The Post I Never Expected To Write About Adoption {Our Disrupted Adoption}

Well, it’s time I peel back the curtains a little bit and tell you about our adoption journey the past 8 months. I’ve hinted on more than one occasion that things were rough and there was a guest blog post I wrote on We Are That Family where I gave some cryptic details, BUT very few people knew the extent of our heartache. Even now, I’m ashamed to share it, but I know that speaking truth is the beginning to healing. Giving words to sorrow has always been the door to which I find comfort, and I must walk through the door before me.

Our girl experienced extreme trauma in her life before coming to our home. I won’t share details of her trauma publicly because it is her story, but it was extreme and affected her deeply. Trauma literally rewires the brain and causes all sorts of things in children as young as she was at the time of the traumatic events. As we peeled back the layers, we began to see more clearly that we were not the right fit for her. Her trauma reactive behaviors were severe, multi-faceted, and so very, very scary. We hunted down every resource available to us locally to help her, but it was “too little, too late.” Her needs are extreme and the level of therapeutic parenting that she requires is beyond what we can provide for her with other small children in the home. We cannot compromise the well-being of our biological sons for the sake of “saving” her.

frozen hat

While she looked healthy and happy to outsiders and in pictures, we saw a very dark side of things within the walls of our home. Our happy home had become more of a prison with alarms on doors, surveillance cameras, extreme safety protocols, and more. She is, to put it very mildly, mentally ill. As I type this, she is in her 2nd psych hospital stay and has been there for over a month. The first time was the day after Christmas and she celebrated her 6th birthday there. During her 7 months with us, we went through 3 forensic investigations with CPS, an interview with a detective, 2 psych hospital stays, an ER visit for self-harm, death threats with a viable plan (we later found out she was attempting it one night, but backed out), suicide watch, countless hours of therapy…and it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to keep her safe from hurting herself or to keep others safe from her. Our love wasn’t enough.pink gloves

We have agonized over what is best for our family and for our beautiful girl. We truly love her and are heartbroken for the road we have walked with her. We are even more heartbroken for her past experiences that, essentially, made it impossible for her to receive and reciprocate our love. Ultimately, we have had to be very honest with ourselves about what we can handle and what cannot continue to happen in our house. We have made the decision to disrupt her adoption placement with us and not finalize the adoption. She will not return to our house when she is released from the psych hospital and has been moved into the residential treament portion of the hospital.

waterfall

We know this may come as a shock. It is to us, too. I remember reading about adoption disruptions when we first started our adoption journey and judging what I couldn’t understand–and here I sit in the very same rocking boat after being pulled out from the waves of this storm. We know we have loved her the best we knew how. We take comfort in the fact that we gave her a safe place to share her story, sought justice for her, pinpointed her specific therapeutic needs, showed her what a loving family looks like, and most importantly, exposed her to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the only one that can truly heal her anyway.

water shed

We are now trying to piece our lives back together and heal from the second-hand trauma that we have experienced. Our boys have suffered. My husband has suffered. As the primary caregiver and target of most of the aggression, I have suffered immensely. Not one of us is walking out of this unscathed. Our entire family has been touched by this, but we are clinging together for comfort at the feet of the cross. We know our Savior isn’t surprised by our circumstances, and for some reason, we were asked to walk through this for His glory. We know that if we hadn’t taken her when her emergency placement was presented to us, she would still be in a hopeless situation with her abusers. I have to believe that, while this is terribly difficult, there is purpose for the pain. God will rebuild our lives just as He has done so many times before.

Comments

  1. {HUGS} Oh Sara, I’m so sorry. I have a friend who adopted a 9yr. old boy from Guatemala who had been through similar horrible trauma and turn around and perpetrated against their two daughters. They also went through therapies and alarms and interventions and finally had to make the same hard decision that you did. It’s rough and I’m sure there will be people that have horrible things to say about the decision you made which they couldn’t possibly understand. Only you can make that decision to save your family. Let Jesus heal the rest, and try not to let negative comments get under your skin. I’m praying for you!

    • Thank you, Dawn. Unfortunately, she got to our boys before we knew the depths of the hole we were in with her. Let the mud sling–the safety of my boys is worth it. I’m very serious when I say that I’m happy to be alive. Our months with her were filled with things that I’ve only seen in scary movies or tv shows.

  2. I am so sorry to hear this but I think that you are right in that talking about it is the first step in the healing process. I will pray for you and send you a cyber hug.

  3. april f. says:

    <3

  4. So, so very sorry to hear this, Sara. I can only imagine the heartbreak. We have just completed an adoption journey, and we were very aware of the possibility of reactive attachment disorder and other traumatic issues. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you begin to heal. May God’s peace and comfort surround you all. Love and hugs to you!

    • Thank you, Sara. We always knew it was a possibility with an older child, and trust me, if we could’ve helped her longer we would have. We love her, and want healing for her, it just wasn’t possible for her to heal while traumatizing the rest of the children. We were the ones to discover her trauma and we hope that our heartache can send her to the place she needs to be to receive the help she so desperately needs.

  5. Krysten T says:

    My biological parents were foster parents for a number of years. They had a child much like the one you describe that they had to ask CPS to find a new home. I applaud you for making the right decision for your family and for embracing this little girl while she was with you. I hope for quick healing for your family.

  6. Sara, thank you for sharing your story. I want to commend you for the courageous decision you and your husband made. Unfortunately, we didn’t make the same decision and are now suffering the consequences. When our daughter came to live with us at age six, we had no idea the extent of her trauma and neither did she. She has always reacted to most things in an abnormal way, but it wasn’t until she began to hit puberty that her trauma began to catch up with her. With that trauma came serious problems which have become almost too much for our family to withstand. Now that she is thirteen and so much bigger and more dangerous, we look back and sometimes wish we had taken a different path. We love our daughter, but we wonder sometimes if we’ll be able to continue being her parents.

    • Thank you, Lisa. Your words mean so much coming from another trauma mama. It was a terribly hard decision and I’ve worried about how it would be received, especially in the adoption community we have grown to love. I will be praying for your and your family. I commend you for sticking it out day in and day out. It is SO hard. Hugs.

  7. i just read the two very sad posts about this poor little girl:( how sad…for all of you! i know this must have been a very difficult decision for you and your husband, but it sounds like a wise one. now your emotions will have to catch up with the wisdom of your decision:(

    for sure, GOD brought her into your lives for a reason if for no other reason than that you will be able to pray for her in ways no one else will be able to. but His ways are so much bigger than ours…you may never understand all of what He is doing.

    This Easter season is one to celebrate His work of redemption isn’t it? How He graciously reached down and saved each of us. What a picture of His grace and mercy. May He minister that grace to all of you as you heal from this experience.

    i know you don’t feel brave, but you have been. GOD used you in the life of this little girl. you planted some seeds that GOD may still bring to fruit. blessings.

  8. Hugs to you dear friend. I know it was not an easy decision. May God continue to be with you all as you heal.

  9. Praying for your family, and prayers going up for that sweet girl. I’m praying for healing and strength for your family, as well as the right home for L, as she fights the demons of abuse.

  10. your family has often been on my mind and heart. having children and trying to adopt them has certainly been a painful process hasn’t it? brings new meaning to that Scripture, “Surely He has born our griefs and carried our sorrows.” doesn’t it? my heart aches for all of you.

  11. Krissanna says:

    Oh my goodness Sara, I cannot thank you enough for writing this so candidly and honestly. Our adoption story hasn’t been nearly as dangerous physically, but emotionally yes! There are days when I don’t want to say yes anymore. You are absolutely right when you say only Jesus can truly heal these children. Ours has found Him and in the midst of it all, I think I see a little light. Is it ever going to be easy? No, I don’t think so. Someone asked me the other day what I thought she will be like as a teen. I pondered only for a split second and answered, “I honestly can’t think about her past today.” One day at a time sweet Jesus…

    I will be in prayer for the healing of your family, for this precious girl and for the judging of those who cannot understand.

    • Thank you, Krissanna. Your words mean so much. I’m a grownup, so I can handle things a little better. It’s the suffering and abuse of my boys that has taken the biggest toll on my broken mama heart. Thankful for good therapists that love Jesus!

  12. Big, big, virtual hugs.

  13. Praying for you, your family, and this precious little girl.

  14. Sara, I also have experienced the horrific effects of unbelievable trauma on a child. Our adopted son was in our home for two years before his past surfaced fully. He has spent time in a level 4 facility, and now resides in therapeutic foster care, unable to have contact with his biological sister and preferred victim. It has been traumatic for our entire family but God heals. We will be praying for your precious family. We are grateful to God that you and your husband were willing to answer His call. Our experience has taught us that sometimes we are called to do a part that is less than what we anticipated. Our prayers will be that you continue to find peace in that.

  15. I had this forwarded from a good friend of mine. I am not an adoptive parent but have 4 children of my own. I also babysit 5 other children daily while their parents work. My good friend is an adoptive mother and for a year I saw her almost everyday. She adopted 6 kids, I think. 3 of those kids put their family through hell. As a mother, I applaud you and others who have dealt with it. I believe everything happens for a reason. God has a plan. We just have to follow with faith. It is ok if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried. That is what matters most. Love on your other kids and know you made the best decision you could with what you were given. God bless!

  16. DIANA HAFNER says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. After 7 years in my home I am asking CPS to remove my 12 year old daughter for all our sake. This year she has really opened up about the extent and horror of the abuse she suffered before she was removed from her biological parents. While it makes her behaviors and diagnosis more understandable, I also have to protect her younger sister and myself. I feel like I failed. I am afraid her younger sister will one day forget what our lives have been like and hate me for sending her big sister away. Still, I cling to my faith and pray that my daughters will both cling to it as well as we go through the most painful process of our lives. I am so thankful for finding this blog tonight. Diana

    • Diana, I am so sorry that you are in the position to have to make the choice of saving one child or all. It’s a pretty stinky place to be in. I’m thankful that this post did something for you. It’s a long road to recovery and my faith has definitely been rocked, but I know we made the right decision. I’ll be praying for you and your family. There are so many of us out there hiding our stories. Blessings!

    • Imhererightnow says:

      Thank you so much for this post. It was very hard to search for to start with. AD will be 4 this month and came to us last August with a half-sibling that we never saw leaving. Well his dad picked him up in October. It’s been downhill since. I feel so done. We’ve learned her situation is more than just neglect. We’ve learned she hurts deep and it changes everything about her brain and how she views things. She’s been in therapy since she came here. I’m now medicated. She’s an angel around my husband. But with me I can’t deal. My oldest son who is 8 wants to kill himself or run away. How has your family healed thus far after disrupting? All I feel is disappointed in myself and I fee my husband is also disappointed in me. It was an agency adoption and cost us nearly $20k and he’s so angry about that leaving too. Idk what I’m looking for other than hope.

  17. Thank you for your post and honesty! Walking this road now… :(. It’s horrible! There are no words…

    • Keisha, I am so sorry you are walking this road right now. It’s a horrible place to be. The guilt, the grief, the PTSD from the behaviors, and the aftermath of disrupting an adoption isn’t easy. It is taking me a long time to heal from this. I’m available if you ever need to talk about it. Feel free to contact me if you need to.

  18. I too went through this for 2 years and 8 months. The violence, alarms, the constant threats and abuse. Sadly we just could not give her what was needed but now they have removed the sister who she is very violent against because child welfare believes it is our reactions that caused her to act this way. She is under evaluation but it could take months before she acts this way to someone new. I take solice in knowing that I’m not alone. My heart is broken for the sister who was happy here and had to be removed.

    • So sorry to here you went through this, too. It’s a horrible place to be in–the violence, alarms, constant threats, and abuse were all things we dealt with, too. The system is so very broken.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Maybe you or a friend are hurting and need to hear you’re not alone in your grief. It is my hope that my stories would be a balm to your soul today. These are my greatest heartaches of motherhood. My Miscarriage Story {Part 1} My Miscarriage Story {Part 2} My Miscarriage Story {Part 3} On Due Dates and Miscarriages {My second miscarriage} The Post I Never Expected to Write About Adoption {Our Disrupted Adoption} […]

  2. […] Maybe you or a friend are hurting and need to hear you’re not alone in your grief. It is my hope that my stories would be a balm to your soul today. These are my greatest heartaches of motherhood. My Miscarriage Story {Part 1} My Miscarriage Story {Part 2} My Miscarriage Story {Part 3} On Due Dates and Miscarriages {My second miscarriage} The Post I Never Expected to Write About Adoption {Our Disrupted Adoption} […]

  3. […] were sad to leave, but it was just what our little family needed after a hard year. Now we’re ready to tackle our homeschool year! We came home with a few Smucker’s® […]

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