a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Child We Didn't Adopt


Heather came, a pre-teen which the Social Services had ingrained all the rights and rules of a foster child. We welcomed her as if she were not damaged and slowly began the process of repair.

Heather could handle school or home, not both.

She was loving, volatile, hidden and protected by her wall that began construction at the age of three.  Oh, but we tried   Periodically Heather went to Group Camps that improved nothing and only taught her more ways to manipulate.

Despite all the ups and downs she brought with her suitcase we loved her.  We wanted her as our third daughter.

Heather loved animals.  She showed miniature horses. When she returned from "camp" Heather also had a horse to ride.

Heather loved all the people here.  Dad with Alzheimer's seemed to connect with her most.  He would give Heather great advice at dinner each night while she smiled that sweet deceptive smile.

She chose the colors of her room.  We built shelves together.  We poured over catalogs to order pink beaded curtains, lime green bed clothes and an orange rug.  Her room.  Her choice.

Heather took it from our hands when she escalated her violence. Throwing the rocker at me was just one of many incidents.

It was tough.  Heather made a bigger wall because she loved us too in her own way.  Yet it frightened her to care for someone.  All her life the people she loved hurt her, abandoned her and in the end that is what we did.

We loved her.  We still do but we could not help her.

The frame is dusty but her picture remains.  Still in the spare room.   Heather, I'm sorry we failed you.

That is my regret.

For Two Shoes Tuesday

29 comments:

Sandra said...

a sad story and there are so many like this one. i look at it you did what you could and that is all you can do... i hope she finally found peace and love

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sorry. Isn't it sad how much damage can be done to a child that will last a lifetime?
I bet you did have a positive impact on her, even if you couldn't see it at the time.

LindaG said...

*hugs* I know you did your best. You tried and that is what counts. ♥

TexWisGirl said...

oh, gosh. a heart break, i know.

Brian Miller said...

you know...i dont think you failed her...it can def feel like that...but i counseled so many kids in foster care...and had loving families...and it just didnt work and it wasnt the kids fault or the family fault...i appreciate you trying...

C-ingspots said...

I'm sorry Gail...you just never know how God will work things out in someone's life. As you mentioned, you loved her, and that's the best any of us can do. Regrets are a sour pill, and many of us have them.
Blessings to you.

Terri @ Backward B Ranch said...

You are part of her memories now though- maybe one day she will look back on her life and something you said or did will touch her.

Mama Zen said...

You were brave enough to admit that you couldn't help her. That took guts. And, it took love.

Kathryn said...

Gail, this breaks my heart both for you and for her. You didn't fail, it was just a part of both of your journey's. You had the courage to try which so many of us don't and I know you have such a big heart. Hugs my friend. x

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

You tried -- which I don't see as a failure at all. You must have had a positive impact on this troubled girl's life -- which likely lessened her burden. Bless you and your family for opening your home and hearts. xo

Farm Girl said...

Gail, I don't think you failed. I think you tried and we always make our own choices. Life is like that. If you had a wild horse that acted that way even though you loved it, you would sell it if it tried to hurt you. Who knows, that you gave her tools to help her.
I am so sorry.

A Quiet Corner said...

You know, Gail, you did the best you could and so did she at that time...forgive her and yourself...:)JP

Ginny said...

We have best friends who have had over 40 foster children and adopted many. Also our son now has two fosters. What a sad, sad story. You did NOT fail her. I think she was perhaps unfixable by then. But I also think you gave her something wonderful to carry away with her: total love. She will always have that in her heart, no matter if she accepts it or not. She has one wonderful shining memory. And who knows how that will help her in the future? You did good.

Henny Penny said...

What A good heart you have.

Zoe Byrd said...

How sad for all of you...thank goodness she has something positive to look back on to learn something more useful than what all that abuse taught her.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Sometimes in life we have to chose and you made the choice to save the peace of your family. It happens. It happened to my parents..and they were saddened for the rest of their lives for the child they could not help. It's okay.
We all have regrets...I know that only too well!
My love to you,
Mona

Far Side of Fifty said...

I wouldn't ever want to do the teenage girl thing again ever...twice was plenty for me. Hormones.
Some kids are way beyond normal help and it sounds like this gal was one, I wonder what happened to her? :(

Martha Miller Kasper said...

How sad for you both. It is hard when even love can't heal the hurt and damage done before.

Buttons said...

Oh I have a feeling she never forgot your kindness. Do not be sorry. Hug B

McGuffy Ann Morris said...

You reached out, you tried. Sometimes people cannot reach back, for whatever reason. Sometimes the pain is too deep to reach past it, through it. It is then that we pray, hope, and accept what we cannot understand. But, love remains.

oldegg said...

The pain you felt is so apparent. Let's hope some of the love you gave her sticks with her and somehow she will be able use it too.

Josie Two Shoes said...

This story tears at my heart because I know it tears at yours. I wish it wasn't one that is familiar. I have had other friends who have also tried so hard to love the pain away, but sometimes the wounds are far too deep, and there is a point where we say we can't do more, at risk of damage to ourselves or others that we love. Sometimes we must love... and pray... from a distance. I don't believe you failed her, for even that short time you showed her how a family can be, that love is possible, and down the road there may be a time she is able to reconnect with that. HUGS to you for caring so much and trying so hard!

Saucy Kodz said...

Gail, you did not fail - you gave from your heart and so did your family - you tried your best; however, Heather was acknowledging all that you gave, but whatever happened to put her where her mind is, might perhaps stay there forever, no matter how many would surround her with true love, caring and affection. Whatever is going on in her head pushes her away and the wall she has built up will only get higher for inside that dear soul is an individual terribly afraid to let go of "being strong" on her part, to allow someone to love her. Having been abandoned in her life, that is all she sees; she cannot see beyond that. It is truly sad, that with all you could have given her, that she chose violence to make you back away. Remember dear, you did not fail her - she wouldn't let you in. I have watched over the time I have grown to know you and your family - I have watched you with your grandchildren, your adopted animals, your gifts to friends and the way you run your life and farm - its just too sad that this young girl, who tucked away her heart, couldn't see that. WE never fail in life if we try, simple as that. lol to you and hugz to Marcy, TM, A little uns :)

Sandy said...

Gail,

Your heart opened the door for Heather. She had her own problems to deal with. You did all you could possible do. You didn't fail Heather.

Linda Wildenstein said...

While this is a sad story, Gail, you didn't fail Heather. You gave her love. That is a wonderful gift. But in life there are things that just can't be fixed. You tried and were brave and strong enough to say I can't. That is being loving to you and to her. That's called reality thinking. I'm proud to call you friend because you are real and loving. Oma Linda

Lynne said...

You gave to her, you listened, you treated her to a sweet room with color and things and so much more . . . Very tough to try to solve the emotional issues with some to make a livable family atmosphere for all. Wise I think, that you were, honest about it not working for you and also for her. Let's hope some of the issues have leveled out in her life.

B. WHITTINGTON said...

Gail, How lovely to have had her at all. I don't see what you had with her as failure at all. I believe you shined a light inside her heart that will see her through many dark times in her life. She may pull strength from what you gave her. She may come back when she is grown and remember the lime and orange and pink of her room. Those are such defining things in a young girls life. SHe won't forget. God bless you for loving her.
Blessings!

gld said...

This was a heartbreaker! I think it was very wise of you to realize that she needed more help than you all could give her. It could have been a more tragic story.

Bless you for trying. I have always thought that we are never aware of how life is affecting all of us even from the very beginning. It is almost scary to think about.....

JosephAlsarraf said...

That's a really sad story, but that's nice of y'all to at least try! She'll figure it out someday!
: )

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...