We are going on our first family vacation in three years to celebrate Micah's birthday. The children are skipping school, it's already been approved as an excused absence by their principals, as well as instructions on how to write the notes for their teachers and maintain their privacy. Friday morning, we are getting up and having red velvet cupcakes for breakfast. More than anything, Micah wanted red velvet cupcakes for his birthday. We had no idea as we moved from the South to New England that someone as common as apples in the south would be impossible to find up here. He didn't get his red velvet cupcakes last year. I asked a crafty co-worker where I could find them up here. When she heard why I wanted them, she told me that her daughter in law owns the best bakery in town, and she has her red velvet cake recipe. She is giving us the cupcakes and refusing payment for them. We'll release 200 red balloons to send to Micah and tell him how much we love and miss him. Then, we'll go to an indoor waterpark for the weekend, something Micah would have loved SO much he would have raged and pooped his way through the vacation. I can laugh now that his profound Autism caused him to respond to all strong emotions in that manner. He couldn't help it, but that's how he would have greeted this vacation.
Yesterday, we had an unexpected text from someone we knew several years ago. We made a connection when trying to help A set up for his Eagle project because he wanted to do something with Sierra Leone. The people we connected with through his soccer program run a school that A recognized instantly when he saw the pictures. It was the school he attended before he was placed in the orphanage, the one his siblings remained in when he was sent to America. That person remembered our story. He went to Sierra Leone to celebrate the 20th anniversary of that school. In the crowd, he ran into A's birthfamily. We lost contact with them several years ago when the Canadian missionaries who had served as intermediaries went back to Canada and we never found someone else to help us. Yesterday's text was a picture of three members of A's family.
What was elation for A was devestation for S. S wants contact with his birthfamily so badlly that he thought the contact was his. We are searching for his family. I consider it my job to help my children hold onto their pasts along with their futures. However, right now we have to tread carefully until his adoption is finalized. We also just got his details from the adoption agency that holds the records from the agency that placed him before they went out of business. Just yesterday I made contact with a missionary friend who is willing to start searching for S's family. It took years to find A's family. We've never found Ch's family. It won't happen quickly or easily for S, if it is even possible.
S finally worked through his big feeings only to have a second text with the cell phone numbers of A's uncle and his brother come to us this morning, as we drove to church. S spent church shut down, shaking, desperately needing someone to sit with him and help him process his grief. I made the mistake at the end of church of asking the minister if someone could help him with the processing, since times like that desperately need someone who is not your parent. Once again, the needs of our extraordinary children was trampled upon. In fact, what I was told was that the staff was quite busy running church so I should fill out a communication card and call the church offices tomorrow. Someone would try to help him then. He didn't need someone to try later...when it was convenient for them. It certainly wasn't convenient for him either, but this is where he is. I did not fill out the card. I did marvel that the consistency in how the church has responded to my children has not changed in the fourteen years I have mothered these children.
In the midst of all of this, I have been watching a transformation in II. I'm not sure I'm ready to speak of it. It's a change in his heart. A man who was a solid Christian, intending to head to the mission field, began to lose his faith with our first miscarriage. By the time he hit rock bottom in 2009, he had lost his faith entirely. I was okay with that. I love HIM. I can live with him whether he is atheist, egnostic or a man of faith. I have never pressured him, never argued with him, never pushed my faith upon him. In those darkest days, I did enforce the boundary that he would NOT attack me for holding onto my faith, just as I would respect his changes. He has come full circle back to his faith, despite the deep sadness of another church failing to love our special children.
As I said, it's been an emotional weekend. It's going to continue to be emotional this week as we face Micah's birthday without him. We're all hurting. We all miss him. The other things swirling around us make us stagger but we'll stand together as a family and focus on celebration and not mourning this week. It's all we have left to give Micah.