the hardest part

Friday, March 27, 2015

We are home. Reunited with Archie and Daddy. Our trip back was unfortunately NOT uneventful. It was filled with a lost stroller (thanks to airline). Which meant lugging giant baby and heavy bags through the airport. Not realizing the gate for our connection was a thirty minute walk. Radko fell asleep on that walk turned run (because we were almost late). So 28 pounds of dead weight plus heavy bags. Ace dragging one. I felt like I was a Biggest Loser contestant on the first day. Any time we passed one of those people driving the carts I would moan audibly and say things like, "oh my gosh I'm dying..." in the hopes that they would offer a ride. They didn't. Radko decided he wouldn't sleep but for forty five minutes on our combined twelve hours of flying. So that was awesome. Finally a customs guy told me in a very mean voice that I had "wasted enough time already" when I fumbled to get our passports out. Jerk.
But we made it.

So, about Gus:

We arrived in his tiny town of Stamboliysky last Sunday. And met him Monday morning. He was moved to a group home in this town, from he and Archie's old orphanage, about six months ago.
Seeing him in real life, holding him and kissing him was surreal.

A lot can happen to an orphan in four years. So much damage can be done. I prayed and prayed that he had been spared and protected over these years. But it was clear from the moment I saw him that he had suffered a great deal. 

Day one was good. He was quiet and reserved.

Day two he started trying to explore us a little more. There were some moments that brought cause for concern. But I brushed them off.

Before we committed to adopt him, I asked as many people as I thought might have an answer for me if he had any aggressive behaviors. Having a baby in our family, that would have been a deal breaker for us. I got very little feedback, so we had to trust what we knew from when Joey met him almost four years ago, and what was indicated in his file.

On our first day at his group home, before they brought him in, the director and some other workers in his home met with me. They asked if I had any questions, and again, that was my one question. Is he aggressive, specifically to other children.  They assured me that he was not. Then sort of backed up and said things like "he prefers to be with older children and adults" and talked about how he would sometimes push in frustration. One of them said that I would need to "always guard the baby". Needless to say, those things had me worried.

And on day three, my biggest fears were confirmed. I witnessed him be very rough with another little girl in his home. And anytime Radko came near him he shoved him down. And eventually made it his mission to "get to" Radko to push him down or kick him when I restrained his arms. I won't go into details here, but it was scary and I ultimately had to spend my time protecting Radko. And even Ace. I choked back tears that entire last visit. This was the reality. And it wasn't good.

I left that day convincing myself that we would figure it out. We would make it work. We absolutely could not give up on him.

But the thoughts of what could happen in a split second to Radko (Or Ace, or Archie for that matter) kept running through my head.

After consulting with a doctor who specializes in international adoption, tough conversations with many adoptive mom friends who get it, and many tears and prayers, Joey and I have decided that we cannot be his family.

This has been gut wrenching. We are beyond heartbroken.

It is not his fault. And those behaviors are not who he is. It is just a harsh reality of what having to grow up literally fighting for your life can do.

He and I bonded a great deal. Which makes this even harder. He is a sweet and precious soul. He would climb up in my lap and just wrap himself up in me. He always wanted to be cheek to cheek. Loved when I kissed his face. I knew that he felt safe with me.

Thinking about those moments makes me want to say, "we will just make it work... He needs us."
But I know that it isn't right. I can't put my children at risk. I can't force them to live in fear. It isn't fair to them. And isn't fair to Gus either.

I am angry, confused, and just hurting. The only thing I can think as to why this has all turned out the way it has, is Sevy. If not for Gus, we would have never found her. If someone had told me he had become aggressive, especially towards smaller children, we would have never moved forward. I would have never laid eyes on her.

And I will stop at nothing to find him the right family. So maybe this is just the way it all had to happen.

I am grieving so many different things all at once. It is heavy and it hurts. Letting him go will be one of the hardest things that we ever have to do. I'm afraid of the days when I wake up drowning in guilt and regret. But Joey and I know that this is the right decision for our family. No matter how hard it is.  

That's all I've got. 

{Mean people with not nice things to say please go away. I have no time for you. We knew the risks going into this, we know the reality of life as a nine year old orphan in Bulgaria. In spite of how smoothly Archie's adoption went and how well he did right away in our family, we did not have some fairy tale or romanticized idea of how things would be. We could have and would have been willing to take on all the behaviors and damage that came with Gus. This is the one thing we simply just cannot}

{To my friends who have been here, and get it, and who have been my rocks throughout know who you are...Thank you. So much}

Lots of Love!


The Happy Half Dozen said...

Lifting you all up in prayer!!!! My heart breaks for you all and for Gus!

Unknown said...

I have so much love and admiration for you and Joey both. It's heartbreaking that you can't be his forever family, but I suspect God knew that he couldn't find a better advocate for Gus to help him find the right family. Love, love, love you!

Rachel said...

Love and hugs to you... Sometimes the right decision is not the easiest

Kelly said...

Love you Lisa. I completely understand your feelings and would make the same decision although I can't imagine how hard it would be to walk through. Will be praying for you and for Gus. May God bless you guys and your amazing hearts of gold. I wish that there were more ppl like the Eichers in this world. Love, kelly gaide

Sharon said...

Lots of love to all of you. xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I have so much respect for you guys for knowing what you can and cannot handle with your other children. How many people feel pressured to continue when they know it isn't right and then it only hurts everyone, including the newly adopted child. God is using you to be advocates instead of parents in this case...and you are adopting who He planned for your family. Praying for your hearts and that God will show you His bigger picture for you and for Gus. Hugs.

Sylviee said...

Lots of prayers for you and your family. I've been checking how you guys doing everytime since i watch that video of Ace and Archie. God knows best for Gus and at the moment He knows that you are doing your part by raising 4 children. Dont let the guilty feeling crawling back and ruin it. You did your best and God will take care of the rest. Hugs!

Patti said...

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Although Gus will not be a part of your family, he is the reason for finding Sevy. This is the way God wanted it to be❤️

Unknown said...

Thank you Eicher clan for advocating on behalf of Gus and Sevy. Serving both children in different ways is for the same end that they would know the love of God through their parents' actions. Your family and Gus's future family are in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, you and your family (and little Gus) are in my prayers. You may not feel it now, but you have done a brave thing for your family. I know firsthand how hard it is. The exact same thing happened to me. Little boy was aggressive and I have a very vulnerable daughter at home. Little girl was fine and I pursued her adoption. It was very hard to process and I felt like a failure and inadequate somehow. But as He always does, the Lord slowly helped me to adjust to the fact that I made the right decision for the children He had already given me. It was nobody's fault. It was just a chemistry that would have been harmful. Little boy needed a family with older children or no other children. I'm so happy for your crew that you are adopting again. I love Bulgaria too, but the 2 trips each time, not so much. Best wishes to you!

Lynn near Parker, CO said...

Lisa, I read all your posts over the past 2 days and am in awe. What a great family you all are! I look forward to your next addition. Best of everything.

Unknown said...

You're a terrible person - just a horrid one! Buying another kid, deciding that one foreign dumpling just wasn't enough.

I'm praying Sevy's adoption doesn't go thru!

Unknown said...

You're internet famous!

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