I was Cassie's visiting teacher while we lived in the Hermann Park ward. I probably talked more than I listened, because I told her all about my crazy life as a full-time foster parent running a group home. One day I told her about two toddlers who had come into care, and how cute they were, but what a difficult time they had coping due to their past experiences.
That very night we went to a church meeting. I remember standing by the piano in the Relief Society room when Cassie asked me to tell her more about these kids, Meara and Lucien. I thought that was odd, until she told me that she felt a strong feeling that they were meant to be part of their family.
And to make a long story short, Kent and Cassie adopted Meara and Lucien. They already had five older children, and now they were starting over with 2- and 3-year-olds. There was no better family for those kids; I knew it then, and after our visit on Monday I know it even more now.
Meara and Lucien have had every opportunity for growth--horseback riding lessons, gymnastics, orchestra, the best schools, a myriad of therapies and counseling sessions, and a ton of love from the family. They have improved immensely, especially Meara. Despite all of that, wounds run deep. Issues become greater and more difficult to handle.
Cassie even said, "It's okay that you've never done therapy for your kids; we've been doing it for 8 years and it hasn't helped." And then we all laughed. Morbid, I know.
But I can't tell you how refreshing, how validating it was to talk to parents who understand us. It isn't easy to deal with past trauma or mismatched hard-wiring or emotional voids. We do our best, and the kids do their best, but some days I feel unqualified for this role.
But I marveled at Kent and Cassie's strength and patience and love, especially with their son Lucien. They told us jaw-dropping stories that sounded like case studies from an Abnormal Psychology text book. Despite all they've been through with him, they love him, actively love him. If you'd heard the stories, you'd agree that most parents could not keep going.
It put things into perspective with our children.
And our children were full-on basket cases that night. The twins wore themselves out and collapsed before we even had the Family Home Evening treat.
Thank goodness for amazing people in the world like Kent and Cassie. There is a special place in heaven for them.
And we get to be their friends.