dearest one.

my son is coming home next week… he is graduating from the program! so excited for him and about seeing the positive changes he’s implemented. i am so glad he’ll be home again for good. here is me hoping there is going to be one less broken kid out there. either way, i’m sticking by his side.

“Children born to another woman call me ‘mom.’ The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”
— Jody Landers

the last time i posted, we were sending my son to a boot camp program to get therapy and professional help after he committed battery (mild assault) on his dad and was getting so unruly that we had to call the cops several times. he needed to learn to accept discipline and authority, yet in our home, it wasn’t working.

he’s been in the program for the past 6-7 months and came home for the first time for christmas break. i am looking at a different child! he’s getting all a’s and b’s in school (he failed the ninth grade miserably last year on purpose). he holds himself with respect for himself and others. he makes an effort to take care of his things, and help with the house. he goes out of his way to say thank you and express appreciation. he is open to conversations about his past and his issues, thanks to therapy. he understands our rules and when we went over them again, after each one, he said “no problem!”, positively accepting them. this coming from a kid who before would have said “suck a dick, i do what i want!” or “ha! yeah right.”

the change is genuine and marked. he is heading to a good place now instead of death or prison. we expect him to complete the program in may. i am so thankful. i think this place turned his life around and SAVED his life, honestly. the way he was going was bad, no ifs and or buts about it. i’m so glad we did this before it was too late! he is reaching the potential i always saw in him and as his mom, it makes my heart SOAR to see him in a good place.

it was funny. once, his therapist called me and she asked “if you would have known the trouble he caused, would you have even bothered?! i mean, you wouldn’t have!” and i corrected her quickly. no ma’am. he is not a bad child or a horrible person. he didn’t have me growing up to teach and guide him. no ma’am i would have always adopted him. he is my son, perfect or not. and he NEEDED his dad and me. he needed us bad, which is why he got sent to this boot camp where he could get the discipline and help and support of the program to give him a reboot on his life. i praise god for the trouble he has caused us because that’s what parents do! they are there for their children even if it sucks.

there are no perfect parents or perfect children out there and i never expect my son to be perfect. i just want him to always be looking forward to the future and committed to bettering himself and the world. that’s all i’d want for anyone.

parenting… is difficult. you make the hard, right choices for your kids. you accept that you aren’t always all your child is gonna need.

my son was just not doing well these past couple months. the structure of our home fell apart, he listened to us, his parents, less and less. he sabotaged himself in school, he refused to take care of himself the past few months… i mean, brushing his hair or teeth became an all out war. he took no pride in his appearance. he got in trouble a lot. he became destructive and raged a lot. i called the cops on him few times because of unruly behavior and destruction of property. the last straw was when he threw his dad down onto the ground. i was done with the way this kid was running our lives and struggling. he was crying out for help that we couldn’t give to him. my husband filed charges for simple battery… my son was locked up for contempt of court. i mean, the boy does NOT know how to respect authority or accept that not everything can be his way.

when he was locked up, we made plans to enroll him into a therapeutic boot camp for young men. we took him straight from his release from the RYDC to this place. he was shocked, hurt, betrayed, crying, raging, kicking, cussing. it breaks my heart that this was needed, but i also know that he just wasn’t going to heal here the way we were doing things. he needed intensive help and therapy, supervision, counseling. all of which he will get at this place. we don’t know how long he’ll be there, but i can’t tell you how at peace i am about this decision. the program and facility is AMAZING… he will learn so much, he will be able to work through years of trauma and negative learned behaviors.

as his mom i feel all sorts of things. like i was a bad mom, like i should have been able to “fix him” myself… but also proud of myself for being brave enough to do the right, hard, painful thing. i know the payoff in the end will outweigh the suckage right now.

on the way to this place, i told my son many things. held him while he cried and cried with him. reminded him of how, the day i saw him, i knew he was mine. that i loved him as my son. that i’ll never stop, and that he has my heart.

his psychiatrist called me today and said he told her his adoption story, that he was getting kind of emotional when he told it to her.

she said that he told her “i met my parents at a bowling alley. when we all had to leave, i told them to remember me. i didn’t know if they would… but they did. my momma remembered me. i really love my momma.”

the story is not over. this young man is not done. i am determined to see him flourish and come to life. i love you son. it’s because i love you that i refuse to leave you broken and helpless.

it’s finished. he’s ours. as of today, his adoption was 100% finalized!

this child no longer belongs to a state.

he belongs to a family. his family. our family.

son, your ma loves you! forever and ever and ever!

my son’s adoption will finally, FINALLY be finalized on monday. fourteen years old was not too old for a forever family. this boy lights up my life!!! so thankful for him and the love he brings, the love he teaches me every day…

the sound of settling

it has been a little over six months since my son has come home… and i have to say, what a difference this time has made! my son is comfortable here now. in the beginning, he was so closed, cautious, and afraid. it was like yanking teeth to get him to talk about anything real, or to get him to face problems/fears. these days? he actually responds when we ask what’s wrong. he trusts us to be there and help with the problems. he’s learning to talk through his emotions, which is huge. HUGE. he volunteers information liberally about school, his social life, and even his past. he just talks to us now. like any other kid does with their parents. in the beginning, he was silent and suspicious. now, he comes home from school and is all “maaa! hug me! look at my art! i got in trouble at school for talking back to the teacher. can you make rotel for dinner?” lol. oh bless his precious heart. i just love him! and i’m so happy to see how our family has grown together. we are so blessed.

he is so funny, too, about always trying to make sure i’m going to react like a mom would. he’ll tell me he did something, like disobeyed what i said, and i’ll start telling him how disobedience is not acceptable, and he’ll says “just kidding! i know you were gonna lecture me, just like a parent… you’re such a mom!” but you know what? discipline, overall, delights him. he loves knowing his dad and i are not letting things go or putting up with certain stuff. he got put on restriction this weekend and actually thanked my husband for it. he thanked him because “that’s what parents do.” why does he value it so much? because before, he had no adult who was that invested, who cared enough to stand up to him and guide him. he gets that. this isn’t to say there aren’t huge arguments and blow ups, because there are. but we walk away from them able to have reassured him that we’re not going anywhere, it’s okay to be mad, but there’s a better way to deal than to cuss your brains out and break things.

i think a lot of people are afraid to parent a kid like my son. but it’s not his fault he doesn’t know how to do some things, like handle anger and apologize. that is what we’re here to teach him. and he has come MILES. he has a huge problem saying “i’m sorry” but yesterday, i told him he needed to apologize to his dad for something… AND. HE. DID. oh God in heaven thank you!!! this is just a huge, huge step! i am so inspired by this kid. he is truly special. he is so, so precious. he is so, so deserving. God knew what he was doing when he put this little family together.

as adoption day comes closer, my son’s fears are manifesting more loudly. he’ll ask all kinds of questions, and also has declared, twice, that he is leaving and isn’t meant to be here. he then packed and had to be “talked off the ledge.” he asked me, “why can’t i just be with the my real family? why did my life have to happen this way?” there is no simple answer. there is no way to take away that pain or confusion. not even i understand how so many families can be ripped apart with the kids left to pay the price. 

if you pray, please say a prayer for my sweet son who is going through a lot as we get ready to finalize this process. he has so much he hasn’t even worked through in his mind. so many fears and pains he has never faced internally. 

i see stuff like this picture on facebook and am a little sad. i am not the first mom my son has had. i have no idea what kind of baby he was, what his first word was. i wasn’t the first one to kiss him goodnight or hold his hand as he took his first steps.
but you know what? that’s beside the point. i am here now, and go out of my way every day to make sure S knows i love him. my son came to me at age 14, with so many years lost that we could have had as a family. but he is my little boy, loved dearly and treasured in my heart. i mourn for the years he spent not knowing the love of a mother, and i celebrate that finally he has a mama who is here to stay.
i am the first mom he has had who is NEVER leaving or giving up on him.
i am the first mom he has had who loves him PASSIONATELY - encourages him DAILY - accepts him AS HE IS.
and i am his last mom. there will be no other after me. and that, in its own way, is beautiful. 

i see stuff like this picture on facebook and am a little sad. i am not the first mom my son has had. i have no idea what kind of baby he was, what his first word was. i wasn’t the first one to kiss him goodnight or hold his hand as he took his first steps.

but you know what? that’s beside the point. i am here now, and go out of my way every day to make sure S knows i love him. my son came to me at age 14, with so many years lost that we could have had as a family. but he is my little boy, loved dearly and treasured in my heart. i mourn for the years he spent not knowing the love of a mother, and i celebrate that finally he has a mama who is here to stay.

i am the first mom he has had who is NEVER leaving or giving up on him.

i am the first mom he has had who loves him PASSIONATELY - encourages him DAILY - accepts him AS HE IS.

and i am his last mom. there will be no other after me. and that, in its own way, is beautiful. 

proving love

me: i love you son. do you believe that?

my son: no, not yet.

me: when do you think you’ll believe it?

my son: when you adopt me, i’ll believe that you love me.

me: can you tell me what the adoption will change in your mind to allow you to believe me?

my son: i’ll know you aren’t just saying you want to adopt me… i’ll know you really meant it.

me: son, adoption is not just a courtroom process. from day one and before day one, i saw you as my son. no judge can change or add to that. from day one i have loved you. and the adoption will not change where i am right now, which is here: i’ll never leave you. i’ll never send you away. i’ll always love you, no matter what happens or how you act. this is your forever family right now, not just after a court process.

my son: (hugging me tightly and staying there a few minutes.) i think i believe you now, mom. as long as i have you and dad, i don’t need anything else. not even video games!

me: well, since i am here to stay forever and ever, i guess we can trash the xbox huh?

my son: (laughing) … (suddenly nervous) wait… you ARE joking, right?

Mentor a Teen

maybe you read this blog and think to yourself “what she is doing is great but i am just not able to do that now… i’m not cut out to adopt… i am too young to adopt… i am not in a place where i could foster…” etc. well there are many more ways to put some good out into the world and positively impact child/teen’s life. one such way is to mentor.

i am a mentor at the local high school and it is such a blessing and honor to be part of the program. i visit my 10th grader once a week and just spend time with her. talk with her about her boyfriend, her home life, what she’s got going on. i was amazed to find out how alone she is. mom is gone. dad spends more time with his girlfriend and out of the house than with his daughter. she doesn’t even see him every day. what message does this send to her? that she is not worthy of attention or time. that she’s not important enough. however, there is at least one caring adult in her life who intentionally spends time with her and loves it—me. she sometimes refers to me as her “therapist” because she tells me pretty much everything. all i’ve done is been there when i said i’d be, listened to her, talked with her, and been genuine with her. do you think you could do the same for a child or teen in need? call your local high school and see if there’s a mentoring program. you have nothing to lose except an hour of time a week. and everything to gain by investing into a child’s life! people matter… let your life be an echo of that statement.

Loved you yesterday.

Love you still.

Always have.

Always will.

i heard from our social worker, and we are getting ready to finalize the adoption in the courtroom in the next couple months. to me, i have been his mom from day 1 and even before that, but there is a finality about the court date that is so sweet and feels like such a long time coming. S has a lot of mixed feelings about adoption. he is afraid of the word “forever” and still doesn’t know if he can trust that forever will really mean forever. but he has moments where he forgets about his fear, looks at me and his dad and sees his parents and doesn’t have any second thought that this is truly where he belongs. someday, the fear will be a memory entirely.