I will try to spend this day sharing what we now know about Christina’s case and what’s next. I’m sorry I took so long… I wasn’t at the meeting (I got to spend the day at the hospital instead), so it’s taken the week to hear details (thank you, Katie, for being so diligent for me at the meeting). Plus, I’m still working out the kinks with my lungs… feeling ok, but cough still kicks in easily and I’m just tired. I’m no longer the 20 year old, or 30 year old or 40 year old who bounces back so quickly. Patience, child. 😀
I’m going to share most of it. A lot of people would keep much of this private, but this is a sad journey and nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it illuminates many dark corners of childhood abuse, PTSD, Postpartum depression, Domestic Abuse, and a VERY dysfunctional “justice” system. If we don’t shine a light on these things and talk honestly about them, they will not change.
So…. the meeting on Monday feels in some ways like a light in this dark, painful journey, but also the point at which we start to work powerfully into the future for Christina and for all others who get caught in the cracks of our dysfunctional society.
I am going to start with me, because many of you do not know my journey…. don’t worry, I’ll make it brief. 🙂
I’m 57 now. I’ve been a nurse and a nurse practitioner in a previous version of my life, which overlapped my foster/adopt parenting life for the past 25 years. My nursing career spanned years from 1981 to 2012, so it has formed much of who I am (working with people, seeing the painful side of things, seeing the beauty in many people and families through their hardest moments, wanting to heal and fix, along with a whole lot of concrete skills).
But from my teen years on, I wanted to be a mom and by the time I was 30 and there was no permanent partner in sight, I decided to become a parent through adoption, which started my foster care journey. I had intended to be a single parent to one girl and decided that if a husband came along, he’d need to be the perfect person to also parent this child.
Christina was my first child…. 25 years ago this month!!!! A few year later, I decided another girl wouldn’t be too hard, so Areal joined our family. Then, following nudges, murmurs, and a couple of smacks on the head from Gos’s Spirit, I was blessed to add Marcella, Ezekiel, Benjamin, Jada, Nathalia, and Octavio to my parenting roster.
By 2012, I made a conscious decision to retire from nursing and focus on my journey within the foster care and adoption world. I had made a start at my own photography business to make sure I had some bits of income, but I’ve had a variety of health issues on a regular basis over the past 3 years, which keep co-opting my ability to participate fully in the photography world. The conscious decision to retire from regular employment was also a conscious acknowledgement that I would be raising this family from a significantly lower socio-economic place. Pretty scary in a society that places a lot of value on how much money and stuff you own.
But in my entire journey with these children, and especially since I took in the last four within a year, I have discovered how rich I really am! My community and family have embraced these children and they are truly being raised by a village. I am talking very clearly about the financial support that has helped in many moments… even the meals, the help with physical time with one or more of the kids, the dishes, the vacuuming…are all pieces of that “financial” support as measured by society. And as measured by my heart, and by the incredible kids that are growing up well because of this community, there is no way to place a number value on the gift of community.
It is Grace. It is Joy. It is Peace.