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Thursday, July 12, 2012

URGENT

To my three faithful readers: I urgently need your prayers.
      TJ's case worker came by for her monthly visit last Friday. Bob and I made our normal comments on just how remarkarkable she is doing and gave her TJ's most recent (glowing!) psych evaluation. During the course of the conversation I stated that we will be taking custody of our 6 year old, very dysfunctional grandson.  He had been here for three weeks, then returned home for 2 weeks and we planned on getting him permanently this weekend.
   The case worker emphatically put her pencil down and looked up from the notes she was taking and stated, "I don't think it is TJ's best interest for him to live here. I will call a staffing on this and will get back to you next week. I'll have to take this up with my supervisor."
   This afternoon I recieved the call from the supervisor's supervisor. They have called into question our two youngest grandaughter (2 and 3 yrs) living here as well. The little girls have been living with us since October (which is why I haven't blogged) and we were awarded permanent custody of them in March.
   We are on the last leg of our adoption process for TJ. This is her home and we are her parents. We have repeatedly told her no one would take her from us. What do we do? Do we sacrifice our three grandchildren who have no where to go, to keep TJ?  Do we sacrifice TJ and keep the three? What if it only our grandson that can't stay here with her. How do we choose?
     I cannot believe this is God's plan!.
     I need you to hold my hand in prayer. I have no church home, no women's group or prayer group, I only have the three of you to stand in prayer with me. I am petioning God not to remove any of these children, His children, from their home and that something can be worked out so our grandson can be placed with us as planned. The repercusions in their little lives would be devastating - esspecially to TJ.
   Our meeting with social services in next Wednesday. Please hold my hand in prayer until then.
Thnak you so much!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Now what.

     Anna and TJ have shown remarkable growth in Christ since their placements with us. God is trading their ashes for His holiness. He is taking their sorrows and giving them joy. He is changing their fear into faith. What an honor for Bob and me to be able to watch these miracles transform the ruined lives and tattered hearts of two of His precious treasures.

      Being home with me during the summer months, the girls became my captive audience and were subjected to my constant ramblings about the great goodness of God's love for us and the pleasure He takes in all of His creation. Anna read her Bible more often and TJ began memorizing Scripture verses. Our dinner discussions revolved around their questions and observations about Jesus's teachings and how they apply to our lives. Living on our small farm afforded God opportunities to speak to them through nature - sin permeates all of nature and can be seen in the chickens and hummingbirds; God provides for every thing is observed in the peacock and the wild turkeys. Bob and I pointed to all we have and that we are so underserving of God's grace, mercy and blessings, but He showers us anyway. But more than all that our lives are forever blessed and changed because they are now apart of us.

     It was with much trepidation that I sent the girls back to their schools in August. I was esspecially fearful for Anna. She is not strong in spirit. She is a follower and a people pleaser. She cries out to be loved and accepted, even by her raunchy peer group.
     The school year started off strong with both of them. TJ decided first grade is not so hard after all. Anna tackled the year with the enthusiasm of a winning football team. She was determined to make up her lost freshman credits by taking an overload of classes which included two classes at home on the computer. The goal - to graduate with her class in 2013. Suddenly this seemed to be within her reach.
     When the progress reports came home, both the girls grades showed just how hard they are working and how focused they are. TJ had all A's for her first progress report of the first grade. She wasn't quite sure why Mom and Dad were hopping around like corn in a hot kettle, but she was happy that we were happy. Anna's grades leaped from 20's, 30's, on occassional 60,  to 80's and 90's! WOO-HOO! We were quite the happy family!
     Two days later Anna was expelled.
  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

HAPPY DANCE

     That's me in the middle of the room! . . . hips hula-ing, arms circling in the air, spinning around with a broad smile and loudly chanting,  "I did it!  I did it! I made it through the summer. YEA!  I did it! I did it!  I made it through the summer. YEA!"
     Bombarded with ten weeks of  ' TJ won't stay out of my room!', 'Anna's being mean to me!', 'TJ hid the remote!', and 'I'm bored,' left me irritable and impatient. but the question I disdained the most came every afternoon from Anna : 'What are we doing tomorrow?"

    "What are we doing tomorrow?"
    "Let me think." I mused. "Tomorrow we will do the same thing we are doing today, and the same thing we did yesterday."
    "I'm bored,"
    "For heaven's sake, Anna, you live on a farm!  Ride a goat, pluck a chicken, bathe the pigs. I can't believe you can't find something to do. The garden needs tended, beans picked, jelly made. Here's a novel idea . . . CLEAN YOUR ROOM." None of those activities ever appealed to her. "What do you want to do?"
    "I don't know."

     Being ADHD TJ was her own source of entertainment. She carried on hours of conversation with herself, began collections of dead cicadas, crickets, and beetles that she kept in separate baby food jars, colored reams of paper with pictures of God and Jesus and frogs. Constructions were made from any scrap materials from Bob's recent building projects. There were days she followed me so closely that when I turned around quickly I knocked her over and many days I thought she would never stop talking. Her stories and chatter trailed on and on and on . . . "blah blah blah AND THEN blah blah blah AND THEN . . ." She could keep a story going for hours!
     TJ did get have six weeks of swim lessons and Anna two. Both girls now know the breast stroke, side stroke and butterfly. Anna went on a one week mission trip and returned wanting more. Two weeks of visiting grandchildren stressed TJ and Anna to the brink, but they handled it well.
    And now the girls are back in school and I am wandering in circles around my empty house with no one calling my name. I'll adjust.

    

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Silence:

     My mother (82), stooped in her wheel chair, was blankly watching the TV. In the corner closest to the picture window sat my Dad (83), his head bowed, eyes closed, exhausted from carrying his burden and the visits to the nursing home twice each day. Caddy corner from Dad, my sister (53), whose epileptic seizures and mild retardation will never allow her to be on her own, sat engrossed in a book. No one heard me enter the small room.
     For a moment I stood silently taking in the profound picture of my aged parents. When Mom noticed me, a broad smile spread across her face. I hadn't visited in two weeks. She had been waiting for me to come trim her finger nails, groom her eyebrows, give her teeth a good brushing as well as take her outside for a stroll, bring her a milkshake, and lift her legs when she needed them rearranged.
     Before Dad and my sister left for home, I caught them up on all my family's news. A lot had happened in two weeks with my children and grandchildren, but my biggest and best piece of information I held until last: Bob and I had begun the paperwork for TJ's adoption. I feared someone may ask them about it in the course of a casual conversation. I knew I had to tell them. I did not want to. I was fairly certain I knew how they would respond.
     I parked myself on the edge of Mom's bed, with her next to me in her chair and Dad ever so slightly behind my shoulder. I came to the end of my litany of activities in my children's lives and the conversation came to a lull. "And . . . Bob and I have decided to adopt TJ." There it plunged like a block of frozen lead.
     Silence. Awkward silence. Dad stared at nothing on the floor. Mom looked at her knees. My sister continued reading, oblivious.
     "Well. OK then. We prayed about this for over a year. We weighed the pros and the cons. The truth is that this decision is not about us, but what is best for a little six year old girl."
     Silence. Suddenly I was thrown back not too many years ago, facing my parents disapproval. My mother, always vocal about her feeling and thoughts about me, did not have to say anything. I had heard it for decades: 'You're not thinking! You're so emotional. You can't handle what you have. You're not responsible. You don't have enough money.' and blah blah blah. I continued. "God puts the fatherless in families and we are TJ's family. Everyone deserves a good family."
     Finally, my Dad spoke up. "It's not right what some children have to live through and you are right, everyone deserves a good family." That is as close to approval I will get from Dad, but Mom remained silent.
     My parents will never hold me high in their esteem They are confounded by our decision to adopt, but God has knit my new family together in ways that they cannot understand and it is important to Him that both Anna and TJ be our children. That makes it important to me. I am hurt that my mother will never approve and I have to shrug it off.  My obedience to my Lord is so much more important.
     TJ has begun to refer to herself as TJ Lillis. Everyone she meets soon knows she is being adopted. She now has a home with a family who thinks she is special and her tragic past is quickly fading to a forgotten memory.
     God's plans are perfect.

   

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thanks alot, TJ!

"Momma, you look old today."
"I am old, TJ."
"Yea. But I thought all that stuff you put on your face is suppose to make you look younger."
"It takes a long time to work. How old do you think I should look?"
"82."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Tense Moment

     Please revisit "I Can't Tell Her the Truth," from July 6, 2010, before reading this post.

     Bob and I had known this day was not far away, yet we never discussed which direction our decision should take. We avoided the discussion with vague utterances of inconsequence, never addressing the question but well aware of the weight, breadth, and complications to either choice. The call had come. There could be no more stalling. After a short conference we reached a consensus and decided we had to talk to TJ.

     TJ, comfortably propped up on six pillows on our bed, was deeply engrossed in late afternoon cartoons. Bob and I anxiously entered our bedroom, neither of us knowing how to approach a sensitive and difficult topic with a six year old.  "TJ," I spoke quietly,"Daddy and I need to talk to you. No. You are not in trouble, but it is important." Alarm and panic seized her replacing her carefree expression with fear.
     I placed myself cross-legged in the middle of the bed, Bob sat on the edge, while TJ remained surrounded by pillows, eyes wide open, expecting the worst. I started solemnly. "We got a call from your caseworker today. There was a court hearing. The judge decided since Melissa is in jail for a long time it would be best for you to find a family that would be your forever family with a forever mom and dad. Daddy and I were wondering if you would let us be your forever parents."
     TJ's brow furrowed, trying to comprehend what we were saying. She laid her chin in her hand, thinking, her extended index finger tapping on her cheek. "Let me think about it." While she was thinking Bob explained she would never go to another home, her last name would change to ours, and she would still see her brother - who is also being adopted by another family. She thought some more, leaving Bob and I wondering what she would choose. Finally, with a heavy sigh, nonchalant tone she gave us her answer, "OK."
     That was it? 'OK?' We expected a little more enthusiasm then that! I cocked my head and gave a quizzical look when she bounced up on her knees and lurched toward me yelling,"I'm so happy!" We hugged and laughed and talked about her new last name. Her life is changed forever
    

  

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

America the Beautiful as sung by TJ

     In some inexplicable way, TJ manages to be front and center in every school program, as she was, again, at her kindergarten graduation: picking her nose, turning around, bending over, climbing on the risers, waving at me, and picking her nose.
     It was a wonderful little program with a USA theme and each of the 80 children had small parts to speak. TJ practiced her part diligently. When her time came to deliver her line, it was done with fervor and force. There remained no questions in anyone's mind that "The capital of the United States of America is George Washington, DC."
     With her delivery done, it was time for the group to stand and sing "America the Beautiful." This is TJ's version of that emotional and beautiful anthem:
               O beautiful for spaceship house, for angry gates of grapes,
               For purple mountains, majesty, above the fruit and rain.
               America, America God's spaceship is on me
               And idle blue with something new
               From sea to shining sea.

That's my girl!