Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy 18th Birthday, Jonathan!

Jonathan rarely allowed himself to be photographed,
thus the date on this one!
Today is our oldest son's 18th birthday.  When we first met Jonathan, he was 6 years old...almost 7.  My how time has flown by!  Jonathan is a senior in high school this year and doing well by all accounts.  He has taken up crocheting in his spare time, as well as reading and listening to music.

The following post was written on December 26. I didn't post it then, but for those who are interested, you can read it now.  It pertains to Jonathan.  It is entitled, "When Love is Not Enough".

Happy 18th Birthday, Jonathan...we miss you and love you very much!!

I've been mulling over this post for quite some time now.  It's hard to put it into words, but I know someone, somewhere, needs to read this.  You see, sometimes, love just is not enough.

Yesterday was a happy day at our house, filled with love, joy, gifts, good food, and family.  Except for one.  You see, our oldest son, who turns 18 in just a few short days, will not be in any of our Christmas pictures this year.  He does not live with us right now, and hasn't for over three months. The reality is, he may never live with us again, but most certainly not for at least a year.  Out of respect for his privacy, I won't go into detail here about the why, but he is in a residential treatment program.  Prior to that, he spent three weeks in juvenile detention.  Prior to that, he and his choices wrecked havoc on our family for 9 months of 2012.  Harsh?  Maybe, but it's the truth.

What's also true is that I love my son very much.  He became a part of our family when he was six years old.  For almost 11 years we loved him and taught him and guided him and loved him some more.  But it wasn't enough.  It wasn't enough to break the hold his past has on his heart and spirit.  We don't know exactly what has a hold on him, but we know he and his biological brother are what are called in the adoption world, "wounded children".  There are many books written on how to "love the wounded child" and "parent the wounded child".  But sometimes, love is not enough.

We went to visit our son yesterday with my parents, his grandparents.  We drove 45 minutes one way to the facility only to be "refused" by our son.  He has rights, too, you know, and his refusal to have contact with us is his trump card right now.  But we wanted him to know that we loved him, and so we made the trip anyway, in hopes that maybe, he would change his mind.  But he didn't.  And it was hard.  Very hard.  For sometimes, love is not enough.

Where am I going with this post?  I don't know.  Except to say that adoption and parenting, and especially adoption parenting, is tough.  Sometimes, really tough.  But even if our son chooses to never see us again, I believe that he was placed in our lives for a reason.  I also believe that we have loved him the best way that we knew how, and it was our love that pushed for him to have this one last chance before "adulthood" to get help for his wounded heart.  Will he understand that one day?  I hope so.  But for now, we face the reality that sometimes, our love is not enough.

But we pray that, someday, our son WILL recognize that GOD'S LOVE is ALWAYS enough.


Bethany Hissong said...

Terri, this is heart-breaking. I have always really liked Jonathan and you can tell him that I've always admired him-- I know life gave him a situation that wasn't easy and he seemed to really enjoy his new life with your family. I know he did. Turning into an adult is not an easy thing and it isn't surprising that facing the new responsibility is causing him to test and question how he feels about it. He made me laugh a lot when he was younger and that is a real gift to give to others. I hope he finds that joy again. You have been wonderful parents and you still are being wonderful. I think he just needs to see that and it may take time. We never fully appreciate our own parents until we became parents ourselves. God is watching over him-- just pray for his protection and for his spirit to be touched. I will keep him in my prayers... and you guys too! Lots of love! Beth

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your transparent account of your lives, the reminder that sometimes love is not enough, and that you will persist. These are Christlike characteristics, and the way God loves us, even when it is not enough. May the Lord strengthen you and wash you with his peace!
Love, Penny

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing. It will help me know better how to pray for you. I pray for healing for your whole family and most of all for Jonathan to see and trust his Lord and Savior.

Annie said...

Terri, thank you for sharing. I pray that he will receive some valuable counsel and get another chance for healing that will lead in the direction of healing and and a new bond with the family. Praying!