“You’re Missing One”

We were standing in church singing, our family spread nearly the length of the row. I felt a tap on my back, and turned to see the elderly man behind me leaning forward in his seat. I bent close to hear him speak  over the sound of the music. Gesturing toward our girls, he said, “You’re missing one.”

The words were so unexpected that it took me a moment to process. “Do you mean one of our girls?”

“Yes, where is she?”

I hesitated, then spoke into his ear, “She was having a really hard time and we had to take her to a school in Montana to get some help for her.” I backed up enough to see the quizzical expression on his face, then leaned back to his ear and said, “We would be so thankful if you would pray for her and for us.” He nodded.

I turned back and grabbed Russ’ hand as tears filled my eyes. I know that Dimples’ best opportunity to heal is at her school; the continual therapeutic environment is powerful. I believe that this is God’s plan for her, and for us – and He is good.

I still struggle when the unexpected questions come. I recognize that it’s the familiar feeling of shame that washes over me, and I know that doesn’t come for God. I have to remind myself that shame thrives in the presence of secrecy, silence, and judgement. Jesus came to shine light into darkness and to set us free. I need to be free to walk in the life he is giving me, even when it doesn’t feel comfortable and I long for it to be different – the way I want it to be.

It’s the beginning of a new week. Today is Samuel’s birthday, although we celebrated yesterday. I’ll post a birthday picture of him on my FB page later today. Isaiah surprised us by getting a ride over with friends and we are all enjoying having him home. When I went to bed, there was a lot of eating, talking, laughing, and giving of haircuts going on in the kitchen.

I have a conference call for Dimples at 10:00 and a call with her this evening. I think they may finally have all of the locs out of her hair, so I’m looking forward to a hair update. I hope we made the right decision…

Have a great start to your week. What does your day hold?

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.

19 Comments

  1. Kayla
    March 11, 2013

    I pray that man will do exactly what you asked: pray.

    Reply
  2. Acceptance with Joy
    March 11, 2013

    I can appreciate your pain. I also commend you for telling yourself the truth and not allowing feeling to rule. Sometimes we get caught up in the feelings and don't care to determine the cognitive distortions brewing in our own minds as we deal with the (fallout, aftermath, or consequences) of our children's cognitive distortions and we end up unable to be of much use to help them. Ask me how I know…ha! You are doing right.

    I think it's wonderfully sweet that the gentleman noticed that she was missing and cared enough to ask about her…. painful as that was for you to reveal that she is struggling. It would also be painful if people didn't care, but they do. They may not understand, but they care and that is very comforting.

    Reply
  3. Patty
    March 11, 2013

    Lisa, I found comfort in the fact that this gentleman knows your family well enough to recognize that Dimples was not with you, and he cared enough to ask. If he is anything like the older people who attend my church, he will be faithful in praying for your family and for dimples. Be blessed today.

    Reply
  4. Tina
    March 11, 2013

    I haven't posted before but I read your updates and pray for you and your family. I think you are doing what's best for her and the rest of the children.

    Reply
  5. SleepyKnitter
    March 11, 2013

    Oh! Me, too! I know this feeling. It has been about nine months, now, since we had to place our daughter with a second family. I *KNOW* that is what was best for her in her circumstances, I know it! But about three weeks ago an old face book photo of her “gotcha” day was noticed by some Friend who didn’t know our story and commented on it, thus causing it to begin circulating on the news feed again, and another five or six people Liked or commented on it, and two of them asked how come our current family photo shows three children instead of four. So. Very. Painful. By way of explanation, I re-posted a link to our blog post about our daughter’s departure, and several Friends who had missed all that read it and responded (kindly!), so that I felt all the shame, pain, relief, and confusion all over again as if it had just happened yesterday. I debated about whether to remove the picture from our album, but the same photo also shows my husband’s first moment of meeting our other daughter, and our joy, and it spite of all the pain that photo represents, it also represents a lot of joy and love. Praying for your family and all who have to make difficult decisions regarding a child of hope.

    Reply
  6. Joelle
    March 11, 2013

    Thank you for having the courage to not shy away from that man's question and to take it a step further and ask for his prayers. I think when we are open with people it helps them to correctly interpret us and not make wrong assumptions because they can't read what we are thinking. I've had that happen to me and it is a valuable lesson. I cry my way thru most of your posts because of my own journey and today was no different.

    Reply
  7. Julie p
    March 11, 2013

    You handled that so gracefully. I would not have been as kind, I fear. Thank you for the example you continually set for me. This road is so hard and long. My day holds Spring break, Day 1.

    Reply
  8. Janell
    March 11, 2013

    Lisa, I understand. I do. We rehomed our daughter, it's been months now. Last Friday at our son's BINGO night, another Mom asked us about our daughter. I had to explain it again, although I didn't go into enormous detail. It's so hard.

    You handled this with such grace.

    Reply
  9. Laurel
    March 11, 2013

    So sorry.

    Sadly, we have kind of the opposite problem: no one has noticed our missing daughter, or cared enough to ask. She has been at a residential facility for 8 months, and not one person at church has even asked me about her. I wish someone would ask. I wish I knew that others were praying for her.

    My week: Our first grandson turns one year old tomorrow and we get to go visit on Saturday, to throw a little party for him. We will also take him to visit my 94 year old Dad, who loves his little great-granson so dearly. Should be a very special day, and a week of anticipation as we look forward to our time with all of them.

    Hope your week is BLESSED!

    Laurel

    Reply
  10. Deborah
    March 11, 2013

    ME TOO! ME TOO!!! Let's abolish the shame with the ME TOO'S!

    I have been very careful about who I have told the whole story to in order to avoid the condemnation and the judgment of those who have no clue what it takes to walk in our shoes. It is coming very close to a year that she has been in her respite placement….. and still I face the shame.

    Reply
  11. Ann
    March 11, 2013

    Well played, Lisa. When you share your story about Dimples, you're opening a door for other people who need help. For all we know, the man who spoke to you in church knows someone who knows someone with a child who…

    Stigmas–or perceived stigmas–can't go away until things are out in the open. FWIW, I think you should be proud of the help you're getting for Dimples. You're doing the best thing for her and for the rest of your family. Where's the shame? People who might judge you can just go and–whoops, I almost said something uncharitable. In any case, being frank and open is the most helpful for everyone.

    Reply
  12. linedancergal
    March 11, 2013

    Well I might not have done the adoption thing, but I have a special needs son. I am a homeschooler, but he goes to a special school. I guess I know a bit about how you feel, only I've had much longer to come to terms with not being able to teach him myself. Sometimes I feel selfish for not keeping him with me, but then I realise that it's mostly claiming back life for his brother. When Ben is home EVERYTHING revolves around what he can/can't/won't do. Well it used to. He's a lot easier now at 12 1/2. But Joel would have had no life if he was restricted to only going places and doing things that suited Ben. The teachers at Ben's school are fabulous and they understand how he thinks (as well as anyone can) and they know how to teach him.
    You know, if you don't do the things God has for you, then you are not in His plan. But just remember that if you do MORE than He has for you, then you are equally as much outside of His plan! Sometimes He has others be the specialists.

    I keep thinking of an old Amy Grant song:
    All I ever have to be is what You made me
    Any more of less would be a step out of Your plan
    As you daily recreate me help me always keep in mind that I only have to do what I can find
    And all I ever have to be, all I have to be, all I ever have to be is what You made me.

    Reply
  13. Anita
    March 11, 2013

    Laurel, your comment hit my heart hard. I will be praying for you and your daughter. I think sometimes people don't know what to say so they say nothing. I've stayed silent out of fear. Then I became an adoptive parent, and learned that we all need to know that our pain is being seen. So now I don't say much more than I'm praying for you, but know your pain is seen and being taken to the Fathers feet this afternoon.

    Reply
  14. kristine
    March 11, 2013

    Oh my that is so difficult. You handled it well.

    Reply
  15. Sarah Millsap
    March 11, 2013

    I remember standing in our body of believers and singing, You give and take away, my heart will choose to stay…" 2004 adopted son spent 7 months in an out of home, therapeutic facility. blessed be your Name!
    Tears were streaming down my husband and my face, how many years later…9 I'm still processing, the pain is deep, but He is sufficient and you will come through.

    Reply
  16. Stacy
    March 12, 2013

    Our daughter spent 8 months healing in Montana. It was the best situation for everyone and now that she is home she really is doing so much better. It was hard telling people she was gone but we knew we weren't what she needed at the time. What she found in MT was the One who heals, comforts, loves and support. I will pray for you all that you will find God's grace during your respite time and that she will find healing.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 12, 2013

      Stacy, thank you for the encouragement. I'm so glad your daughter is doing better -that gives me hope.

      Reply
    2. Krissy
      March 13, 2013

      Would love to know where in Montana! Hurting kids need the One who heals. Would love more information on the name of the placement.

      Reply
      1. Lisa Qualls
        March 13, 2013

        Krissy, feel free to email me privately at lisa@onethankfulmom.com if you have a child needing help.

        Reply

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