The Misguided Sainthood of Mrs. Kleiner

Trying to get it right with the best of intentions.

Location: Seattle, Washington

I have been married to the delicious Joe Kleiner for 6 years. I got preg in 1999 & miscarried at 17 weeks. I was depressed for a very long time. I now know I have PCOS, an endocrine disorder and leading cause of infertility. Joe and I both felt compelled to adopt foster children so we called ANTIOCH ADOPTIONS. They are committed to helping normal people adopt & to getting kids out of foster care. Our kids came home in the fall of 2001. Bret (8), Nene (7), and Tony (5). In 2004 we were contacted because the kids had a new biological sister and through God's amazing providence we now have her too. Yes, that's four-ages 12, 10, 9 and 1. This is where the mythology begins. Often people who don't know us hold to an erroneous and misguided belief that I am special, a saint if you will. That THEY would never be able to live my life. That God has not CALLED THEM to fostering or adopting. I disagree with every cell of my being. I am no saint. But I do believe that Jesus calls us ALL to care for the fatherless, to love the unlovable, and to die to ourselves. So this is my attempt to set the record straight.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Today is the one year anniversary of the hardest decision of my life.

August 31, 2004 was the day we decided to put our dog down. I could barely stand the void that I felt once he was gone. I raised him from a puppy. That dog brought life to our home when I was so stricken with grief I could barely function. We picked him up the weekend I was supposed to have given birth, the weekend of my grandfather's funeral. So you see there was a connection between he and I.

A connection that was never quite the same after we adopted 3 kids and my attentions became divided. He was loved and he loved greatly. But he also became aggresive. He nipped at my son in the face and then finally he bit a foster child who was provoking him. In the face. Blood everywhere. Terrifying night. I would have killed him with my hands that night if I wasn't holding a scared, bleeding little boy.

I begged my Dad to come and get him. To take care of it the way we country folk do. In the woods. Never to return. But my dad couldn't come that night. There was a blizzard. And then he didn't. I felt let down and hurt by my unmet need. My need was deeper than the dog. I needed my Dad to take care of me. To do the unthinkable.

So we waited. We knew we needed to do something, but we were so to devasted by any of the options. We tried to find a place for him to live. But we had to be honest about what had happened. Then we were distracted when our baby Nor came home a few months later. I was in heaven. I didn't want to confuse the joy with grief. But it nagged at the back of my head.

And then came the wake up call. We couldn't get our foster license renewed and keep Nor with Mo in the house. The state refused all of our attempts. We tried one last time to find a new home for him and moved him to a friend's kennel while we tried. I never saw him again. I didn't want to see him there.

August 31st. I called my dad and begged him to take Mo for a little while until we could find a place for him. My dad was unwilling to take on the responsibiltiy. Something about homeowners insurance, rottweilers being of the devil, and his new girlfriend. I freaked out on him. Eight months of disappointment and sadness came blaring out. It got ugly. I wanted to be protected from the pain and responsibilty. To have the men in my life be strong and wise for me when my heart was dying. In the end Joe made the decision and Joe carried it out. I love him for that in a way I can't even express.

I want to think that someday I will learn how to grieve better. To embrace the pain while it's happening so that I can let it go. I've grieved many things in the last decade and none of them well. I tend to run. To vacate. To empty myself of any emotion to avoid the pain. But the pain always finds you. You can never really be free until you go through it. Experience it and trust that God will be enough in the midst of it. I will tell you if I ever figure that all out.

But here's to Mo for many years of love, protection, and faithfulness. I still miss you, you big ox.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home