The Uncertainty of a Good Visit

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I need to start this post with a very honest statement: the visit with Dimples was so good that I don’t know whether to be thrilled or terrified. I’m thrilled because we enjoyed our time with her so much.  The kids got along beautifully with no challenges. The new skills she is gaining were evident as she interacted with all of us. She exhibited self-control, even in the face of disappointment. She snuggled up in a rocking chair with me for 30 minutes before bed – and even tolerated the closeness of letting me tuck her in with prayers and hugs.

So why is all of this good stuff so terrifying?  Questions race through my mind like, what if these changes aren’t transferable to home? What if the good stuff lasts for all of a week?  What if the kids get their hopes up that their sister will return home and then it doesn’t work? What if even trying to bring Dimples home causes her more pain and damage? Can our family cope with more pain?

So we’re taking it step-by-step. This was her first visit with the younger siblings. Next, Dimples will come for a home visit with her primary counselor. Before Christmas, we’ll travel back to Montana again with some of the kids for a Family Friday, and a couple of weeks later Dimples will be with us in Seattle for medical appointments.

I would love to share our progress with the absolute assurance that this will all end “happily ever after.” But that would not be honest. We’re all holding our breath a little, watching and waiting to see what will happen. Even Dimples isn’t sure she can live in our family – the closeness of a family is terrifying to her.

I remind myself that God is in the process. This is not a success or failure venture – it’s about loving the people that God brings to our lives. He made Dimples our daughter nearly seven years ago knowing it would not be simple. We don’t know what our life or family will look like a year from now, but today, we move forward doing our best to bring healing to Dimples and our other children, and planning for her return home.

Whether this turns out to be a pretty story with a happy ending is not in our hands. We are called to be faithful to the life God has placed in front of us right now, and we’re doing our best to do just that.

I’ll share more about our visit soon.

Lisa

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

26 Comments

  1. Paula Miles Spears
    October 21, 2013

    Holding my breath and praying right along with you. Hopeful for peace and healing for all.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 21, 2013

      Thank you, Paula.

      Reply
  2. Andrea
    October 21, 2013

    What a beautiful post. That is exactly where we are at. Our daughter has been in residential care and now is in foster care, with hopes of having her come back home. But we are terrified, even after a good day, wondering if it will last. I so get that! Can I watch my other kids go through more pain if she comes home and things aren't good? There are many what ifs, but I love your last 2 paragraphs…God IS in this process. We don't know what tomorrow or next year will look like, but I am challenged to love her as God called us to. Thank you for that reminder and challenge!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 21, 2013

      Andrea – thank you for leaving a comment. You really are right there with me and I appreciate knowing that.

      Reply
    2. StephanieG
      October 21, 2013

      Our son is just about to go into Therapeutic Foster care to help him with the transition from the RTC to coming home as well. We had a wonderful visit last weekend, and I came home with trepidation. I thought I was the only one, who felt worried after a good visit. I should be happy – but like you said, all the what ifs keep playing in my mind. I am so hopeful, but we have been to the hopeful stage many times, only to be crushed when it didn't last – when the next crisis occurred. Praying for us all.

      Reply
      1. Lisa Qualls
        October 21, 2013

        I'm with you, Stephanie. I hope the transition goes well and you see more and more healing in your son. I'm beginning to form a plan in my mind for when Dimples comes home. I'll write more as it begins to come together. If you have thoughts, I would love to hear them.

        Reply
  3. Mary (Owlhaven)
    October 21, 2013

    Praying the best for you family. So glad the visit went well.
    Mary

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 21, 2013

      Thanks, Mary, we're glad ti went well too.

      Reply
  4. Luann Yarrow Doman
    October 21, 2013

    Your honesty is so raw and real and refreshing. I don't blame you a bit for being cautious, but I'm going to pray that this will be the start of God doing something greater than you can hope or imagine. He is able.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 21, 2013

      Luann, thank you for that prayer. I feel like we are already seeing more than we could have imagined and I need to sustain my hope that God really can do enough healing that she can make it at home.

      Reply
  5. Sandra Zimmerman
    October 21, 2013

    Wonderful! We are seeing marked improvement in our son and I feel the same way you do. Exhilarated, scared, terrified, joyful and a whole range of things in between. Do you have a "support group" for moms in our situation? I feel in need of a christian support group for moms who have children in out of home placements. Blessings to you and your family as you transition back to living together.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 21, 2013

      Sandra, that is a wonderful idea – a Facebook group maybe? I'm terrible at keeping up with much more than my blog, but it is an unusual situation for all of us. When will your son be home?

      Reply
  6. Emily
    October 21, 2013

    that PICTURE. oh my goodness. my heart…

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 21, 2013

      Believe it or not, there were several sweet pictures to choose from. You would have been amazed.

      Reply
      1. Emily
        October 21, 2013

        oh, that makes me thank Jesus.

        Reply
  7. Jenny Given
    October 21, 2013

    Lisa, I am humbled by your insight and your willingness to accept and adjust, accept and adjust. You make great sense to my heart.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 21, 2013

      Jenny – it's always so good to hear from you. You hold a special place in Dimples' story.

      Reply
  8. Renee
    October 22, 2013

    Lisa, I'm new to your blog. What is Dimples diagnosis, if you don't mind talking about it?

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 22, 2013

      Renee, she has a number of diagnoses, but her primary challenges are attachment related due to trauma – complex developmental trauma/RAD. The residential treatment center is based on a developmental-relational treatment model.

      Reply
  9. SleepyKnitter
    October 22, 2013

    So touched by this beautiful post, and by the thought of hope. Praying for you!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 22, 2013

      Thank you for your prayers – I know you are hoping right along with me.

      Reply
  10. Robin in AZ
    October 22, 2013

    I am so thankful your little ones had a good visit to begin creating good memories of Dimples. It's a beginning at least. Looking forward to hearing more of the story. Thanks for sharing in such a real way!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 23, 2013

      Robin – you're right, it really is a new beginning. Thank you for that thought, some how I hadn't quite gotten my mind around that. Beauty from ashes.

      Reply
  11. Tricia
    October 24, 2013

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I love the line about this is not a success or failure venture. Praying for you and yours as you move ahead and do your best to discern what is best for all. You are an amazing mom.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 24, 2013

      Thank you, Tricia; we are so grateful for prayers.

      Reply
  12. Cecelia
    November 5, 2013

    We have a daughter in RTC as well, and looking at what is best for her future. I would really like to be able to converse with some of you…this is amazing to me that there are other families going through similar tracks. Please feel free to call me 808 546 0856

    Reply

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