We relinquished our parental rights.

I’ve been trying to come up with something to say that conveys the deepest sorrow that I have ever felt. But I haven’t found it. Because nothing sorrow-like seems to convey the deepest relief I feel at the same time.

Here’s what I know. Q was violent and dangerous. Q has complex needs brought on by early childhood trauma and neglect along with severe mental health challenges. Q has 8 different diagnoses and the care needs that are required will be lifelong. We do not have the capability to meet those needs now or ever in the future.

That could be a form paragraph as a response to why we relinquished. I guess I could stop there. Of course that would be total bullshit and you and I both know it. It’s deep and messy and doesn’t make a bit of sense. But that’s how hard things often are, right? They are messy and often don’t make sense.

I slept in fear every single night. Because she didn’t sleep, she wanted to hurt us, and sometimes did. One particular night she terrorized us in the middle of the night by smashing a towel hook onto our bedroom door for hours. Now, as I struggle with my own PTSD and all the mess that comes with that, I still hear that in my sleep now. I wake in a panic- sweaty and fragile. Smash. Smash. Smash.

Some might say that her behavior was a cry for help. I would agree. Some would say that she was trying to get our attention and needed something from us. I would agree. We tried. We tried every single day. Her needs are far greater than what we can provide.

She would take anything and make it a weapon. The glass of a picture frame she broke. The rod for her clothes in the closet. The knives. Wood from breaking her door. Her nails digging into my own skin and clawing until blood came out. She was willing to do anything that the voices in her head would tell her. No matter how much it hurt her or others.

She knew we had a duty and a commitment to keep her safe. So she would do anything in her power not to be safe. It would take us hours to get anywhere because she would smash her head against the seat and the window so hard we would have to pull over to restrain and redirect the behavior. Of course, this never made anything better. At home she would run and smash her head into the wall or a door on purpose. She aimed for pain and blood from herself or from us. It wasn’t quite clear which was favored.

We know we are not yet as strong as we would like to be to be able to stand up against relentless judgement that will be coming from some people (we know not all). I shared this concern with my boss and she told me what she thought of judgement. She feels that judgement is just something that people do as a reflection and concern for themselves. If people can keep you and your decisions at an arms length, they can be sure that they themselves would not ever find themselves in a similar situation. That if only they could determine that they would choose something different, they can be sure that they would also never experience that kind of pain. I think my boss is right.

So with that, I risk telling you, we relinquished our parental rights. You may believe that you would choose something different. You might be right, you might also be wrong. No one knows truly what they would do given a painful situation. I hope you never have to find out what you would choose. What I know is that this choice, while painful and a horrific loss, is right for us. Not pleasant, but it is the right thing to do.

We believe that the care and treatment of Q can be focused on her, her mental health, and her symptoms now, instead of an unrealistic goal focusing on her relationship with us.

We believe that we had a damaged relationship as a family because of the violence and therefore would not be able to heal enough to ever be able to provide what she needs for an entire lifetime.

We believe that safety in relationships should come first.

We believe that we did our best.