Lost and Removed Parenting: Holding it Together, Falling Apart

By 3:45 am I had lost it, removed myself – was barely holding it together and completely falling apart.

I really do need to correct my verbiage.  A few weeks ago our long term foster placement was returned to her birth home. #Joybaby was with us for 18-months.  Our grief is substantial. I should say, “Since she was returned.” I have a tendency to say, “Since we lost her…” My dad pointed out that sounds morbid.

To us it feels like a loss more than a return.  But I know he is right and I know that for our young sons, Sam and Charlie, who we adoringly refer to as the vandals, because they vandalize, the term return would sound less daunting.

Lost or removed – well, yeah, that is upsetting.

In the wake of the “return”, we have had a few other major life changes going on as well. Our eldest daughter eloped, cause she is freaking fantastic, our son became a Marine, our other son is moving to a new city and the rest of us… moved. We have been in Abilene for 25 years – we moved.  I still can’t believe we did it.  But as I began to compose this post the ramifications of the recent loss, er removal and move, were becoming blazingly obvious.

Sam, our five-year-old was, once again, slicked up next to me, sweating the night away, clinging to me as if it weren’t 97 degrees outside. As of late, I can’t even go to the bathroom without Sam losing his mind.

Terror laced screams bellow through the halls if I inadvertently move from one room to the next without reporting, in explicit detail to Sam that I am vacating the premises. This confession isn’t one I take lightly.  I don’t mean to sound wicked, but eventually, I will get to the point.  It isn’t easy to have Sam constantly under foot, under my pillow, watching me shower… and pee.  He holds onto my shirt or my belt loops. In extreme instances, my hair. He is altogether needy and insecure.

And I confess, I have lost my patience with him. Prior to opening my laptop to draft this, I peeled his sticky self off my person. Imagine a squid suctioned to the glass of an aquarium. Every time I removed a limb another one sucked back to the safety of my hot, weary body. I did my best to replace myself with a pillow, but I only made it half way down the hall before his shrill and horrific screams shattered what should be the silence of 4:10 am.

I know, reading this you feel an overwhelming pity for him. I do too. But if I am to be totally candid with you, you should know, I barked at him.  “GO TO BED!  I need to work! GO BACK TO BED!” And he sobbed and I sobbed… I am sobbing.  And I know he is asleep in the hall.  I can hear him sniffling.  It will be a long day, another long day.  In the midst of the move, we have been displaced because of Hurricane Harvey. I am not complaining, so many have lost so much.  I have a couple leaks, no internet, and an insecure 5-year-old. School is still out, stores have no bread, and life seems to be on hold. I feel every click of the clock and I can still hear Sam’s jagged breath in the hall.  Those breaths remind me that I truly do want to be a better mom.

Still, sometimes it is so very life sucking.

Samwise, who we adopted when he was just 10 days old has always been an utter delight. To say he is behaving out of character is an understatement.  Honestly, I am at a loss. And it isn’t as if we haven’t had kids struggle but this seems mores duanting, exceedingly over the top. This is Sam we are talking about.  I figure, in stages, in my rush to save the world I have destroyed his.  Certainly, this isn’t accurate.  But, in my current exhaustive condition, I run with this and have a pathetic pity party, complete with cheap wine over ice, peanut M&Ms, and Cheetos.

Briefly, this is the only explanation for why he is so sad. I have failed.

Somewhere in the morning ambiance – the sight of coffee, the smell of words, the chill of sunrise, the liveliness of fatigue, there is the welcomed confusion of grace.

[clickToTweet tweet=”the sight of coffee, the smell of words, the chill of sunrise, the liveliness of fatigue ahhh…. #Grace” quote=”the sight of coffee, the smell of words, the chill of sunrise, the liveliness of fatigue ahhh…. #Grace”]

Grace for Sam.

Grace for me.

This is what I need.  I, in my folly and humanness, I have to muster this grace, but the grace afforded me flows freely.  It is altogether unfair, undeserved and inexcusable.  As I beg my psyche manifest this audacious emotion, a passion I will then force upon my precious boy, who urgently needs my security – my whole devotion and confirmation – I sense grace from outside my human frame. This grace, this that I inhale, that gives me life and ministers to me in my wretchedness, is something I cannot imitate.

This fresh wave of resolve to stop and tend to someone other than myself is the result of He who knows me… and Sam.  He grieves with us. He is most careful with us, especially now.  Particularly in the moment, with little sleep, in the wrong house, in a different bed, with a little girl “removed,” a new schedule and a very big  storm stalled in the distance.

Grace affords Sam safety, wrapped in a blanket as I hunt and peck the last of these words.

Grace waits patiently for me to let go – it’s not the worst day, granted it’s not the best but we are only starting.

Grace knows – and graces hopes and grows. It is abundant and priceless, scarce and precious. It is too much and not enough and today it is everything we need and all we have.  Falling into the arms of grace Sam and I enjoy another cup of coffee and make the most of these pop tarts and knowing nothing is lost and we are never to far “removed.”

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT) “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.”

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  1. Nancy Smith on September 1, 2017 at 4:23 am

    It is 4:15 as I am reading this and it made me so very aware that the comfort that Grace brings into our space is unfathomable. Without it I would be a vegetarian’s dinner. May His unfathomable, unending abundant Grace be in all the small and large spaces in your life (and Sam’s) as you navigate these changes.

    • jami_amerine on September 1, 2017 at 4:24 am

      Grace to you. ❤️

  2. Liz on September 1, 2017 at 5:38 am

    My devotional before 5 this morning was about David at the end of his life, reflecting, not on his own accomplishments, but on God’s faithfulness to His covenant with David. God was the hero in David’s story, despite his cataclysmic failures. It is all grace, yet our human harts are so tempted to measure work and effort and our own strength. Even in our wanderings, His grace is sufficient for me, for you, for Sam, for us all.

    • jami_amerine on September 1, 2017 at 5:39 am


  3. Mary Lou on September 1, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Although taxing for you, for sure, what an awesome time to demonstrate and emulate how our Heavenly Father is faithful… I WILL NOT leave you, I am here. Prayers that your little vandal can see the peace of that promise in you as you love him through all the changes…even if not as perfectly as you would like at times.

    • jami_amerine on September 1, 2017 at 6:46 am


  4. Marcy McCorkle on September 1, 2017 at 8:05 am

    I woke up to resolutions and declarations by my husband as we try to support my mom who is living through dementia. We have lived with her a month and face her unexpected reality daily. I am frequently overwhelmed by plans and decisions of all family members involved. But I am reminded by your post that I must choose to return to God for His grace. His grace is mind-clearing, energy-boosting, freedom-giving life and hope. Thank you. Grace and peace to you and Sam.

    • jami_amerine on September 1, 2017 at 8:07 am

      Grace & Peace to you

  5. Glenna McKelvie on September 1, 2017 at 8:18 am

    I remember moving your grandmother to Texas and finding
    I didnt have as much grace as I thought I had! (I was so

  6. Marsha on September 1, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Being an Army veteran, and the wife of an Army lifer, and the mother of a baby-Marine daughter, now home with the Lord, with your posts I ruminated, and ruminate on the resilience of humanity through moves, wars, storms, absent spouse homemaking, adolescence-ing through adulting, especially the adult versions of adolescence-ing, before and after Christ lovingly saved our souls.
    He is still perfecting us until we stand then bow before Him face to face.
    I am most confident you all, including precious Sam and Charlie, are and will be the most joy-radiant prisms of God’s delight with all His perfectly God-carved fissures and faults expertly and purposefully placed precisely where God intends them to be for His glory. Scars are for perfecting.
    Thank you for reminding us over and over that God wins through late night meltdowns and sticky finger embraces. He never lets go. God has the stickiest fingers of all. He holds everything together with His perfecting love.

    • jami_amerine on September 1, 2017 at 9:01 am

      As always, you are both eloquent and perfect in your expressions of Him. I continue to be in awe of you. I hold you up in prayer. ❤️

  7. Cyndi Brady on September 1, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Our family of seven recently moved back to the US from Australia, where we lived for four years. My youngest, six year old Nate, is doing the very same things as your Sam. I cannot go anywhere without him, and it both touches my heart and exasperates me beyond measure. I keep telling myself it will pass. He will find his new normal, we all will. I hope it helps to know you are not alone in struggling through the upheaval of a big move.

    • jami_amerine on September 1, 2017 at 10:07 am

      It does. God love them – and us.

  8. Patricia Werth on September 17, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    It is a loss. I was foster mom to 24 over a 10 year period. I was a short term foster parent but that didn’t always work out. I had twins for 2 years before they were adopted and our last baby we had from 3 days old until 18 months when he was adopted. I grieved for over a year. We knew the people who adopted him and we followed his development through school and as a lawyer and we were privileged to be invited to his wedding which we were thrilled to attend. Could Sam feel the loss too? May God grace you with patience and healing.

    • jami_amerine on September 17, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      It is. Sundays hit me hardest. Thank you. God bless you and every life you touched.

  9. […] I remember quite vividly the funeral of a dear friend at the ripe old age of 43.  At the time I was 30, and I may have considered her “middle-aged.” Now, myself at 46, I am certain she wasn’t.  As her husband and young son stood at the podium, her beloved man said, “we were having so much fun, yes, that’s it… we were having fun just being together.” […]

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