The Lyon Family :

Traveled September 8 - 13, 2019

Meet single mom, Savannah, and her two kids; her biological daughter Kailie, and son Gabe, adopted out of foster care.

“Before going to Disney, we were all pretty anxious. We were grateful and overwhelmed by the generosity of Funding Love, but we didn't know what to expect since we had never been there. I was also a little skeptical about whether or not this would be a good way for us bond and connect. My kiddo has experienced a lot of trauma and his heart is so hurt. Sometimes that makes life just plain hard, not just for him, but for everyone around him. Before the trip I was talking to him about the wall that he has built up around him to protect himself from being hurt. I explained that the wall also keeps him from feeling loved because he's alone over there. He asked how we tear down bricks, and answered his own question, "by having fun together?" Yes, exactly! I said. This was a few days before our trip. The night before we were on an emergency phone call with his therapist because he was so sad that he just wanted to die. He felt so unloved. 

On the second day we went to Beauty and the Beast's show in Hollywood. I was so excited, like a little girl. However, as I watched the show I just started to cry. I saw my son as the beast. Realizing for the first time that the Beast was orphaned as a child. He was mean because he was hurting and alone. When Belle shows up, he wants to love her, but the risk is realized with Gaston. Loving her is risking his very life. Oh how that resonated with me. It takes such courage to be vulnerable enough to give and receive love, especially when you have lost so much and been so hurt.

When we got home I got and read "The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself" to my son. The story is brilliant about a little boy with trauma who builds a wall to protect himself, but then with the help of Someone Kind, they knock the wall down. I asked him if he still has a wall up. He replied, "No, most of it was knocked down at Disney World." I saw this happen after key events or shows when we had the most fun. Something would trigger a memory and he would melt and cry and tell me about something that had happened in his life prior to me. That doesn't mean everything is better, the behaviors are gone and life is completely different. But I honestly think that a trip to Disney World did what would have taken months or years in therapy. 

Another beautiful thing that happened was with my daughter. She has never known her dad and I have always raised her alone. We have a terrific relationship, but I think that it has caused her to grow up pretty quickly. The past three years while I was working on my master's and also fostering/adopting, she was also entering her teen years. At one point during the trip she said to me, "Disney World reminds me that I can still be a kid." Oh my!! yes girl, these years are slipping through your fingers like sand. Hold on to every moment of childhood you can. 

I'm just in tears writing this. I saw God's lavish love and generosity through the entire trip. I would have never imagined that God would speak to my mama heart at Disney World so vividly. He revealed His creativity, his abundance, his generosity, his love, his grace over and over again. All of the people that it took to make our trip happen, the sacrifices, the generosity, the time, the planning, the vision... it was all used by God to do miraculous, or should I say "magical" things in our family. Thank you.”

-Savannah Lyon

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