Tuesday, December 17, 2013

When Love Is NOT Enough


Life is never like we imagine when we are young. I remember so well standing at the front of the church and pledging my life to Rich. I said in sickness and health till death do us part. Of course I had no idea just what that meant at the time but my commitment was solid. I remember all the conversations before we were married that talked about our hopes and dreams. I wanted to be a stay at home Mama and so did Rich. We wanted to birth some children and adopt some children. Of that we were certain. We also said that everyone wants to adopt white healthy babies and we could pop those out on our own so we wanted to make a difference in the world. We wanted to show all the love that was inside of us to children that didn't get that opportunity.

Life sure turns out like nothing that we imagined. Sometimes there are wonderful surprises along the way. I am so thankful that God doesn't allow us to see into the future. Maybe it's because I would probably be a coward and not want to take the road less traveled when that road is filled with heartache and grief.

Life seemed so simple back "in the day". Rich served in the military, we added to our family the organic way. Then it was time to think about adopting. At first we were turned down by every agency, we were either too young or too old, too poor, didn't have enough children or had too many children. No one including the state we were at allowed us to adopt anything but a white baby even though there were black babies just waiting for a home.

In total we adopted six different times. All very different scenarios. The last two were the hardest. Before those two we had always adopted babies that ranged in age from 72 hours old to five months. We knew all about the attachment issues that come with adopting and we were ready. We had great joy with the first four.

Then, and that's where the story gets jumbled, there was a young man in a treatment center that God laid on my husbands heart to bring into our home. His past was a tragic story. Bio-parents were drug manufacturers and drug dealers. They wanted to experiment with how different drugs would react so of course they chose their baby boy as the guinea pig. They both used drugs and alcohol during pregnancy so as you might guess he had residuals from both. He grew to become a toddler and still was being used to see the effects of certain drugs together. Did I mention that this little boy became a very angry little boy? As with most drug dealers and users their families are not what you and I strive for. Mom ended up running off and leaving the little boy before he was five. Dad had multiple girlfriends from that point on. The list goes on and on. You get the picture. The biological parents had neglected both physically and emotionally this little guy. But, he was a survivor, right? Well I can tell you right now that a little guy without the love and nurturing of parents along with good nutrition is a perfect plan for a train wreck.

We were advised by one of the elders in the church to not bother taking him. He said there was no use, he would never change. At this point he had just turned 14. He was a kind and generous young man, even though he might just steal to be generous. But God called my husband to take him into our home. When he first mentioned it I told Rich he was crazy. I had met this young man and there was no way on God's green earth I would take him into my home. THat's when my husband suggested I pray over him. So I prayed, and I prayed and I prayed some more. I asked God that if he wanted us to take this young man into our home that he would give me a Mama's heart. Day after day, week after week. God gave me a Mama's heart and we brought him into our home.

At first all went well. He got along great with our other sons. He was smart and funny and full of adventure. He loved to feel the breeze in his face going mach 3. He was helpful to a fault and could work harder than two teenagers put together. All was well as long as he was on board with the program. Even though we knew better intellectually, we felt that just pouring love into his soul would be enough. Hasn't God showed us that love can conquer all?

Love is not enough my precious friends. You may disagree but I am here to tell you that love is not always enough. There are some children that have been so deeply scared that nothing short of a divine intervention will rebuild the trust that is necessary to build bonds with others.  God gave me a Mama's heart for this boy so he will always be my son. No matter what choices he makes in life, and he has made some terrible choices, I will always call him son. There is an empty place in my heart that grieves for him.

He left on his own free will the minute he turned 17. He was so sure that his way was the right one. He said he would never ask for money. We told him that we would always love him and hoped someday he would chose to become a law abiding citizen. He walked out that day with a spring in his step and left behind a Mama that grieves for his life. He had so much potential. He would have been a wonderful young man. Instead he chose life on the streets, drugs, alcohol, sex and breaking the law. Eventually the law caught up with him in a big way. He will now be paying the price for a very long time and still this Mama grieves.

So now here is the question. Was that elder right all those years ago, should we have not taken him into our homes and our hearts and gave him a family? I wrestled with that question for several years. Here is my conclusion. God calls us to be faithful no matter what the outcome. He called and we obeyed. We shared the love of Jesus with our boy. He became our son. In the end though like all of us, he had a choice. He could take the chance that he was given and soak up all the love and benefits or he could throw it away. It was always his choice. Do I grieve, yes I do. Especially right now knowing that he is not free. He will never be free until he learns some hard lessons.

This is why I am so passionate about being a midwife. I want each baby to have a great start. One where they can build the necessary bonds with their families. One where their every need is met whether it be physical or emotional or spiritual. Hold those babies tight my friends. In the blink of an eye they will be grown and gone. Start the day they are born.

Our story is not unique I am afraid. There are many Mama's and Dad's out there this year who have no clue where their children are. Or they know but can only stand back and watch the drama play out, with broken hearts. To those Mama's I want you to know that you are not alone. I understand the heartache and so does our perfect Father, God. Someday he will wipe every tear away. Your heart and my heart will be made new, with no holes in it.


Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".


  1. Love that you have shared this story. I COMPLETELY agree with your point about whether or not the elder was correct. Certainly not! You must follow God's direction regardless of our human doubts - your son has free will and could have chosen a different path. Remember too, he STILL has that free will and he can STILL choose a path to redemption and if he does, it will certainly be God's reward to you and Rich, who followed His lead.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I also agree that the elder was wrong. Not only did you show your son love, you planted the seed of God's love in his heart and there is ALWAYS hope that he'll come back to that and allow that seed to grow. Praying for you and your son this morning.

  3. Jill, thank you for sharing. Yes, I believe you did what God calls us all to do....show love and understanding and teach his word. This young man has a foundation now even though he took the other path. You showed him Gods love one day he may heed that word. You and Rich planted that seed. Let's pray that the light clicks on for him someday. Jill. I love your heart of a servant.