This seems to be an ongoing theme in my life as a mom. Surrender is the focus and central component in parenting our youngest. Tomorrow marks the 19th month of his placement in a program to which we have sent him, with the goal of giving him time and space to learn, grow and heal in a safe environment. The simplified timeline of his life is — biological home, foster care, adoption and now life in a private structured program.
There is no perfect program anywhere, if there were I’d spend insane amounts of money to get him into it … but I’d want a guarantee of his healing and freedom from his past; and in life we all know there are no guarantees. Another truth is, even if there were a perfect program, it doesn’t mean he would be different. I want so badly for him to be different.
He is such a smart and intelligent kid. He can be kind, generous, witty and gentle. So I’m not talking about wiping away who he is, I’m speaking of rewiring lines that were laid deep by people and circumstances that have convinced him of things that are not true. Nobody can be trusted, everyone will let you down, I only have myself, I need all the power, I will be in control and more, all have the potential to destroy him — and his future.
I spent eight years fighting for him, but since March I’ve surrendered him in a higher way — to God, who really is more equipped to battle for him anyway. I’ve always trusted God for our boy, but I hadn’t fully surrendered — our boy’s now, and his future. Surrender doesn’t mean I’ve given up — my love for him is intense, he’s been grafted into our family, he can reject and deny that, but nothing can change that. I literally do not know how to give up on him, sometimes it seems as if that would be easier, but I cannot do it, I don’t know how. When he frustrates and hurts me by his choices and words, I breathe more and allow him room to soak in those choices and words. This is his story and as he writes it, he needs to figure out where to make the edits.
I’m still invested in the process; I had a meeting this morning with the director of the program, asking some hard questions of a good but growing program. Before I entered that meeting I prayed I would be guided in my questions and responses, that I would only use words that would be beneficial. I left feeling peaceful and hopeful. Oh the stretching and growth that takes place through surrender.
Our boy said some things yesterday during a session that caused me to feel frustrated and anguished, without surrender I would likely still be holding those feelings today. Through this process I am learning — over and over and over — to let go of the things that are hard to hold. His path may not look the way I had hoped it would look, and I’m getting OK with that. I want him to write a new book, he’s not ready. Oh surrender.
I will soon get on a plane and go to my boy to spend time with him face to face. Yesterday, in my heightened feelings of frustration, this trip wasn’t feeling appealing. (Not very lovely of me to admit, I know.) But because I haven’t given up, I’m back to the place I need to be — longing for some time with my hard, kind, frustrating, lost boy.
Sweet, sweet surrender…
This post was originally published over here.
I wrote Giving Up vs. Surrender one year and 23 days ago. I thought I had surrendered him completely. It causes me to wonder where I will be in another year and 23 days…you can read that post here.