“A great hope fell

You heard no noise

The ruin was within.”

— Emily Dickinson

I sat in the courtroom, holding my son’s hand, both of our eyes fixed on the boy sitting in front of us. Our hearts were begging for mercy. The situation was beyond us. We had no control. My mind flashed to tender moments from the weeks before. We had had a hard time of it, but the tender moments gave me hope, kept me going.

“In joined hands there is still some token of hope, in the clenched fist none.” — Victor Hugo The Toilers of the Sea

A cloud of sadness loomed over the courtroom. The boy sitting in the chair in front of me was no stranger to moments like this. Dark days had defined not only his life, but also the life of his brother sitting next to me. It had been a fight, but we had finally won the battle to get custody of Mike, his adoption scheduled for later this year.  Mike was thriving for the first time in his life. We had so hoped the same would happen with his little brother. But, at least for now, it was not to be. The sadness inside had been too frightening for the boy; he chose anger instead. With anger he felt less vulnerable.

We had been given six weeks to try to be a family. I treasure the memory of those weeks. There had been progress and glimmers of hope. But it had also been an exhausting journey. The boy needed so much. He watched my every move, searching for signs of insincerity. A battle raged in his mind– could this be real? Could he trust us not to give up on him when everyone else had? Would we be able to love him at his worst? Could he really be successful as a member of our strange and diverse family? He tested our limits and tried to make himself unlovable.  He pushed me away all while watching to see if I would stay. I loved him harder as he continued to push. I also loved him carefully. Too much affection would frighten him and set him off. He had learned that adults could never be trusted. We had been walking a tight rope.

Then there was that moment, the moment when rage blinded the boy I so badly want to call my own. He did not want to be this way, but as he became overwhelmed with emotion, he returned to old behaviors. Logic, love, hope, and trust were invisible to him in that moment. There was only rage, and the boy I love acted on that rage without an ability to think of the consequences.

The storm blew over, but the damage was done. Thankfully, there were no physical injuries but the emotional ones were immense. There was damage to our house, but that didn’t matter.  It did not compare to the pain in my heart. I saw the hope disappear from the boy’s eyes. We both knew that his chance was over. The court would take him away.

So Mike and I sat, holding hands and daring to hope that the judge would make a decision that was different than the one we knew she had to make. But it was not to be. The boy we love was taken away before our eyes and we were powerless to stop it.

Then, in the middle of the gloom, another ray of hope emerged. Our boy would not be allowed to come home immediately, but he would be able to receive another chance. There is a program designed to help children like him. If our boy completes the program, then he can come home again. Mike and I have a job to do. We need to keep on loving and encouraging our boy. He has work to do, and our job is to help him never give up on the hope of a family.



3 thoughts on “Hope

  1. What a wonderful person you are, taking these children and loving them when they’re used to a world of indifference and mistrust.

    My youngest daughter has some issues that no doctor can put a finger on. The last couple of years have been better but some days we do still struggle. Yesterday, there must have been some sort of trigger. She threw herself into a terrible fit of rage and started punching, hitting me in the process. It had been a long time since this happened last, her fits are fewer and farther in between spells. Nevertheless, I was startled and stunned. I knew I had to back away and let her finish her fit. It’s so hard watching her in a rage. I’m just glad it happened at home and not at school. I would rather me get hurt than another student or teacher.

    I’ve been trying to follow your journey with your family the best I can. It reminds me of the book, The Little Engine That Could… I think I can, I think I can… Keep on keeping on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words. Believe me, the people who live with me don’t think I’m all that wonderful. Although one of my older daughters finds great humor in calling me “soft.”

      I’m sorry you are going through a hard time with your daughter. I don’t know if this is helpful, but having unexplainable rages is one of the symptoms of Lu’s illness. We noticed rages long before we noticed OCD, tics, or depression. PANDAS/ PANS is very difficult to get diagnosed, especially without a definite onset illness. It might be something to look into. Even if it’s not helpful, PANDAS parents are some of the most knowledgeable people I know. They may be able to lead you in the right direction.

      I love The Little Engine That Could reference. That used to be one of my kids’ favorite stories.


      • I’ve never heard of Lu’s, so I will definitely look into that. We recently found out she has Graves disease, caused by hyperthyroidism, And she also has hypothyroidism. Poor darling, she’s just a mess.


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