I hope this note finds you well and happy. Today the boys had a visit with their biological father and his current girlfriend. Their workers was late getting there and their father isn't allowed to see his children unless he's supervised, so Elijah and I had to stay for about 30 minutes or so. Their biological father is a nice man. He has an issue with drugs and alcohol, which he's currently in control of. He's not a very nice man when he's using drugs and he hurt the children who are in my and your Aunt Crystal's care. If there's one thing I need you to do, Temple, is to stay away from using drugs. They will change you. The biological father I met today is dying because of them. His liver is failing, his teeth are rotten down to stubs and he has several unfortunately glaring facial ticks. He is a sick man - and I feel for him.
I have a hard time with forgiving him for what he did to the boys. I'm sure God has a problem with that. I help them cope daily with the abuse they received. Children are resilient but they can be damaged so much from so little at so young. I would probably be a little more in the forgiving mood if I knew that the boys were safe from him. They are not. He's still very much a part of their lives with the visits and in a few months to a year could be moving back into his home. This man has a history of being okay for a time, then not being okay. He is like a wave of good then bad then good again. Ups and downs. It's just too bad that the downs are so damaging. I have a really hard time with people who hurt children, let alone just handing a child over to someone who I know will probably hurt them again.
I know that I have required a lot of forgiveness in my life. Sometimes I've gotten it. Sometimes I haven't and I have to be okay with that. Forgiveness can't be taken, only given. Here's what I believe about forgiveness. I believe that God forgives and forgets. I don't think people can. I think we can go halfway and forgive, but forgetting is impossible. There are some relationships in my life where I've forgiven somebody but don't have them in my life anymore because it's not safe for me or my family. I remember growing up my parents had people like that too. It's a hard thing to do, but worth it in the end. Now, that's not to say that it's always that easy. Life isn't black and white, which I would so much like it to be. It's all shades of grey and you have to make the best decisions you can under the circumstances. Go with your gut girl - it's usually God talking to you.
Forgiveness is also about trust. God commands us to forgive even when the circumstances don't allow for a clean break or easy terms. These are the times you have to trust God that he will take care of things. Trusting God is not an easy thing to do. It takes practice. It also takes a steel reserve. I like to handle my own problems but sometimes I have to open my fists and drop my hands and allow God to take over. I have to trust that God won't let my forgiveness allow a person to harm me.
THAT is a lot of trust.
Like everyone else, I'm working on it.
I love you much and miss you always,