I'm still trying to parse it. The grief over more than a decade long labor of love, hard work and very literal sacrifice. The risks that were taken, marital and emotional. The huge emotional investment. The financial investment, which, to be frank, consumed no small amount of a personal trust fund. I still wake in the middle of the night and think, no, no, it's a dream: Your adopted child isn't a drug addict who is so far gone that he is selling his personal possessions to fuel his habit, and that of his friend whose bong he broke. He didn't just tell you on FaceTime that he feels wonderful and stress free and that this is the best he's ever felt. And he didn't liquidate most of his checking account's available balance on the 1st of April by the 2nd of April on drug paraphernalia and drugs. He didn't text me on Friday with the facile request for a cash deposit bail out I wouldn't give him, after successive and rapid overdrafts on his checking account, thinking somehow that I hadn't noticed the $385 drug paraphernalia purchase, the cash withdrawals and deposits of cash from that TV or bike he mentioned he was going to sell. He didn't stop going to class, stop eating gluten-free in spite of the celiac disease, start gaining 70 lbs, stop cutting his hair for three months, stop shaving his beard off for two months or stop living in his dorm room that we paid for, with his friends who were not drugging, in order to go live in the apartment of his friend whose parents evidently haven't noticed they are supporting more than just college for their son.
But he did.
Twelve years of knowing a child you realize that you no longer know. That you kicked out of the house in late December 2015 for his explosive and seemingly irrational anger and demands for money that raised that visceral red flag that you didn't quite understand on a cerebral level at the time but that you felt with every fiber of your being was a sign something was very, very wrong. All of which you now see, thanks to the paradigm of years and years in the child welfare system dealing with substance abuse cases, through the filter of substance abuse behavior. The paraphernalia charge on his bankcard and stark admission of enjoyment of his drugging, bailed-out-of-life life, both by FaceTime and SnapChat, only confirm the very saddest of realities.
So much loss. So much grief. Really, there are no words to define it.
The genes... They won. They won big. They crushed the nurturers. They crushed their very souls.