One Scrapbook Changed Lives and Relationships!
I met my adopted son when I was asked to be his medical foster mother. His care required me to “clap” his chest every three hours before feedings, “force feed” him, administer yucky medicine and hours of physical therapy. He was a strong willed tiger or he would not have survived the lung and heart damage of his prematurity. But I, too, had to become strong willed – literally fighting for his life. But as the years went by, his strong willed battle for independence became teenage rebellion. He began to use drugs, skip school and get in trouble with the law. We finally had to make an extremely difficult decision. We placed him in a drug treatment center.
Of course, my son was very angry. His rebellion divided us in every way. “You never did care about me!” “We never did anything fun in the family – You just made us work all the time,” he hollered in therapy sessions. We knew he hurting, but he was hurting us, too. Due to threats to physically harm us and others, he was not allowed to visit our home even after he was released to probation.
During this painful time I started a Christmas gift for our son. I made a scrapbook of his life. I gathered photos. I had to fit 18 years into one 8x10 album in a short time, so I did not use a great deal of decoration and never had multiple pages for single events. As I worked on the album there was incredible healing for me and my husband. We saw those photos of a tiny, sick baby to whom we devoted our lives. I wrote how I loved and cared for him. I journaled our pride at small accomplishments, such as his first steps which came during a home physical therapy session. We saw photo after photo of parties, trips, gifts and holidays in which we poured our love into this darling little rascal. We HAD done fun things! And there was proof that we cared for him. The healing began before our son ever knew about his scrapbook. My husband and I began to celebrate the good things we had done for our son – things which had nearly been forgotten when we had only focused on the struggle.
When my son received the Christmas gift he was surprised and speechless. He looked at it, overwhelmed, not knowing what to say. I had been afraid that he would lose the album in his chaotic lifestyle he still was a “user” and never lived anyplace very long. But he treasured the album and eventually began to assimilate it. He read and reread the pages and commented about them from time to time. He asked for a special case to keep it in to protect it. He began to see the good aspects of our family. He began to include us more in his life. Gradually we became more and more connected to him. I have kept up his scrapbook, now in its second volume. There are more and more photos of us doing things together and even of him celebrating events together with us in our home.
There is no way our son would have ever recovered medically as a baby if it had not been for God answering many people’s prayers for him. There is also no way that our relationship could have been reconciled or his life redeemed from drugs if God had not reached down and rescued him for Christ. But the album I made was one of the tools God used to bring a hurting young man back into the fabric of our family and out of the rebellious lifestyle that had bound him. I plan to never stop scrapbooking!
Tomorrow at dMarie Daily: Why I Love Scrapbooking, by bennie, Murray, UT