Posts Tagged ‘mother’

After the awkward introduction with a new girl where I couldn’t shake her hand because we aren’t allowed to touch:

“How are you doing?” I tried to ask soothingly.
“I was caged alive for 7 months.” she said despondently as she stared into my eyes.

*pause*  …  *breath*  …  *think*

“That must feel really scary.” I settled on. (At this point I still wasn’t sure if she meant she’d been in jail for 7 months, been in solitary confinement for 7 months, or she had somehow been held captive before jail.) I’m not sure I ever really figured it out, but she went on. She told me how great her life was and then she paused:

“Then he went off and died on me.” she said as the tears started to flow.

*pause*  …  *breath*  …  *think*

“Who was it that died again?” I asked, trying to pretend I just missed his name when really I was incredibly confused by the conversation… She went on to talk about addiction, loss, and through the tears our conversation continued to be very confusing. I can only imagine how confused her heart must be feeling tonight.

After joining the ladies for our PB&J lunch on the block another new girl asked to speak with me. She said she had court yesterday and it was hard to process. Noticing her eyes filling with tears I quickly promised I’d call her out to talk one on one instead of at the table with all the other girls listening in:

“So what happened at court?” I asked.
“If I get more than a year they are going to adopt out my daughter,” she sobbed.

*pause*  …  *breath*  …  *think*

“That must feel really scary.” I settled on again. This has honestly become my go to phrase. Sometimes there’s just no way to fix it. There are no words to say. We still can’t touch, so no hugs to give. Nothing I can do but acknowledge the emotion. And sit in the pain with her.

We talked about adoption. How there was no one in her life she would trust with her sweet daughter because the people closest to her did drugs. How she knew adoption was good, but that this girl was a part of her. She wasn’t for someone else. I can only imagine how scared her heart is feeling tonight.

On to the next and the story goes like this:

“So you heard my big news?” she asked cynically.
“I’m so sorry.” I replied, knowing she was referring to the loss of her mother.
“This is torture.” she said flatly.

*pause*  …  *breath*  …  *think*

Again, no words were fitting. I had a hard day yesterday when my mom flew to another country but is still only a phone call away. We reminisced on stories of her mom. How she was her best friend. That she would miss the funeral. Though she was struggling throughout the whole conversation she was grateful that her mom was finally out of pain. I can only imagine how much her heart is hurting tonight.

IMG_5657I think it’s these conversations that make me dislike TV so much. I have a hard time sitting back and separating these stories from the stories in the shows even when they are so very different. I hear the phrase “New Girl” and I think of all the new girls I met today and their stories. I hear “Orange is the New Black” and think about what all the different colors of clothing mean in jail. I hear “House of Cards” and think about the odd politics and manipulation that goes on between the girls in there. I just can’t get their sweet faces out of my mind.

But I also see so much good. I get to see the girls who care about each other as well as they can in the middle of these broken situations. I hear about the gratitude lists that are being made each day. The many people who start their mornings reading the Jesus Calling book we were able to give out for Christmas and then choose to face the day with hope. The counselors who squeeze as much work into their time there as possible. The COs who stop many fights before they begin. The excited updates of girls who have gotten out. The constant requests of prayers for loved ones. I know it’s hard to imagine their lives, but if you believe in God, would you lift up a prayer for these girls? I’m sure their hearts could use it tonight. 

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I remember talking with my mom about tragedy when I was younger. I remember her explaining how there were words that explained some people living through loss. Like a widow was someone who had lost her husband. An orphan was someone who had lost their parents. But for someone who lost their child, there was no word. There’s no word, because it just should not be. Kids should outlive their parents. Parents shouldn’t have to face that horrific, indescribable feeling of losing a child…

baby in hands open hands 2

…but they do. Sometimes babies die. Sometimes they get taken away. Either way the mother is left childless. Facing a pain so great that the English language doesn’t even have a word for it. Today I met with several women who fall into this category. Today I spent the day in jail. I met with women one on one and listened, encouraged, prayed with and for them. Some asked questions which I tried to answer. Some share stories of bitterness which I tried to understand. Some told me of their children who had been adopted, were in foster care, or their relatives were taking care of them. And one came into my office, sat down, and as she told me how her last visit with her daughter had gone that morning I had to work to hold back the tears. There just aren’t encouraging words to share in that situation. The papers are signed. That sweet baby girl is no longer hers. She still has a daughter. She is still a mother. But someone else is officially and legally her baby’s mother now. That’s good, but it hurts.

I love adoption and I am so thankful for the families that take these sweet littles as their own, but today I want us to stop and to recognize, that although some Mamas make bad choices, they often still love their babies very much. And though they are unable to care for them – from lack of knowledge, struggle with an addiction, or being in an unsafe situation, those babies give them a reason to live and keep fighting. Even the ones who I talk to whose children have already been adopted, and they don’t have contact with them. They want to change their lives for the sake of their children. So if you read this, say a prayer for the Mamas today. Some of them are tired and were up all night with their littles, and others are heartbroken because they no longer have their littles. Maybe they are tired because they were up all night worrying about their sweet littles and wondering who is picking them up when they cry. Either way, the Mamas can use your prayers today.