I've read enough adoption/foster care blogs to know that some Mom's out there in blogsphere would jump for joy to hear those words uttered by their child. And yet these words are breaking my heart. And why? First of all he is saying so much more than 'I love you I miss you'. He is seeking/needing reassurance, he is saying 'I love you I miss you', I need you. Do you love me? Do you miss me? Do you need me? Without you I am not sure I know who I am. I trust you. I can be me with you. I feel safe with you. I can only sleep well when I am at home. Don't leave me. Ever. Please.
Second of all, this is new behavior. Since Feb. every email, every text contains multiple 'I love you I miss you'. Sometimes the only thing he says in the text is 'I love you I miss you'. During his first semester of college I received lots of texts, but they were mostly about college life and classes and people he met and how college wasn't anything like high school. His communications were relaxed, joyful and carefree. Now, they seem clingy, desperate and needy. So what changed? What happened? I don't think it is a coincidence that these 'I love you I miss you' emails started about the same time as the sudden contact with relatives of his birth mother. Out of the blue his aunts contacted him through FB. Why now? He hasn't seen or heard from them since he 3. What do they want? Does this change who he is? Do they want to be part of his life? Should he, can he, let them be part of his life? How does this affect my relationship with TT? These are the questions he asked me during a 90 minute phone call. This contact has shaken him to his very core. It has made him uncertain. It has made him question who he is.
For the last 18 months, every since he moved in, FS#1 has been happy. He has told me he does not remember the last time he felt happy and certainly not the happiness he feels now. He belongs. He has a family. He has a Mom. He chose me to be his mom and I chose him to be my son. He has a home. He has a safe place to come back to. He has an anchor. And this anchor gives him the freedom to fly, to freely explore all that is out there, to be able to take chances, to have enough time, space and safety to figure out who he is. And all because I chose him to be my son and he chose me to be his mom. As more months pass he tells me he finds it harder and harder to remember the bad times. The time before. He used going away to college as an opportunity to choose his identity, to define who he is and what type of person he wants to be. At college, he no longer was just a foster child, he no longer was defined by his traumatic past. Oh he does not deny who he is or what is past is but he gets to choose who knows what. He has a parent to come to parent's weekend, he has a mom whom he can talk about, talk to. He gets to tell stories about family vacations and all the stupid, wonderful things that families do. He does not deny he is a foster kid, but he no longer has to be defined by it, he now has the opportunity to be so much more. I am proud of the young man he is becoming and yes, I tell him that at every opportunity. But now, he is uncertain, now he is unsure, now he is insecure, now he is not sure what or where his foundation is. And the gates of hell are prevailing.
And so my heart breaks.
But I realize I do have one gift I can give him that may help him feel more secure in his foundation. I can adopt him. He knows that I am committed to him, that I love him, that I will always be there for him, that no matter what he does he will always be my son. But like committed unmarried couples who have stated that getting that of paper does make a difference in the relationship, he has no tangible symbol of my commitment to him. An adoption decree would give him that tangible symbol. It would mean that I am his mom and he is my son, we are a family, permanently, legally. What God has brought together, let no one tear asunder.
And so I proposed to him that I adopt him. He has not given me his answer yet, but I overheard him telling friends that he will probably be changing his last name to 'Boot'. So I'm thinking that his answer will be yes when he finally gets around to telling me. And I'm also hoping that once FS#1 has a permanent, legal foundation, he will have the confidence and security to explore his roots, to contact his mom's relatives, to incorporate that part of him into his identity.
So, and this may sound strange, I hope that upon his adoption there will be fewer 'I love you I miss you', that he can go back to taking things for granted. That he will no longer need to say 'I love you I miss you' because he needs reassurance. Oh, I hope he will still say 'I love you' to me, but it will be as he takes the $20 from my hand as he flies out the door to hang out with his friends.
I hope that upon his adoption when I do read 'I love you I miss you' my heart will swell not break because he is certain, he is secure, he knows what, where and whom his foundation is. And hell will no longer prevail.
Upon this rock
I chose you to be my son
You chose me to be your mom
Mom, I love you, I miss you, Son