It’s been over nine months since this happened – Closing The Door.
Nine months of silence from my oldest son’s adoptive mom.
After that last night of horror, she just disappeared. There were no more phone calls. No further contact. Not a single hint that she was still around.
Silence in which I have gone from worry, to anger, to hope and back again to worry, starting the process all over again.
It’s hard to even explain what it was like. In those first few months after the last call. I sat on pins and needles, afraid of the next one to come. Dreading the time when his adoptive mother’s number would pop up on caller I.D. Bracing myself for whatever lay ahead next for my son to have to face.
And then, as the months passed and we heard nothing, there was a shameful part of me that was so grateful for the silence, thankful we had some peace. It was like the break we needed. The chance to take a deep breath, settle down into a normal sense of life and not have to fear every phone call might bring about another round of my son having to face yet another onslaught of attacks and abuse.
But even then, it was impossible to feel completely settled to put it out of my mind for long. Because DAMNIT, she’s his mom too. He’s her son too. And that should mean something. Shouldn’t it?
And how does anyone find some balance between that need to protect your child, to want them safe from such cold attacks while knowing this is your child’s mother, adopted or not. She is a part of him. A part of who he is. A part that just went away. That was no longer there. Another abandonment for a young man who never should have faced such a thing.
It’s that weird mix of being thankful she’s not hurting him while fearing he is being hurt. It’s trying to find that balance of protecting my child while feeling helpless to protect him from her silence, her disappearance from his life.
And how does anyone ever find an answer to that? How can you ever know if you are helping or harming your child?
I look at my son and feel that love I have for him. That unexplainable “mother” emotion that swells for my children and I wonder how it is she could ever go almost an entire year having no idea what is happening to him. How he is. Cursing her for not being there for him, while thankful she hasn’t had a chance to abuse him further.
And how in the hell does anyone put that into anything that makes sense in their mind? How do you fear contact while hoping for it?
It makes no sense. Not in my mind.
And yet that has been where I have wavered for the past nine months while hoping, with everything I have, that maybe, just maybe, this long stretch is because she finally got help. That she finally realized that the best thing for her son . . . our son . . . was to give him a healthy relationship with both his mothers. A mix of both families who love and care for him and want whatever it is that is best for him.
Maybe . . . just maybe . . . she took this time to fight her addiction. To learn how her abuse when under the influence of alcohol affected her son, hurt him in the worst of ways. Maybe, the possibility of losing him pushed her to do whatever it took to keep him in her life because he’s worth it. Because he’s her son.
And now I sit on that edge of finding that out. Of again hoping that “this time” it will be different. That “this time” she will be the mom my son deserves and won’t attack or abuse him but will let him know just how much he means to her and how desperately she wants him in her life.
Because she called. This morning on my son’s cell phone. He didn’t answer so she left a message.
And so he came to me this morning, telling me he wanted me to hear something but that I had to promise not to worry about him. And I promised (with my fingers crossed behind my back.)
I knew then, as he held his cell phone out, pushed the buttons, that his adoptive mom had called so I wasn’t surprised when I heard her voice. But I was worried and hopeful and wondering and praying that this time was different. And, yes, even in that small part of my mind, there was a part of me thankful that, since the call had come in before nine in the morning, that she was, more likely than not, sober.
She told him she had been thinking of him. That she missed him. She asked him to call her and said that if she didn’t hear from him, she hopes he has a great Thanksgiving, Christmas and Birthday (he turns twenty-two at the end of December.)
Hearing that, part of me hurt for her because I have been there with my . . . our . . . son. Missing him. Thinking of him. I know the feelings of not knowing what they are doing. Of wondering how they are. If they are okay.
But I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have a way to contact him. To talk to him. She did.
With that aside, though, I find myself now praying for the best, while fearing the worst.
As of this morning, my oldest son didn’t know if he was going to call her back or not. But to see the truth of why, is so hard to deal with. His response wasn’t one of not wanting her in his life or no longer caring about her as his mom. It was one of fear. Fear that she would attack him again. Fear that reaching out to her would start another round of abuse like the one I wrote about in February.
So I sit here now wondering, worrying, hoping and praying. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know what the outcome will be. I fear my son will call her and she will go after him again, hurt him like she has done so many times in the past.
But I also hope and pray that maybe it will be different this time (the same hopes and prayers I have had for so long.) But, maybe, this time, she has come to that point where she has realized just what he means to her and is ready to build a relationship with him that allows him to have all his family included.
Maybe now we can be what it is our son needs from us. We can come together and give our strength, our support to him so that he can face a future with a good relationship with both his moms.
I hope for the latter. I hope, with all my heart, that if he calls her back, she will be different. She will have changed. And my son will have all that he deserves.
But I fear the opposite of that. I fear he will face more hurt, more pain.
I fear he will again be left with facing a division in his life when what he deserves, what he should have, is a unity between all who love him. Between everyone who he loves and needs in his life.
In Other Words: Susan Harness and Sandy White Hawk
22 minutes ago