Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Love Never Fails.

This post has been a long time coming. I have started it in my head a million times, but just couldn't put it together. However, this blog is my journal. It is a place for me to express my thoughts and feelings. Something I have a hard time doing. I am one of those people who likes to just put all of the 'icky' things away and sort 'em out with God and God alone. I have a tendency to only blog about things once they have already been dealt with. This method ensures that no raw emotion is spewed all over the page. It also makes, in the end, a very nice, well thought out, post that I can wrap in a little bow and present for the viewing pleasure of those who are nice enough to read my ramblings. This one....not so much. No pretty bow. Not thought out. Just raw emotion. This is hard.

When I chose to adopt Amber I knew that God had called me to do it and I was anxious to do it. I loved her and wanted to provide her a safe, loving, home. I saw things in her. Good things. She was making positive changes everyday. She was growing in her relationship with Christ and our family was adjusting to our newest family member. Things were still hard, but there was hope. We had ups and downs as any family does, but I certainly didn't go into this adoption with rose colored glasses on. I knew that adopting a child at 13 years of age was not going to be an easy road. There would definitely be challenges. But, I also knew that God was in control and He could get us through anything.

Amber's behavior began to get increasingly worse over the next couple of years. She fell away from God and began doing things that she knew were not allowed in our home. She exposed my youngest daughter to things that she should never have seen or heard. My eldest daughter and Amber began to fight constantly, mostly because of how Amber treated me. Physically...Amber was a beautiful 15 year old girl, but mentally she was a 5 year old throwing a 2 year long, continuous temper tantrum.

I work with teens. I knew she just wanted to be loved. She was crying out for attention and willing to go to, just about, any length to get it. She began telling people that I was abusing her. It got her the attention and sympathy she was looking for, I suppose. I found this out when one of her boyfriends refused to look at me. He was a pretty nice kid and we got along pretty good. Then, all of a sudden, he wouldn't even talk to me. After they broke up I found out, from his mom, that she had told him all kinds of awful things about me. No wonder he couldn't stand me. She had made me out to be a monster that abused her and refused to let her go see her dying grandmother (neither were true. She hadn't even asked to see her grandma and her grandma wasn't dying). I also noticed that some of the adults in our church that she had become close to stopped talking to me. Still, I understood that because of her background this is the way she had chosen to get people to 'love' her. I took her to get counseling.

She did well with the counselor. For awhile. I could see some progress and things looked like they might be OK. She seemed to really like him and her behavior had gotten a little better. I don't know what caused it, other than Satan himself, but suddenly she refused to go to counseling. She said it was stupid and that she wouldn't go and I couldn't make her. She was wrong. I could've made her, but what was the point? She had already made it very clear that she liked the person she was and did not want to change. She was lying, manipulating, stealing, and even becoming violent with my youngest daughter. I tried desperately to figure out why anyone would want to live their life like that. For Amber....she felt it worked for her. It was all she had ever known. Her biological mother was the same way. It was 'normal' for Amber and she was convinced that being a manipulative, lying, theif, was who she was instead of what she was. She had bought the lie that Satan had sold her and she was owning it proudly.

I had kept her biological mom at a distance for most of Amber's time with us. I noticed, early on, that Amber's behavior became unbearable after speaking with her mom. However, the bonds of mother and child are strong and her mom found a way to get around me (even after I disconnected our phone and got rid of our internet). As they began to build their relationship, my relationship with Amber began to unravel even faster. She wanted to me to give up my rights to her and allow her to go back to her mom. I partially caved and told her that she could stay with her mom for this school year, but reminded her that I am still her legal mom and that I would be in the picture. Both Amber and her mom thanked me for allowing them the chance to be together again. While I was unsure about the decision, I knew something had to change for the benefit of the rest of my family. The past couple of years with Amber had taken it's toll on us physically and emotionally.

A week into Amber going to live with her mom, I received a phone call from her mom and her boyfriend stating that Amber had run away. They wanted my help. There wasn't much I could do, so I called Amber's cell phone. She answered. We talked for a few minutes and I encouraged her to go to her mom and let her know where she was. Turns out, Amber was throwing a fit because her mom had placed her on restriction. Unfortunately, Amber's way of dealing with things is to run. Although she had never run away from my home physically, she definitely ran away from me emotionally. A couple of weeks later, Amber called me and asked me to emancipate her so she could legally be on her own. In the state of Iowa, emancipation of a minor can only happen if that minor is getting married. Since she wasn't, this wasn't an option. She then asked me to give up my rights as her mother. I told her that I would not do that. I explained to her that I would never give up one of my children...no matter how bad things may get. My exact words were...."I'm not that kind of mom!" I meant it and she knew it. She was not happy.

Approximately a week later, I received a call from CPS (Child Protective Services). Amber had filed child abuse charges against me. I couldn't believe it. I was absolutely wrecked. I was sad, scared, angry, confused, and every emotion you could think of all at the same time. Like a small child throwing a fit because they didn't get their way, this was her last ditch effort at getting out of my home permanently. The worker came to interview me and we talked for about an hour. Amber was claiming that I had punched her in her head and bruised her shoulder.....3 months earlier. The worker was very nice and reassured me that he was pretty sure she didn't have a case since there were no witnesses and no marks that were documented. I told him that I wasn't worried about it because I hadn't done anything. Then, he gave me a choice. I could bring Amber back into my home and attempt to continue to parent this child or I could sign her over to the state. I knew in my heart that this child could never come into our home again.

I signed the paperwork and have been playing the waiting game. Our court date is November 4th. Almost 2 years to the day that Amber's adoption was final. I have no idea if Amber is still with her mom or in a shelter. I am sure I could find out by picking up a phone, but the truth is....I don't want to know.

Everyday seems to be an opportunity for God to teach me something. That is one reason I haven't written about this. I am staying 'still'. I am straining to listen for His voice while rebuking the voice of Satan who spends most of his time telling me that I am a horrible parent, a horrible person, and even worse....a horrible Christian.

I am not angry at Amber. She has learned to do whatever it takes to get what you want....no matter what the cost. I am, however, sad for her. I worry about her future, knowing that her future is no longer (as if it ever was) mine to worry about it. I don't regret the journey I have been on, but I am so very sad at the outcome. I pray for her daily and still consider her my child.

As I picked up my subpoena the other day, I was not prepared for the flood of emotions that would come. To be honest, over the past year, I have really had to pray to God that He would fill my heart with love for her. I knew I didn't like her very much and was afraid that maybe my love for her was gone, too. God answered my prayer. As I signed the court papers I was so overcome with love and emotion that it took my breath away. I hesitated slightly as the last couple of years seem to play like a movie in my head, flashing between scenes of laughter and tears. In the end, I knew I there was no other choice.

The Gospel has been presented to Amber. She knows God and better yet, God knows her. I believe, without a doubt, that His Word is never returned void. She can run from me, she can run from her biological mom, she can even run from herself, but she can't run from Him. Love never fails.

15 comments:

Indian Lake Papa said...

Papa is weeping - for you and for Amber! Trust your heart, not your emotions. Trust Jesus, not Satan's lies. Amber is where she is at because of bad choices - she did the choosing, you did the loving. Always keep that love ib your heart.

Heather said...

@Papa- Thank you. I am definitely leaning on Jesus. I am so fortunate to have a great 'support system' around me. My family and friends have been 'slow to speak and quick to listen'.

Susan said...

Heather thank you for being open with your blog. This is so personal and you have been so willing to share. I am praying for you and your family and I am saddened because you have such a beautiful heart and I am sorry you are having to gothrough tis. I too know that Jesus will see youthrough this and remember our Bible study with Beth Moore and don't get captivated remember you will break free from these chains!!!!

Heather said...

@Susan- You are definitely one of the people I included in my last comment to Papa. I appreciate your support and your willingness to be here for me even though you had no idea what was going on. I'm still not ready to talk, but needed to get this down while it's fresh. I know that God is going to do some amazing things and I wanted this to look back on:)

You and your family are so precious to us!!! Love ya!

Lori... said...

I'm so sorry my friend. We will keep the entire situation, and everyone involved, in our prayers.

Jer 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you -- plans of good and not evil -- to give yhou a future and a hope."

Love ya!

darla said...

HIS word never comes back void...you may never know the good you did in this life..but you will in the next. I love you! praying for you, we have been through something similiar with a young lady from the rehab, who tried to destroy my family, you know when I read this I thought of her, and I also thought of how much God used the bad to bring me closer to HIM. Praying for you to see the bad turn to good...HE does stuff like that! XOXOXOX

sherry said...

My heart goes out to you Heather! I feel so sad right now because I know how much it hurts for you to love Amber so much and not get the love you want from her back! I know God will bless you Heather because you are so faithful to him and he knows how hard to tried to make a difference in her life and there is still hope, just like the Parable of the Lost Son. We LOVE YOU Heather!

Tanya said...

Oh Heather, I had no idea. I knew something was wrong, but I also understand why you were quiet. I remember a time that I would have a promblem I always ran to you or Lori. I realize now that I need to run to Jesus. I can share it later, but I need to fall before Jesus and let Him take care of it. I love you and I will be praying for you so dearly. Love Tanya

Roxanne Kristina said...

I am with Papa. Listen to his words. He is right and he speaks the heart of our Lord.

Prayers,
Roxanne

PS: I just read the rest of the comments before posting. Lean on these prayers and healthy words. Bless you!

Robin said...

Heather,

Hug!!!

Ditto what Papa said!

I'm so sorry for the pain you are going through. You are a beautiful person, mom and Christian. God knows your heart and how much effort and love you have put into Amber and like you said she has been given the gospel and it won't return void. God love Amber more than you can imagine and His heart breaks for her too. Keep giving the situation to Jesus and trust HIM to work out the details!

I have great respect for you and your servant's heart!!!!

Carol said...

Dearest Heather, I don't exactly know what to say, but I just know I want to respond so you will know I am holding you up in prayer, particulary on Tuesday, Nov. 4th. It will be easy to remember you on that day because my husband will be in court also, dealing with a two year old case of someone defrauding the camp. Your situation is about relationships, not money, and therefore it comes with a whole lot more baggage.

Just from reading your blogs the past several months I know you to be a very loving parent and solid, strong Christian who wants only to serve her Master by impacting the lives she crosses paths with on a daily basis. With Amber you went farther than the second mile, and you could only do that because of the love God has placed within your heart for her. It's His love shown through you. Therefore, He has given you the cross of self-sacrifice in continuing to love this young person who is out to destroy her own life and the lives of everyone else in her world. Because God is a strong and never failing God, He will instill those traits in you as you need them.

This has and will be a long, slow, hard, heart-renching journey, Heather, and the only way you have gotten this far and not been destroyed is because Jesus lives within you. When you think you can't take it anymore, just rest in Him, lean your head on His shoulder, let Him collect your tears and bottle them up. He knows how you are hurting and why you are hurting...and He knows you are doing it for Him. You are so very, very precious, Heather.

I am glad you have a family and a close by community/church that can physically be there to support you during this time. I'm also glad you were vulnerable enough to allow your blogging family to know how to pray for you, how your heart is aching. We are all here for you, Heather. Like Joshua and Caleb held up the arms of Moses when he couldn't do it in his own strength, we are here to help hold up your arms as you claim victory in the battle for Amber's life.

We love you, dear Sister. Thank you for letting us into your heart.

(I may have the two names wrong who helped Moses...but you get the picture...we are supporting you in any way we can.)

Indian Lake Papa said...

I will be praying as you go tomorrow - the 4th. Be assured we are praying that God will give you peace. You may not get a chance to physically hug her, but hug her in your heart. be His witness.

Robin said...

I hope everything went well for you at court yesterday!

Indian Lake Papa said...

How did it go?? are you okay ?? Praying for you ! He will wrap His arms around you - you know that right?

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