Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Weekend It All Began

I still remember the night it began. My brother, who was in the navy, was visiting me. I was living in a 2 bedroom apartment and serving as pastor of an inner city church. My sermon was still in process, and Brother and I were relaxing in the apartment when the phone rang. It was a woman I had been working with for several months. She had taken her children and moved into a battered women’s shelter 6 months earlier. She was now back in the family home waiting for a divorce to go through.

She wanted me to come get her kids, as she was unable to care for them due to illness. I made some phone calls and found a family that was willing to take the son for a couple of days. I figured I could handle Daughter, who had just turned 3 and was a shy, retiring child with enormous eyes.

Brother and I got in the car and drove to a neighboring town to rescue the children. I dropped off Son and took Daughter home with me. My brother still remembers it as the visit when he “almost” got to sleep in a bed, as I finally had a 2 bedroom apartment. He had to surrender the second bedroom to Daughter and sleep on the sofa bed yet again.

It was supposed to be just for a weekend, but the weekend kept growing longer. Son had been placed in a therapeutic foster home, in the hope they could begin to address his severe behavioral issues. (He had stolen a number of items from the church family who kept him for the weekend. It was later discovered that he had been molesting Daughter.)

By the time I realized that Daughter was never going to be able to return to her birth mother, I was hooked. I couldn’t even consider allowing another family to adopt her. It took over 5 years for her to become free and the adoption to go through. As I look back on it, it’s a good thing I didn’t know what I would be facing, because if I had, I’m sure I wouldn’t have gone through with the adoption. I would have been convinced that I wouldn’t be able to handle it all. But I didn’t know, and God has provided the strength to get through each new challenge.

It’s been over 18 years since that first weekend. We’ve been through more hospitalizations than I can count (for both medical and psychiatric reasons). I’ve had more hateful words directed at me than I could have ever imagined. I thought that by now she’d be living on her own, or at the very least be capable of staying home alone. I thought that by now I’d have my freedom back. It has been nothing like I imagined. I am profoundly grateful for almost every moment of it. She has taught me about God’s love. I have become a better person and a better pastor. I’m glad I didn’t know what the future would hold that Saturday night I answered the phone and agreed to keep Daughter “for the weekend.”


debinca said...

Is that photo of DD? She looks so much like my dd. Our 'weekend' was 13 years ago Easter weekend when we were asked to come pick her up just for the holiday.

After all these years , the pieces come together in your blog. On the forum we just get pieces here and there. Great job, Owl

Reverend Mom said...


As of now, I'm not posting any pictures or identifying information. I found that picture on line. I don't mind people knowing about me, but I want to protect Daughter and others who may appear in my blog. In this small community, people would quickly try to figure out who I was referring to, and some of their guesses would be accurate.

I didn't realize it had been so long for your DD. I knew she came from a disrupted adoption, and I thought she had been older.

Thanks for the compliment. I'm finding this very therapeutic as I process things from the distant and not-so-distant past.