That first year was filled with many tumultuous times. Our new children had been through difficult times. Wounds do not heal overnight. We especially saw this in Troy. He was the oldest at nearly eight years of age. After being in five different homes in the last two and a half years he wasn’t sure he could trust anyone.
Troy was angry. His parents had promised he would be coming back home. That didn’t happen. Families had promised to adopt him. That didn’t happen. Families said they loved him, but they hurt him. How could we show him we were being honest with him? We did love him. He could trust us.
As I watched the struggle our angry little boy went through, my heart ached. I remember several times looking out our dining room window watching Troy up more than 20 feet in the oak tree. He was swaying there in the wind trying so hard to be brave, but I could see him fiercely swipe away a tear now and then. He looked so lost and alone. I wanted to hold him and reassure him, but he wouldn’t let me. He thought he didn’t need us.
One time Troy and I were having a confrontational talk. It was not going well. He sat in the furthest corner of the room with his back to me. I lay on the bed and was talking quietly, but he had shut me out. I began to pray out loud. He burst out angrily, “I don’t want you to pray for me!” I tried to just calmly finish praying, and then I began talking again. I told him how I loved him which instantly brought the angry outburst, “I don’t want you to love me!” I then told him that there wasn’t much he could do about that. I loved him before he ever came to my home. God had placed that love in my heart. However, it was up to him whether he accepted that love. I couldn’t make him.
Whenever there was conflict Troy would yell about how we didn’t love him. He’d tell me to call the foster care worker and tell her to take them away. I told him I would never do that because children were not meant to be given away no matter how bad things were. He would dare me. It was almost as if he wanted to see if he could push me over the edge and force me to make that call. I finally told him one day, “Troy, I will not call, but if you are that unhappy here than you pick up the phone and make the phone call.” He never did.
My husband had his own battles with Troy. I remember one night my husband had to physically restrain him because things were out of control. He sat holding him with his arms wrapped around his upper body and his legs wrapped around Troy’s legs as he fought and screamed and yelled with tears running down his face. He finally collapsed out of sheer exhaustion.
Another time Troy had shut himself in his room and hid under the bed. My husband told him he would give him some time, but then he needed to talk about what was going on. My husband sat in the upstairs hall and prayed. When I came downstairs, my oldest children said, “We need to pray for Troy again, don’t we.” We each were praying, and I also called our church prayer chain. It was at this time I feel like the floodgate of emotions was finally opened. Les took Troy on the back porch where we had stored an old mattress. He told Troy how he was angry. He said, “I’m angry you couldn’t stay with your birth parents. I’m angry they didn’t do what they should have.” He began listing things and with each thing he punched the mattress. Troy began to cry. Les said, “Aren’t you angry? Come on get up here and punch the mattress.” Troy finally gave a few half-hearted punches and then collapsed in sobs and let Les hold him. Healing could finally begin after nearly ten months of battling for Troy's trust and love.