We have been dreading and praying about this day for almost 3 years. December 1, 2014…….a seemingly innocent wintery date that would normally bring to mind snow and cookies………will now be permanently etched into our family memories as the day that Coconut’s abuser was released from prison. A new and scary chapter begins, and a call to God has been cried.
Coconut came to us 2 years and 7 months ago…….approximately 943 days ago……..as a very broken little boy. At 2 and a half, he had the speech and social skills of a 3 month old. Covered from head to toe in bruises, bite marks and pinch marks, along with a broken arm, he was a walking history book that told of 3 continuous months of severe abuse, neglect and torture at the hands of his biological father. Yet, although at death’s door, God chose to spare his life and to grant us the amazing blessing of becoming his parents…….which comes with the heavy responsibility of protecting him from harm at all costs. After 943 days, a real threat looms before us.
To say that we are a little frightened at the prospect of this man being free to walk the streets in our adjoining cities is a gross understatement, but this too must be laid at our Savior’s feet. My husband will not admit to being scared, he is like a lion at the door, ready to defend his family at the first sign of attack…..but, I have known my split-apart too long to be fooled by that rough and tumble exterior. Inside, we are all a little uneasy as we wait to see if the violent man who went into prison is still the same violent man who will emerge a free citizen.
None of these feelings and fears are surprising to me, but something new has crept into my heart. For the past few weeks, I cannot get this man out of my mind…….not as an abuser, but as a child of God who will be released into a world that is cold and harsh to felons……even if some believe that they deserve such conditions. My love for Christ and His example to us while on this earth makes me want to meet him at the jail so that he know that he is not alone. I have researched programs that are available to offenders who are released, and the statistics are grim. How will he eat? What will he wear when it’s cold out? Who will help him pick up the pieces of his life and work through the issues that caused him to be so violent in the first place? Most importantly, who will talk with him about the amazing God that will forgive him of all his sins, if he would just seek salvation? Unfortunately, the answer is most certainly not me, as I am beginning to learn that I can only do the work that God lays before me.
My Mama tells me all the time that I cannot save the whole world, and shes right. All I can do for this man is pray. Really, all we can do in this entire situation is pray. We will focus on our ministry, which is providing a home and lots of love to children who need both. Let the little ones who are abused, misused, and lost find comfort within our walls…….and let them hear of a God who will love and protect them. As for their parents, I just have to take comfort in the fact that other Christians out there will minister to them and try to get them the help they so desperately need. That is their job, and this is ours.
Coconut has developed into an amazing 5 year old who has no memory of what happened to him (yet, as it is very possible that he has repressed it). Socially, he has progressed from a 6 month old to a very smart 3 year old. He comprehends like a 3 year old, and although he is about 2 years behind his chronological age, we are pleased as punch considering where he started. It seems that his life really started when I carried his beat up little body out of that hospital………he became our son on that very day as well.
Ironically, we go to court this month to find out if the termination of parental rights will stand up to the biological father’s appeal. If you could remember us in your prayers we would appreciate it, because the decision that this new judge makes will determine whether or not Coconut will finally be free for adoption. After 900 and some odd days, we sure are ready for this to be over……..
While I was searching Google for child abuse awareness images, (which also brought up very graphic images of actual children!!!!) I came across a line of jewelry that has been designed to support the cause. The line is called Pinwheels for Prevention by artist Sylvan Spirit, and captures the national symbol for child abuse and neglect prevention. I am saving up my money for the toggle bracelet (with 5 kids, I don’t usually buy jewelry for myself!), which you can see here: http://pcav.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/toggle-bracelet.jpg If you know someone who loves jewelry that’s on your Christmas list, please consider this beautiful line, but more importantly, it’s beautiful mission. The website where you can see all of the jewelry available (I am NOT an affiliate) is here: http://pcav.org/pinwheel-jewlery/