Rooftop Jumpers

Our apologies to the neighbors. 

Alex, who will be the death of me yet, taught Barrett how to climb on the air conditioner to climb on the rain barrels to climb on neighbor’s fence to climb onto our roof. 

When Nathan suggested this was not the safest activity to be teaching his little brother, Alex responding by running away from Nathan to the middle of the back yard, where he stands screaming about how his family hates him and never feeds him. 

This is a new theme lately, as he has apparently and allegedly just realized that the “other parents” we visit occasionally, who bring him candy and play with him on the playground, are the same ones who starved him, who locked him in a van, who started a meth fire, and who didn’t do anything to get him back. 

And he’s angry. 

For the first time, finally, four years later, he’s angry. 

Except taking it out on us, and it’s exhausting.

It’s like that when we first got him, when he cried for three hours and Nathan just rocked him and rocked him, knowing there was nothing we could do to erase that heartache.

The safety issues have to be addressed, obviously, but the screaming and giving up and thinking he is already lost and rejected… it it heartbreaking.  We can hold him, and rock him as if he were tiny, and we can process as nauseum.  But we cannot undo what was already done to him, and we cannot make realizing it easy.

But I promise he got breakfast, and a snack, and lunch, before any of the screaming started.

And we do love him, and we do want him – we just don’t want him on the roof.

It’s so hard, this life these little ones live, and I hate that we can’t rescue them from it.

But we do love them.  Really, we do.

Even when all the love in the world isn’t enough to undo what’s already happened to them.

We will support him best we can, and continue to process with him privately, but in the meantime we also have to keep the children safe – and off the roof.

It’s hard, this parenting thing.

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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