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

Back to School: Newbie Mom Firsts

elaina avalos, foster care, this is foster care, boy mom, mommy blogger,

Monday is my {foster} son’s first day of second-grade. The other day we attended his Back to School night. We met his teacher, saw his classroom, and turned in paperwork. I was a little overwhelmed. I’m not going to lie.

But as we took a photo in front of the PTO’s “selfie station,” and I talked with one of the parents about volunteering, I had this overwhelming sense of gratitude.

I never dreamed that being a mom would mean starting my parenting journey with a six-year old boy who is not mine and yet, may be.

But picking out his first day of school clothes, getting his backpack, and buying his school supplies, I am overwhelmed by the beauty of this time, in spite of how . . . mundane it all could be under slightly different circumstances.

I’m not sure I’d ever be a good helicopter mom. There are just some things I think he’s got to experience – even in failure – on his own. But I’m fiercely protective. In case you’re wondering if the mama bear thing only happens with children you give birth to, it doesn’t.

I worry over this year for him. In just a few short months, the court could decide that reunification efforts will be ceased. His plan could change to adoption. In just a few short months, it may be very clear that he will be with me forever.

I want him to have people in his life who will see how sweet and precious he is – even when his behavior is sometimes rooted in trauma. I want them to invest in him, in ways that so many kids just don’t experience. And so, as this school year begins – a year that could change everything for him, I pray that his teacher will invest in him.

I pray that I will know how to support him. And I pray that those who are part of the team of professionals that provide additional support, will know how to help him {and me}.

Here’s to a new school year – and hopefully soon – the permanency that my little guy deserves so much.

Are you ready for your kiddo’s new school year?

Thankful,

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Healthy Attachment

RestoReview

My son’s last day of school was more than a week ago. On the 7th, I was there for his end of year awards, which I shared about, here. The following day, I left work to pick him up at 3:30. When I arrived in the parking lot of the school, I realized there was a text from his teacher – he’d been crying for a half-hour – inconsolable, really.

I asked her if I needed to come in. Her initial response was no. And then within a couple of minutes, as I waited in the “car rider” pick-up line, she said he’d begun crying again. I parked, signed in at the office, and walked to his classroom, nervous about why little guy was feeling.

I could hear him before I saw him. When I walked in, he fell into me. He was weeping – body-wracking, sobbing, tears falling down his face, weeping. There were a couple other kids crying too. But my little man was beside himself.

He sat on my lap and I rocked him as his teacher walked the other kids to the bus and then the car rider line. We sat alone in the class as he wept. My heart has never ached so. The pain he was feeling was so real and intense.

And yet, this foster mama who knows, also knew this was a beautiful moment.

My little man is learning healthy attachment.

It hurts to lose people you love. But when you get yanked around from place to place and the people in your life can disappoint you, you don’t always know how to form healthy relationships and attachments. You build a wall. You don’t know what’s a good relationship or a bad one. You may feel intense emotions, but they may not always be about the actual thing you’re expressing emotion over.

My kiddo is so tired of not knowing a permanent home. He wants that so desperately. He aches for it. Truly. He wants forever. He tells anyone and everyone that he plans on living with me “forever.”

But after what he’s been through, attaching and forming the bonds and relationships most of us take for granted, is not easy. To say the least. His sadness over “losing” his teacher and his friends, was so very painful for him.

And as weird as it is to say it, that was such a good thing for him. His pain poured out of him and it’s like every pent-up emotion from the last few years of his life flooded to the surface.

Though I believe his emotion came from a few places, underneath it all was the awesome reality that my little guy is learning, in just a few short months in my house, what it means to form healthy relationships.

As I held and rocked him, I said so many times, “It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be sad.” My heart has never ached more over the emotion pouring out of anyone. And yet, I felt it was a turning point for him and for us.

My little man is learning what it means to form healthy relationships. I am so proud of him.

He is a warrior.

He fights through some tough stuff (most adults don’t know how to work through), to be strong, smart, sweet, and full of joy.

He is brave. He is hilarious. And though he can be quite fearful at times – he’s actually fearless at the end of the day because he will not let anything hold him back.

I am convinced that I’m in the presence of a boy who will be a great man, someday.

What a sweet privilege I have to love on him and be there for him on days like his last day of school. He is learning what it means to love, form bonds, and say goodbye in a healthy way.

I am so very proud of my boy.