Love Is Not Enough

Love, elaina avalos, elaina-avalos.com, foster care, this is foster care, foster mom, parenting, boy mom

When you are a woman that longs to have a baby and to be a mother, you dream of what it’s like to be pregnant and to finally hold that tiny one in your arms. You think about motherhood . . . a lot.

Baby fever. I have had it for more years than I haven’t, now.

I know not every woman experiences this. But I certainly did/do. For me, I wanted to give birth to biological children before becoming a foster or adoptive parent. It’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s what I believed would be true in my life.

Apparently God did not hear about my plan. So when I became a mom through foster care, there were moments – many moments when I did {and do} grieve the loss of biological motherhood.

Now, before you tar & feather me, let me just say that I love my {foster} son with all of my heart. I would die for him. And I’d make every last person on earth hate me if it meant I could find him the best of everything – the best therapy, the best school, the best teacher, & the best resources.

For nearly a year, my sweet boy has done so well. He’s grown and changed by leaps and bounds. Somewhat recently though, he started regressing. And while I won’t tell that story, I’ll tell mine.

It has been hard on me – watching how hard this is on him. I’m exhausted. He’s exhausted. I long to be past this. What’s this? There’s a lot happening at once. But one of the primary issues is that we are now in the “I want to go home,” phase of foster care life.

You’d think that would have happened sooner. But it didn’t. He was asking me if I was going to adopt him and said his last name was Avalos, months and months and months ago.

My desire to be a mother had been realized, right? It had. It has. But there’s this other side of foster care. In the broken and messy places of biology and our hearts and trauma and our emotions – lies the deepest pain. For a child, it’s also terribly confusing at best.

My boy loves his mama. How could he not? She is mommy and always will be. He has fantasies of what that life used to be. He once said that he wanted to live with her because he didn’t know what it was like to live with her. His memory only gives him bits and pieces of that life.

He longs for her and the life his very inner being, was woven from. He was not woven inside of me. He loves and trusts me. We have bonded and I know he feels loved and I know he loves me. But mommy is mommy.

So when the little boy you’d lay your life down for, reacts in anger to his hard days, by telling you hard things about your future together {I just want them – not you}, it hurts in a way I can’t explain.

Rejection, right? It’s a rejection. When I’m the one who’s lap he crawls into {though he’ll be taller than me soon enough}, who comforts him on hard days, or is there in the hardest fought battles and the greatest victories, you long to know that you’re finding your way through his pain and trauma to his heart.

Winning hearts and minds . . .

But love isn’t enough. It just isn’t.

Which brings me to my comments about biological motherhood. When you haven’t known the joy of carrying that little one that was woven from your innermost being, the pain of the messy & ugly moments in foster care, when you are raising a child that is another’s, hurts in the deepest way you can hurt.

But that’s also where the beauty can find its way in. In a hard moment today, as I heard another rejection {just one day after he announced his last name would be Avalos}, I also had this very clear truth flash across my heart & mind.

He knows how this feels. He knows. He knows what it means to be rejected. But He also knows what it is to love and chase hard after one He loves desperately. And yet, even still, be chosen last. You do that to Him. He chased hard after you. And time after time, you chose Him last.

Friends. Phewie. That was some heavy stuff. I prayed that I’d know how to deal with my emotions when my sweet boy says not so sweet things. I prayed I would know how to feel, what to say, and how to act. As we sat at McDonald’s and I longed to get away, where I could cry my whiny heart out, I realized that I, who have far less reasons than my boy, do the same to God.

Somehow, this moment cleared up the cloudiness in my heart. I rejected Him so many times. But His love was faithful even still. I might as well have spat in His face. He loved me even still. So what does one do when you long to have the love of your child, returned?

You keep loving.

And because love isn’t enough, you press forward finding every way you know how, to beat back the six years of trauma and the toxic relationships that his biology created. You read. You search. You send Facebook messages to acquaintances and friends who know so & so and such & such.

You listen to Brene Brown read her book, Daring Greatly, because frankly, there should be no more vulnerable person than that of a parent – especially one who is fighting hard for the heart of her boy – for his healing, freedom, peace, and future. But you listen hoping for some nugget of wisdom to teach him with words and actions.

You ignore friendships and feel terrible. But you don’t have the emotional energy because he needs it more than you. You make your son’s school hate you. You tell social workers that all you care about is your little boy & that while they may not have time – you will get what you want – because what you want is your boy’s healing and wholeness.

I am nothing and no one. I don’t hold any special positions or titles. I was raised with very little. Our toys came from yard sales. And my clothes were hand-me-down clothes. I’ve got nothing in the eyes of the world. But I know one thing for certain.

I am a mother – who was handpicked for this boy – because God knew he needed a fighter. I don’t care about systems or rules. I will fight until I have nothing left, for him. Whether he rejects me in the end or someday looks back and sees how hard I fought.

By the grace of God, love is not enough. But He is. So for now, I’ll rest in that.

And I’ll keep fighting.

3 thoughts on “Love Is Not Enough

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