This Complicated Joy.

Loss. It’s a real thing, believe it or not. Everyone has experienced it-from a baby losing their favorite toy at the park, to a child losing a tooth, to a teen losing a grandparent, to a death, divorce, abandonment, betrayal-we have this in common. We have all experienced loss and death in some capacity. Some people run from the reality, some can’t get out of bed, and others rise out of the dust of their loss with a new roar. 

Two weeks ago, we received a call that we had been waiting for for two years. I knew the call would come again-at least, a part of me hoped it would, another part of me dreaded it because it meant something terrible had happened to the kids my heart has claimed as its own. The call that says, Sally this is CPS. We have your brothers. 

We started the process of getting our home approved and background checked within the half hour, and five hours later, we picked up our cubs from a room stuffed with kids waiting to be picked up, all different ages-infant to preteen. In the midst of all the hustle of getting our boys back, I feel like the memory goes into slow motion as I still see the nameless faces of the kids and babies just waiting to be hugged, held, or have spit up wiped off their faces, amongst the television and pull out couches that surrounded them. 

We were reunited with our cubs, and brought them into a new home with Scout in our room, and their room transformed into a boys room in a matter of minutes (because some great friends strapped their baby to their chest and said, yep we’ll be there). 

A lot of people have been asking how the past two weeks have been; are you so happy? has been the most common question. And yes, we are. But it’s complicated. 

Because, honestly? I look at them and I grieve that there are two years of lost time. The baby I weaned from the bottle has grown into a Little Cub who wants to play soccer and the fiery seven year old has turned into a preteen and I’ve lost time. We have all lost sacred time with them. 

And I’m angry. I’m angry that I was told, a little less than two years ago, that it just wasn’t bad enough of a case to keep them from the one who wrecks their spirits, hearts, and bodies. The one who drags them up stairs and calls them unrepeatable names. The court, Orange County Juvenile Court, the judge, the system…They said it just wasn’t all that bad. 

But Will and I see the consequences front and center of “just not bad enough” in our home now. We see what the trauma of fear o punishment can do to a little boy who used to be spirited and silly and loud, and what verbal abuse could do to a once strong willed, wise guy. It shreds them. It brings them to a point of losing who they are in the midst of being told how lowly their own mom thinks of them. 

We are praying for a miracle here, folks. We don’t share this to tear anyone down, but to share the reality of the problem. These issues are real, and they should make you uncomfortable, uneasy, and sad, because they are not intended by the Maker of Heaven. God never intended his children to be abused. God never intended for Orphans to exist (yes…there are indeed Orphans in Orange County whether they admit it or not). And these facts, if you have a taste of God’s goodness in your heart, his justice, kindness, and mercy, should make you angry and desire change. We are asking you to pray for this with us. We want this chapter of the storm and devastation to end for our Cubs. 

So yes, like the verse says, Hope Deferred makes the heart sick, but a Desire Fulfilled is a Tree of Life (Proverbs 13:12)…there is a desire that has been fulfilled here. Will and I have never felt so complete and sure of the fact that not only are we doing exactly what we were always meant to do, but we’re experiencing a glimpse of refreshment, feeling like this is the way life was always meant to be. There’s beauty in that. Our house is full, and so are our hearts. 

But it’s a complicated joy because we had to welcome in all the pain that came with the reunite. All the trauma, all the lost years with our Little Lost Boys. It’s a complicated joy, but we’re so glad to be in it.