2018: Steph Timeline

full-2018-layout

Age: 14

Major Events:

  • New “friends” at youth group who pulled her into darkness
  • Unable to find a therapist to meet her needs
  • Became angry and threatened to hurt herself and others
  • Acute behavioral hospitalization
  • Returned home for 1 night
  • Acute behavioral hospitalization
  • Returned home for 1 night
  • Acute behavioral hospitalization
  • Residential placement
  • Private group home placement
  • Accusations that opened DCS and criminal investigations
  • Didn’t return home for visits

The photos and my IG post may be deceiving. Both photos were taken before major events led to irrevocable consequences. This was the year of destruction. Stephanie’s anger overwhelmed and colored her perception of reality. She honed her ability to manipulate and convince therapists and social workers to believe her skewed perceptions of the world. She was very good at making adults believe we were the cause of her difficulties. In due time, the truth was often discovered (but not always).

The private placement was impossibly expensive, but there were people who helped with the cost. It was an experience that brought us a deeper faith and made us realize that God wanted good things for our family life. We also caught a small glimpse of the way God’s people are designed to take care of each other. Not everyone is called to adopt a child like Stephanie, but there are some who can write a check and make life manageable for those who do adopt. I’m still wishing I could understand more of God’s goodness.

We even went on a family vacation to California. It felt extravagant and only happened because others covered the cost of Stephanie’s private placement.

In the midst of wreckage, God was good and kind to us.  At the same time, God was merciful and loving to Stephanie. I was often reminded of the scripture of the prodigal son. The family did not quit living life when the wayward son left the family. They kept on with life; they kept on being a family.

So did we.

See all of Stephanie Timeline posts here.

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14 Comments »

  1. I love how open, honest, and real you are about life — the good, and the more difficult. And, I am continually encouraged in my own faith by reading about yours.
    Thank you.
    Keep on keeping on.
    Molly

  2. Isaiah 41:10 is the Scripture God has been using to encourage me lately:

    “So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

    We live these truths as His kids, His continual grace and mercy!

    “It was an experience that brought us a deeper faith and made us realize that God wanted good things for our family life. We also caught a small glimpse of the way God’s people are designed to take care of each other.”
    Amen!

  3. Thankful for those moments of joy and family in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty. Wishing your kids hope during this time. Thankful for your separation.

    • MHG — Thanks for reading. Through these experiences, I’m learning that grief & relief can (and do) reside in the same heart.

  4. I have come to learn that we are all just traveling down the road of life. Just as any path or road, there are hills and valleys, smooth stretches, bumps, and potholes. This is certainly not our permanent home, but earth has life lessons for us all. Thank you so much, Ruth, for your honest, heartfelt writing. You are helping so many! God is in charge for sure. He has given us talents to use. Your writing is inspiring, heartbreaking, warm, and comforting many. Love and prayers for your family!

  5. Sometimes we need to take care of ourselves & celebrate together in order to gain the strength to care for others. I’m glad you remember to do that as well as caring for Stephanie. Happy Easter, Ruth!

  6. I am so touched by your writing about this experience. I don’t know how you did not crumble and fall. I am reminded of the stations of the cross in which Christ falls over and over, yet he endures.

    • Thank you, Margaret. There were times of crumbling and stumbling, but looking back, I realize how much God carried us. I’m so grateful that through it all, we still know God is kind.

  7. This year brought so much heartache. I’m sure it is draining but yet cathartic to revisit these dark days. These trials strengthened your faith.

    • So, so, so draining. I’m wishing I didn’t embark on this project, and yet I’m already gaining clarity and insight. Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂