How Does It Feel To Be Raised By Someone Else?

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

One of the hardest things for me to understand is how my grandchildren feel about their situation. I know they are better off with us, that we are a vast improvement over the circumstances they lived under.

But they don’t.

I know we are a better solution than foster care.

But they don’t.

I know their number one wish, to be with Mommy, is unrealistic.

But they don’t.

How do they  grasp the enormity of the changes in their lives? They are my grandchildren, but just like foster children they carry baggage. They deal with anger, frustration, and despair. The human brain is not fully-developed until the age of twenty-five. How can a ten-year-old and six-year-old cope with this?

We see outbursts of irrational behavior, defiance, and increased illness.

Lately, the illness has been a constant problem. The doctor tells me that children raised in smoking homes will always have respiratory issues even if they no longer live in that environment. My grandson spent his first four years with two parents who smoked alot. I guess it’s no surprise he struggles with illness so much.

These thoughts led me to look up data on the prevalence of illness amount foster kids. My grandchildren aren’t in the foster system, but their circumstances are similar. This search led me to  this video. It’s heartbreaking. I don’t doubt this is part of what they think and feel.


Running with Ghosts

This is the one blog I read regularly. I read and subscribe to a few, but this one always speaks to me, especially today. Such wisdom in a young person and all because of his beloved dog…

Marking Our Territory

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Just as I remember them.

I spent yesterday driving and I owe tomorrow to the road. But before I pay that debt I have these precious moments alone.

Penny and Zero are with me, but I have always considered my dogs a part of myself. The nameless part I can never share with another person. Not because I lack the will, but because in any attempt to translate it – through word or deed – its truth is lost.

So I silently share this truth with my dogs as we stand in the rain and look down the path leading into the trees. I am here in search of ghosts, but not the Revolutionary War specters many say walk these woods. I am here to commune with a boy and his puppy.

I gather myself, dogs and all, and run into the darkness.

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Seeds of the Prodigal, Part 2

A Happier Birthday Memory

This month, my daughter—the one who persists on a dark path away from her family while I raise her children—turned 37. We did not hear from her. We haven’t heard from her since early December.

A few posts ago, I started exploring what might have happened to make her turn away from the life we raised her to live and the values and morals we taught her.

As she started her senior year in high school, everything looked positive.  She enrolled in several advanced credit courses and, for the first time in her life, took her studies seriously. She’d always been smart, but she chose to control her life, I think, by choosing how much she studied. When she applied to colleges, all five of them accepted her! She took the decision seriously and picked the school that offered the best route to her chosen career, veterinary medicine. She even decided to double-major!

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,  and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures. 2 Timothy 3:14-15 

Not everything was rosy, nothing ever is perfect. She struggled with the past, giving up her baby and the abuse she suffered from her father, but we saw less of the effects that last year of high school.

And then, she went off to college. As happens with many college Freshman, the temptations of nightlife vs studying grabbed her. Her grades revealed her choices. The awareness that she might have an undiagnosed learning disability didn’t help the grades situation, either. The college offered services for her, but she had to take the step and make the appointment. I couldn’t do it.

She never did.

Then she got sick, and we received a phone call from an ER doctor. Not the kind of thing you enjoy when your child is 4 hours away. The prognosis? She had a digestion issue that needed further exploration to determine the cause and treatment. With a barely passing GPA, she decided to finish the semester, then come home and live with us, enrolling in the local tech college while we sought the medical help needed.

That never happened.

Over Thanksgiving break, she went out with friends and by midnight wasn’t home. As another hour ticked by, I paced and eventually called the parents of the friends she went out with.  All of her friends were home in bed. Where was my daughter?

Around 2:30 am, I went in search of her and eventually found her car, empty, parked in a back alley downtown. My husband was placing a call to the police when she pulled up in another car. The surprise on her face when she saw me waiting on her was priceless.

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15  

In the morning, after we had time to calm down, we told her if she was going to live in our home, she had to follow our rules. Over Christmas break, she continued to ignore our rules. I didn’t get much support from her friends’ parents. They felt like they couldn’t restrict the coming and going of their college-age children. She threw this in our face, but we stuck to our guns.

She moved out.

Ever since then, she’s floated from place to place. She’s made poor choices for the majority of the last twenty years.

People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 2 Timothy 3:2-5

This was the visible beginning of her downward spiral.