“Have you ever loved with everything you had, and it wasn’t enough?
Nothing could have prepared Carrie Anderson O’Toole for the decade-long journey of trying to love her little boy; a boy who struggled to trust and connect after leaving the only home he’d ever known–a Vietnamese orphanage.
Carrie O’Toole is a fellow BLASTer, Life Coach, and the founder of Carrie O’Toole ministries in Colorado, a ministry focused on finding healing from wounded pasts.
O’Toole is also the author of Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go, her own story of miscarriage, infertility, and an international adoption that went painfully awry.
Carrie’s story is a not a pretty one one. In fact, it’s a story most women would be ashamed to talk about. However, God brought new life through Carrie’s struggle to love a boy with detachment disorder.
I twisted Carrie’s arm, and she allowed me to share an excerpt here:
â€œDo you understand that relinquishment means you will no longer have any say in your sonâ€™s life, that he and his new family may or may not choose to include you in his life, and that the decision you are making is a permanent one? Do you agree to sever your parental rights completely?” The judge looked solemnly at us both.
What had happened to our plans?
Bob and I swayed in a fog of dizziness as defendants on one side of the courtroom, while Kelly and Tom sat at the opposing table. The judge continued to interrogate us regarding the efforts we had made on our sonâ€™s behalf throughout the years.
Yes, we had tried therapy. Numerous times with numerous professionals.
No, we didnâ€™t think his best interests would be served if he remained in our home.
Had the clock stopped along with my heart?
How could so few questions wring the life out of a soul?
My stomach shuffled its contents as my mind retraced the past decade.
How had it come to this? We had loved until it almost destroyed our family and took my life. We had pursued every type of professional help available. Counselors, therapists, educators, doctors, and church leaders had scrutinized our lives and offered what they couldâ€”all to no avail.
We were still here. Giving up. Like I had never believed we would.
I came back to my parentsâ€™ words: “The world is not fair.”
My innocent young brain had misinterpreted this information. I had convinced myself that if I worked hard enough, I could reorder lifeâ€™s little inconsistencies and even things out. I was the type of kid who asked the teller at the bank for an extra sucker to take home to my sister when she couldnâ€™t join my mom and me on an outing. I shared my ice cream when my scoops seemed larger. I was always looking for ways to keep everything fair and equal.
Because life was not fair, I took it upon myself to make up for the irreconcilable differences I experienced.
This time though, I could not create wholeness, no matter how hard I tried. I felt our lives were a crumbling mess, and it seemed as though so many of the pieces were simply no longer there. Nothing I had done worked. Justice eluded me. How could I make sense of a world where this could happen to our family, even though we had done everything right?
“We understand, Your Honor.”
Bob and I supported each otherâ€™s sobbing bodies as we limped out of the courtroom. Even though we left minus one child, our hearts somehow took on more weight that day.
The judge granted our petition and showed extreme compassion. We would soon find out that others were not as kind.
Watch the book trailer below :
You can pre-order Relinquished: When Love Means Letting Go here.
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