Sarah: The Suicide of Our Adult Child

Just Sarah, as a Teen

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Suicide Ended Our Parenting Journey

We learned on Friday afternoon, May 15, 2009 that our daughter Sarah had ended her tormented life. We spent three hours this afternoon talking with her common law husband, and he is devastated.

Our daughter was very disturbed when she came to us as a foster child at age nine. We were never able to help her with the issues that had so damaged her. When she was a teen, her past and raging hormones kicked in together and caused her to leave at the age of 17.

In the two years before Sarah died, her birth mother committed suicide and her birth father died of cancer after he had won a long battle with drugs and alcohol. We had not seen or heard from her in 14 years. Her brother, the only person she had ever really loved and bonded to, rode a jet ski to Heaven in 1991, and that removed the only relationship she really seemed to care about until she met Wes in Colorado.


The picture shows Sarah in 1989, the last year before the real problems started. She was sixteen.

All pictures in this lens came from our family collection and albums.

Where We First Met Sarah

Jason's fifth birthday party gave us an opportunity to meet Sarah without making  big deal of it, since we were Jason's neighbors.
Jason's fifth birthday party gave us an opportunity to meet Sarah without making big deal of it, since we were Jason's neighbors. | Source

The Journey Begins

Meeting Sarah

We first met Sarah at her brother Jason's fifth birthday party. He was a foster child next door and his foster mother knew I was bonding with him from our frequent visits. She knew he would go up for adoption fairly soon and that he also had a sister four years older than he -- Sarah. Jason had told me he had a sister and I knew he loved her and wanted live with her again. We all wanted it to happen. But first we knew we needed to meet Sarah. Joanetta thought the best way to meet would be at Jason's birthday party, since no one would suspect we were anything more than some of the other guests. We had not yet said anything to Jason about his moving to our home. We wanted to meet Sarah first.

Sarah is on the far right, next to Joanetta, Jason's foster mom. Jason is sitting in front in the black and white shirt. You can see Sarah watching Jason, and maybe a bit sorry she doesn't have any presents to open.

Sarah at the Zoo in Santa Barbara

Sarah has always related to animals better than people. This cat was at the zoo.
Sarah has always related to animals better than people. This cat was at the zoo. | Source

The next step

Making a connection through official channels

By the time this picture was taken, we had made Social Services aware of our intentions to get a foster care license to get both Sarah and Jason into our home. The plan was then to wait for a termination of parental rights, as this was going to take some time. We were told the next step would be for us to take Sarah on an outing to get to know each other a bit. We decided to take her to the zoo in Santa Barbara.

Sarah has always been hard to get to know. She saw this cat almost as soon as we entered the zoo, and for most of the day she pretended to be a cat, communicating mostly by meowing. This made conversation rather difficult. Sarah was shy and probably afraid of change. She knew we might represent change. She had told her foster mother she didn't want to live with Jason again, but she told the social worker that she did.

Although we didn't really learn much about Sarah that day except that adopting her would be challenging, we decided to go ahead and get our foster care license. In August of 1982, we suddenly had two children. I will cover more about that in another lens I will write by and by. For now, let's just say that if you think getting married requires adjustments, picture a four-way marriage with two of the partners constantly vying for pecking order and the other two wondering what hit them. Consider also that Sarah had felt responsible for looking after Jason from the time she was six and he was two. This did not indicate that smooth sailing was ahead. For about two months, Kosta and I felt we were totally isolated -- that the world outside our home did not exist. There wasn't any energy left for the outside world.

Books for Those Considering the Adoption of an Older Child

Adoption can bring much joy to anyone who can't have children or who wants to expand a family. It can also bring heartache and turn your life upside down. It is imperative to learn as much as you can about what you might face before you take that step -- especially if you adopt an older child who has been hurt physically or psychologically. I suggest you get one or more of the books you see recommended here to prepare yourself.

Adoption

The Beginning of our Legal Relationship

The picture shows us on the day we adopted Sarah and Jason. The adults, left to right are Kosta, me, the social worker, and the judge. Sarah is next to the social worker, and Jason is in front of her. Our journey had actually begun when the children entered our home through foster care in August of 1982. Sarah was nine and Jason was five. This picture was taken about two years later on our adoption day.


The Adoption Present from God

It was quiet in the car as we drove east towards home, where a celebration was scheduled. It was dusk, and there was a light rain. We were aware that we had a new legal relationship to each other, and I expect we were all silently pondering what new effect that would have on our life together. Ahead of us, in the almost dark sky, a magnificent double rainbow appeared. Jason was quick to observe: "Look! God is giving us an adoption present: two rainbows -- one for me and one for Sarah." This gave us hope that our new family was off to a blessed start.

A Blessing from God

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Have you ever adopted a child? - Were you adopted yourself?

Maybe you know people who have adopted children or maybe you have adopted children or fostered them yourselves. If so, you are aware of the changes that can bring to a family. Maybe you were even adopted yourself.

Is adopting an older child really a rougher ride than adopting an infant?

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Sarah - The Early Years of Foster Care

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As soon as we could after Sarah came, we enrolled her in competitive swimming so that she would get exercise and meet people. She got exercise, but was still too shy to meet anyone.A lot of play went on at our house. It appeared to us that Sarah enjoyed playing with Kosta, as well as her brother and me. Kosta was the only one strong enough to give the children the piggyback rides they frequently demanded.Sarah is showing one of the numerous stray cats that visited us a book about cats. One thing you will notice as you see the various pictures of Sarah from year to year  is that her need to hold, pet, and be around animals is consistent. Children withThis was taken during a trip to San Jose and we visited a park while Kosta was at work.Sarah's birthday was April 30, and Jason's was on June 22. Instead of having two separate birthday parties, we started a tradition of celebrating both at the local state beach on a date in between the birthdays.This was one of the first outings we took with the children where they brought friends. Jason's friend's family also came, and Sarah brought a school friend. This was at Disneyland.This was also at Disneyland. Sarah has come to sit on Kosta's lap. I'm not sure why now, but she often wanted us to hold her on our laps, even when she got to big to fit.This school picture shows Sarah's ability to smile when she wanted to, and smiling made her beautiful. You will want to constrast this with some of the pictures of Sarah's last year with us and those taken after she left.This was taken on Halloween in 1985. Sarah must have been 12, but emotionally she was still a little girl.  By this time we had adopted Moses the Kitten, who grew into a cat before we knew it.
As soon as we could after Sarah came, we enrolled her in competitive swimming so that she would get exercise and meet people. She got exercise, but was still too shy to meet anyone.
As soon as we could after Sarah came, we enrolled her in competitive swimming so that she would get exercise and meet people. She got exercise, but was still too shy to meet anyone. | Source
A lot of play went on at our house. It appeared to us that Sarah enjoyed playing with Kosta, as well as her brother and me. Kosta was the only one strong enough to give the children the piggyback rides they frequently demanded.
A lot of play went on at our house. It appeared to us that Sarah enjoyed playing with Kosta, as well as her brother and me. Kosta was the only one strong enough to give the children the piggyback rides they frequently demanded. | Source
Sarah is showing one of the numerous stray cats that visited us a book about cats. One thing you will notice as you see the various pictures of Sarah from year to year  is that her need to hold, pet, and be around animals is consistent. Children with
Sarah is showing one of the numerous stray cats that visited us a book about cats. One thing you will notice as you see the various pictures of Sarah from year to year is that her need to hold, pet, and be around animals is consistent. Children with | Source
This was taken during a trip to San Jose and we visited a park while Kosta was at work.
This was taken during a trip to San Jose and we visited a park while Kosta was at work. | Source
Sarah's birthday was April 30, and Jason's was on June 22. Instead of having two separate birthday parties, we started a tradition of celebrating both at the local state beach on a date in between the birthdays.
Sarah's birthday was April 30, and Jason's was on June 22. Instead of having two separate birthday parties, we started a tradition of celebrating both at the local state beach on a date in between the birthdays. | Source
This was one of the first outings we took with the children where they brought friends. Jason's friend's family also came, and Sarah brought a school friend. This was at Disneyland.
This was one of the first outings we took with the children where they brought friends. Jason's friend's family also came, and Sarah brought a school friend. This was at Disneyland. | Source
This was also at Disneyland. Sarah has come to sit on Kosta's lap. I'm not sure why now, but she often wanted us to hold her on our laps, even when she got to big to fit.
This was also at Disneyland. Sarah has come to sit on Kosta's lap. I'm not sure why now, but she often wanted us to hold her on our laps, even when she got to big to fit. | Source
This school picture shows Sarah's ability to smile when she wanted to, and smiling made her beautiful. You will want to constrast this with some of the pictures of Sarah's last year with us and those taken after she left.
This school picture shows Sarah's ability to smile when she wanted to, and smiling made her beautiful. You will want to constrast this with some of the pictures of Sarah's last year with us and those taken after she left. | Source
This was taken on Halloween in 1985. Sarah must have been 12, but emotionally she was still a little girl.  By this time we had adopted Moses the Kitten, who grew into a cat before we knew it.
This was taken on Halloween in 1985. Sarah must have been 12, but emotionally she was still a little girl. By this time we had adopted Moses the Kitten, who grew into a cat before we knew it. | Source

A peek into Sarah's mind at the time of her adoption

We Pieced This Together Later

Naturally, we could not read Sarah's mind. We knew she wasn't really sold on being adopted, but that she went along with it because she knew it was the only way to stay with her brother Jason. We had hoped as time went on, she would begin to accept us as her parents. Jason immediately began to call us Mom and Dad. Sarah continued to call us Barbara and Kosta.

We knew she was drawn to influences that weren't good for her. We knew she had been molested by her birth father and had had to testify against him in court at the tender age of seven. That, in itself, is enough to seriously damage a child and fill her memory bank with images no child should have to remember. Later she told us about parties she remembered from those days, filled with drugs.

Sarah Was Used to Being Responsible for Jason

We know from stories Sarah told us that she was often the only one looking after Jason before they were put in foster care. She told us several times the story about her mother lying on the floor and asking Sarah to go to the store to get milk. But Sarah was afraid her mother was sick, so she got some cola for her mother instead.

She told us of the time Jason escaped from her watchful eye and the police later found him in a 7/11 store eating cereal from the boxes. Jason often escaped her watchful eye, since he later pointed out places to his first foster mom (as they drove around town) where he had been picked up by police and taken home.

There was also a story about a dog bite, and another of Sarah and Jason hiding, in fear, in another room while a boyfriend was abusing her mother. She tells of them finally being able to sneak out of the house and run away to a field. All these things happened before we met Sarah. They happened by the time she was seven. She gave Sarah a lot of emotional baggage to carry.

Sarah Felt Abandoned by Her Mother

Sarah was in a supportive foster home before she came to us. Both the social worker and the foster mom told us that Sarah had been trained by her mother to steal to help pay the rent. She also related this story later to her common law husband, Wes, when she was living with him. She continued stealing, according to her foster mother Mary, in her home, and somehow seemed to think if she could get enough money she could go back to her mother. (The County told us the mother had brought the children to them because she could not longer pay the rent and was being evicted.)

Mary also tells of Sarah getting phone calls from her mother that led her to believe her mother was soon coming to take her home again. She would call in another week. Mary said Sarah would sit by the phone all day for the call that never came. This happened repeatedly, and Mary tells of Sarah's disappointment each time. All these memories were with Sarah when she finally came to us at the age of nine.


In Between (A Katie Parker Production) (Volume 1)
In Between (A Katie Parker Production) (Volume 1)

This is the book that hooked me. You will find the others in the series when you click through.

 

A Book I Wish Our Family Had Owned When Sarah was Thirteen - Unfortunately, it hadn't yet been written.

This book helped me envision how scary it is for a child in the system to enter and adjust to a new foster home. Although it's fiction, what both Katie and her foster parents, James (a pastor) and Millie went through during the adjustment period, is pretty realistic. The books in this series deal with serious issues -- acceptance, love, cancer, drug abuse, bad friend choices, boundaries, and more. But there is also comic relief -- plenty of it, in the form of Maxine, Millie's mother and Katie's foster grandmother. She is the only unrealistic character in the book, but somehow she still fits.

The books are narrated by Katie and written from her perspective. She is sure from the beginning she will be sent back to the group home, so she decides to hasten the process by trying to show James and Millie she's the opposite of what they want. Instead, they have the wisdom to see through the tough exterior and just love her.

Katie's background was much like my Sarah's, except she had no sibling to help raise. Her mom was in prison for dealing drugs and she was pretty much raising herself before her mother was arrested and she was put into the system. Sarah was in the system longer before she came to us, and she was younger than Katie when she entered the system. She was never in a group home until she left us and three more foster homes after she left. She wouldn't stay within stated boundaries in any home. The group home was the last stop for Sarah, not the first, as it was for Katie.

I loved the relationship Katie had with Mrs. Smartly, the head of the group home, who also seemed to act as her social worker. We meet her as she is taking Katie to meet James and Millie. I could see Sarah making some of the same comments as Katie, had she been older. Mrs. Smartly seemed to really have Katie's best interests at heart, and this shows itself through the entire series.

I have read through all the first three books in this series and I can hardly wait until the next is published. I received the first book, In Between, as a free Kindle book, and it still may be free. But I was so caught up in the lives of the characters that I couldn't wait for book two and I bought and read both books 2 and 3 in the same two-day period. Although the reading level is young adult, I couldn't put the books down. Maybe that is just because we had Sarah. I wish she could have read these books when she was entering her teens, before her own hormones kicked in. I wish her story could end as happily as it appears Katie's will.

We Provide More Social Interaction Opportunities

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This picture was taken in Carmel Valley at the home of Kosta's parents. You can see the creativity of both children as they have made themselves a house to play in, using whatever materials they could find.On this day we had introduced our children to our friends Helen and Bruce. Helen has a new baby. Sarah is holding a cat, as usual, if there is one around to hold. I am on the left side.In 1985 we also took a trip to Washington, D.C, and the trip was designed to introduce the children to a couple, old friends, whom we were considering as possible guardians., This was taken in our front yard when a family we'd been friends with in college visited us. They had also adopted their children and we were catching up on old times and meeting each other's children.This shows Sarah relaxing at home with Moses in her lap.Every summer after the children came to us, we would attend a Christian family camp on Catalina Island at Campus By the Sea. On this particular year, the deer were very bold about coming into the camp, seemingly not at all afraid of people. NaturallyI'm not sure where this was taken, probably next door. Once again, Sarah is holding an animal.This is Sarah with her friend Heather.  Evidently they are enjoying making music together at Heather's home. Heather's mother was also Sarah's teacher at this time.
This picture was taken in Carmel Valley at the home of Kosta's parents. You can see the creativity of both children as they have made themselves a house to play in, using whatever materials they could find.
This picture was taken in Carmel Valley at the home of Kosta's parents. You can see the creativity of both children as they have made themselves a house to play in, using whatever materials they could find. | Source
On this day we had introduced our children to our friends Helen and Bruce. Helen has a new baby. Sarah is holding a cat, as usual, if there is one around to hold. I am on the left side.
On this day we had introduced our children to our friends Helen and Bruce. Helen has a new baby. Sarah is holding a cat, as usual, if there is one around to hold. I am on the left side. | Source
In 1985 we also took a trip to Washington, D.C, and the trip was designed to introduce the children to a couple, old friends, whom we were considering as possible guardians.,
In 1985 we also took a trip to Washington, D.C, and the trip was designed to introduce the children to a couple, old friends, whom we were considering as possible guardians., | Source
This was taken in our front yard when a family we'd been friends with in college visited us. They had also adopted their children and we were catching up on old times and meeting each other's children.
This was taken in our front yard when a family we'd been friends with in college visited us. They had also adopted their children and we were catching up on old times and meeting each other's children. | Source
This shows Sarah relaxing at home with Moses in her lap.
This shows Sarah relaxing at home with Moses in her lap. | Source
Every summer after the children came to us, we would attend a Christian family camp on Catalina Island at Campus By the Sea. On this particular year, the deer were very bold about coming into the camp, seemingly not at all afraid of people. Naturally
Every summer after the children came to us, we would attend a Christian family camp on Catalina Island at Campus By the Sea. On this particular year, the deer were very bold about coming into the camp, seemingly not at all afraid of people. Naturally | Source
I'm not sure where this was taken, probably next door. Once again, Sarah is holding an animal.
I'm not sure where this was taken, probably next door. Once again, Sarah is holding an animal. | Source
This is Sarah with her friend Heather.  Evidently they are enjoying making music together at Heather's home. Heather's mother was also Sarah's teacher at this time.
This is Sarah with her friend Heather. Evidently they are enjoying making music together at Heather's home. Heather's mother was also Sarah's teacher at this time. | Source

Issues in the First Years of Foster Care and Adoption

These are some of the problems we faced in those first five years.


Shoplifting

Although we had been forewarned, it was still a shock the first time we discovered that Sarah was shoplifting. This started almost as soon as she came to us, while still in foster care. There were several episodes, and each time we found Sarah with things that weren't hers, we had to take her back to the store she'd taken items from, and have her return them and ask for forgiveness. As you have seen from the early pictures, Sarah still appeared to be a shy, vulnerable little girl, and the merchants were getting their items back. Unfortunately, they bent over backwards thanking her for bringing the items back and in the process almost made her feel like a hero. She knew she could generate a good deal of attention this way, and so she continued several more times.

Sibling Rivalry and Adjusting to Each Other

Another issue was jealousy. Since Sarah had taken such responsibility for Jason when he was a toddler, she resisted me as his mother, since she felt I was usurping that role from her. She would often test Jason's loyalties by asking him to do the opposite of what I had just told him to do. He often obeyed her instead of me, and that also filled a need she had while making it very confusing for Jason.

She was also competing with Jason for our attention. She had not lived with him for a couple of years and the two were adjusting to living together again and trying to reestablish pecking order. Think about what happens when people get married or first start living with another person. They must adjust to that person. Now multiply that by three. Each of the four of us were adjusting to new people with us, and the children had three people to adjust to living with. For the first two months we hardly knew there was a world outside our house except for places we had to be like work, school, and church. Everyone was emotionally drained just from adjusting.

Academic Problems

When Sarah came to us, she was about to enter third grade and could neither read nor do the simplest math. Academically it was as though she should be in first grade. She was put in a special education class with a wonderful teacher, and with some extra attention at home, she began to make some progress.

By this time we had her in counseling, and her therapist told us that Sarah had the intelligence to learn, but the emotional baggage she was dealing with interfered with her concentration, thus slowing her learning. We were told that once Sarah worked through those old issues, she would fly academically. But that was still a future event at this time. Sarah was also the only girl in her class.

Making Friends

School was not a good place to make friends. We did go to a church where there were children her age in Sunday School, but Sarah was not yet ready to form relationships. She did not know what to do if we would invite a friend from another family we knew over to play. Whereas Jason had already lived in our neighborhood a year when Sarah came, and had lived next door with five other children, Sarah came knowing no one but Jason.

She gradually got to know the children next door and play with them because Jason knew them and also played with them. But the first time we invited a new possible friend over for Sarah to play with, Sarah couldn't handle it for more than a few minutes. Then she would come in and just sit inside while the friend continued playing outside alone. Gradually Sarah learned a few more relational skills, but she still had no real friends.

One day another girl her age, whom I shall call Nancy, rode her bike into our cul-de-sac while Sarah was in the front yard. They became acquainted and decided to be friends. Nancy was also a bit disturbed, and she was not the person we wanted Sarah to spend a lot of time with, but we were uncertain as to what to do about it. We decided to take a wait and see attitude, so as to not hurt Sarah by keeping her from the one friend she had made on her own. This decision led to major grief later on.

Sarah Loved Her Piano

Sarah playing the piano.
Sarah playing the piano. | Source

Sarah's Education

Meeting the needs of a special needs child

Public Education

As I mentioned above, when Sarah came to us as a foster child about to enter grade three, she could not read or do any math. She had been enrolled in special education in her previous foster home in a different city. We also enrolled her in special education, and she had a wonderful teacher who had a very helpful teacher aide. Sarah was the only girl in her class and made good progress. We also helped her academically at home and read to her a lot. She continued with this teacher through third grade and the first semester of fourth grade. As I mentioned, she was also getting counseling privately to help her work through her emotional problems.

The second semester of fourth grade Sarah's teacher took a sabbatical and the long term substitute was a man who had very different values from our family's and from those of the previous teacher. Now Sarah was the only girl in the room except for the aide, and the aide left before the last period. Sarah began to feel very uncomfortable in her class, and was constantly asking about the things the teacher was saying that conflicted with our values. She also began to encounter problems on the playground she had not mentioned before.

As you probably have noticed in the pictures, Sarah was a very attractive girl. She began to complain when she got home from school that some of the boys in her class were saying "I'm going to lay you." This disturbed all of us. We spoke to the teacher and he wasn't really very helpful. He said he can't control what happens on the playground. The principal's response was that the teacher on playground duty can't hear everything that goes on. She did indicate she would move Sarah into a special reading resource room the last period of the day so she would always have a female adult in the room. We accepted that as a temporary solution.

Private School Education

The next year we enrolled Sarah and Jason in a small Lutheran school after a talk with the principal who had also adopted some special needs children who would be in Sarah's combination grade 5-6 class. In this class Sarah met a friend with whom she stayed in touch through the years until the time she left home.

Our families became friends, and we spent every Christmas Eve with them, and the children also went Trick or Treating together every Halloween. Sarah did well while she was there, but was still behind academically. It's hard to make up three years' work in just three years. Unfortunately, toward the end of that year, the school announced that it would have to close the next year.

For the rest of that last term I looked for a private school that would meet the needs of both children. All of the Christian schools were geared toward the academically gifted. We didn't have many other kinds of private schools in the area. I was beginning to despair when I was talking to some other moms after a Community Bible Study meeting one Wednesday. I asked if any of them knew of any other schools I hadn't tried, and one recommended a new school -- a small principle approach school. I began to investigate it.

When I investigate a school, I first talk to the principal, and then I observe classes. I liked what I saw, and was confident Sarah would not only get the individual attention she needed, but her teachers and the parents of the other students shared our values. Any socialization Sarah got at this school would be healthy, as teachers were aware of everything that went on during recess and continued to teach character values as they monitored playground activity.

By this time, although I knew the children were doing well at The Master's School, I was meeting a lot of parents who were home schooling. I very much wanted to be one of them, but Kosta didn't think I could handle it, in spite of my teaching credential. The more I learned, the more I wanted to bring the children home, but it was three years before that happened.

We Begin Home Schooling

In 1988, Kosta got a contract to to work at Boeing in the Seattle area. At the time, I was teaching part time at the Master's School. During our spring vacation, we decided to go visit Kosta, who was living in a small apartment. We stayed in a motel nearby for that week.

We went to play in the snow with friends from Kosta's temporary church home in Enumclaw one Sunday afternoon, and somehow, Sarah's sled got stuck in a root and she asked Kosta to free it. In the process, he severed a tendon in his arm and needed surgery. That meant that either he would have to quit his job or that he would need to have us join him in Seattle.

I called my principal, and he convinced Kosta that I would be perfectly capable of home schooling the children. We called the school district in Auburn, where we found a house to rent, and they were very cooperative. So our home schooling adventure began there in Washington.

We continued home schooling until Sarah left home, and since her foster mom was also a home schooler, the court ordered that I would continue to make lesson plans and supply the books, and Sarah's foster mom would continue to teach her during the rest of that school year. When she left that foster home, she moved to an independent study program in a public school.

Sarah's Education after She Left

By the time Sarah left home, she was reading at grade level and voluntarily keeping a journal. She liked to write letters to her friends and relatives. Her math was also up to grade level. While we were home schooling we traveled a lot to visit Kosta and incorporated the travel into our history and geography curriculum.

Jason thrived under the home schooling, and Sarah did well, but the last year she wanted to be in public school -- mainly to be out of our sight. By this time she was already sneaking out the window at night and we were convinced that once in public school, she would make the wrong kind of friends. We continued to teach her at home. She was still seeing her friends at church, at home school gatherings, and in each other's homes. She was far from isolated.

Sarah finally passed the GED before she left the county system to be on her own. After that, we didn't have much contact with her. We had taught her to cook and manage the practical skills she would need to run a household. Unfortunately, we were unable to teach her to be wise in her choice of friends, even though we tried. Given any freedom to choose friends we didn't know , she would choose the wildest ones she could find, even though she had many loyal friends who really cared about her.

Throughout her most time with us, Sarah also took piano lessons, and was quite gifted. For physical education, we walked regularly as a family, and Sarah also ran with her friend who was on the high school track team at least once a week. She didn't like competitive swimming so she was allowed to drop it after a couple of years. She learned to paint well enough for us to hire her to help paint the interiors of our kitchen and some of our rental properties. She liked to repaint her own room every couple of years. By the time she was 16 she was quite good at painting.

1987: Socializing - These pictures only show planned events Sarah was part of outside outside the home

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By this time Sarah was at the Master's School and was making new friends, so new faces began to appear at these parties. As usual, entire families attended.This was also taken at the birthday party in 1987.Sarah is shown with one of her friends at a Forest Home winter camp.Twice a year, near the children's birthdays and during the Christmas season, the children's birth father's parents visited with them. This visit took place in a park in Cerritos, California. We encouraged maintaining contact with their grandparents.
By this time Sarah was at the Master's School and was making new friends, so new faces began to appear at these parties. As usual, entire families attended.
By this time Sarah was at the Master's School and was making new friends, so new faces began to appear at these parties. As usual, entire families attended. | Source
This was also taken at the birthday party in 1987.
This was also taken at the birthday party in 1987. | Source
Sarah is shown with one of her friends at a Forest Home winter camp.
Sarah is shown with one of her friends at a Forest Home winter camp. | Source
Twice a year, near the children's birthdays and during the Christmas season, the children's birth father's parents visited with them. This visit took place in a park in Cerritos, California. We encouraged maintaining contact with their grandparents.
Twice a year, near the children's birthdays and during the Christmas season, the children's birth father's parents visited with them. This visit took place in a park in Cerritos, California. We encouraged maintaining contact with their grandparents. | Source

Wish We'd Had This When We Took Our Trips with the Children

America's Living History - The Early Years (A Traveler's Guide)
America's Living History - The Early Years (A Traveler's Guide)

This book helps you find most of the places we discovered and many more. As you plan your trip, the maps make it easy to see what you shouldn't miss on your road trip in the United States. This is a great resource for anyone who likes to travel with children, but especially traveling home schooling families.

 

We Wanted Our Children to See the USA

Whatever your country, help your child to see as much of it as possible, and more of the world, if you are able. There is so much to see and learn that requires being there. A book is only a beginning. The books your child will read and study mean much more if you've seen the Oregon trail country, walked the Mall in Washington, D.C., and been dwarfed by Abraham Lincoln in his monument.

See our country's history at the Smithsonian. See where George Washington lived. Visit Gettysburg and see living history museums. See the replica of the Mayflower to understand what the trip across the Atlantic was like for the Pilgrims. See the places that are most connected to the people you want your children to know and understand in America's history. Travel is a wonderful gift to your children as soon as they are old enough to appreciate and understand what they are seeing.

Seeing the United States. - Our First Real Summer Vacation Besides Family Camp

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After we had explored the cave dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, we returned to our temporary cabin home at Lake Vallecito in Colorado. Sarah went outside to play, and then called us to see what she had made. We were very impressed with her workThis was taken on the Durango-Sliverton train ride in Colorado.This is our family taking a rest during our exploration of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.The children liked exploring the cliff dwellings, and you can tell by the model Sarah later made (first picture) that it made an impression on her.We have returned to our temporary vacation home on the shore of Lake Vallecito. A new friend in another cabin took the picture. This was the night Sarah decided to make her model.The next day, the children learned to fish on the shore of the lake. The neighbor in the next cabin showed them how.Sarah once again picks a lovely place in Mesa Verde to have her picture taken.This was taken in Walnut Canyon in Arizona. Our trip had taken us through the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, to Mesa Verde, and then to Durango and Silverton on the railroad. We had also passed through New Mexico past Shiprock and through Gallup.
After we had explored the cave dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, we returned to our temporary cabin home at Lake Vallecito in Colorado. Sarah went outside to play, and then called us to see what she had made. We were very impressed with her work
After we had explored the cave dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, we returned to our temporary cabin home at Lake Vallecito in Colorado. Sarah went outside to play, and then called us to see what she had made. We were very impressed with her work | Source
This was taken on the Durango-Sliverton train ride in Colorado.
This was taken on the Durango-Sliverton train ride in Colorado. | Source
This is our family taking a rest during our exploration of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde.
This is our family taking a rest during our exploration of the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. | Source
The children liked exploring the cliff dwellings, and you can tell by the model Sarah later made (first picture) that it made an impression on her.
The children liked exploring the cliff dwellings, and you can tell by the model Sarah later made (first picture) that it made an impression on her. | Source
We have returned to our temporary vacation home on the shore of Lake Vallecito. A new friend in another cabin took the picture. This was the night Sarah decided to make her model.
We have returned to our temporary vacation home on the shore of Lake Vallecito. A new friend in another cabin took the picture. This was the night Sarah decided to make her model. | Source
The next day, the children learned to fish on the shore of the lake. The neighbor in the next cabin showed them how.
The next day, the children learned to fish on the shore of the lake. The neighbor in the next cabin showed them how. | Source
Sarah once again picks a lovely place in Mesa Verde to have her picture taken.
Sarah once again picks a lovely place in Mesa Verde to have her picture taken. | Source
This was taken in Walnut Canyon in Arizona. Our trip had taken us through the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, to Mesa Verde, and then to Durango and Silverton on the railroad. We had also passed through New Mexico past Shiprock and through Gallup.
This was taken in Walnut Canyon in Arizona. Our trip had taken us through the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, to Mesa Verde, and then to Durango and Silverton on the railroad. We had also passed through New Mexico past Shiprock and through Gallup. | Source

1988 Contained Lots of New Experiences. - Snow, a New Temporary Home, and the Beginning of Home Schooling

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This was the day it snowed for the first time since we had lived in Newbury Park. The children had a wonderful time playing in it until it melted.During this time, Kosta was working on contract in the Seattle area, and to help in his absence, Sarah's teacher and her family, which included friends of Sarah's, invited us to a picnic with them. This provided a day of fun for all of us.Sarah's sled got stuck while playing in the snow on this day.  Kosta severed a tendon getting it unstuck, and we had to move in with him to help during his recovery from surgery. That's why we started home schoolingThis was taken while visiting friends of Kosta's parents who lived in another part of Washington. Notice that once again, Sarah has befriended a cat.This was taken on a side trip with our friends from Enumclaw at Fort Nisqually in Washington.Sarah was very pleased that my wedding dress fit her and she is modeling it here in our front yard in Newbury Park.We celebrated Sarah's 15th birthday in Washington, in our temporary rental home in Auburn.After we returned home in July, Sarah painted the kitchen. She was a very skilled painter and enjoyed the work.
This was the day it snowed for the first time since we had lived in Newbury Park. The children had a wonderful time playing in it until it melted.
This was the day it snowed for the first time since we had lived in Newbury Park. The children had a wonderful time playing in it until it melted. | Source
During this time, Kosta was working on contract in the Seattle area, and to help in his absence, Sarah's teacher and her family, which included friends of Sarah's, invited us to a picnic with them. This provided a day of fun for all of us.
During this time, Kosta was working on contract in the Seattle area, and to help in his absence, Sarah's teacher and her family, which included friends of Sarah's, invited us to a picnic with them. This provided a day of fun for all of us. | Source
Sarah's sled got stuck while playing in the snow on this day.  Kosta severed a tendon getting it unstuck, and we had to move in with him to help during his recovery from surgery. That's why we started home schooling
Sarah's sled got stuck while playing in the snow on this day. Kosta severed a tendon getting it unstuck, and we had to move in with him to help during his recovery from surgery. That's why we started home schooling | Source
This was taken while visiting friends of Kosta's parents who lived in another part of Washington. Notice that once again, Sarah has befriended a cat.
This was taken while visiting friends of Kosta's parents who lived in another part of Washington. Notice that once again, Sarah has befriended a cat. | Source
This was taken on a side trip with our friends from Enumclaw at Fort Nisqually in Washington.
This was taken on a side trip with our friends from Enumclaw at Fort Nisqually in Washington. | Source
Sarah was very pleased that my wedding dress fit her and she is modeling it here in our front yard in Newbury Park.
Sarah was very pleased that my wedding dress fit her and she is modeling it here in our front yard in Newbury Park. | Source
We celebrated Sarah's 15th birthday in Washington, in our temporary rental home in Auburn.
We celebrated Sarah's 15th birthday in Washington, in our temporary rental home in Auburn. | Source
After we returned home in July, Sarah painted the kitchen. She was a very skilled painter and enjoyed the work.
After we returned home in July, Sarah painted the kitchen. She was a very skilled painter and enjoyed the work. | Source

The Teen Hormones Kick and Problems Escalate

Sarah Shoplifts Again

While Sarah was still at the Master's school, we had a rude shock. Jason was on a soccer team, and when we were taking him to practice one afternoon, we were rear-ended. I thought I should get Jason to a doctor to be checked out and Sarah was home alone, so I went to pick her up.

We took Jason to an Urgent Care Clinic in a local shopping center. Sarah grew restless during the wait and asked if she could go look around at Long's, also in the shopping center, where a close family friend was the assistant manager. Sarah was gone a very long time, and I was beginning to be concerned. She just didn't come back.

I finally managed to get Jason through his examination, and immediately went to Long's. As soon as I walked in my friend approached me to tell me the manager had spotted Sarah putting items in her purse. She knew about Sarah's earlier shoplifting experiences, but we had all thought that was in the past. We hadn't known of any episode for about three years. I approached Sarah and asked her to please open her purse, and everything was there to see. I took her and the merchandise to the manager.

Sarah was no longer a cute little girl. She was a teen-ager. This manager did not behave as the others in the past had behaved. She gave Sarah a severe tongue lashing, since Sarah just stood there and said nothing and did not even seem to react. She did not express any remorse. The manager told her never to come back to the store, and if she did, she would be arrested for trespassing. This was not the result Sarah was expecting. It had been a rough day, and I was very embarrassed and annoyed that Sarah had done this. We waited until we got home to talk about it. Jason, fortunately, was unhurt.

When we got home, Sarah said she had been mad at me and had taken the items to get even with me. Then she had frozen, afraid to leave the store, and did not know what to do. So she had waited for me to come. I don't remember what consequences followed this episode. I'm sure there were some. She was probably grounded.

Sneakiness

That summer we allowed Sarah to go to a Christian summer camp. When we picked her up, a young man met us, introduced himself, and recited what sounded like a resume of his qualifications to date Sarah, though he didn't mention dating. It sounded as though Sarah might have coached him. He wanted to visit Sarah and we let him make a few visits that year, but Sarah's counselor said that in spite of her age, Sarah was not emotionally ready to date.

After Kosta went to Massachusetts, Sarah turned 16. Since this was special, we did not have the joint beach party. She instead invited R, her admirer, and also her best friend Jenny, for dinner on her birthday. She had had a birthday slumber party the night before. It was about this time that Sarah began sneaking out after we were asleep, in the middle of the night, to meet R, who drove a good 90 minutes from his home to meet her. It took us a while to discover this. Eventually we did, and that caused us to put more restrictions on Sarah's freedom.

For a few months, Sarah had been babysitting for a neighbor we didn't know very well who lived down the street. This neighbor was a single mom who had three children -- all by different fathers. Sarah had made her acquaintance, and told us she didn't want to charge B for babysitting because she really couldn't afford to pay. She said she felt it was her Christian duty to babysit for free.

Attraction to Inappropriate Media

Because Sarah had demonstrated on several occasions that she was attracted to things that weren't good for her, the children were not allowed to have radios or phones in their rooms. They were allowed to have tape recorders that played cassettes so that they could have music in their lives. Jason had no problem using the kitchen phone for his calls to friends. He rarely used the phone anyway, preferring to ride his bike to a friend's to see if he could play. He was also not attracted to dark music.

We were beginning to find very adult books in Sarah's room, and when we asked where she got them, she always said she got them from her friend, Jenny, whom she knew we liked. We really didn't believe Jenny would be reading those kinds of books or loaning them to Sarah. There were also some cassette tapes that were not healthy to listen to, and we had no idea where she had gotten them. We did know that our next door neighbor's adopted daughter had been having some problems and that Sarah was spending a lot of time talking to her.

Choosing to Go Her Own Way

In the summer of 1989 we drove across the country to spend two weeks with Kosta in Massachusetts after his contract ended, but while he still had his condo. We explored all the historical places we could get to. Sarah was writing postcards to R in the car and in every place we stayed. R even called, wanting to join us on the trip. Kosta said no. After we got back home, we found out about the midnight trips to meet R. Kosta confronted R, who was involved in music ministry at his church, in a meeting between R's father and his pastor. R repented of his behavior. Because of that, Sarah lost interest in him, since he was cooperating with us now.

Sarah become more and more distant, and she also began to be sullen. Her sixteenth year was far from sweet. We felt we could no longer trust her. We knew that she was seeing someone new that we didn't know. We knew because Jason often tailed her on his bike when she went to run with Jenny in the park.

He reported seeing a man with Sarah who was not R. This man also turned up at a skating party the home school group was having. Jason was becoming concerned because he knew his sister was up to no good. He would report seeing Sarah making phone calls on the pay phone in the park.

We also knew that Sarah had begun to sneak out her window at night. We noticed the screen off one day, and Sarah said she had been washing her window and had forgotten to put the screen back on. Jason began to check under her window for footprints, and he started to find them. We were losing sleep trying to keep track of her.

In April of 1990, Sarah went out the window and did not come home. We discovered it when we went to wake her at 6:30 AM. We contacted all friends to be on the alert. We contacted the pastor, to whom she had run once before when she was upset. We left a message with the therapist Sarah had been seeing. The police took a missing person's report later that morning. We had a pretty good idea where she would be, and the police found her there. But we didn't know that until later. I will continue this in another section.

The Last Year Before Sarah Ran Away - During This Time Family Life Was Very Tense. Some of These Are Goodbye Shots.

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This was our last family picture in fall, 1989, for the church directory.This was Sarah's last Christmas at home.This was the last extended family Christmas celebration at my brother's home. Sarah is holding her younger cousin. She always did like babies.This was taken at the Newbury Park Library, where Sarah had her first real job (aside from babysitting.) I chose this from the many shots she wanted me to take.This was one of the last pictures of Sarah and Jenny together in our front yard.
This was our last family picture in fall, 1989, for the church directory.
This was our last family picture in fall, 1989, for the church directory. | Source
This was Sarah's last Christmas at home.
This was Sarah's last Christmas at home. | Source
This was the last extended family Christmas celebration at my brother's home. Sarah is holding her younger cousin. She always did like babies.
This was the last extended family Christmas celebration at my brother's home. Sarah is holding her younger cousin. She always did like babies. | Source
This was taken at the Newbury Park Library, where Sarah had her first real job (aside from babysitting.) I chose this from the many shots she wanted me to take.
This was taken at the Newbury Park Library, where Sarah had her first real job (aside from babysitting.) I chose this from the many shots she wanted me to take. | Source
This was one of the last pictures of Sarah and Jenny together in our front yard.
This was one of the last pictures of Sarah and Jenny together in our front yard. | Source

The Police Shot

This shot was supposedly evidence against us. Sarah had run to her cosmetologist friend where the police found Sarah hours after she left.
This shot was supposedly evidence against us. Sarah had run to her cosmetologist friend where the police found Sarah hours after she left. | Source

Sarah Returns to the System and Goes into Foster Care

After Sarah went out the window that last night, she falsely accused Kosta of hitting her hard enough to knock her to the floor. Jason and I were both in the next room. There was not so much as a raising of voices.

Kosta was trying, for the last time, in a gentle, almost wooing voice, to appeal to her conscience, to decide to do what was right. All of us were in the house and we heard what was happening. This was the shot the police took of her that night. From that moment on, we had little input into Sarah's life.

The Modeling Opportunity

Modeling Make-Over 1
Modeling Make-Over 1 | Source
Modeling Make-Over 2
Modeling Make-Over 2 | Source

Attempts by Sarah's Foster Parents to Help Her

We did convince the court to foster Sarah in the home of our past church youth leaders, who were licensed and willing to take her. Although their parenting style was much more permissive than ours, Sarah still could not stay within the rules the county set. She had run away so she could see M, a man twice her age. The county didn't want them to be alone together either.

This is the first shot of two photos we have of a modeling make-over that Laura, the foster parent arranged. Sarah had the physical characteristics needed to be a model, and had expressed an interest in it. We hadn't encouraged it because we didn't think she was mature enough to handle the pressure and emotional aspects of the job should she be successful. Laura thought maybe modeling would be a good outlet and give Sarah a way to make a living when she turned 18. We had no objections, since we knew it our input didn't matter at this point.

You see the second shot of the model make-over below the first. It's my understanding that after this Sarah was offered a full scholarship to a modeling school. She had often expressed a desire to be a model. She supposedly refused this opportunity because M didn't like the idea.


Reunion with Birth Father

Sarah with her Birth Father
Sarah with her Birth Father | Source

Contact with Birth Father

When Sarah left us, she was still in touch with her birth family on her father's side, whom she chose to turn to after she left us. We had encouraged the relationship with the paternal grandparents, since they had been supportive of our adoption, and we felt they would keep the children connected to their roots. They and the children's half-brother Bob, whom they had adopted after the father's first marriage failed, made regular visits with our blessing, and it soon became evident to the social worker that her supervision on these visits was no longer necessary.

We didn't feel the same way about their father, who had kept contact up by mail. When he was released, he wanted to see the children. We knew they were curious so we permitted a visit as long as we were there the whole time, in the grandparents' home. We timed it before our trip to Washington, D.C., so that no matter how it turned out, the trip would provide a distraction.

We were surprised that the grandparents had chosen not to be there. Neither child recognized the father at first. Jason, who had never been abused, treated it as though he was meeting any other adult he didn't know. Sarah, on the other hand, whom he had molested, and whose testimony put him away, reverted to three years old before our eyes. She even began to talk like a three year old, but mostly listened. She sort of hid behind me at first and then crawled into my lap and remained there until we left.

This photo of Sarah with her birth father was taken in 1990, long after that, while Sarah was in foster care. I'm not sure how often she saw him after that. I do know he died before she did.



From Laura's House to Turning 18

The first photo below shows Sarah's first and last Christmas in her first foster home with Laura. She lasted longer in this one than in any which followed.

The second photo was also taken on Sarah's first Christmas in foster care during an unsupervised visit with her brother. You can see the expression on his face, trying to look happy while being inwardly upset that M really bought the present. He expressed those feelings after the visit. He didn't like M. Notice Sarah's slightly triumphant look.

Sarah went from Laura's to a "real" foster home -- one where no one knew her and she was one of several other foster children. She didn't last more than two weeks here before complaining and asking to be moved. She had actually had to drink powered milk!


She then went to another home with someone who knew had known her while she was still at home and gotten a license just to take her in. This family was well off enough to have a landscaped pool. The foster father shared Sarah's interest in making music, and he was a professional at it. It seemed an ideal placement, but she didn't last there, either, because she still kept sneaking out with M in violation of county rules. Before she left there she took a few small things. She did this often when she went somewhere new. I now wonder if she took things more as souvenirs than anything else.

She was then placed in a group home until she turned 18. That's when she first decided she wanted to see us after all, just to get away from their supervision for a while. Really she was hoping to sneak in a visit with M. She didn't want to see us at all. She just thought we would be easier to evade. So we took her back to where she was supposed to meet the social worker in a parking lot. She wanted us to drop her off before we got there, saying she could walk. I'm sure M was somewhere waiting. We said she needed to go to the agreed on place and we would not leave until the social worker picked her up.

We didn't see her again until she turned 18 and needed me to help her access her custodial savings account, of which I was the custodian. She was with M by then, and we didn't see her again until Jason's death.

Sarah remained in California, taking jobs as a care-giver for elderly people, and then living first with my brother Bob, and then with her half-brother Bob and his family while working at a restaurant. She felt she wasn't being treated right by the management, and quit. At least that's the version we heard.

Her Aunt Carol in Colorado offered her a home and job as a receptionist in an insurance company but she found that boring. She finally moved in with Wes and stayed with him for many years on and off, until her death. We learned about everything from the time she left my brother's house until her death after she was gone.

The Last Christmas in Foster Care

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This was Sarah's first and last Christmas in her first foster home. Sarah and Jason, on unsupervised visit, Christmas, 1990.
This was Sarah's first and last Christmas in her first foster home.
This was Sarah's first and last Christmas in her first foster home. | Source
Sarah and Jason, on unsupervised visit, Christmas, 1990.
Sarah and Jason, on unsupervised visit, Christmas, 1990. | Source

Now You've Learned a Lot About the Problems Older Adopted Children Bring with Them - Would you risk it?

After reading this lens, would you be more or less likely to adopt an older child?

See results without voting

Sarah's Adult Life After She Ran Away - The Sarah we never got to know

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Sarah's first meeting with her birth mother since separation in 1991.Sarah with her Grandma Gnewuch -- one of the people who was always part of her life, even when she was with us.Sarah at Aunt Carol's with cats.Sarah with Aunt CarolSarah and one of Aunt Carol's cats.I believe this was in Texas, but I'm not sure.I think this was also in Texas.Sarah with Puppy.
Sarah's first meeting with her birth mother since separation in 1991.
Sarah's first meeting with her birth mother since separation in 1991. | Source
Sarah with her Grandma Gnewuch -- one of the people who was always part of her life, even when she was with us.
Sarah with her Grandma Gnewuch -- one of the people who was always part of her life, even when she was with us. | Source
Sarah at Aunt Carol's with cats.
Sarah at Aunt Carol's with cats. | Source
Sarah with Aunt Carol
Sarah with Aunt Carol | Source
Sarah and one of Aunt Carol's cats.
Sarah and one of Aunt Carol's cats. | Source
I believe this was in Texas, but I'm not sure.
I believe this was in Texas, but I'm not sure. | Source
I think this was also in Texas.
I think this was also in Texas. | Source
Sarah with Puppy.
Sarah with Puppy. | Source

Once You're Dead, It's Too Late to Change Your Mind

Understanding the Suicidal Person - You might be able to save a life!

Most suicidal people send signals they might be considering ending their lives. If you can read these signs, you might be able convince a person to seek the help he or she needs before it's too late. I have not personally read this book, but I did read the reviews for it. I suggest you read what the Amazon reviewers who did read it have to say to see if this might help you or someone you know.

If you suspect that someone you live with might be considering ending his or her life, you might consider having this book in the house where they are likely to see it. Don't pretend you don't notice the signs. Don't be afraid to bring up the subject if someone you love is very depressed or had been and suddenly seems better. You won't be giving hem ideas they haven't thought of yet. This book may help you to help your loved one before it's too late.

Hearse
Hearse | Source

Sarah's Burial

God's timing is perfect

When we were making Sarah's arrangements with Forest Lawn, we were asked if anyone was going to witness her interment. Since we are a five-hour drive away, we said no. So they said it would happen between 7 and 8 AM on Wednesday, May 27. That is the day I am writing this. I told family members the date and time to keep them informed. Then my brother, who lives closer than I, said he would like to witness the interment, and one of Sarah's aunts also wanted to witness it, so I said I would call on Tuesday to see if I could make it happen. (They made their request when it was too late to contact the mortuary before the Memorial Day weekend.)

Tuesday I called, and they said they had not planned for that and since if someone watched they would have to schedule it, there would be a $500 charge, since they like to do the unwitnessed interments at their convenience early in the morning before the gates open to the public. I then asked if maybe those who wanted to watch could just park outside the gate and watch through the gate, since the grave site is in view. They said this wouldn't work either. I emailed Bob and Melody and told them we simply couldn't afford the fee, but if they wanted to come after the gates were open and check to see if the earth showed evidence of the recent burial, they couldn't object to that. My brother is a bit skeptical, and he wanted to be sure the mortuary was doing all they said they would do. He said he would go over this morning anyway and see what he could see.

Bob arrived shortly after the gates opened. At the graveside he saw only the open hole, so he went to the mortuary to see what was happening. He wound up talking to the one in charge,and she even allowed him to see Sarah and take pictures -- at no charge. When Bob left the mortuary, he noticed Melody outside and showed her the pictures. Then they saw the hearse moving toward the grave, and they saw Sarah's interment -- at no charge. Bob managed to capture it all with his camera and you can see the highlights of the burial in the photos in the module below this one.

God knew how much Bob and Melody wanted to be there to witness Sarah's burial, and He also knew we were out of funeral funds. In His perfect way, He made it all happen -- without extra charges.

As a footnote: My brother had been very suspicious of the mortuary, even wanting to make sure all Sarah's jewelry was still with her in the casket. I tend to be more trusting. By the time Bob left, he was pretty impressed with the way things were done at Forest Lawn, and a bit more ready to trust them with the final arrangements for himself and his family. He saw all was as it should be on his surprise visit and the respect with which Sarah's remains were treated as she made her final journey to join Jason, even when they weren't expecting a witness.

More Books to Help You Come to Grips with a Suicide

Losing a family member to suicide is more painful than almost any other type of death to deal with. These books confront honestly the problems that Christians go through in the grieving process. I read as many of these books as I could, because I had a lot of issues I was trying to resolve. Each author had a unique perspective. The individual reviews on the Amazon site will help you pinpoint which books will be most helpful for you.

When Suicide Happens in Your Family

Take the Dimness of My Soul Away: Healing After a Loved One's Suicide
Take the Dimness of My Soul Away: Healing After a Loved One's Suicide

William Ritter, a pastor, lost an adult son to suicide. As a fellow suicide survivor, he really does understand how it feels to lose a child the way we lost our daughter. He shares his long journey to healing as he shared it in his sermons during the process.

 

Finding Your Way Out of the Grip of Grief

Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love
Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love

This book will help individuals trying to recover from the suicide of a loved one. It is also a great resource for pastors, counselors, and support groups as they seek to help suicide survivors.

 

The Interment - Just a Sampling of what few people get to see.

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Casket is leaving mortuary to be loaded into hearse.Casket is being loaded into hearseHearse arrives at grave site.Casket is leaving hearse.Casket is carried to where grave liner is waiting.Casket has been placed in grave linerCasket in liner has been lowered into grave.Trailer of dirt fills in grave.This is the end of a long process of leveling the dirt, replacing the grass, replacing the grave marker for Jason (which Sarah will be added to) before replacing grass is finished. The sod is pressed down with a board, and then they clean the name ma
Casket is leaving mortuary to be loaded into hearse.
Casket is leaving mortuary to be loaded into hearse. | Source
Casket is being loaded into hearse
Casket is being loaded into hearse | Source
Hearse arrives at grave site.
Hearse arrives at grave site. | Source
Casket is leaving hearse.
Casket is leaving hearse. | Source
Casket is carried to where grave liner is waiting.
Casket is carried to where grave liner is waiting. | Source
Casket has been placed in grave liner
Casket has been placed in grave liner | Source
Casket in liner has been lowered into grave.
Casket in liner has been lowered into grave. | Source
Trailer of dirt fills in grave.
Trailer of dirt fills in grave. | Source
This is the end of a long process of leveling the dirt, replacing the grass, replacing the grave marker for Jason (which Sarah will be added to) before replacing grass is finished. The sod is pressed down with a board, and then they clean the name ma
This is the end of a long process of leveling the dirt, replacing the grass, replacing the grave marker for Jason (which Sarah will be added to) before replacing grass is finished. The sod is pressed down with a board, and then they clean the name ma | Source
Grieving a Suicide: A Loved One's Search for Comfort, Answers & Hope
Grieving a Suicide: A Loved One's Search for Comfort, Answers & Hope

As a Christian, this was one of the most helpful books in helping me to think through my feelings after Sarah's suicide.It had been recommended by a friend, and I'm glad I read it.

 

The Grave Sarah and Jason Share

Source

The Memorial Service

Saying a Last Goodbye

We had a simple service for Sarah, which began around the grave which she now shares with Jason. She was interred before the day of the service, which was June 6, 2009, at 10 AM. The day was neither too hot nor too cold. We had the service without benefit of clergy or mortuary services. A small group of family and close friends gathered to remember Sarah. Her half brother Bob Gnewuch, who had known Sarah since her birth, filled up the gaps all of us had in Sarah's life story. My husband, Kosta, shared some hope from Romans 8:28 to the end of the chapter, concluding with the idea that nothing can separate us from the love of God. This message is explained in greater detail on my blog

After the service at the grave site, most of us went over to Bob and Diane's home in Orange to share memories as we looked through a big box of pictures Sarah's husband had sent from Texas. Except for Bob and Grandma Gnewuch, none of us there had seen the adult Sarah. We tried to identify people in the pictures by letting everyone see the mystery pictures. It was an intensive period of quality time with many friends we hadn't seen in person in years. I hope to add a picture when my main computer comes back from the shop.

Sarah After She Left

Source

Writing has been part of my grief work.

I started this article right after learning of Sarah's death by her own hand when she was 36. Creating this page is part of my grief work. It is also way of exploring what might have contributed to this tragedy. It takes time to grieve and time to explore. If, in the meantime, you need answers because you have also lost someone in this tragic way, consider the books I mentioned above which address the questions you have probably better than I can.

Soon after I wrote this, I wrote an article about adopting older troubled children. Most of it was taken from a poem I wrote for Sarah two months before she was 18. We had an opportunity to talk about it after she read it, and she told me I had it right.

The picture shows Sarah after she left us. I'm not sure where it was taken and I'm not sure how we got it. It might have been in Jason's scrapbook. The year was 1990 or 1991. Sarah was 17. Some pictures taken after Sarah's leaving us were supplied by Jason's scrapbook, after he died or because he let us see them when he was still alive. The rest were sent to us in a big box by Wes after Sarah died. I wish there were room to share all of them.

© 2009 Barbara Radisavljevic

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Please let us know you were here by adding your comments or suggestions. - Feel free to share your own experiences. 199 comments

anonymous 7 years ago

Oh, Barbara, you and Kosta have been through so much together. I do not understand why your children's lives did not turn out to be this amazing testimony of God's love transforming them into healthy, loving adults who cope. I do believe that every single day they experienced your love and therefore God's love, and that your willingness to love them made a difference. I dread to think what would have transpired if they had not been with you. All the kindness you showed them is recored in Heaven. You and Kosta were wonderful parents to take in these hurting kids! You are nurturers! I am praying for you. You've done a fabulous job with this!


anonymous 7 years ago

This was very meaningful to me, especially since my daughter adopted two similarspecial needs children/brother and sister when they were 3 and 4 yrs old. There were very rough years at first, but the children are now doing well with home schooling. They are 12 and 13, and I wonder about their teen years and future, I pray that God will protect them. Thank you for sharing Sarah's story, Barb. You did all you could. I will pray for you.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 7 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

[in reply to Edie] Sarah's birth mother died by her own hand two years before Sarah did. She had taken both children to the county before they went into foster care. They weren't taken from her. She also never once wrote to the children while they were in foster care, She remarried and had another child. Sarah was already taking responsibility to keep an eye on Jason when she was only six. It would have been a nice fairy tale ending if Sarah and Jason's birth parents had not destroyed their family and it could have stayed intact. We were the second set of foster parents for Jason and at least the second set for Sarah. Whether we had adopted the children or someone else had, or whether they had remained lost in the system we found them in, they would not have been reunited with their parents. Maybe if someone else had adopted them, Sarah might have turned out differently. That's something we will never know. We already know we weren't perfect parents. Were you adopted yourself?


dc64 lm profile image

dc64 lm 7 years ago

It seems you did everything you could for Sarah. You provided a stable home, which is important, you enrolled her in extra-curricular activities to give her something of her own, you invited children her age over, and you took her to a therapist. You can second-guess yourself until you are blue in the face, but what good does that do? I applaud your efforts, it was much more than was done for me as a foster child, and even from my parents after foster care (no therapy, no extra-curricular activities, no sleep-overs, no chance for college, etc.) Some people just never learn to deal with the horrors of their past. Why some of us do, and some don't? I'm not sure.... Lensrolled to my Life as a Foster Child-thanks for the comments BTW.


worktogetby 7 years ago

My mother and her brothers and sisters were all adopted. She and her sister were adopted as babies where her two brothers were older. Her oldest brother who I have never met was adopted at the age of 9 like Sarah. He ran away at the age of 16 and has never been seen since. Her other brother was adopted at age 6. He never recovered from it. After 10 long years of only hearing from him every few years our family is just not seeing him on a more regular basis. I went to dinner with him a few months ago and although he seems changed there is still something off about his character. Adoption is a tough thing. We want to think we can do something for the children but in the long run we may never be able to "fix" them after so much abuse.


Linda BookLady profile image

Linda BookLady 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

Barb, I'm so sorry... it looks like you and your husband have been through the mill. Adoption is a very difficult thing for all involved, I know. This is so sad that their mother abandoned them. I'm sure Sarah could just never get over that. Emotional scars are deep and lasting. You did all you could.


anonymous 7 years ago

[in reply to BarbRad] Barb - I am so sorry that Edie said what she did to you. As the mom of 5 adopted kids - all of them older except the last - I know that you're not trying to justify yourself. We didn't cause their problems and often it seems there's little we can do to solve them. If you haven't been there, you can't understand.


paperfacets profile image

paperfacets 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

Your story is riveting and I am so sorry. This is a hard story to tell, but I believe it is good towrite about it. Telling Sarah's and your story will help some else, I think.


anonymous 7 years ago

Barb, You've been on my mind for a while now. Now I understand why the Lord brought our friendship to mind again. I'm so grieved for your and Kosta's loss and for the loss of what Sarah could have become. My husband is a Chaplain at a rescue mission and works with damaged souls daily. The pain caused to defenseless children in their early childhood can sometimes be irreparable. I know you both did your very best. I was in your home numerous times and witnessed your love and the devotion for those two wonderful kids. July 20th marked 21 years ago that I went to Family Camp with you for the first time!! Many blessings and hugs go out to you from me.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 7 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

[in reply to Dianne] Dianne, how did you ever find this? Where are you now? Last I knew you were overseas somewhere. At the top of this page is a row of icons. There's a duplicate of it at the bottom of this page. Right next to the smiley face is an envelope. Please click it and let me know what else is going on with you and how you happened to find this page. When I do the Jason page and the CBS pages, you may find yourself in them. Won't have time to do that for a while, though. I'm glad you found me, and thank you for your kind words. God works in mysterious ways. Are you on line anywhere?


Momtothezoo profile image

Momtothezoo 7 years ago

I was a foster mother for five years. We adopted one 13 year old and were planning to adopt her best friend of 12 years old. However, the 12 year old was a runaway and we could not get her to stop. It affected the other teen so we had to give her up. Our adopted daughter came to us at the age of 11. I can totally understand what you have gone through and it is very hard to handle. We were luckier...she is now 21.There are problems still but she did bond with us and, after finding her birth mother, is very glad she was with us. She still has issues but is trying to work through them...is hoping to join the Armed Forces by the fall and wants to go into her adopted father's field of Air Traffic Control. She, better than anyone, would be able to understand Sarah, I am sure. My heart goes out to you and your husband I, too, have written our child's story, at her insistance and with her help. http://hubpages.com/family/Audreys-Story It is in three parts..first lens will lead to other two.


cjsysreform profile image

cjsysreform 7 years ago

This is a lovely memorial. I am so sorry for your loss of Sarah. I've linked back here from my teen drug abuse lens; thanks for the lensroll.


AlisonMeacham profile image

AlisonMeacham 7 years ago

This lens really does have me lost for words Barbara. Blessed by a Squid Angel


MarinaKuperman 7 years ago

This is one of the most powerful lens, or pages I have read. the fact that you can describe her pain so intensely is amazing. The poor girl, kids are so not responsible for who they were born to. It is such a shame what people do. Yet, you and your husband are truly wonderful people and I feel have given this girl some happiness!


luvmyludwig lm profile image

luvmyludwig lm 7 years ago

This is so very heart wrenching. I left a comment on your latest lens for rocketmoms about it sounding like you have done a wonderful job as a parent. This statement holds true for me. I know that you did everything you could have done and I hope that you know this also. It is amazing how well you convey your feelings.


momto4 lm profile image

momto4 lm 7 years ago

I'm sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to lose a child. It must have been hard for you share your story with everyone.


anonymous 7 years ago

Barbara - this was a most heart-breaking lens to read, and I can only imagine how hard it must have been for you to write. You say it is part of your grief work and I dearly hope it helped in your journey of recovery from this unbearably painful experience.My heart aches for Sarah's sad life, unable to recover from her early traumas despite the love and care she received ... and for Jason, whose life was also cut short and who must have suffered terribly from divided loyalties and the burden of his sister's difficulties ... and for you and Kosta, for all you gave and all you suffered.Thank you for sharing this in the way you have - honestly, openly and with helpful suggestions for others facing similar issues. Bless you xx


verymary profile image

verymary 7 years ago from Chicago area

How awful, and a waste of a beautiful young woman's life. My heart breaks for you.


anonymous 7 years ago

Barbara, there is nothing I can say. My heart breaks for you and Kosta when I think of the tragedies that happened for both of your children, and for the grief it has brought you. I am sure the resources you have listed will be helpful for others dealing with adoption and suicide.


TrinaSonnenberg profile image

TrinaSonnenberg 7 years ago from Nucla, Colorado

Thank you for sharing your story. You are a very courageous woman. My oldest son just went through a suicide tragedy recently. His roommate killed himself at their residence. So sad.Sarah was a beautiful girl.


SherryHolderHunt profile image

SherryHolderHunt 7 years ago

As I read this lens my heart aches for you and your family and for Sarah. She was very beautiful and your love for her comes through strongly. I hate that she suffered so much pain at a very young age. I pray the hurt you feel will lessen with each day.


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ayngel boshemia 7 years ago from Crestone, Co

What an emotional story... a story that needs to be told. Some people carry scars that the rest of the world can't see, but you chose to love her anyway and that is the greatest gift you could have given her. You have a strong heart, and a gentle spirit...


aka-rms profile image

aka-rms 7 years ago from USA

Thank you for sharing Sarah's heartbreaking story with us.


rubyandmahoney profile image

rubyandmahoney 7 years ago

What a heartbreaking story. It is so sad that, even as hard as you tried to provide a stable home life for Sarah, it wasn't enough to overcome the psychological damage that was done in the early years of her life. Thank you for sharing your story.


debnet profile image

debnet 7 years ago from England

I just read every word... every single word. I work on emotional wellbeing with children just like Sarah, and all I can say is thank heavens for people such as yourself and Kosta. Sarah's story is tragic. And even if she was unable to show you, I'm sure the years she spent with you were the most secure and loving she'd ever encountered in her younger life. She just didn't know how to let you in to her world. I hope you can also reflect on the some positive times with Sarah, even thought they may not have been plentiful, and take pride in the knowledge that you were there for her. I salute you.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 7 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

[in reply to debnet] Actually, as I have been gathering the pictures for this lens and the some of the others, such as my lens on our Parenting Years, I was reminded of all the good times. WE did a lot of fun things as a family -- vacations, traveling, learning and reading and playing together. Those have brought happy memories. Things didn't really start to be traumatic until Sarah turned 14 or 15. Up until then we had the usual problems I assume most families have when raising children, but we also had many happy family times. We were able to see Sarah and Jason united again under the same roof. We watched them play together and even fight with each other as siblings do. If we had it do over, we would still adopt Sarah and Jason -- we just might, if we had access to the hindsight we have gained, change some of the way we handled things.


evelynsaenz1 profile image

evelynsaenz1 7 years ago from Royalton

I can't imagine being able to write this lens let alone live through the difficulties you have been through. You and Costa are very special people to have taken these two children in and I can tell that you did the very best for them that you could have. I hope that your lens helps other families dealing with these issues. Thank you for sharing.


myraggededge profile image

myraggededge 7 years ago

So heartbreaking - it was as though Sarah was sand... however hard you tried, she was never going to remain in your hands. You gave her a great gift - love, and I'm sure deep down she knew that. I applaud you for having the courage to share your story and also for having the courage to open your lives to these two beautiful children. Many stars to you.


Brookelorren LM profile image

Brookelorren LM 7 years ago

So sad... you did the best that you could though. Even though she wasn't able to heal completely, you probably did make her life better because you cared.


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hlkljgk 7 years ago from Western Mass

thank you for sharing your story. i have always been interested in adopting older children.


GrowWear 7 years ago

Dropping in on my new Angel wings to bless this deserving lens...a blessing dedicated to Sarah, who is gone too soon. Love.


Dianne Loomos profile image

Dianne Loomos 7 years ago

Such a beautiful girl and such a tragic life. It makes me so sad to see children like this who have been deprived of a normal life and normal relationships by those who are supposed to love and take care of them. It is obvious to me that you and your husband gave her and her brother the best life possible. I'm sad that it ended this way. Squid Angel Blessings.


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thepartyanimal2 7 years ago

Wow I do not even know what to say - I am just glad you are able to get it out and writing being very helpful. My jaw is still on the floor - this was tough to read - you must be a very strong woman. I have blessed this lens and will watch for more of your writings - no doubt they are straight from the heart.


Sojourn 7 years ago

Barb, what a sad and touching story and I'm so sorry for your loss. Your daughter was beautiful and it sounds as if you tried beyond measure to help her deal with the horrors delivered on her at such a young age. Sometimes we cannot fix what has been broken; we can only ease the journey. You and Kostas did so with your whole hearts. No one could have asked for more. Excellently written and filled with insight into the difficulty of raising troubled children whether they be adopted or not. Sincerely, Erica


anonymous 7 years ago

Dear Barb, this is so beautiful, even in its sadness. I lost my mom, I believe, to suicide. But it does not compare with the loss of one's dearly loved child to it. May you and Kosta be comforted in your grief, and know that your love for Sarah is not lost, that there is meaning to the time Sarah and Jason spent with you, and that the legacy of your love for them will go on. The kids are your witnesses in heaven.


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NC Shepherd 7 years ago

Such a moving lens, beautifully written. I can't begin to imagine what it is like to lose someone to suicide. Thank you for sharing with us.


AuthorNormaBudden profile image

AuthorNormaBudden 7 years ago

Well, Barb, I told you I'd be back. I saw the title of this lens a few days ago and knew I'd return to read it. In appearance, Sarah grew into a beautiful young woman; it's too bad so much psychological damage had been caused at such an early stage in her life.Sometimes I imagine how I may feel if one of my children went missing (involuntarily) and it drives me crazy. At other times, I shudder at the thought that one of them may grow up and commit suicide because of situations in life later on.This is heartbreaking - made especially so because I knew the end result at the beginning. Nonetheless, I kept pulling for her - hoping she would overcome the negative influences of her youth.Tears flood my eyes now; I'm sorry but I just cannot make any further comments at this time, though I do wonder how Wes dealt, and is dealing, with this...regardless of how much time may have passed.Very touching lens...when you feel really low, consider visiting When Darkness Settles In..


Gladdmo64 7 years ago

AWESOME Lens, I was not looking for this, just visiting different lenses out of curosity and this one caught my attention.. You have done an outstanding job, I hope this excellent chornicle of your daughter's life help to bring healing to you and your family.GG


SoyCandleLover profile image

SoyCandleLover 6 years ago from Henrietta, New York

Thank you for sharing such a touching story about your Sarah. Not that it had the same result, but my cousin also named Sarah, was a foster child adopted by my aunt (my mom's sister) and uncle. Even though she was less than 2, her adjustment was very difficult. I don't know all the details as I was young myself and my mother, who knew more of Sarah's story, has since passed away. The only thing I knew for sure was that before my aunt adopted her, she was placed in foster care with nuns because she was "unused to men". By that I mean she screamed her head off whenever in the presence of any man. I now have to wonder if she had been sexually abused as well. It took a very long time before she was comfortable with my uncle and I believe he must have had the patience of a saint. Her life continues to have it's serious ups and downs. Thank you for sharing such a touching and heart wrenching story about your Sarah. I wish you peace, health and happiness.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 6 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@SoyCandleLover: Thank you for sharing about your cousin. I'm glad she is still alive to grow and have ups and downs. She still has a chance. I wish your aunt and uncle the patience and love it will take to nurture her through good and bad times.


Amy Fricano profile image

Amy Fricano 6 years ago from WNY

very, very moving. thank you for sharing


The-Java-Gal profile image

The-Java-Gal 6 years ago

I have more tears than words. There are so many influences that make people "broken" and even though we do the best we can, in reality, God does the final healing. Suicide has to be one of the hardest situations for surviving friends and family. Hopefully your heartfelt outpouring will touch others just when they need it the most. Beautiful lens on an extremely painful subject - 5*s


delia-delia profile image

delia-delia 6 years ago

5* my heart is heavy reading this, I pray God heals your loving and kind heart.


norma-holt profile image

norma-holt 6 years ago

Its a very sad story but many foster kids have so much to deal with. We just don't understand all they go through. Blessed and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust.


Spook LM profile image

Spook LM 6 years ago

I really don't know what to say, except she was lucky to have you and your husband.


JoleneBelmain profile image

JoleneBelmain 6 years ago

So sad....


VarietyWriter2 profile image

VarietyWriter2 6 years ago

Sorry about your loss. Thank you for sharing. Blessed by a SquidAngel :)


anonymous 6 years ago

I am really sad to know the suicide news of Sarah. Depression is one of the major causes behind the self injury and self suicidal tendency in unmotivated teenagers. Generally parents also get disturbed to look the uncontrolled behavior of their kids and unable to find appropriate programs. There are several counseling centers and treatment centers which deal with the teenage self injury and cutting problems of distressed youths. Therapy programs are designed in such ways that provide high motivation, confidence and self esteem to depressed children. Parents can get detailed information on teenage self injury prevention with the help of site.


PNWtravels profile image

PNWtravels 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

Thank you for sharing such a personal tragic story to help others who have gone through something similar or who are trying to help a troubled child. How wonderful for Sarah that you cared and tried to help her.


LisaAuch1 profile image

LisaAuch1 6 years ago from Scotland

I have sat glued to my computer reading about Sarah, in many ways she is like me, I too left home at 16 unable to stay, I have now lost my adoptive mother (cancer) and father (suicide), I found my birth mother 15 years ago and its going okay, but I miss my mum! The comfort it has brought me knowing there are many people who have been affected by these issues is really overwhelming, I suffer from severe depression, although to the outside world you would never know, I believe your life journey happens for a reason and that reason is only known to the great God above. When my father died my friends daughter innocently said "maybe God needed another angel," and maybe he needed Sarah and Jason too. What a tremendous woman you are being able to write about your experiences to help others. Lisa


toriphile81 profile image

toriphile81 6 years ago

Wow, there are no words. Thank you for sharing such a personal story, you are an amazing person.


anonymous 6 years ago

I'm at a loss for words. Thank you for sharing your love and your loss.


anonymous 6 years ago

Wonderful lens. Thank you.


jdwheeler profile image

jdwheeler 6 years ago

After reading this, I feel like a know Sarah and your family. I know it was tough for you to type these words, but thank you for sharing.


JJNW profile image

JJNW 6 years ago from USA

SquidAngel Blessings on this lens in appreciation of your angels, your story, and the love you brought into the lives of these children. I think this will touch many people.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 6 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@JJNW: Thank you for your angel blessing.


LisaAuch1 profile image

LisaAuch1 6 years ago from Scotland

I came back to visit your dedicated page for Sarah. :-)


spritequeen lm profile image

spritequeen lm 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing such a touching story. So sorry for your loss.


LisaAuch1 profile image

LisaAuch1 6 years ago from Scotland

@LisaAuch1: I always said if I was ever a SquidAngel I would come back and Bless this lens, I am honoured to be able to do that! Blessed.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 6 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@LisaAuch1: Lisa, thank you for making a special trip back to do this. I really appreciate it.


MargoPArrowsmith profile image

MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

Very brave lens. I have worked with adoptive families with both infants and older kids, both have issues, but the adoptive kids come with so much baggage, it is so hard.


Missmerfaery444 profile image

Missmerfaery444 6 years ago

This is a beautiful tribute to Sarah and so brave. So sorry for your sad loss. I know the pain of having lost a friend to suicide so goodness only knows how painful it must have been to lose someone you had parented, my love and light to you.


javr profile image

javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Very moving story. My condolences.


capriliz lm profile image

capriliz lm 6 years ago

Barb, Thank you for sharing the story of your daughter. I am so sorry that she could not find peace here with her family. My brother took his life when he was 20, many years ago. The sadness is always with us.


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akrause2112 6 years ago

What an amazing and touching story. It is beautiful that you chose to adopt an older child and gave her a childhood. I am touched and so sorry for your loss. I am so glad you had the strength to share her story. This lens has been blessed by a Squid Angel and I am sure it is blessed by a real angel, Sarah, as well.


tvyps profile image

tvyps 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Wonderful tribute and you know that this will help MANY others....many prayers & blessings to you.


anonymous 6 years ago

What do I say? I am so sorry for your loss, for your daughters torment, for a young life cut short. You were great parents and wonderful people who tried so hard to help a desperate little girl who could not deal with her demons.Bless you and I hope that you have found some solace by writing this lens. It deserves every trophy that Squidoo has.


jeanwolf50 profile image

jeanwolf50 6 years ago

What a beautiful tribute. I am sorry for your pain and for the pain that tormented Sarah. You were and continue to be a wonderful parent.


Ann Hinds profile image

Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

We know about torment and I want to thank you for posting such important information. Angel blessing this lens. It doesn't mean much in the face of your tragedy but it means a lot to me. Please accept my sympathy. You may help more people than you realize. I will be forwarding this on to those who need. it. Well written.


darciefrench lm profile image

darciefrench lm 6 years ago

Thank-you for sharing Sarah's life. It is obvious how much you loved her and wanted the best for her. Praying she's found peace.


Nightowl John profile image

Nightowl John 6 years ago

I honestly don't know what to say about this very beautiful, albeit sad, lens. I have had tears in my eyes through my reading of it. Squid Angel blessed.


KokoTravel profile image

KokoTravel 6 years ago

Unbelievably sad... such a crime that children are abused. The effects of these acts are difficult to overcome. I am so sorry that Sarah could not get beyond them.


AnnaleeBlysse 6 years ago

I hope that your sharing this tribute will help someone in need get through their own difficult times.


hayleylou lm profile image

hayleylou lm 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing your very emotional story. **Blessed** and featured on My Time as a Squid Angel :)


LouisaDembul profile image

LouisaDembul 6 years ago

Thanks for sharing. You did all you could for Sarah and Jason, more than many would!


rlivermore profile image

rlivermore 6 years ago

I can't imagine losing even one child, much less two. How difficult things must be for you as you live a life that is no doubt very different than you hoped or planned.


shandigp profile image

shandigp 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing this.


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jptanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

Came back to bless this really amazing lens.


ajgodinho profile image

ajgodinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Wow, I can't begin to imagine what you guys went through and still going through with all that's transpired. So sorry to hear about losing your loved ones, even though they were adopted. May the Lord heal all wounds and thanks for openly sharing your story in so much detail...God bless!


miaponzo 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing! :) This almost happened to me, but we saved my child from doing it.. I hope for good!


Paul Ward profile image

Paul Ward 6 years ago from Liverpool, England

Rest in peace, Sarah and Jason.


Miriam2008 6 years ago

Amazing story. My heart is with you.


JeremiahStanghini profile image

JeremiahStanghini 6 years ago

Seems like it was quite a process for you to write this lens. I hope you got out of it what you wanted. With Love and Gratitude,Jeremiah


PrettyWorld 6 years ago

Very moving story. I am so sorry for your loss.


xenoc profile image

xenoc 6 years ago

really tragic story, i'm sorry about your daughter..always praying to god mydear BarbRad


Adriana Daniela profile image

Adriana Daniela 6 years ago from New Market

I am so sorry about your loss. It's such a sad story....


RuthieDenise profile image

RuthieDenise 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. Maybe it will help someone else.


sharioleary profile image

sharioleary 6 years ago from Minnesota

Wow! What a story! It's very moving, and God bless you for doing what you could for a very troubled child. Blessed by an angel.


squid-pinkchic18 profile image

squid-pinkchic18 6 years ago

Blessed by a SquidAngel. May your heart continue to heal, this is a very touching story.


seashell2 profile image

seashell2 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this, what a touching story... and so sorry for your loss, your family has been through a lot! God Bless you...


Dinostore 5 years ago

This is a very touching lens, thanks for sharing your story. Thumbs up and fav'd.


Ruthi 5 years ago

What a heart grabbing tribute lens... tragic lives, but love exists, then and now. Warm blessings to you.


KarenHC profile image

KarenHC 5 years ago from U.S.

This is a heart-wrenching story -- Sarah was indeed a beautiful girl and young woman. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!


anonymous 5 years ago

Many blessings to you, Barb, as you continue on your journey.


mariaamoroso profile image

mariaamoroso 5 years ago from Sweden

Your pain is in my heart! I am an adopted child too. Living with Dysthymic disorder. Sometimes we get fractures in our soul that mend wrong. Not always there is somebody to blame. Life is not easy at all! Blessings from me!


lizziehumphreys1 profile image

lizziehumphreys1 5 years ago

such a beautiful lens, God bless you and your family xxxxx


Ann Hinds profile image

Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

I am creating my lens for the top ten lenses that I think are the best in my SquidAngel topic of Children. I have added this lens and the one on becoming a parent. All of your lenses are powerful and tell a story of love and hope. I realized that I had not blessed this lens so I did that too.


beckwong profile image

beckwong 5 years ago

So sorry to hear this story, I feel pain...god bless you.


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Annamadagan 5 years ago

I am praying for you. That must have been very hard to take in. ~God Bless~


javr profile image

javr 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Found this lens again and it's as moving as ever. My thoughts are with you and all of the others affected by the terrible after effects of suicide. Blessed.


MomwithAHook LM profile image

MomwithAHook LM 5 years ago from California

Didn't know this - I first read your work on Hubpages with your husband. It is odd hearing from the point of view from the family because I was one who almost ended her life on a number of occasions. She is precious and I am glad she no longer has to suffer the darkness of what haunted her. Blessings and Prayers to you.


sousababy profile image

sousababy 5 years ago

Oh, I don't know how you found the strength to write about something so painful. I am crying, I am so sad about the loss of your beautiful child. I don't know what else to say. I am so moved by your writing. I know you will help many, many others. In my family, there has been 2 suicides. Thank you for sharing this. Liked and Googled +1'd. Take good care, Rose


sousababy profile image

sousababy 5 years ago

Oh, and so glad to see this has a purple star . . it should have more purple stars. Thank you, you may not realize just how much this lens will heal others. And spare lives, I am certain.


groovyfind profile image

groovyfind 5 years ago from Columbia Mo

My husband & I are also foster parents adopting older children. It's an eye opening experience. Blessed


JanTUB profile image

JanTUB 5 years ago from Australia

What a wonderful way to document a troubled girl's journey. Thanks you for taking her in, and thanks for sharing.


marigoldina profile image

marigoldina 5 years ago

I am so sorry about Sarah. You gave your all, and I am sure that deep down, she knew and appreciated that.


ouriloilo 5 years ago

Despite all your effort, people with suicidal instincts could never be "normal" until they get to know Christ as their Savior.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@ouriloilo: ouriloilo, no one but our Lord really knows whether Sarah was depending upon him for salvation. At some points in her life she claimed to be a Christian. Only God knows for sure. Did she fail to trust him when she pulled the trigger? I'd say at that moment she was not trusting him. Would her life have been happier and less lonely if she had been able to trust him in all things? Certainly. I prefer to trust him as her judge, since only he completely knew her heart and the state of her soul.


anonymous 5 years ago

What a sad story, the memories that she had as a child before she even came into your care would have haunted her throughout her life, it is really hard to say anything, know child should ever have to be put through what she went through in her early home life, I don't know what the answer is and it doesn't matter how much comfort you gave, nothing will take away what those children went through, I applaud you for having the courage to take those children into your home


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donnetted 5 years ago from South Africa

Sarah was blessed to have you and Kosta in her life... Thank you for sharing your story with us.


Frischy profile image

Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter, twice. There are no words to express what I am feeling right now after reading about Sarah. It is tragic what happens to some (too many) children early in life, and then there is another tragedy in that no one knows how to really help them once they have been removed from that terrible situation and into a family that loves them. I am so sorry!


PastorCher profile image

PastorCher 5 years ago from United States

I am sorry to be reading a lens like this. No one should ever have to bury a child (or children), but sadly it happens. I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you comfort and that your stories about your children will aid in your healing and bring hope to others who read them.


Pam Irie profile image

Pam Irie 5 years ago from Land of Aloha

Thank you for sharing a little bit of Sarah's story with us. I'm so sorry for you folks and for Sarah for the way she left this earth, but I have no doubt Sarah felt your love. God's blessings!


LisaDH profile image

LisaDH 5 years ago

I'm so sorry for your loss of both of your children. I wish Sarah had been your child from the moment of birth because I think her life would have turned out so differently. It's tragic that the scars from her early years haunted her for the rest of her life. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.


DeannaDiaz profile image

DeannaDiaz 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing Sarah's story, even though it is sad. Abuse can cause lifelong damage and I feel so sorry for the pain that she must have felt.


Zut Moon profile image

Zut Moon 5 years ago

It is extremely important to get these stories out in the open. I have 3 lenses devoted to self-help/emotions. They are: Self Destructive Behaviour, The Dangers of Non-Communication, Problem Avoidance and Suppressed Emotions and The Key to Happiness. I just "blessed" this lens and also ask you permission to feature your lens in the first two mentioned above, if you feel that your lens will fit appropriately in them. Let me know and Thanks.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 5 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Zut Moon: Anyone has permission to feature or link to this lens. Thanks your for wanting to do so.


Zut Moon profile image

Zut Moon 5 years ago

Hi Barb: I have added this lens to The Dangers of Non-Communication, Problem Avoidance and Suppressed Emotions. I lost a daughter because of suicide and it is so important for us the share our stories with others for healing and so others don't find themselves in the same route. Thanks again.


debnet profile image

debnet 5 years ago from England

I remember chatting with you on Tagfoot (I think it was) shortly after this happened. My heart went out to you then and it still does now. ~~Blessed~~


cocomoonbeams profile image

cocomoonbeams 5 years ago

Such a sad story, not only of Sarah but Jason too. My heart goes out to you.


heluvaguy 4 years ago

Gog Bless you and your family and may his comforter give you the pease that supasses understanding.


SmartyGirlRenee profile image

SmartyGirlRenee 4 years ago

thank you for this lens about the hardships of a young woman and the love of her adopted family


siobhanryan profile image

siobhanryan 4 years ago

Poor you, the grief and pain must have been unbearable and poor Sarah-may she find the peace she craved in life. This lens is both a tribute to yourselves and Sarah and Jason as well. God be with you.


JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

JoanieMRuppel54 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

You have been through this tragedy for some reason unknown to us. I feel the same way. I am so proud for you to put it all down and out there for others to hopefully live and learn. God Bless you always.


anonymous 4 years ago

A difficult subject and you have done well to present it. I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you continue to heal on this journey.


anonymous 4 years ago

Barb, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how difficult losing a child must be.


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Annamadagan 4 years ago

Wow, such hard loss. God bless you! *Squid Angel Blessed.


spellbindingsis profile image

spellbindingsis 4 years ago

Our hearts go out to you & your family.


earthybirthymum profile image

earthybirthymum 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

What a difficult story to tell. my heart goes out to you and your family. Many Blessings


cynthiannleighton profile image

cynthiannleighton 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing your family's story. Blesssing to you all.


AnnMarie7 profile image

AnnMarie7 4 years ago

What a sad tragedy. I just read your lens on Jason last night, and had no idea that his sister had died also. I have great respect for you and your husband for the wonderful home you provided for these two children. I believe that God sent them to you for a reason, and that they are both now with our Heavenly Father. Thank you for sharing and may God bless you.


Gloriousconfusion profile image

Gloriousconfusion 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Angel Blessings seem almost inconsequential for such a thought-provoking personal story. Thank you for telling this


crazy anna profile image

crazy anna 4 years ago

so sad. im sorry =(


AlwaysCurious LM profile image

AlwaysCurious LM 4 years ago

Thank you for being willing to bring these two beautiful children into your home. We need more people like you! I'm very sorry for your loss.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@AlwaysCurious LM: We miss our children, but we'd adopt them again. I would not have wanted to miss them, even if I did know it would cause pain in the end. We knew the chances of Sarah having serious problems was good before we made the commitment. I just wish we'd known more about raising a child with these problems back then so we might have been able to do more for her.


chas65 profile image

chas65 4 years ago

Having lost a 14 year old grandson to suicide, I can unfortunately identify. You never expect to have to bury your child, much less a grandchild. I am considering writing a lens about this anf found yours when I was searching lenses dealing with suicide.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@chas65: My heart goes out to you. I think writing a lens might help you to work through this. Every story is unique. Let me know when you get it written.


Scarlettohairy profile image

Scarlettohairy 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

Thank you for sharing this story. I'm so sorry for her troubled life, but it sounds like you did make a difference.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Scarlettohairy: scarlett, I hope we did.


Joyce Mann profile image

Joyce Mann 4 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

So very sad. Thank you for sharing your poignant story. We lost our son two years to the day after your beloved daughter died. His cause of death was not suicide, but the loss of a child, no matter under what circumstances, is the most horrific experience any parent can go through.Hugs to you.


Joan Haines profile image

Joan Haines 4 years ago

There are so many families that have been affected by suicide, including mine. Let us hope that through writing about you, your family, and Sarah, that others find help and comfort.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Joyce Mann: Joyce, my heart goes out to you. I've had it both ways, since Sarah's brother Jason died in a jet ski accident when he was fourteen. That was very hard on everyone, including Sarah. If he were still here today, she might be, too. Both deaths were hard on us, but in different ways. I do think suicide is harder, since it involves choice. Nevertheless, there's no getting over either one. I think of both children every day, as I'm sure you do your son.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Joan Haines: Being a suicide survivor us a special kind of bereavement because of one's natural instinct to think one should have been able to do something to prevent it.


denman4 4 years ago

What a relevant and touching story of a beautiful, yet tormented young woman. Thank you so very much for sharing Sarah's story. I truly think that your story about Sarah will help people who are suicidal and who have mental health issues. Remember, asking for professional help for your problems is often just a phone call away. For all of you who are depressed, suicidal, or who suffer from chronic alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or alcoholism, please get the quality treatment you need.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@denman4: If my writing this would cause just one person to get help, I would rejoice greatly. Thank you for your kind words.


iijuan12 profile image

iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

I am sorry to hear your poignant story. Thank you for sharing it.


Nanciajohnson profile image

Nanciajohnson 4 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

I am deeply touched by this story. I worked for about a year as a director of an adolescent Female Treatment Center with girls from 13 to 17 who were very troubled. My center was completely locked down all the time. Full time teachers, nurses and psychologists came in every week as part of their treatment plan. A court-ordered 6 months was the minimum stay. I knew several "Sarahs" and my heart breaks. Thank you for sharing your story.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Nanciajohnson: Thank you for sharing a bit of your experience.


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julieannbrady 4 years ago

Such a precious child to have been so tormented.


ratetea 4 years ago

Wow...this sounds like such a difficult experience. Thank you for sharing this story. It's clear you care so much not only about Sarah, but about people in general, and that you want to do something about problems like this. This is an issue that I feel passionately about as I have also struggled with depression, and have seen people close to me try to harm themselves as well. I think it's really great too that you are thinking about and exploring what might have contributed to this happening. It can be tough to ask those questions, but ultimately, doing so can save lives. I've gained a few insights through my own struggles and also through talking to others.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@ratetea: Thank you for your kind words. Writing is one way I explore difficult experiences and work them through emotionally to help myself heal. I'm always hoping that what I write might also help someone else having the same sort of struggle or problem.


WinWriter 4 years ago

A very well written lens. I am so sorry for your loss. My family too has experienced loss and writing is also how I have dealt with the sadness. God bless you and your family. *Blessed *


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@WinWriter: I'm sorry you also lost someone you loved. I hope you have healed or are well on the way. Thank you for your blessing.


eccles1 profile image

eccles1 4 years ago

what a sad thing to happen to anyone,she was very pretty.


Ardyn25 profile image

Ardyn25 4 years ago

I hope that you are working through the grief, just know that you did the best you could. Child abuse is such a horrid thing, it destroys the soul of a child and sometimes they just can't get it back no matter how hard they or anyone try. I'm sending out a prayer for you and I wish you healing and understanding.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Ardyn25: I appreciate your prayers. Sarah's older half-brother Bob was fortunate enough to be adopted by his father's parents, whom he'd always known. I believe he was also younger when adopted, and he turned out really well. Even though he was a blood relative who also tried to help, he and his wife had to send Sarah back to her husband shortly before she died. Her husband was not abusive, but she was just unhappy. As you say, the damage was done before Sarah ever went into her first foster home. I'm grateful Jason was only neglected, not abused.


What_to_Know 4 years ago

My heart reaches out for all the lives Sarah has touched


stephiy profile image

stephiy 4 years ago

Wow what a touching lens. I'm sorry for your loss but thank you for sharing Sarah's story!


marsha32 4 years ago

So sad....I just hate to read about suicides, no matter what the age is.It's a shame that she couldn't be helped with her mental issues and that she ran away to begin with.I'm sorry for your loss, even though you hadn't been in touch with her for years, I know it can't be easy, even today.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@marsha32: It's our understanding that Sarah was being treated for depression with medication when her suicide occurred. It's also our understanding that some anti-depressent drugs can make people suicidal. After looking back at this week's horrible events, we are thankful that Sarah did not take anyone else with her, and left her husband alive, since in some ways she thought he might not be doing enough to protect her from possible jail time for her DUI, when, in fact, he was doing all he could and she wouldn't stop fretting about it. Sarah always had the best help for her issues we and her husband could afford, but I've seen too many suicides, including a young man in our church, who were taking the drugs prescribed to help them, and they seemed to have the opposite effect because the dosage wasn't right. Thank you for your kind thoughts.


MelanieMurphyMyer profile image

MelanieMurphyMyer 4 years ago

I'm so sorry. I admire your bravery and strength in writing about this. <3


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@MelanieMurphyMyer: Nothing brave or strong about it. It just aids healing. Thanks for your support.


Bartukas 4 years ago

Sad lens but still this lens is one of the great ones :) thank you


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Bartukas: Thank you for your kind words.


Ruthi 4 years ago

Again, my heart goes out to you for your loss of Sarah (and Jason). Your pain is unfathomable. As one who is a child of abuse I can appreciate Sarah's pain and torment. She was blessed to have you love her for a part of her short life. I applaud your willingness to share your personal story and hope it helps you find some peace as well as helping others who may be dealing with adopting a child of abuse and/or with one who may be at the end of their hope rope contemplating suicide as a way to end their pain. Bless you.


Paula7928 4 years ago

I am sitting hear in tears after reading your lens. I am so sorry for your losses.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Paula7928: Your tears move me. Thank you for your compassion.


Loretta L profile image

Loretta L 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

I read your lens about your son, Jason, and went to see your other lenses. I am horrified to discover you lost two children, I cannot begin to imagine the pain you have had to endure. May God give you strength.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 4 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Loretta L: God did give us the strength to get through these events as we needed it. Thank you.


anonymous 3 years ago

I felt really sad hearing your story. The effect of abuse towards children is heartbreaking. Having been a foster child myself i have some awareness of what the effects can be. I have had to ask for a lot of help over the years in overcoming it.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 3 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@anonymous: I'm sorry you were not able to grow up in a stable and loving family.


anonymous 3 years ago

I'm so sorry for your loss.


anonymous 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing. It is a terrible tragedy. I am so sorry, but thankful too that you were there for her as you long as you were. I am sure it did make a positive difference in her life. God knows.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 3 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@anonymous: That is my comfort. God knows and understands what was in all of our hearts.


anonymous 3 years ago

These children experienced "love" in their life: and that is what matters. As one who use to work with these children I can tell you that it takes a lot of therapy and intervention on behalf of the human service system for these placements and adoptions to work. At one time I worked with a private social service agency who had the resources to help work with the families of the children, and with their birth and adoption and permanent placement children. More so than money and material things, for families to work(as I'm sure you know) one has to know as much as humanly possible about the events and how it affected a child(even when they were infants) There is a branch of counseling called Family Systems Work and it is one of the powerful tools in helping children to adjust: it "could" have helped in learning that the birth placement of a child in a family has a critical effect on their communications. But the systems work doesn't stop there: The adoptive and foster parent are often not aware of how their own family systems affect their reactions and communications to another. So everyone needs support for these placements to work. And even with the best of resources and counseling it is difficult for everyone once (as you so eloquently described) the natural life stages such as the teen stage and even the hormonal changes in the parents start to appear. To sum it up: from what I've read you seem to have done the best you could given the circumstances. And, I hope people within the human service system gave you the reassurance of that and that these placements are difficult. There are no perfect placements; because life, people and the stages of life aren't perfect. Even in "natural families" in the best of times with the best of resources, there are issues. So my gray hair is off to you. I think what you did is the best thing you could have offered in any life: a chance to be exposed to unconditional love.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 3 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@anonymous: Thank you for your thoughtful comment. There was much I wish we'd known before we adopted our children that might have made our family life better than it was, but I learned it too late, just as many birth parents do. As a wise man once said, no one is experienced at raising his own children, since no one has ever had those same children at that same age before.


SusisWorkshop profile image

SusisWorkshop 3 years ago

Coming across this page and knowing i could have been just like her makes me feel very blessed that I have had my grandmother be in my life.. I am sorry you have had to deal with her death, but am grateful you have chosen to share your experiences and your blessings. I hope that time can be healing and nurturing for you. Thank you for taking the time to love and nuture both of these wonderful yet troubled young people.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 3 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@SusisWorkshop: I'm glad you did not wind up like Sarah. She had her birth family, including her grandmother, in her life until she died, but it didn't help. I will always wonder if the anti-depressants she was taking pushed her over the edge.


SusisWorkshop profile image

SusisWorkshop 3 years ago

@BarbRad: Well, glad she had her birth family and your family in her life. I understand how you can question the anti-depressants she was taking. I believe that sometimes medication can make you worse then making you better. Thanks for sharing your story and what happened to your daughter. When my dad died, i wrote letters to him, and went to counseling. So, writing can definitely be healing in situations dealing with death. I congratulate you for having the courage to put onto "paper" what you have been going through.


mel-kav profile image

mel-kav 3 years ago

I am a nurse at a school for special needs children like Sarah. I see the effects of the emotional trauma that these children suffer from on a daily basis. And I believe that Sarah's life would have been a lot worse if it weren't for the loving and caring home that you gave her. She was lucky to have you and Kosta in her life. And I hope that you realize that you really did make a difference in her life. I am deeply sorry for the loss of both of your children. It must be the most difficult thing to have to endure. May the Good Lord bless you and Kosta always.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 3 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@mel-kav: Thank you, mel-kav. It means a lot for you to say this.


rainykua profile image

rainykua 3 years ago

This made me really sad. I remember when I was fairly new at HubPages and wrote a hub about parenting teens. You are one of those who have commented and have given me wonderful insights about parenting. You wrote that each child is different and parents shouldn't beat themselves up when things go wrong. You also mentioned about your daughter. I had no idea that it was Sarah and that she had already passed away. I'm so sorry that you lost her and your son Jason. After reading this lens, I can say that you and Kosta are really GREAT parents. You have given Sarah a wonderful childhood. I'm sad that her life had to end this way.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 3 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@rainykua: Thank you for those kind words. Unfortunately, we can do our best, but we can't live our children's lives for them. They make their own choices -- especially after they have left home. All we can do is love and pray for them, which we did. So did many others. I often wonder what Sarah could have become had she had real parenting and love from the beginning instead of being used and neglected.


favored profile image

favored 3 years ago from USA

Most of my teaching career has been with special needs mainly ED kids. The best thing you can do for them is to show unconditional love and pray somehow they receive it. Being a teacher yourself you know how hard it is to help kids get free from their past. I hope Sarah's story will help someone that may be experiencing the same thing.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 3 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@favored: Thank you for your comment. I hope so, too.


junecampbell profile image

junecampbell 2 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

I am very sorry to hear of this tragic story. It is always devastating when someone takes their own life. I suppose the truth of the matter is that when we let someone into our hearts, by whatever means, we open ourselves to the possibility of a tragic ending. We hope it won't happen, but there are no guarantees. I wish you all the best.


Heather426 profile image

Heather426 2 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

I am crying all over again to read this, read your other lens about her a while ago. Such a heavy load, and I'm so sorry you went thru this. I have a friend with 2 adopted children that came to her as infants. The boy and her have a great relationship, the girl is very aloof from her and most people. She has been searching for her birth mom for over 10 years,. So I don't think it's only because a child is older but I do think there can be more challenges, On the other hand, plenty of teenage girls flip out on their birth parents too.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 2 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@Heather426: That's very true, Heather. I have talked to parents who adopted infants or very young children, who also had similar problems -- especially if the children had not bonded to their birth mothers.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 2 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@junecampbell: You're right. Suicide is always a tragedy. I have lost too many people I have known that way. I have pretty much healed from my personal losses, but you never quit wondering what you might have done that could have prevented the suicide.


writerkath profile image

writerkath 2 years ago

Barbara, I scarcely know what to say. Please accept my deepest condolences for your family's losses and struggles. I am also so sorry that your daughter suffered so much. I pray she is at peace, and I pray that you and Kosta are also able to find peace and healing in time. I am grateful that there are people like you who are able to offer love to those who need it most. Sending you virtual hugs and love.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 2 years ago from Templeton, CA Author

@writerkath: Thank you, Kathy. We, too, hope Sarah is finally at peace.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 18 months ago from The Beautiful South

She was a beautiful girl and this was so sad. Never blame yourself; she just was reacting to her abuse and two parents that weren't parents. As old as I am I long for my parents and that is with a normal life. I doubt Sarah had a minute of peace in her heart or mind and losing her brother was probably the last straw.

I would love to add a link to this from my Foster Child hub.

Voted up and sharing.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 10 months ago from Templeton, CA Author

Jackie, I'm sorry to take so long to respond. I'm not here much these days. You are probably right about Sarah. She had grandparents and aunts from her birth family that did care, but the damage was done by her birth parents. When she lost Jason I think she lost the only person she ever did truly believe loved her. It wasn't true, but she simply couldn't see it.


Chris 5 months ago

Thank you for letting me reach out to you on Sarah and Jason .I can not express my gratitude enough .For taking the time to let me tell you of the time i was able to spend with both Sarah and Jason .Having found out so many years later ,The only thing i am sure of ,had i known they were still so close .Maybe we could have re connected .She and Jason will forever be in my heart .Were never forgot ,and never will be .Even a blind man could see the love you and your husband had for them . You did not offer them anything ,You simply gave it instead .What you gave , something many kids may even take for granted even .Something maybe we both forgot at that time in our lives felt like .Undeniable love ........You never realize how often that simple act can forever make a difference .Sarah was a very special girl and even though we were young .You left a life long memory and a very deep impression that shaped me into the person i am today Thank you for taking the time to write your story .They were blessed to have you in there lives


Kim Dalessandro 5 months ago

I'm so sorry for your loss of Jason and Sarah, Barb. I can't imagine losing a child. It's my biggest fear. Sharing your story may help to save a life. God bless you and your husband. You were obviously wonderful parents.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 3 months ago from Templeton, CA Author

Chris, I'm thankful you contacted me. I learned so much about my children from you that I had no other way of knowing. I wish you much success in the rest of your life, along with inner peace and love.


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 3 months ago from Templeton, CA Author

We have pretty much healed now, from both losses, though we do still carry a hole in our heart for each child. I wish Sarah had been able to believe we loved her and only wanted her to live a happy and successful life. Since I lost Jason, I've met many other parents who lost children of the same age around the same time. All of us have healed enough now to go on living our lives. All of us were leaning on the Rock of Ages.


Blu Angel 2 months ago

Barb, i am so glad I read your story, i am so sorry. You did the right thing. My life was alot like Sarah's. I was in foster home, then adopted and just wanted to get out of house. We seem to hold on to this loss or abandonment issue and dont bond how we would like to the adopted parents. I still have problems with trust, making and keeping friends and relationships forget it! I have a bad picker, I think its why I have never been married. I am a single mother of a sweet 7yr old who is in special classes, and a little slow learning. I am 49 and am so tired of feeling depressed from my past. My real mom died in Germany this year before I could go there and meet her, then my adopted mom and my sons Nana died right aftr that and I cant get past the grief. Maybe u can adopt me and b my sons Nana that we miss so much? lol. Or Am I to old to adopt?


BarbRad profile image

BarbRad 2 months ago from Templeton, CA Author

I'm probably too old to be adopting. I'm sorry you had such a sad start in life and have suffered so many losses. I'm glad you are still hanging in there. Feel free to message me through HubPages if you want to have a private conversation. The comments don't seem to be the appropriate place to do that. Your daughter's emotions may be getting in the way of her learning, as Sarah's were. As to your birth mom, meeting her may not have given you closure. I have talked to some who have found a reunion very disappointing. Maybe you have been spared more hurt.

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