2010: Steph Timeline


Age: 6

Major Events:

  • Sometimes we could take Stephanie to family events. We almost always drove separately, because her stamina wasn’t very long.
  • For every smiley, happy picture, there’s the same photo with her hands on her hips, yelling “NO!” Perhaps I should have gathered those for this album, but I’ve learned to tell the kinder truth.
  • My back was bruised from “time-ins” with Stephanie. Rather than a timeout, which isolates, we spent a lot of time with Stephanie in a time-in, where we held her. For three years my back was bruised, not just from time-ins, but from the times when she didn’t like the consequences for her actions, so she punched me; or when she didn’t like that I was spending time playing trains with Sam or reading books with Hannah, so she would come up to where I was on the floor and kick me, hit me or bite me. She bit a lot.
  • We offered as many developmental experiences to Stephanie as possible. We hoped she would accept family life and be able to embrace childhood.

Our prayer has always been for Stephanie to heal in childhood. I think we realized it wasn’t going to be a fast transformation, but we hoped there would be a complete healing by the time she turned 18. Although we still pray for healing while in childhood, we’ve come to realize that it might not happen in the way we hoped.

This doesn’t make Hope a liar. This isn’t something I realized in 2010, because in 2010 we were still under the belief that if we were headstrong enough then Stephanie would heal. In 2010, we were still sure that things would click, that the love of a family, with a huge web of support and grace and mercy would be enough.

I’m only beginning to be able to articulate the way that there are some holes that humans cannot fill. I’m only beginning to be able to articulate that all of those years of headstrong hope may have made a difference in a way that is yet to be seen. I’m only beginning to be able to articulate that the sweet photos are not lies and that the kinder truth is not inauthentic.

But that is now, in 2010 we were headstrong in hope.

See all of Stephanie Timeline posts here.


  1. I believe you, Ruth. All that you knew till then was children who were generally okay. I know they many hide it well (in the classroom), but when it’s 24/7, no matter the love, it doesn’t mend those “holes” as you described. It just mades me sad for those so in need. Thanks for sharing these early years.

  2. 1 Corinthians 13: 13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” It is so hard to believe that love would not be the missing aspect of her life and you had all the love in the world to give her. I am so sorry for the physical abuse you had to endure. I want to reach out and hug you.