heart Art said...

Wow. Ginger and I deal with the aftermath of these situations in the ministry we work in. It is heartbreaking. The real losers in all this are the children. I see the result (in adult form) of abandonment and rejection. I see addiction, anger, etc. Some make it, find healing and restoration. Sadly, many don't.

Zuzana said...

Very powerful and candid...
We have to weight our actions with great care, as just like the butterfly effect, we can cause hurricanes.
I feel very sorry for anyone who finds themselves in this situation. It is hurtful beyond belief.

Milton said...

Horrendous. That poor, poor woman. She's a trier for sure tho. Not sure I could have put up with the constant barrage from the kids. She deserves a break and I hope she gets it - soon!

Mamma has spoken said...

You are so right in the fact that when one spouse leaves it's to the arms of another. My heart bleeds for this family. I too have seen kids in foster homes who have been sent back because the family can't handle the baggage that comes with them. And in all honesty, I'm not sure if I could handle it either. The threats, the abuse, the issues that even with years of counseling might never go away. In part (or at least here) it's due to an over worked system where the families need more support than they can get. My thoughts and prayers will be with them.

Robynn's Ravings said...

This is every woman's nightmare x 10. To be talked into becoming a foster/adoptive parent (God NEVER calls just one, always both), and then taking on three with an absentee parent. This makes me angry in new and creative ways. I have to give that to the Lord and ask him to help HER and those children. But if her life was in danger and the life of her little one, what else could she do?

I don't take it lightly because I was in foster care myself as was my sister and, to some degree, my brother. (His was with relatives.) And I honestly think foster care saved my life. Never underestimate the time those children were in their home, if they were truly loved and cared for there. It may be the only normalcy they have or will know as children. But it may come back to serve them as adults. The judge was wicked to her, in my opinion. There may be someone MUCH better equipped to meet their needs. But for awhile, they were loved and love does not return void.

As for the husband, he will NEVER build happiness on someone else's unhappiness. It is contrary to all of God's laws. This WILL come back to bite him. It ALWAYS does.

What a riveting story and I wish it were fiction.

Joy said...

Yeah. You're right. Map out your life, but do it in pencil. We have all sorts of plans, ideas, hopes, dreams, etc. We never know what is going to come our way. It just reminds me that the only 'thing' we can count on is God. He has promised to never leave or forsake us, and we can draw our strength and hope from Him. Lots of things in life will never be 'fixed' this side of heaven.

Ayak said...

I really can't add anything to what has already been said, only to say that this is an incredibly tragic story. My heart goes out to this woman and those poor children who I fear will never recover from this.

Happyone :-) said...

This story did not turn out how I thought it would when I first started to read it.
The whole thing is heartbreaking!

Noni at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I don't even know what to say. heartbreaking doesn't even cover it. God bless them all... you, too, C.

carla said...

May the Lord above give you wisdom as you advocate for her. As awful as the story is, I'm glad that she allowed you to share it with us. The prayers of the saints are going up to the Father for her and those children.

My husband taught me a powerful lesson over 20 years ago. He had been badly mistreated by an employer and then was fired. I would rail and curse them. He said "Just leave them to the Lord. Let Him handle revenge." That multi-million dollar company went bankrupt and the building sat empty about 5 years later.

Help her to do what she can in court - I do hope she's not still sympathetic for him. And I pray that you get a judge who is tough on him. Ultimately, the real punishment for disloyal husbands - and wives (in our family's situation)- will be handled by the Lord.

Jody Blue said...

Any way you slice it it is just sad and sickening. What a horrible heart break for all involved.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

As you know, I just started following you and when I saw this post, and skimmed through it, I knew I wanted to wait to read it when there was time to take in all the events.
My husband and I have no children, and recently went through "the classes" to become foster (to adopt) parents. However, after our approval, we decided against it. It was because of me. I just didn't feel that I would be able to handle the issues like the ones these children have, and sadly (!!) so many in the age group we are approved for do. But I admire the perseverance of "SS" to try and work through the issues for as long as she did. It is a testiment to her character and strength. I also admire her for knowing what her limits were before anything happened to her or the youngest child in the family. It's unfortunate that the same can NOT be said for "BB." I do hope that "SS" has been able to have hope and find peace in her life!

KathySue said...

Thank God for His mercy, but also thank God for His judgement! Knowing that God will take care of that guy in His own way makes me smile! I certainly am aware that we don't always get to "see" the consequences someone faces for their transgressions, but we do KNOW there are consequences. Except for this knowledge there have been a few times in my life that you may have been defending me for some revenge I carried out!

I pray for that poor woman as she deals with a seemingly impossible situation and I pray for you in having to deal with this unfortunate situation. I guess I even pray for the creep....he probably needs it the most! Maybe something will happen that will open his eyes to the unbelievable pain he has caused.

A bird in the hand said...

When I read the line "Then BB was hit with a revelation from God: He had no children because there were so many of God’s children without homes...", I suspected BB.

What a fraud, and a coward. If his "happiness" depends on abadoning his wife and children, there is something very wrong with him.

I wish SS courage and fortitude, that she may rebuild her life and prosper. As for BB, well, you reap what you sew.

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