Us as a Family of Five


This is us. I’m wondering when I’ll be able to post a family picture without feeling like I owe an explanation about being five. I supposed the explanation lies in a phrase that has become so much a fiber of our family life that our kids recite it and roll their eyes: “Fair is a place we go, not something that happens in this house.”

For kids from hard places, fair is serious business. For our family, it’s necessary to learn that each person is going to get what they need. It’s not about keeping things even, but about loving each person in a way that they need.

Stephanie needs some things we aren’t able to provide. She showed us in all kinds of ways that she needed something different than we are able to offer.

Love is about giving someone what they need in order to be whole. Stephanie needs intense therapy, strong boundaries to keep her safe (and those around her), and time to learn to care.

About 15% of soldiers return from intense situations and experience PTSD. The same is true for children who experience trauma. About 15% are unable to overcome their hard starts in life without a miracle.

The love of a forever family is too much for Stephanie. This is okay. We gave her 10 years of traditional family life and sweet memories. Who knows how much this will influence her in making future choices, hopefully learning to live in a way that offers a positive contribution to society.

Because, in the end, it’s not about making the storyline go in the way we want, but about giving Stephanie exactly what she needs. At the same time, everyone else is getting something different, because what they need are the strong bonds of a forever family. What they need is a dynamic and fun family life. This is okay. We can be a close-knit family of five AND pray for a miracle for Stephanie.

And this momma, she needs to hold on to the truth that turning darkness to light is for the fierce-hearted. She needs to know that grief and relief can live in the same heart. She needs to know that it takes deep love to provide for a child who needs something she can’t offer.

Mostly, she needs to know that it’s okay to relish this family of five.

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  1. I’ve had two times in my life where I had to make a hard choice that was best for a beloved family member, Ruth. I hear you & hope you continue to relish that special family of five along with Stephanie who is getting her needs met, too. I always want things to be ‘fair’, and I guess they are really, just not the ‘fair’ I imagine. Hugs to everyone. Wish I lived closer! Thanks for writing!