Tag Archives: trauma

Anne of Green Gables – A Foster/Adoption Story?

book tree

Well, I finally did it.  I read Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.  I really enjoyed it.  I must admit that a boxed set of Anne of Green Gables books has sat on my daughters’ book shelf for years.  I never touched them.  (I’m not sure they did either until recently!)  However, in June, after my son shot part of his thumb off & I was as traumatized as he was, my friend, Judy, mailed me a copy of this book and thought I should read it.  I loved the sentiment, but must admit that when I started it, I found it too wordy to read aloud to my 8 year old daughter and not quite “intriguing” enough to read it for myself.

This Christmas, I asked my adult children to simply gift me a with a book of their choice for me to read in the new year.  My daughter, Lori, chose to give me Anne of Green Gables.  OK, I get it.  I needed to read this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I’m not sure if I would’ve if it hadn’t come so highly recommended, but I trust Lori and Judy and I read in earnest.

Amazing!  Anne of Green Gables is full of intrigue.  Why did Judy choose it for me when I was going through an extremely difficult time with my adoptive son?  Was it because Anne has the ability to look at every situation with rose colored glasses on?  She is extremely grateful and uses her imagination to dream away any sorrow.  Was that what I was supposed to do?  It certainly would’ve helped. Or did Judy think I should read about how Anne of Green Gables became part of a family because in addition to Anne’s sunny disposition, there is some real foster/adopt stuff going on that I could relate to.  This book was written in 1908 and much of it applies today. On page 7, Marilla gets to hear what many of us get to hear when we hint that we may be fostering or adopting.  Mrs. Rachel, the “well meaning” neighbor, speaks her mind:  “Well, Marilla, I’ll just tell you plain that I think you’re doing a mighty foolish thing – a risky thing, that’s what.  You don’t know what you’re getting.  You’re bringing a strange child into your house and home and you don’t know a single thing about him nor what his disposition is like nor what sort of parents he had nor how he’s likely to turn out.  Why, it was only last week I read in the paper how a man and his wife up west of the Island took a boy out of an orphan asylum and he set fire to the house at night–set it on purpose, Marilla –and nearly burnt them to a crisp in their beds.  And I know another case where an adopted boy used to suck the eggs — they couldn’t break him of it.  If you had asked my advise in the matter–which you didn’t do, Marilla –I’d have said for mercy’s sake not to think of such a thing, that’s what.”  Some of us have heard very similar versions of that story when we made our intentions known.  And, some of us live and struggle with those stated behaviors!

By page 12 most people would start to diagnose Anne with ADHD.  Oh the chattering about anything and nothing!  Words, words, words.  Was she trying to block out her reality as she drives to a new place with a strange man?  Can you imagine how she must’ve felt heading to an unknown place with only the clothes on her back?  There are about 400,000 Americans in foster care now who know.

Now I’m not going to tell you the rest of the story…this isn’t a book report, but I do want to challenge you to read this book. Anne is a child who is charming, annoying, quirky, and comes to her new family with a lot of baggage.  She is a survivor and so are her foster/adoptive parents.  She can teach us a lot.  Now, if you don’t have any interest in the foster/adoption part of the story, I think you will benefit to possibly trying to think like Anne a bit.  She is inspiring with her imaginings and there are timeless quotes that we should all take to heart.

“Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it.”

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.  It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

Thanks Judy!  Thanks Lori!  True kindred spirits!

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Filed under Adoptive, family, Parenting, Reading, Trauma-mama

The Stories

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The annual family Christmas party is over and once again, if we are rating adventures, I feel like our “crazies” have won first place.  When this party was held in 2013, our exchange student from Russia was being introduced, Lori had graduated from college and Nicole had moved out of state in the previous 3 weeks and Kevin had just returned from a 9 week stint of teaching surfing in South Africa.  What would 2014 bring?  What stories would we have to tell at the annual Beck Cousin Christmas party in 2014?  Well, not to disappoint, the kids continued to be adventurous.  Kevin traveled to Israel, Lori moved to Pittsburgh, Victor, the exchange student, returned home to Russia, Nicole enjoyed living on Park Avenue in NYC, & Paul shot his thumb with a 9mm,  But I think the story that wins top prize is Kevin biking across the United States on his bicycle.  Thirty-Four Hundred Miles…Alone…Staying with strangers he met…on the internet!  The part I like best about the story is the gasp that comes out of the mouths of mothers when I say those words.  I almost wait for it and I’m excited when it comes because it gives me the opportunity to share one of the best things that happened to ME in 2014!  I discovered how to trust and rely on God more deeply.

When Kevin decided to do this trip, I once again hit him with, “I don’t think this is a good idea.”  That was soon followed by “I don’t have peace about this.”  To that, he wisely replied, “You won’t have peace about this until you realize you have no control over it.”  How true he was.  How true he is.  We don’t have peace when we are trying to control situations and/or others.  We have peace when we trust and rely on God to be in control.  When we let God be God, we can rest in that.

Though Kevin attempted to check in by text daily, there were times when I had no idea where he was or how he was doing, yet I had peace.  I did not lose a night’s sleep, I did not worry, I did not fret.  So unlike what I expected.  It was hard to explain.  I was just okay with it.  When I’d run into someone at the store and they’d ask about Kevin’s whereabouts, I would have to admit that I wasn’t sure where he was that day.  They would respond with alarm, but I was comforted knowing that God knew where he was even if I didn’t.

I had a visual in my mind that I kept to comfort me.  It was an image of the United States map, my family standing on one side and Kevin on his bike pedaling across the map.  The important part was that there was a string on Kevin’s bike going up to God.  So, on any given day, even though, I didn’t know where Kevin was, God had him tethered to Him.  He was safe & God knew where he was.  I joked that the only problem with my image was that since I’m a left to right thinker, in my vision, Kevin was always pedaling left to right, which is actually, from California to the Atlantic Ocean when in reality, he was headed the other direction.

I shared this story with Lori’s boyfriend one evening at dinner.  He blessed me the next day with an original painting of what I had shared.  I was so excited to have my thoughts on canvas in addition to in my mind.

Kevin’s trip was a huge success and also a huge success for my mothering journey.  I didn’t think it was a good idea.  I didn’t have peace, but when I decided I had to give control to someone else, I gained peace and get the incredible opportunity to share the story with cousins, friends and now you!  I wonder what my family will bring to the story board next year!  Here’s to PEACE and adventure in 2015!

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Filed under Big Kids, family, Inspirational, Parenting, Trauma-mama, Travels

A Son, A Gun & A Hidden Blessing

I actually started blogging so that I could share this story with others yet it’s taken me weeks to have the courage to do so. It is my prayer that I can do it justice.

A typical day in my household full of chaos.  My husband was working out of town, so pizza was on the menu for dinner.  My oldest girls had launched recently and every day I tend to have to remember which of my children are in my house that day.  My oldest son was texting from a NYC airport as he prepared to fly to Israel to see friends.  Can you feel the Mom anxiety level rise?  On paper I can see it too, but with God as my strength this afternoon is almost typical.  Victor, our 17 year old Russian exchange student needs help purchasing airline tickets online and Paul’s therapist is to arrive at 7:30.  Kaylee (my 8 year old daughter) is spending the afternoon of “No Homework” twirling a baton and watching TV.  Other than the butterflies in my stomach regarding Kevin’s trip that I prayed away each time they came, it was a quiet afternoon.

Paul decided to go out hunting and I was pleased.  Paul, an anxious kid with a bunch of behavior problem, prefers to stay indoors and plugged in to screens most of the time so I am pleased that he wants to go outside.  I say a quick prayer, grateful for the beautiful day & Paul wanting to walk in nature.

Paul’s “hunting” consists of a BB gun, an air gun or a sling shot and never a kill.  Hunting = a walk in the woods.  In my opinion great for a kid like him.

The doorbell rings and I assume it is Paul just wanting to make me greet him but it was a neighbor.  We visit our neighbors when we see them outside but we never ring the doorbell to see them.  This is not a good thing.  The neighbor tells me Paul’s been hurt while hunting.  Though I kick it in to Mom- Emergency gear, I’m not overly concerned.  It was a BB gun, how bad could it be?  When I get to Paul and see the blood soaked towel and hear the sirens, I know it’s bad.

Wanting to get him ready to go to the hospital, I ask him where the gun is.  It is in his pocket.  I have him stand and I reach into his pocket and feel heavy, cold steel.  This I not an air gun, this is a real gun.  My stomach lurches as I pull it out and reach my arm as far back as I can.  I don’t handle guns and this one scares me to death.  My neighbor takes it from me and unloads it.  I later learn that it is a 9 mm pistol owned by my husband.  Paul got the unloaded pistol out of the box that was in the gun cabinet that is in my husband’s closet.  He shot his thumb.  He was hunting behind our house but went to 4 neighbors’ houses before he found one home because he didn’t want to come home and get in trouble.

My support team of family, friends and community members came out in full force.  They went into the woods to look for any missing pieces to the thumb, they cared for Kaylee and Victor and gave me love and encouragement.

Paul and I rode the ambulance to a location where the medical helicopter could land.  As Paul was being loaded onto the helicopter, I was able to give him his comfort stuffed animal that I threw into my bag as I rushed out of the house.  Not knowing what exactly I was facing, I grabbed a bag and threw in my phone charger, my iPad (My Bible app is in there), deodorant, a sweater, Paul’s stuffed animal and my journal.

Paul lifts off and my sister in law drives me to the hospital an hour away.

Praise God!  The injury wasn’t as bad as we thought and certainly not as bad as it could’ve been.  Paul lost the top of this thumb.  It will be a journey as it heals, but all things considered, this is great news.

As I sit in the ER waiting for Paul to be discharged, I share with my sister-in-law that I just read James 1:2-9 that morning.  Then I got out my journal and re-read my words, the words of others and my own words.  Words the Lord had me write down that very morning to speak to me that night.

Journal Entry 6-3-14 6:00 a.m.      A new journal, a new day.  Paul slept in and is now in the shower.  I am at such a loss for how to handle him.  Even when he isn’t disobeying, I resent him.  His constant breaking the rules & pushing the envelope.  Constant.  Lord, strengthen me.  Help me formulate a plan and even a thought process that doesn’t make me angry all the time.

Victor (our Russian Exchange Student) said once, “Why you so aggressive? So Angry?”  Lord, I don’t want to be, but maybe I am.  I used to NOT be.  And, I’m definitely not when Paul is not around.  Rescue me Lord.

Devotional – Read James 1:2-9 (The 365 Most Important Bible Passages for Women)

“But God wants us to look through his eyes & see problems as gifts, as opportunities, that allow us to live what we believe and grow our faith.”

From a couple of days ago journal.

 “Jesus can strengthen our faith if we will wait patiently and trust in God’s desire to make us more like himself.” (From Footprints for Women – Margaret Fishback Power)

That’s what it is about.  Not how it appears, not how it appears to others, but about making us more like Him.  To see problems as a gift?  That’s tough.  Lord, help me to mature in you.  To know that these problems keep me on my knees and nearer to you.  That these are blessings, not curses.  That anything that makes me turn to you is a good thing.  That said, Paul is the best thing that has ever happened to me!  He has given me a deep need for you!  He has been the vessel you use to have me examine me.

Thank you Lord, for Paul.

The Lord wrapped his arms around me in that Emergency Room.  James 1:9 says, “the brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position.”  I was humbled.  I was in the arms of the Lord.  It doesn’t get any higher than that.

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Filed under Adoptive, Devotionals, family, Inspirational, Scriptures, Trauma-mama