Monday, April 23, 2012

Psalm 66:5: Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man's behalf.

I can attest with thanksgiving that there have been few times I have witnessed utter despair in my life. I have known great sadness, the loss of unborn children, in particular, but by the mercy of God I have been saved from the deep desperate pain that I am aware many face on a daily basis. Last night I had a conversation with despair and I am forever changed by the exchange.

Yesterday morning, the children's worker came to visit for her monthly home visit. There is not much to talk about right now as we are all in a holding pattern waiting for the May 3rd day to find it's way to our present. As we sat and discussed the children and their lives, she turns to me and says, "The kid's dad spoke with me and he is planning on voluntarily signing his rights away for the children."

SILENCE--whirls of thoughts and emotions begin to move around in my head like a storm of great intensity. What does this mean?

As we discussed the reasons he gave and how this will affect the trial set for May 3rd, I began to feel some peace. Half the battle is over before it begins. My thoughts move to their mom. What will she do? How will this effect her? We are confident the two of them are still together, still entwined in the co-dependency that weighs them down. This is a huge blow to her chances. Does she realize that what little she had to stand on has been severely compromised by his decision? How will she react. So many questions with answers I believed would never be available. Until about 3:30p.m..

We had just gotten home after a slight incident with a blown out tire and I had fed the children and canceled dinner plans for the evening. I was in the midst of searching for mini-vans on the internet when my phone rang. I could not find it before the ringtone of my girls singing "Defying Gravity" ended. The house phone begins to ring. I run up the stairs to get it and by the time I turn on the handset, it too stops ringing. Then there is a beep on my cell. "Sara, this is Cassie. Call me at the office ASAP." What could this be? Has something happened. Oh my, what if they have canceled our courtdate again? I dial the number anxious to hear what would warrant the "Call Me ASAP" message.

Cassie answers the phone and says, "Are you sitting down?" Oh no. What does this mean? "I am now," I state. "I am going to give you A*****'s phone number. She is thinking she will voluntarily sign over her rights to the children. She wants to talk with you and be sure you will send her pictures and letters." As she continues to talk, my body starts to shake in a mixture of elation and fear. This is the best case scenerio. Both parents signing away their rights to the children . No testifying. No waiting for the Judge's decision. No waiting for appeal days to pass. The opportunity to tell the children that their parents loved them enough to sacrifice their own wishes for their betterment . As I sat processing all the information Cassie was telling me, I then began to dwell on the conversation we would have and that is where the fear began to settle.

I have not tried to hide the fact that the idea of a mother losing her children in order for me to have children added to my family has always been a difficult concept for me. I have full understanding that there are times where the removal of children is not only a neccessity, but a gift you give the precious defensless children who are suffering in the lives they are given from parents who because of unwise choices, lack of responsibility or lack of feeling are harming them in gross and minute ways. I understand the mercy in such a thing. But more importantly I understand being a mother. I understand what happens to a person when life comes from her own body and that little face looks up at you and you realize it is the closest to being like God you will ever get. I know the ache of losing a child. I know the pain of feeling a failure to your children. I understand the hold of depression and addictions that cause you to make choices you know you should not. In fairness, I can not understand allowing those things reach a point where I would lose my children, nor can I imagine if my children were removed from me that I would not in the quickest possible way do whatever it took to get them back. But it is only by God's mercy and grace that I am given my life's circumstances. The conversation I would be having that evening would be facing head on this piece of the puzzle that has always been difficult for me. Head on.

From 3:30 until 6:30, I began to be in conversation. With God. With Nathan. With our caseworker. What do I say? How do I listen? Is this a trick? How can I extend comfort and hope to her? How do I even start such a conversation? In conversation with God I asked for guidance in my words, patience as He did what was His will, the opportunity to bring hope to A*****, to encourage her to be well for herself and for the children. In conversation with Nathan, I doubted my ability to have the conversation. I will cry. I will fall apart. He assured me he would be right there with me. In conversation with our caseworker, she guided me on how to say the things I wanted to say so as to guard against any legal action to effect the trial. I asked her if we should record the conversation. She said that could be a good idea.

I made dinner for the family, each bite of food passing the lump in my throat. Each swallow made more difficult by all the emotion that settled in my stomach. The welcome diversion of helping my friend Ann pack her car so to leave to go out of town unexpectedly and then the walk home realizing that once I was home, I would call. Each step being a decision of slow or fast, get there and get to that conversation at war with go slow and take your time this will be hard.

As I set up the recorder and got a pen and paper to doodle on during the conversation, I gathered the children to their rooms and Nathan to the table and I dialed the number. As the phone began to ring, I began to realize that in this conversation I had the easier role. I began to wonder if the ringing of the phone at A****'s home was a dread she too had been facing. When she picked up the phone, she knew it was me, even with my phone number blocked and never having spoken on the phone before. After the general niceties at the beginning of a phone call, I explained that Cassie asked me to call. There was a short silence on the other end of the line. And then she began to talk. She began to share her thoughts about what she needed to do, about Emma and Jordon, about Nathan and I. She shared her thoughts about where her life has been and where it was going. She was very honest about her ability to care for them. She spoke for about fifteen mintues, full of honest emotion and despair, while I sat and listened. It was only after she said that if she did this she would still want to be a part of the kids life, that I spoke. "What does that mean to you?" I responded. "I just want the kids to know about me, to be able to see pictures of them and send them letters." We discussed what I felt was best for the children and what I felt our family would need and my willingness to send pictures and updates, but that I did not feel that the children should have contact until they were of age. I explained that Nathan and I would do whatever we could to help the children find her when they were of age if that was their decision. I explained that I admired her for making such a sacrificial decision. I praised her for loving the children enough to make a decision like she was making.

As I sat listening, waiting for the "but", I realized there would be no "but", at least not tonight. I realized that if this indeed happens this way, with them making this very mature selfless decision for the kids, we could be finished with this leg of the journey within weeks. I also realized as I watched the brown tape wrap around the pegs in the recorder that this tape would be a huge gift to one day give the children. It would have their two mothers talking about how much they loved them, how much they wanted the best for them, how they were so blessed to have two women who loved them to the moon and back. That tape is wrapped in an envelope sitting in a box of the information that will be their personal history. It is a treasure I hope they will find comforting.

So now the wait until May 3rd continues, but it is a different kind of wait. It is a wait of anticipation and no longer one of dread. It is a day that will mean fresh starts for everyone involved made by good decisions and loving hearts. It will be a day of sadness and relief, celebration and joy. One of those perfect days full of every emotion that remind us of why the larger journey of faith, the journey of life, is worth making, even when it hurts, even when it is hard, even when it causes us to laugh through our tears. Because the end of the journey can only be fully appreciated by the miles and miles of living that lead us there.

1 comment:

  1. This was written on Friday, the 20th. Finally just able to edit and publish.