Ok, I know that it has been a very long time since many of you heard from me last. What you don't know, is that I have sat down in front of this very screen over a dozen times over the past three to four months to write what is on my heart and "bare all" to what I am feeling or going through. Even now as I type, my hands are shaking (more than usual for those of you who really know me) and I confess my fear. I am afraid of you knowing how I have felt or better yet, how I am still feeling. The truth is, many of you (to my own fault) don't know the real Chris Byers. Honestly, I am not sure that I even know who I am. For a long time, I was anxious to know, but the more that I have been honest about where I am at, the more I have scared myself. I am afraid of your judgement the most, and I don't know where that comes from.
If you are hoping for me to continue, I do apologize that won't happen tonight. I want for that time to come, but I am just not ready. I have felt like a tool in that so many of you have been so amazing to my family and I to love and pray for us during this tough season of our lives. I have so wanted to come to this blog and write the perfect post, that would capture where I am, where we are, and what has been going on since Thunder left our family. I have no clue where that comes from either. However, I will do my best to give you an update on Thunder, which is what most of you have been thirsty for anyway. (sorry for the babbling)
On Tuesday March 23rd, just 6 days before our little princess Brit turned 4 years old, what I thought would never happen came true. Not sure that I would ever admit to loving elements of a storm, but it was an amazing gift to know that Thunder was in our forecast! What a long day. I thought for sure that the 6pm would never come that day. If I am honest with you, my biggest fear was that Thunder wouldn't remember us...and if I was really honest, I was scared that he wouldn't remember me. I have felt so much guilt of letting him go, cause I knew somewhere in my mind that things wouldn't end up well for him.
I will do my best to continue to cover Thunder's biological parents with as much respect as I can muster. Sadly, they made some choices that led to the State Social Services stepping in and removing Thunder from their care. I HATE what he has seen and been through in the 19 months of his life. I love him so much and I can't believe that we have been given another chance to be his mommy, daddy, sister (Brit is so happy that her only prayer over the last couple of months has come true...my baby brother has come home), and furry brother to Thunder again.
We are walking through the process of Fostering Thunder through the state. The people that gave birth to Thunder (I hate saying parents, cause I believe we are his family!! ok, I am a little biassed, can you blame me?) have 3 months to get their act together and have the chance to once again, take Thunder back into their care. It has been so amazing to see and feel the support from the rest of the Thunder's family and close friends that we are his family and that this is where he belongs. This is such a scary process for us, and I am so afraid to lose him again. I know the churchy thing to say is to fear not, or to have faith, but at this place, I can't deny what is true, I am dreadfully scared to lose my Son again!
At the end of the 3 month process, if the biologicals are unable to get their "act" together, then the process to terminate the parental rights will begin with the state. Notice I said begin. It will take much longer than that, and we will not be completely out of the dark. We still have a HUGE wall to face if and when the parental rights are terminated. The wall known as The Tribe. Since Thunder is Native American, and we're not, under the Indian Child Welfare Act, we are not the "best" fit for him. I want so much to teach Thunder about his heritage and to give him the chance to who he wants to be. My dream for him is that he could one day return to his people and make a difference...to make a difference that I once was so passionate about, but too much of a coward to fight for. I am so sad to know that he could be taken from us or any family for that matter who would love and care for him like he was our own biological child just because we are not Native enough.
If you are the praying type, you can pray specifically for a lady that I will call EAGLE. She has a lot of say in our case and even other families who are encountering similar obstacles that we are. I know that history speaks for itself. Sadly, many Native children's locks were chopped off, moccasins and regalia taken away, and forced those children to be something that they were not. A white Christian. I have no desire to do that to my son. I want him to know who he is, and give him the same choice that I was given, to accept or reject Christ. The only thing that I can guarantee EAGLE is that we will love Thunder with all of our hearts, and do our best to give him the opportunity to be who he was born to be. If that is to be the next Sitting Bull or the next Tyler Hansbrough, it will be Thunder's choice to make that decision.
We have a long a scary road ahead, but we are thankful that our Son is home. We will cherish every moment and hope for another! He is doing so amazing! He has been sleeping well, eating well, and has been super mobile! When he was with us before, he wasn't walking, and now with his newfound mobility, it has been fun to see what he gets himself into. We love him more than you know. He has changed our lives so much and has had such a profound impact on our story. I will never be the same because of him. Thank you so much for your interest in our story. Your love, support, and prayers have been pillars for us to lean on when to be honest, it was much easier to give up. I am thankful for my wife and her courage and faith during this time. I wish I had a 1/8 of her faith an hope!
I will do my best to make more updates about this process, so check back every once and a while...