Before David and I were ever married, we each had dreams in which we saw our future family. Now, you may or may not believe such a thing is possible, but when we compared notes and discovered they were exactly the same, we became convinced that the dream in fact represented the children that would come to us.
There were five of them. A boy first, separated somehow. By his age certainly, because he seemed to be about five years older than the rest of the children; but also by something else that we couldn't identify. He was beautiful and charming. A wonderful boy.
Then there were two boys, very close in age.
Then a girl and then, another girl who we've kind of always referred to as an 'optional' girl. We felt perhaps we might adopt her or something, somehow, she was a choice.
We had intended to wait to have our children, but when the prompting came to begin, we began in earnest. What followed was a heart wrenching five years during which we miscarried four times.
And then one day on a long drive, we felt it. A strong and unmistakable impression that the son we had been waiting for had been born.
So we began our search for our boy.
Finally, nearly four years later, we found him.
He was three and a half years old and had been living in foster care his whole life. He was absolutely and unmistakably our son and we felt so blessed.
Sam came to live with us and a year later our adoption was final and we were sealed in the temple. Now we would be together, a family, forever.
Sam was not in real life, as we had felt he would be.
He was beautiful and charming, to be sure. But he was also broken, bruised and forever changed on the inside.
We couldn't save him.
We had all the love in the world for this boy and yet, it was not enough.
When Sam did something that we couldn't protect him from; when the State stepped in and forced our hand to make a choice, we chose. Many people believe we made the wrong choice. Perhaps we did.
But I can tell you that the choice we made was out of love for Sam. We love him. I love him. I wanted him to have the chance to grow up in a family, with a mother who could love him, who had experience raising up boys with similar problems as Sam. My other option was to place him in a nearby institution where he would be raised with other boys like himself and with
medications to subdue his more violent tendencies.
We chose a family for him. But in doing so, we have lost him forever. He lives somewhere else now, far from us. We never see him, nor speak to him. It's been five years. He has another family now, a mother who loves him, brothers and sisters who 'get' him and, I hope, love him.
Beside my bed I keep a little box--a Chinese dream box. You are supposed to write down your dreams, put them in them in the box and they will come true.
When Sam was a little boy he found a rock in the shape of a heart. He gave it to me. It is that rock that I keep in my dream box.
My hope is that one day, Sam's heart will soften and will no longer be made of stone.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't feel love for Sam. He is, and forever will be, my boy. And I love him.