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.