To my Son’s Mommy

_...Mourn with those who mourn._ Romans 12_15

To my Son’s Mommy,

You are grieving now and I am grieving with you. While we still wait for a court to make a decision, I want you to know that I love him with all of my heart. I would do anything for him.

You may hate me now. But I will speak of you, sweetly. I will be excited when he speaks of you – because he deserves this. And I will cry with him, when he cries because he misses you.

But tonight I want you to know that I grieve for you, mama.

I know you don’t believe this now. But I pray someday you will.

I love him with everything I’ve got. So you know what that means? I care deeply for you, too. I don’t understand what you’ve been through in life. And even recently, I’ve been hurt by things you’ve said. But you are the mother of some beautiful, resilient, strong, and creative children.

For a long time, I prayed for your success. And now I’ll pray the same – while I pray for healing and hope.

I prayed that these days that appear to be approaching – would not. I believed you could do it because I’d met your son – and got to know a couple of your other children. I believed in you because I know I see you, in them. I know I see you, in your funny, smart, creative, son.

So I believed in you.

And I prayed for you.

And I grieve for you now.

This evening in the car, our sweet boy said something about visiting you and the tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t answer him, through my tears, as he said, “Mama A? Did you hear me?” He wanted me to answer, but the emotion had overtaken me.

I don’t want your family to break apart. I don’t know how I’ll ever explain this to him or how I’ll comfort his heart when it aches. I believe we have bonded. I believe with all of my heart he knows I love him and that he is safe here. I also know he loves me.

But you will always be mommy. I will never take that away from him. His plan has changed to adoption. I pray I’ll always know how to keep him tied to you, though legally I have begun to plan for him to be mine. In all other ways, he already takes up every part of my heart (including some places in my heart I didn’t know existed).

But I don’t want your family to be broken apart. Yet, we have choices to make about our path ahead, mama. I hope you will make a choice now – to work alongside me. This seems hard to imagine through your grief and anger.

_No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear._ - CS Lewis

But I promise you, he is loved with everything I’ve got. I hope someday, when he walks across the stage to get his HS Diploma – you are there too. I hope someday, when he waits for his bride in a church, you are there too. I hope we will share this joy together – his Mommy and his Mama A.

I pray that it will not just be me alone experiencing what remains of all of his “firsts” in life. I hope you will be there too.

But the choice is yours.

Until then, I’ll love and raise your boy to be a strong, good, man. And hope and pray you’ll be there to see it too.

Praying for your heart.

– Mama A

Hurricane Florence Through My Eyes

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On Tuesday, September 11th, I evacuated with my mom, dog, and kiddo after a mandatory evacuation order was released, for my county. We spent just over a week away from home, due to the dangerous road conditions and flooding.

We have had quite the eleven days. My beautiful eastern/coastal NC has been deeply marred by this hurricane and the flooding that followed. I know people who have lost everything – some homes, some businesses. I have neighbors, who have an entire floor of their home they’ve lost due to the intensity of rain (30 inches in my city).

It wasn’t just the event itself but the evacuation. My (foster) son had a hard time – any kid would. But his was a little more intense as his fear of losing our home and me was very real after what he’s gone through the last couple of years. I feared what would happen if we lost our home.

I’ve returned home now to the potential that there’s unseen water damage in my home as the smell of mold has intensified in the last couple of days.

Today and tomorrow, I’ll be volunteering at my church. The needs of others are so great. We have poor families, migrant workers, and so many elderly folks that have nothing to help them and nowhere to go. But Florence didn’t discriminate. And it doesn’t matter what your situation, when you lose everything.

The needs are great. And there is a great deal I want to say about this entire experience. There were funny things about our “Evacuation Vacation” as we’ve all been calling them. I want to share some of the experiences we’ve had along the way. So I plan to write a few posts to cover what this experience has been like. I just need a little time to figure out what’s happening with my house.

This isn’t my first hurricane. But it is my first evacuation – mandatory at that. And obviously the first time I’ve had to decide what to do in a storm – with a child. This has been an emotional and exhausting experience all around.

I hope I’ll feel up to sharing more, soon. In the meantime, prayers for my beautiful Eastern Carolina would be appreciated.

Sifting Through the Rubble

elaina avalos, chasing dreams, chasing hope,

One day I woke up and knew I loved him. It was a shock. And yet, not.

We are nothing alike. And yet he was home. We are nothing alike – and yet, somehow still, so very similar.

One August day, sitting next to him, as he handed me something to clean off my sunglasses, without me asking, I knew.

I knew then that I’d waited a lifetime to love a man like him.

I knew then that my life had changed.

I will spend a lifetime trying to understand God’s purpose in this confusion and heartbreak. After everything I’ve seen and experienced, I’m not sure I will ever open my heart again.

After so many months, after so much time to process what was, what was not, and what will not ever be, I thought it would make sense by now. Or, that I’d come to a place of numbness – that I’d move on.

I haven’t. I’m not sure I ever will.

August has brought something of him to me in new ways, as long as I’ve known him. The first August, it was the knowledge that I loved him. The second August brought a crazy, faith-rooted belief that he was the man I’d waited for, for so long. That conversation, a little over a year after I knew I loved him, he told me something that rocked my world.

It sounded an awful lot like answers to a lifetime of prayers. No man has ever come close – didn’t hold a candle – to who he is and the ways in which I believed God answered a lifetime of prayers in this man I never dreamed I’d like, let alone love.

Here we are, at another August – and I miss him in increasing measure. I never knew it was possible to miss someone this much. I thought time would make it easier. It has not. Today hurts in a way I would not have imagined.

I expected by now, with distance and time, that I’d have a better understanding or find some meaning behind it all. There is no understanding. And the pain is somehow worse.

One day, I knew I loved him. And that’s about all I understand.