“Y’all. I cannot stop crying. This boy. For two years my middle son has given me a run for my money at school. I’m talking, days and days spent at the school with him, write-ups galore, phone calls to pick him up because it was too much. Trauma is hard.
I’m no trauma expert. In fact, I’m not even close to scratching the surface of all there is to know. But I do know it’s messy, it’s hard, and it’s very unpredictable.
There is no handbook on how to raise a child ravaged with trauma that abuse and neglect have left behind. There are no written guidelines on how to love someone that’s been broken. There is no possible way to be prepared or ready. My only good knowledge is to bring truckloads of grace and when your truck is empty, fill it back up. You always need to be prepared to dump grace at any given time.
Prior to adoption, I got a phone call from the school. It was just like any other day. Just like any other phone call. ‘Ms. Pollard, we’re having another bad day. Can you come?’ ‘Sure. I’ll be right there.’ I get there and my boy is silent. Something seems different. I pull him in close and ask what’s going on. It’s mid-September and he’s asking if he can have a race car for Christmas. Followed by a game for his birthday in March. It would be easy to become frustrated that I just left work and drove 30 minutes because my son is acting a fool at school and when I get there he starts asking if he can have gifts. As if his behavior warrants a gift in this moment. But this is trauma. You see, it’s not about the gift to him. It’s about his heart and his need to feel safe. If I can reassure him that he’ll get that race car for Christmas, he knows he’s safe until then. No one will come pick him up. He’s safe here. At least for three more months.
My boy’s story is less than ideal. No one wants his story. No one wants our story. But what we know is that before we had a name, there was God that started writing the pages of our stories. When you thumb through those pages, you’ll start to see a theme. It runs deep. It’s rescue.
Our family was in a bit of a transitional season several months ago. We had an opportunity to leave the school district we were in to pursue opportunities that might be a better fit for the future of the boys. But that meant we would have to leave the one where we knew everyone, and everyone knew us. The place and people that knew our story. The ones that pulled us in close and loved us through all the messy days. Leaving would mean we had to trust new people and I wasn’t ready trust again. I wasn’t ready to go. But God. He and someone very special in our lives patiently came alongside me and helped me to see there was a beautiful thing just on the other side of where I felt most safe and comfortable. I needed to be rescued from myself. While I kicked and screamed because I couldn’t see how this is what He had for our family, I went anyway. I said yes. I was scared. Petrified actually. But it wasn’t the first time God was calling me to the unknown and scary and hard and messy. And it certainly won’t be the last. What I do know though, He can be trusted.
We started in our new schools three weeks ago. So when my son’s new principal called me this week to tell me he had him in his office, my heart sank and I immediately thought to myself, ‘Jesus! Here we go again!’ He had been written up. Except he got written up for being ready to learn, being intentionally kind to others, for being courageous, positive, considerate, polite, prepared, and for working hard. Because that’s a thing at his new school and I am here for that kind of write up!
This journey has had more lows than highs but I’m not mad about it because it makes these moments more precious than I could dream up. This may seem small, but it is by far one of the most significant moments I’ve had on this journey.