You are not alone.
If I had a dollar for every time those words left my lips and crossed the space between me and the person I was standing in front of? Let’s just say…beach house in Malibu. Or better fitting…1000 acre farm at the foot of a ginormous mountain in rural Montana where my kids could run wild and free, and any outbursts, meltdowns, glass-breaking, dish-smashing tirade, brought on by trauma (or that simmer we always talk about), wouldn’t be heard by a living soul for miles. Foster and adoptive parent: you feeling me on this one?
I know a few things about you, because they are true about me too. I know that within you, there’s an amazing, beautiful, passion-filled heart that beats deeply for vulnerable children. Your house is filled up and your bank account is empty because of that big heart. No way on earth will there be any children left without a forever home because of you. I know you long to dry every tear your children cry, and heal every wound they’ve sustained.
I also know how that you often feel it’s easier to hide behind a smile, instead of sharing your heartbreak. It’s much easier to make excuses to the neighbors, or your friends at church, about your child’s behavior, than tell the truth. They wouldn’t get it anyway if you explained the reality of your child’s situation. You know that. So, instead of stepping into the light, the shadows are more comfortable and less “on-display.” You’ve grown accustomed to licking your wounds (both emotional and physical) in silence, behind a veil, in the privacy of your own home. Long-sleeves even when it’s warm out are commonplace. Yeah, I get it.
In a world that vastly misunderstands our journey, this is all so much easier than vulnerability.
But it’s isolating. Let’s be real for a second. Standing in your front room watching the neighborhood kids frolic and play the eskimo way after a winter snow storm, while your child can’t be trusted outside of your house for a milli-second, is so dang isolating it’s hard to breathe. Yes you love your child, but you battle feelings of resentment and frustration. Maybe you know all about trauma and so his behavior makes sense. But it doesn’t change the life-tweaking you have to do on a daily basis, just to avoid questions or judgmental glances.
Isolating, isolating, isolating. It’s your prison cell. I know this because it was mine too at one point. Then I discovered 2 very important things…
- I don’t owe this world one ounce of an explanation.
- I don’t have to exist in this isolation any longer.
This is my family, my life, and my choice. It’s my heart and calling that led me into this journey, and I love these precious children, trauma and all. I was called to do this and that’s nobody else’s business on the face of God’s green earth but mine. My child may react in certain ways, to certain things, at certain moments because of a place of fear living inside of him that he can’t even articulate. I don’t owe anyone an explanation because it’s not their child and it’s not their journey. That may sound harsh but I must say this, because often times we feel that we need to explain away our child’s behavior or M.O. We don’t.
I can now step into the light. I can allow the warmth of the sunlight to shine on my wounds. I don’t have to live in isolation anymore. Not because the world is suddenly an understanding place, or friends at church, or in the neighborhood, are suddenly less judgmental. They’re not. In fact, it’s the opposite. The older my children become, the more judgement seems to come my way. No, I can step into the light because I’ve discovered just how not alone I am on this journey. The foster and adoptive community is one of the fastest growing communities on earth. More than 100,000 of you show up here to our blog, and Facebook page, every month from 19 different countries around the globe. Over the past 2 months, we’ve spent time with 4000 of you across the U.S. at different events for foster and adoptive parents.
I was always terrible at math in school, growing up, but if it serves me correctly here, that’s what we would call a lot of people who are on the same journey as you and me. Same passion, same love, same fear, same wounds, same feelings of isolation. My friends, do you know what this means? We. Are. Not. Alone! The only isolation we live in, is the isolation we choose. We are now without excuse. I can’t claim isolation as my default anymore when the walls are crumbling, my child is out of control, and the fires of hell seem to be lapping at my feet.
The only isolation we live in, is the isolation we choose.
You can’t either. Step into the light. As you do, you will begin to see others on the journey who are just like you. You will begin to hear voices sharing the same pain that you deal with. I don’t know about you, but this fills me with hope. It gives me the strength I need to step into another day. Not because my problems are suddenly gone, but because I don’t have to face them on my own. There’s something oddly healing about that.
My friends, we are passionate about this truth. We believe you are not alone, and there’s a way through your isolation, so much so, that we’re on the threshold of launching a brand new online community dedicated to helping you step into the light. It’s called Oasis Community. It exists for one reason: to bring support and replenishment to you on the journey through real-time support and on-going in-depth resources. And it’s completely online. So you really won’t have an excuse to stay in your isolation any longer. If you have an internet connection, you can find the support you need.
Yes, it’s time to step into the light. No, you don’t have to live in your isolation any longer. We are here for you, and you can bet, we are cheering for you. So, what’s stopping you?
Have you felt isolated on this journey? Share your story with us in the comment section below.