Wednesday, March 23, 2011

From the Heart

I'm usually pretty open with my feelings but feel like this particular subject has been especially hard to share. Please bear with me as I work through and share what it has been like so far having a child gone from home of our own choosing.

Our son is at Teen Challenge in Florida, which is a military-style, Christian based ranch for drug addicted teens.

I struggle with a mixture of relief, sorrow, anger and worry.

The relief I felt was short-lived. There is peace in our home that had previously been absent, but now there is a huge void. Someone very important and special in my life is missing. I can sometimes hear him laugh in my minds eye. My younger son can often, out of the corner of my eye look like Spencer and I get this flutter of excitement in my stomach for a brief moment until I am hit once again with reality.

There is a sorrow I feel that feels similar to a death. When we brought Spencer to Teen Challenge, he arrived with a suitcase full of only basic necessities; t shirts, underwear, socks, deodorant, soap, shampoo, toothpaste and shaving needs all to last for the next 15 months. No clothes, because he would be wearing a program issued uniform. As we drove onto the Ranch, a staff Sergeant approached our car and spoke to Spencer briefly saying where he was, why and for how long. Then they allowed him to say good-bye and then they took him away.

We stayed for a brief orientation of the program with student testimonies and what to expect. It is such a blur to me. Partly because I couldn't see through all the tears that were falling and partly because I was still in disbelief that this is what it had come to. As we were walking to our car to leave, someone brought us our son's suitcase containing only the clothes he had been wearing when we last saw him. It's interesting what that straw can be for each of us, the one that 'breaks the camels back'. For me that was it. In my bitterness, I wondered why they hadn't included all of his beautiful hair they had just shaved off as well.

I cried all day off and on. Sometimes it was the loud, ugly kind and other times the tears just fell continuously, without my being able to control them. We were traveling and I know looked like a mess. When we would stop to eat, people felt so bad for me, they kept giving me free food! I didn't even try to hide my sorrow, it was not possible.

It has now been six weeks that Spencer has been gone. The honest truth is that my sorrow continues. Some days I am ok but there are many days when something like looking at a family photo or hearing the twins talk about missing him will make me sad. I miss him everyday. This past Sunday my daughter and I returned from Spring Break. We went out from brunch after being picked up from the airport. I had been so excited to see my family but as we were sitting around the table the absence of Spencer's presence was too much for me. So there I sat at The Cheesecake Factory once again crying. This time I didn't get any free food.

Isn't is just like God to give us hope when we are hopeless? I opened my e mail upon returning home to find this photo and it did my heart good! It is the first picture I have seen of him since we were on the beach in Florida before he left.
A friend wrote this upon seeing his picture; "Interesting that he is wearing the BDU (Battle Dress Uniform) as he is going to battle against Satan. That is why I like the Book of Revelation... God wins!" So true and so encouraging!

In our home, there's a new normal. It's neither good or bad, it just is. We can't talk with Spencer until he's been there for 8 weeks, which is now only 2 weeks away! We do get a weekly phone call from his counselor with an update as to how he's doing. They live stream their Wednesday night Chapel and Sunday morning church service and we can see Spencer as he worships and hear the same sermons he's hearing. He laughs and I can hear him and it does my heart good! I can tell by his body language what he's feeling. He seems to be doing well.

I'm angry that he chose to use drugs. I'm angry that we couldn't "fix" him. The anger is nothing compared to the sorrow though.

I also worry about him. I worry about whether we made the right decision. I worry about what the future holds. Spencer's favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11 - 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, ' plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' I am hopeful for the future and know that God has entrusted Spencer to us but that ultimately he belongs to Him.

I have to give all my fears to God and trust that 'being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus'. Philippians 1:6


Not Just A Birth Mom said...

"There is a sorrow I feel that feels similar to a death"
That's how it feels to "lose" a child to adoption. And it never really goes away :-/
I am glad to hear your son is doing well, I am excited for you to talk to him in two weeks!

Amanda said...

Teen Challenge is such an amazing program! I pray that God will bring you comfort and peace!

Edie Mindell said...

Your post is very inspiring because despite of what happened, your faith in God is much stronger. I'm glad your son is doing well now. Just continue your faith in God because He will never leave us.:-)

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