Thursday, April 25, 2013

Turtle Saga

Today on the way home from Samuel’s riding lesson (yes, the tiny human really does take riding lessons on a tiny horse),  we saw an animal in the road, which I presumed was road kill. On further examination, we realized it was an injured turtle and still alive.

Since we had Samuel’s Auntie Ria in the car (a lover of turtles and all little beasties), I knew there was no way we were leaving the turtle there to die. So I did what all good Mommy’s and friends of animal lovers do… I dumped the emergency stuff out of the bin in my trunk, put on the medical gloves from the first aid kit, wrapped the turtle in a surgical gown, and put him in the bin on Maria’s lap.

The turtle was approx. a 1 foot long snapping turtle and quite unique. However, his shell was broke right in half and his internal organs were visible.  We called the vet and were told it would need to be euthanized. However, the vets in this area don’t provide care to turtles, so we should find someone to shoot it.

While I am not an amphibian lover, there was no way I was going to ask someone to shoot the turtle. We tenderly named him Road kill and I went to work attempting to save his life on the kiddy picnic table in my kitchen. Though I figured he was not long for this world, I secretly hoped that he might miraculously recover.

I washed all the dirt off him to prevent infection and surgically removed the crushed part of his shell that was cutting into his organs. Then, I made a bandage using a sterile maxi pad and duct taped the two sides of his shell together. Though this seemed slightly ridiculous I hoped that perhaps his shell would fuse in a few days and perhaps regrow…like a fingernail.

Sadly, Roadkill started bleeding out of his mouth, so I knew his internal injuries were probably too great for him to survive. We made a sling and head rest for him out of a pillow case and tried to make him as comfortable as possible. Roadkill passed away 7 hours after our little intervention…but at least he was not bleeding to death on the side of the road in the hot son, or staring down the barrel of a gun at the end of his little turtle life.

In light of my job as a psychiatric/emergency room nurse, and my role as a foster parent as well as an adoptive parent this broken turtle really got to me.  There are so many broken people that I see and take care of daily. Some people and foster children are even broke beyond repair… though few doctors, nurses, or social workers want to admit it. The toll that physical and emotional abuse takes on a child is devastating and many children, even with great foster /adoptive parents, lots of love, and the love of Christ, have great difficulty recovering from the trauma they have endured. Though they may not die physically, like our turtle, they also find it near impossible to live.

This is a reality that is shaping my life, my parenting style, my job, my ministry, and my walk with Christ. Though my son was not abused in the typical sense, he was born addicted to Methadone, because his biological mother was an incarcerated pregnant heroin addict. And drug addicted babies come with their own special set of problems. The most recent of these we are working on conquering is a sensory deficit/integration problem.

Additionally, two days ago I was asked, by social services, if I would be interested in adopting a 10 year old girl, who came out of a very abusive home 6 years ago, was bumped from foster home to foster home, now resides in a group home, and has been impossible to place in an adoptive home.
I am not sure yet of God’s will for this little girl and whether or not his will for her includes me as her mother. However, I do know that my heart breaks for her, for the foster children I had before my son Samuel, and for the thousands of other children like them.

 Just like I could not save this turtle, I know that many of these children will not be saved, and that kills me. It is with issues like this that I am left to wrestle with God and my faith. However, I am so grateful for the one I do get to hold and love, and the ones whose lives I will be a part of in the future. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Park Day

Today was one of those days. You know the one I mean. The warm, sunny day that comes after a long winter. The day that beckons you, “Come out and play.” Well my son woke up ready to answer that call in his pajamas, so we headed to the park as soon as possible.
For those of you with sons, you know what I mean when I say, “The park can be a little scary.” Oh yes, there is a toddler size play area, where he could climb gently and his feet could reach the ground when coming down the slide. The toddler play area is less than a foot above the ground and is nicely enclosed, so there is no way to fall off. 
However, my son resists this area by throwing himself in the wood chips to loosen my grip on his hand and dashes to the school age climbing area where he has to use all of his strength just to crawl on to the first step. Then he runs across the elevated platform like a bull coming out of its pen and heads for the tallest slide( which he insists on going down head first on his tummy), all the while weaving back and forth between the openings that would lead to a bone crushing 9 foot drop for my 23.5 lb peanut.
Needless to say, I was so focused on my babe that I had tuned out another crying child. My son, however, did not miss a beat. He slammed on the breaks half way across the platform, and made a b-line down the curvy slide to the kid sitting in the dirt with tears rolling down his face.
Though it was obvious to me that this child was overreacting to a small bump, I asked his frazzled older sister if I could help. She said, “He has special needs and is going to become hysterical any moment and I cannot reach my mom.” I bent down and asked him, “What hurts honey?” He replied, “My foot is broken and… and… and… I am going to need surgery.” I slipped off his shoe and gently flexed it and evaluated it for any redness or swelling. As I expected all was well. Before I could give him the prognosis though, Sammy flung his arms around him, hugging him tight enough around the neck to make his head pop off.  The kid instantly smiled, put his sock and shoe on, and got up.
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."
-- Mark Twain

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tiny Human Dedicated

Last Sunday, following the completion of my son's adoption, I dedicated him to God in my church. Though I was glad the adoption was finally complete, dedicating him in the presence of my friends and family held greater significance to me. 

I chose to name my son Samuel Moses, because Samuel is the first known biblical account of a mother dedicating her son to God and Moses was the first recorded adoption. 

Samuel 1:27 - For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. The Hebrew translation for the name Samuel means, "God has heard." 

Exodus 2:10- When the child grew up she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, "Because," she said, "I drew him up out of the water." The Hebrew translation of the name Moses means, "To draw out of the water." 

God allowed me to draw Samuel Moses out of a broken home and give him a life where he could come into a knowledge of his Savior. Being entrusted with the life of a tiny human is the most amazing gift and the greatest responsibility. I pray daily for the wisdom to know how to teach my son that Jesus is the lover of his soul. 

Psalm 18: 16-19 -

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
He rescued me because he delighted in me.