It’s taken me months to write this post. Months.
Those close to us know that we have been facing a storm in our family unlike any struggle we’ve ever faced and it unfolded at the beginning of July. I cannot imagine it being more serious or more challenging, and that is just spoken from a rawness I have never known before now, not just from how I have felt emotionally.
Another added layer in this story is the fact that, while we live life completely wide open and also are a pastor family and the transparency that entails, we still are a real family and must maintain privacy and integrity to honor our children and each of their own personal stories- stories that are not always ours to tell.
But we are at another critical point because we are getting questions about what is going on. And we get that. We knew, at some time and at some level, those questions would have to be addressed while we still honor the privacy of our family. We will never give out details of the broken road that has unfolded for us over the last 4 months. We just can’t. (So if you know us on an up-close level, please do not drill our children about anything, which is one way you can honor their privacy.) If you are close to us, and we have not talked to you about what is going on, it’s simply because we can’t. And I won’t be talking much about it here. This isn’t a “social-media-cop out,” but rather a much needed, simple way to address the truth of our heartache and acknowledge the elephant in the room.
I’ve experienced loss on a number of levels throughout my life. Loss of family as I knew it as a little girl…loss of all of my grandparents, except my one living grandpa, (all who were key in my entire life) and the loss of my wonderful father-in-law who treated me like his daughter. There have been other huge losses- like the loss found in attaching to children we thought we would be able to adopt and finding out we couldn’t. So many losses.
But I’ve never experienced the personal trauma and loss like I have over the last few months. The grief process is real, and long, and ongoing…and I am just now after months, seeing the future in a light that makes even a little bit of sense compared to a dark mental blank.
If you noticed someone missing from our family pictures, it’s because they are. In July a very shocking, abrupt, unreal, terrifying reality was revealed to us- that our son Carlos needed help we simply could not give him within our home, while maintaining safety and life for the rest of our family. Getting him ongoing help outside of our home was our one and only option. There weren’t any others. Period.
The grief that has followed this reality has taken our entire family into a dark storm, details of which the world will never know. But for those who have prayed us through, believed with us in the middle of the turmoil, silently respected our privacy while holding up our feeble arms in prayer and continue to…we probably wouldn’t have survived without you. There have been days that death would have felt simpler.
We took some weeks away from it all as a family, and then have had to tighten our armor and begin stepping forward with life. Because as difficult and saddening as it may be, bills don’t tarry until grief departs; especially not astronomical therapy bills that insurance can’t touch. Some of the hardest days have been holding up our kids who themselves are shocked and confused about why things have changed and wonder when life will ever feel normal again. Other days have required a persistence to just begin working again, and every job we do and calling we have requires a smile and the ability to walk others through pain. Somehow that kind of stepping forward has been a balm to us in the middle of the dark season. In August, as we began stepping back into everything we had to, we began to see glimpses of the light at the end of the tunnel. We have been seeing progress since. We are grasping a new normal.
Because of the depth of the need, the choices made, and the safety of those in our care- we will not have the liberty to parent Carlos in the traditional sense we had always planned and dreamed for and had always thought we would walk out. We can’t. Please don’t worry yourself with trying to figure out what the trauma or struggles are, because it’s futile. Carlos is a brilliant overachiever, a hard worker and our son– and he loves his family fully at the capacity he knows how. We still believe for good Jesus things for his future.
But nonetheless, we now face the challenging and gut-wrenching task of figuring out how to get him what he needs- while still playing a roll in that help… while still maintaining the privacy and protection of everyone in our care. The task is huge and we are certainly treading uncharted waters. Others face what we are facing by the multitudes, especially adoptive families, yet no one writes a guidebook or maps out a course. When I think about our new reality, the next few years of family trips and holidays and family pictures, I have a painful stab in my gut. This is my new reality but I’m working through it.
I could spend years asking why. It’s only a black hole that I’ve found will keep me up night after night and not really settle the peace I know is obtainable in my heart when I simply trust my Potter. There are things I do know. When I focus on those, my purpose stays clear and peace floods my soul. I know that Jesus is with me. I know he brought Carlos into our family, and called us to love him as our own, and we will continue to. I know this story isn’t over. I know I can’t picture for a second what the future looks like. I know we are called to parent and love those who were orphans. That is still our calling. I know my home is a home of healing, ordained by Jesus to raise up pillars for the kingdom of God.
–My God is making beauty out of ashes.
–Causing all things to work for our good.
–Guarding our steps and hiding us in the shadow of his wings.
We know all that has unfolded was a very real attack on our family and the life and ministry Jesus has called us to, but our flag of surrender is raised for Jesus only. We will press in all the harder. We will learn to make war in a way we’d never previously fathomed. We will continue to be a voice for the orphan and walk out the plans God has for us.
God has called us to give the world a story of surrender, and we have been directed to share that story on a number of levels, including here. Where we are now, well, this is a level of trust we’ve never been required to walk until now. We trust what Jesus is doing is good, because He is faithful and he is good.
We have always tried to be transparent. When we share smiles and joy here and elsewhere, it’s because those things are real. As we have walked through the last few months God has given us pieces of beautiful joy in the midst of sorrow, and we have shared those with the world. Those pieces of joy have come through loving friends, our kids who are heroes, our normal life and above all, the presence of God. But now we are also having to address the shocking truth that came to life for us a few months ago.
Thank you for praying for us and with us. We love you.