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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Honest and Up-Front

Today we found ourselves somewhere I hoped to never be- at the public school, filling out enrollment forms. Not for everyone, but it is still a failure in my eyes. I am completely and fundamentally against public schools. I agree that they are a danger zone for foster/adopted kids, especially. And yet, there I was.

I agree that at this point in time like no other, giving the government control over any aspect of our lives is opening us up for a mess. But we felt backed into a corner. Because some of the kids are still so angry about the adoption, they refuse to do what we ask. Oh, they’re behaved in public because we won’t tolerate anything else. They aren’t even openly defiant at home- they will stare out the window, drooling as if they have no clue what I am talking about. I didn’t really worry about it- I’m a 3 R’s is plenty kind of mom, anyway- as long as they have the basics and can function, I don’t care if they never learn Algebra. I’m also not a worksheet mom or a five-hours-at-the-table mom. The only time I worry about worksheets is when we have to put together portfolios for the certified teacher to go over. But that was one of the problems- for three years now we have had to scramble, beg, and bribe to get the kids to do enough work at the very end of the year to have something to show for it. The teacher was starting to feel uncomfortable signing off when they showed so little progress.

Then we come to the eating- Nellie has been starving herself again, only to go somewhere else and eat like she hasn’t seen food in weeks. The exact same kind of food. She does this to try and control me because it worked before- she got the doctor to question the other kids about discipline and made me a slave by saying I was to give Nellie whatever she wanted, so long as she would eat. We stressed over that because we know the case workers remove all kids from a situation and then ask questions. It would be beyond what I could handle if they took Mags and the two babies just because Nellie was attempting a coup. But because she knows that, she has started using food as a weapon against me by threatening to starve if she doens't get what she wants. Then she makes her face look pitiful and moans a little, and someone verbally attacks me while scurrying to find poor Nellie something to eat. With her initial entrance into school, there is the risk of someone falling for it like just happened to us at our homeschool group. But I am hoping that the excitement and attention of being the new girl will carry her through until the teacher figures her out better, and that will in turn insulate the other kids from her need to rule.

I know that we will be opening our home up to the possibility of swearing, drugs, humanism, and who knows what, but the alternative has left our daughter with constant stomach aches and headaches because of all the stress. We have also lost a whole year on her- I was reminded of a promise I made to her, and I said I would follow through once I got Nellie straightened out. Here we are, a whole year later and nowhere closer to that end. Meanwhile, I have ceased to have a baby in the house and suddenly realize I have a very mature toddler. I no longer see the sense in sacrificing many to save one.

But I think most terrifying is the risk to my marriage. We’ve discussed this problem from the day the kids arrived her nearly 7 years ago, and for the last year Gary has pushed to put the hardest kids in school. I have always managed to talk him out of it, for the above reasons and more. But after another stunt by Nellie this week, we found ourselves screaming at each other in such a tone that I feared for our marriage. He is, after all, my priority both because it is the covenant that we carry with us all of our lives, even after our children are grown and gone, but because if we dissect our oneness, what do the kids have to model their marriages after? I finally had to stop. Just stop and yield. I told him it was his decision and I would support him. And he decided.

I made it to the car after signing all the papers before the tears finally escaped my tight hold on them. All the more heartbreaking was the reactions of the kids in question- one wept bitterly, promising to do whatever we asked in exchange for one more chance. The other two were excited, recalling the fun they had at school when they were there before:

“Remember when we would run up and down the isle of the bus and the driver would have to stop?!”

“My teacher always had a bucket of candy in her desk, and when I would ‘forget’ my lunch money, I would go get it and put the candy in my pocket!”

“If we find some money we can buy candy bars in the lunch room!”

“If you tell the teacher you don’t feel good, she’ll send you to the nurse. Then just tell the nurse it’s because you didn’t get any breakfast and she’ll go get you something to eat form the cafeteria!”

Not only have I failed, I have wasted my time. They may one day realize how great they had it here, but I can’t keep emptying myself trying to reach that end and leaving the other 4 kids with nothing because I’m all wrung out.


Saved Sinner said...

That sounds like a tough decision. Although for many people homeschooling may be the best thing, it is not necessarily the best for everyone. A useful thing someone I know said is that the important thing to remember is that the parents have the responsiblity to choose what they think is the best for their children rather than that parents have the responsibilty to personally teach the children themselves.

I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers.

Blessings in Christ,


~Bren~ said...

Oh Amy. I am so sorry, but you know I understand better than ANYONE! It goes aganist our Mother heart to detatch ourselves from our children but to keep yourself healthy and to keep the rest of the family ok, we have to sometimes do that. We are to submit to the authority of our husbands, and you could do nothing else with out sinning. Your marriage is important and I am guessing your husband just wants peace in his home and his wife back to her happy self. I am praying this will do it. What ever choices the kids make in public school will be their own. They will have to suffer the consequneces. It usually took 3-4 months for the teacher to "get it" where Charlotte was concerned. I will pray the veil is lifted on the people that will be dealing with your kids. Blessings and (((hugs))) to you my friend!!!
God is on the throne!!!

Lisa W said...

Oh my dear friend! I've been absent from the web for a while tending to duties here in "real life" all the while you've been hurting and struggling with this.

Your post brings back memories of when we had our two, who eventually did go back to their dad. Same kind of games, same kind of frustration, same kind of resolve (except, we did give up after a while...).

You have not failed. You have had to make some very hard decisions, both of you. I don't think you've done anything wrong!! And surely nothing to be ashamed of. I know it's not ideal, but honestly - what part of those kids' lives has been ideal?

I'll be praying for you and for the kids. Don't let this decision that you don't consider "best" become the end of you or the focus of your life. You have a lot more to tend to than disappointment. I suppose as a consolation of sorts, you now have the ability to focus on the other children a little more during the school day.

Love ya ~

NeeCee said...

I am so sorry dear sister, that you are going through this. I wish there was something I could say that would make it all better.

Just know that I am there in the trenches with you and I'm bathing your family in prayer.

I want you to know that when you get bogged down with dealing with bad behavior day in and day out, you sometimes fail to see the little bit of progress you have made. (I know because I'm right there with you and sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees either.) These children are breaking your heart right now, but they are so much better off with you. You are influencing them and their hearts ARE healing because of you and your love. I know they don't show it, but everyday of your love does a little healing every day. I promise you.

Praying for you and your family. God is still there with you as you go through this rough time. He will carry you through the days ahead.

laurie said...

Hugs. Rest my friend. We all need some time away from enduring a never ending storm in order to be able to fight again another day. I pray encouragment for you.

My situation was very different, but I was exhausted and felt defeated when we made the decision to put the kids in school. Our detour lasted 4 years. He will let you know. Gary loves you, find strength in that.

Berean Wife said...


I have been praying for you since I read this a couple of days ago. I am praying that the children will come to appreciate the privilege that they had with being homeschooled, such that their behavior is changed tremendously, and over the long haul not just for a short time. And that after a time of refreshing you and your husband will both agree on the next steps in their education.

But remember:

1) None of this is a surprise to the Lord. He knew this would happen and He will work all things out to the good of those who are called by Him.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. KJV

2) Obedience is better than sacrifice. The Lord has called you to be in submission to your husband and He will bless your obedience to His instructions better than any amount of “sacrifice” you could offer in trying to homeschool against your husband’s wishes.

1 Sam 15:22-23
22 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Many prayers for you and your family,

Berean Wife

Ginger said...

HUGS you have not failed. My husband had me put the children in PS back when I was caring for my mother. It was so hard to do. But, we did it. We survived and you know what, we homeschool again. Just pray for your children and their safety and leave the rest to God. He is bigger then all of your fears

Ace said...

Oh boy. Ok, I can see why your heart is breaking...but if I may...I would like you to hold on one min.

I went to public school AND private school. I had garbadge shoved down my throat and guess what...I spit it back. It MADE me dig in and find God. It was horrible, violent, lonely, scary and ONLY GOD could go with me. Only God could be with me every second of the day. Only He could protect me, only He could give me discernment...only He could teach me the lessons I needed to learn.

Your Nellie sounds very strong willed, that is a gift when used wisely. DO NOT GIVE UP, The Lord hasn't. He knows exactly what He is doing. And you can trust HIM, HE LOVES HER MORE THAN YOU. She will probably climb a mountain one day or stand up to the AntiChrist, people like that are made for a specific reason. I know, I AM ONE and so are my Princeses. But guess what NO ONE can make me backdown and I have taken alot of punishment in my life. It made me stronger and now God uses it.

You and your family are in my prayers, but Trust God...He isn't done yet.

And trust your dh, He needs to care for you. I am glad you were obedient to him.

Now stand aside and let God at those kids, they need it and it will be the best thing for them.

And, you can always break out the duct tape LOLOLOLO (goodness, I hope you remember my comment about that from before or you must think I am some crazy woman :)

Many Blessings, I am standing for you and your family Sister. Don't stop now!