It was complete darkness with little glimpses of sparkling lights until we arrived somewhere in the middle. That's what the last two years have felt like while raising and fighting within the court system for our two granddaughters, Haylie and Brooklynn. The court battle is over, but we have along ways to go in the training department. We can now see where we are going and the road that will lead us.
Two years ago I didn't know these two little girls. I had seen Haylie on a few occasions, when she was born, when she was 6 weeks old, and then again at 9 months old. Brooklynn was born when Haylie was just fourteen months old. It was said from the beginning that Brooklynn was not my son's biological daughter. Sherry, my ex-daughter in-law, had a extra marital affair which produced Brooklynn. My son was convinced at times that Brook was his, and even if she wasn't, he loved her no less. I refused to get attached because I thought my relationship would be restricted by my son and his wife.
When Sherry and Josh broke the news to me that they were pregnant with their first daughter, I was less than excited, I was mortified for the child. My son can barely read or write and his speech is less understandable then most two year olds. He's not stupid by any means, just extremely lazy! Sherry is a very strange ex meth user who also suffered a traumatic head injury from a motor vehicle accident. She is not very bright but worst of all, she is not a nice person. Josh and Sherry did eventually marry, but didn't spend much time under the same roof. They would fight, one would move out and then later try it again, only to end up apart again. Sherry always had the girls in tote and went from state to state, family to family. She ended up in Utah with a man she met on the internet. Haylie was physically abuse, and Sherry was faced with leaving the boyfriend or giving up her children, she chose the boyfriend.
My son Joshua brought the girls to Colorado and resided at his grandparents house for approximately three week. One morning the grandparents got into a physical altercation and the grandfather attempted to strangle grandma with her oxygen tubing. Grandpa went to jail and Joshua brought the girls to Church service on a Wednesday evening. I have had the girls since that night. Initially our plan was for the girls to stay with Scott and I until Joshua could get settled in his own place. At that point I would help out with the girls in whatever way I could. That plan got changed when he met another woman with a little girl. Josh and his new girlfriend eventually got an apartment with the goal of taking the girls with them. I could see that there was more on the platter than neither adult could see for themselves, so the girls stayed with us. As expected that relationship dissolved and again Josh was homeless and jobless. I was so thankful that the girls did not have to endure another disruption to their short chaotic lives.
Without going into great detail about the incidences that occurred with Haylie and Brooklynn's parents since living with us, the police department advised us to file for custody, which we did the next day. The battle which followed was the most emotionally and financially draining experience of both Scott and I's lives to date. We realized the the honeymoon of our 2 year old marriage was over, and that we were in for the battle of a lifetime. We had no choice but to fight for these two little souls that would have a very undesirable future if we gave up on "our" fight. Believe me, at times I did throw up my arms and asked God for guidance and strength, and through my faith, I was able to stay strong and focused on the goal set before me. There were lots of frustration, anger, caution, and tears over the past two year, but I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, thank God.
It is extremely difficult to fully give yourself away knowing that it can be taken from you in the next breath. I feel like I have been holding my breath for the past two year, and I can finally exhale, and it is a feeling I didn't know would ever be mine. I had an emotional guard up with the girls, hopefully not in a way that made them feel less loved or wanted. I fought with those emotions every second of everyday, an uncertainty that is more frightening than any other emotion I have experienced. A daily challenge to make it the best day I could, for it might be the last one I get. I know that sound extreme, but that is truly how I felt. Scott and I never talked about the what if...but I know we both thought a lot about it. The possibility of not having the girls and the uncertainty of their future without Papa and Grammie in control of it, was petrifying and at times debilitating.
All of that uncertainty ended on March 27, 2012. An offer came in the way of their mother Sherry's attorney. He contacted our attorney to make the final offer. Sherry would admit that Josh was Brooklynn's biological father, which would halt the paternity order, we would maintain residential custody and sole decision making for the girls. So in reality, she gave up the fight for them. That is sad and exciting all at the same time. Maybe she finally realized that she could not raise them or maybe the thought of being responsible for two little girls became a reality, one that she didn't want to sacrifice for her own selfish reasons. It's saddens me because they are worth it, every child is. It frustrates me that people are so selfish and unwilling to realize how much work it is to raise children. It frightens me that our situation happens more often then I want to imagine. Unwanted God created life, human children lost in the selfishness of this world. Gifts treated like garbage.
The two little girls have had a rough start in life, they have had people come in and out of their short lives. To be around them and to experience the love and need that oozes from their hearts, is purely the love and innocence of Jesus Christ. They rebound from every loss as though God is at the wheel and they have no resistance towards his promise. To look into the eyes of an abused and neglected child and see nothing but love burning brightly, how can you doubt that God lives in us, for us?
The Bible declares in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Don't look at the bad in things, but look at the good and you will always be content. I heard a person once say "If you constantly look at the people that are better off than you are, then you will never be satisfied in life, but if you look at the people that are not as fortunate as you are, then you will always be thankful for what you have."
I want you to be encouraged and remember the blessings in your life and keep in mind the words of the Apostle Paul written in 1 Timothy 6:6-8 "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content."
We are past the crossroads and we only have one direction available, and that direction is forward! Thank you Lord and the glory be Yours!