by Janice Honeycutt
The Love Garden, a story found in some dirt…
Creating a raised bed garden in the shape of a circle had many benefits.
But the main purpose was to share some time and love in building a healthy garden with an unattached child whom no one could reach.
It was an experiment of sorts, we do a lot of experimenting around Blackberry Blossom Farm, and it wouldn’t be harmful, so it was worth a shot.
Will it make a difference? Only years and time will tell, kind of like growing a perennial garden. We hope for beds of profuse, colorful blooms and years of harvesting fresh, nutritious asparagus, strawberries, rhubarb and the like. But if the rain doesn’t come, or we don’t put the right nutrients in the soil, put shade-lovers in sun, or sun-lovers in shade, all of our hopes and work are a waste.
Learning about the circle of love in our lives is hard, it’s a lifelong education, destined to turns and twists we don’t expect.
Our story of love… it starts with a field of weeds.
Hard ground, no nourishment, nothing of value was apparent.
Scrape the surface though, and you’ll see a thin layer of soil where years of cut grass and sawdust were composted, and milky spore disease added to combat Japanese Beetle grubs.
Like a heart that shows no love, the ability to produce is there, but needs some serious amending.
This story started several years before the digging of the love garden.
Our core family consists of Ed, myself, two biological children, Ed’s 89 year old mother, Janice’s younger sister, and three adopted children.
Adoption and challenges…
All 3 were adopted as older children, aged 5 to 11 year old. Each has an early life story of horrible abuse and neglect, being passed from home to home, and as a result, suffered from many maladies, all which presented as serious behavioral problems.
Among these severe diagnoses was something called Reactive Attachment Disorder. This simply means that these children never created a normal bond with a primary caregiver in the first three years of life, and as they got older, never felt the need to bond with anyone. This creates all kinds of serious problems, lack of conscience being one of the most severe. Without feeling remorse, these children learn to manipulate, lie, steal, abuse, and kill, often starting at very young ages, progressing to the next level as they hone their skills.
Their love gardens resemble empty abandoned lots of concrete, trash strewn everywhere, stench and filth. They are very comfortable in this environment and will do anything to turn your garden of love into their own environment.
Children in the foster care system with Reactive Attachment Disorder, otherwise known as RAD, usually get passed along to multiple families as they wear each placement out, usually leaving a path of destruction in their wake. An all too common story is the shattered dreams of foster/adoptive families who thought they could help these children. They felt empathy for the unwanted and abused, shared their hearts and homes with them but in the end, were left feeling abused and neglected themselves.
Without proper rigorous training and support, these families are usually left permanently scarred, continually turning questions over and over in their minds and hearts. “What were we thinking?”, “We must have been crazy!”, and finally, “What could we have done differently?” Our hope for these children become weedy love gardens where there is no longer time or energy to nurture or water without complete sacrifice of ourselves. The weeds choke out the seedlings we had such high hopes for.
A Blackberry Lilly…
Look at the twisted blooms ready to unfurl and become a gorgeous flower. What a JOY to watch these blooms open with the promise of new life!
It’s a shame this garden of love takes so long to grow into the beautiful showcase it’s meant to be. Society is quick to blame the gardener, but the more serious issue lies with the seedling who so innocently enjoys failing to bloom, wants to be planted in the hot sun to wither, and won’t accept any nurturing from the gardener. This seedling just waits to be plucked out and replaced with a more suitable plant. They think, “That’s what always happens…I just wasn’t meant to grow.”
We know firsthand the frustration, the agony, the endless days, weeks, months, and years of being patient, watering, staking, adding compost, reading every gardening book on the planet, attending the Master Gardener seminars, trying to save our seedlings.
But here’s hope…
We’ve also experienced the joy of watching a conscience develop and grow, the love garden that blooms profusely!
Please visit our friend, Nancy Thomas, at Families by Design for parenting help, support, resources and training. She has the voice of experience and we admire her for the work she’s done to help so many.
Our goal, by sharing this inside private view of our family, is that other families will find hope and help, keeping their own lives intact while reaching out to other’s whose needs are great. Growing their own garden of love while still giving a healthy environment to the seedling who wants to be an unwanted weed.
Come along as we share this journey…one of hope, love, and finally… some happiness.
Beauty out of the rocks…
Can a Love Garden coax beauty out of a hard place to reach? How do flowers bloom out of a crack beside rocks? Here at Blackberry Blossom Farm, we find many ways that our lives learn from God’s example of nature surrounding us. The seasons, the weeds, the hard places where an unlikely flower grows & blooms. How fortunate we are to live and grow in such a wonderful place!
(this article re-published with permission, Janices original article has many more pictures, please visit her site to view them.)