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     I am struggling to write this post to you. It's always been my desire to be honest and utterly raw with my words - no holding back, no judgement, no faking motherhood and all that comes with it. But due to my circumstances, I walk a fine line. There are so many things I want to tell, yet they're not mine to say. Times when I can show you my reactions but I can't tell you all of what caused them. Times that I can share my feelings of fear or anxiety, but I'm forced to leave out what's placed those feelings inside. Something that I've always known to be true, however, is that when I give you a problem - you faithful group of beautiful people - I am blown away with support. Prayers, comments, encouragement - all of it has stood alongside our family and has shown us the love of Christ so perfectly that living scared seems almost ridiculous. I'm so tired of standing on the fine line and writing fearfully. But even now.... I don't know what to say. So I will start here.
     Isaac will be two-years-old this week. When I sit there and watch him - how he interacts, the sentences he puts together, his grasp on humor, the empathy he exhibits when he sees someone cry (and the wisdom to know when someone is truly upset or when they're crying for no good reason... which was evidenced yesterday when Taylor dissolved into a fit of tears and screaming for being sent to her room and Isaac pointed his finger at her and sternly said, "Stop it, Taylor! Go!") - but when I sit there and truly see him, I feel eternally grateful for the ability to be the woman he calls Mama. Even though I can't take biological credit for his awesomeness, I claim every sarcastic look, stubborn moment, and loving touch.
     There are times when Isaac tries so hard to be independent. He wants to be one of the big kids in the worst kind of way. "Go 'way, Mama, I do it." He wants to climb the stairs on his own, open his own granola wrapper, and tear everything apart to see how it works. He's even taken this as far as wanting to parent Wyatt. He sees me struggling to hold the baby and do the dishes at the same time, so he offers to help, just like a little man. "I hold it, Mama, I get it," as he reaches for Wyatt. Isaac sees a need and tries to fill it, no questions asked. In this, I see Cameron. Even in the times when he tries to do something that is just a bit too big for his little body, the frustration is more than evident. The desire to know how things work, to want to be helpful, to be useful, but the intense anger when his ability isn't good enough for a task - it's as if he is Cameron's doppelganger.
     Then there are the times when things are going well. Everyone is calm. Everyone is getting along. Life is good. But then Isaac asks for something he wants and is told 'no'. I can't even tell you, but the drama is just below that of a menstruating teenage girl. He throws himself down, he screams until he can't breathe and chokes on his sobs, he holds his face with his hands in sheer dismay as he lays on the sidewalk/store floor/next to the car/pew of the church. You name it, he has flung himself down onto it! And as I sat there, wondering where in the world he could have learned such behavior, it hit me as plain as the nose on my face. Isaac is Taylor. Living in our home, we now have the reigning Drama King and Queen of Pennsylvania. Thankfully, he also inherited his sister's charm and utter adorableness, otherwise, we may have left the both of them on the sidewalk/store floor/next to the car/pew in church, etc.
     This weekend, my sister-in-law commented on Isaac's fearlessness. And let me tell you, something has to be said for a child, who has yet to turn two, that can scale an entire chain-link fence in less than 10 seconds! It's really no wonder that Isaac flings himself onto everything, because he literally has no fear of pain. There's no idea of danger that plagues him, no worry of consequences at all - just trust that he will be OK. And this, an attribute that is altogether beautiful and utterly terrifying, this is from my husband. It must have been from all those months of throwing Isaac's infant body 10 feet in the air to get him to smile, or letting Isaac fling himself backwards from Pat's big arms, only to be caught at the last second as he broke into a fit of giggles. Isaac always felt safe. He knew what strong arms felt like and he never doubted for a second that those arms would be there to catch him.
     In all ways, Isaac is a Costa. A name is just a name, but he is part of the Us that I've come to love so fiercely.
     Sadly, being part of our family isn't enough anymore. I thought that it was for a while. I thought that if I buried my head far enough in the sand and let myself be washed away by the lies that I would be able to pretend that this was enough - that our weekends with him would ensure that he grows up to love God. That my presence as his mother on the weekends would provide him enough security and love for the rest of his week. That my husband's strength would keep him safe. But it doesn't. It can't. Over the past few weeks, I've watched my baby boy with sadder eyes than before. He's anxious. He's aggressive. He's clingy. He's confused. When I lay with him before nap time, he holds onto me so tightly that little finger marks are left behind in my skin, long after he has drifted off.  He hates to leave us.
     There are people in his life that say that he's a boy - he shouldn't play with dolls, shouldn't be cuddled, shouldn't be given that kind of love. And there are people in his life that believe that discipline should be harsh and painful in order for it to be remembered. There are also people in his life that are looking out for their own well-being instead of his. People that are showing him violence, promiscuity, negative treatment of women, and illegal behavior.
     My baby is no longer a baby. He's a little boy. He has little boy eyes and little boy ears. He sees and he hears and he feels. He knows what it is to feel safe, which is why it hurts so much to know that he now knows what it is to be fearful. For as much as I look at this little life and see pieces of each of Us, I'm equally and painfully aware of the marks being left by the others. We were given the opportunity to save one child the grief of being exposed to so many things.... but alas, the system has failed him just like it did our other kids. We now only save children after they've been damaged and shattered and those pieces of Us can no longer be found.
     I will not be turning this post into something more than what it is. There will be no positive turn at the end or hearty chuckle to be had. I won't even begin to degrade the severity of this situation in order to make my blog more comfortable to read. I do, however, hope that discomfort moves you to pray for my child and all children in this predicament. I hope that it moves you to pray for our system. I hope that it moves you to pray for those that cause harm instead of good. Because this post reflects my circumstances, not my Spirit. The situation looks desperate and sounds desperate and feels unbearable.... but my Spirit reminds me that God bears what I cannot.
     For the small lot of you that are closer to this situation than others, I ask that you do not share this post on your Facebook wall. Instead, remember to be watching and listening, always attentive to what you see when you are out and about. If you see a child, any child, in need, be the one to help. Don't assume that someone else will step in and save the day. It just may be that it is my child and all his scattered pieces of Us that you end up saving. Pray, Friends. Pray, Watch, Listen, and most importantly, Do.