Friday, November 14, 2008

Trial and Error

Manolin's BioMom entered a guilty plea to the charges against her--the ones that left a seven week old baby with broken bones, a bruised spirit and a chance to break the cycle of neglect and abuse that has all but consumed the rest of his biological family.

A judge accepted the plea, and will be deciding her fate at a later time.

Pleading guilty looks good. It speaks to the optimistic, reform-minded members of the court who want to see change in the hearts and actions of the accused. It admits liability. It offers a glimmer of hope for a second chance. For the people who sit on the bench day in and day out, it is an uncommon breath of fresh air: culpability.

I did it. I hurt him. I shouldn't have. What next?

What next, indeed?

Manolin's V-Gal assures me that she is pushing for termination. His social worker is outraged at the entire case and says she is chomping at the bit to keep him out of the hands which perpetrated his abuse. Everything, everywhere says that this baby is home now. That the cradle he steals forty minute naps in will be a treasured part of his history. That the memories we have already made will be retold to him on his wedding day. That his last name will be the same as ours by next Christmas.

And yet, doubt lingers. My husband, reporting on the case today, gave life to the words that I really didn't want to hear:

"Be careful, Mary Grace. I'm not saying that you hold your heart back. I'm just saying that, well ... pleading guilty looks really good, babe."

Pleading guilty--admitting to sin--looks good. And why not? Coming clean before the Lord is one of the pivotal acts that cements our salvation. But the second step ... that's where the bluster of our good intentions is burned away and our surrender is complete.

What next, Lord? I'm giving it all to You. Lead me. You're in control.

Is Manolin's BioMom there? When the One who knit her together in her mother's womb looks into her heart, what does He see? Repentance? Manipulation? Fear? Anger?

I can't say what the judge will decide is an appropriate prison sentence for Manolin's BioMom. I won't allow my thoughts to wander to the places where my faith is stretched taut and I hand his round, wiggly baby body over to a person who once felt justified in repeatedly inflicting harm on the infant who had only weeks before floated safe and warm just below her heart.

Today, I am thankful that I am not the Lord. I am thankful that I do not have the job of defining fairness versus justness or of dispensing either righteous vengeance or undeserved mercy. But I am so, so thankful that there is EL ROI who does these things ... and who loves us, in spite of it all.


Nichole said...

I so hope that you get to keep...what a horrible thought to have him given back to her.

Mrs. C said...

Praying the system does the VERY BEST THING for Manolin. Prayers that deception will be seen right through and that Manolin is safe.

Dearest Jessica said...

his has got to be the hardest balance to make.

Liz said...

i always think now: there are no black and whites with fostercare.
it's always grey and muddled. and because of this i am SO GLAD GOD has his hand on each situation he has brought my family into!

Anonymous said...

I Thank God every day that HE is in control and not me. I am praying for your strength and endurance, and for Manolin's BioMoms Salvation and Repentance (the true definition is a TURNING from sin). God will do what's best for all of you, He has to! His plans are to see us live in His Abundance.

Overwhelmed! said...

I also hope you get to keep this little guy. And I pray that Mandolin's bio mom gets the help that she needs, wherever that may be.

Luke said...

Your will be done, Lord. Amen.

I wish I knew how to pray better than that. Hang in there!


Lee Ann said...

I just found your blog today and am facing losing my first foster daughter in the next two weeks. She has a very similar story as your Manolin, except that no one has confessed and they can't determine who did it. So she is going back. And my husband and I feel like our heart is being ripped out of us.

It is such a broken system that unfortunately doesn't always work for the good of the child. We are left to pray for her, and pray that she will be kept from any additional harm all the days of her life.

If you would like to talk more my email is lanichol(at)yahoo.