"He has a girlfriend now and I really think he is changing his mind about wanting this adoption to happen."
She says it frantic through static on the line, and this is what I feared, too, but couldn't—wouldn't—admit to, not with the foster babies getting ready to move out, not with having to keep my heart intact while I watch them shuffle headlong into a painful future and can do nothing to stop it. He wouldn't bring us this far in the adoption of this boy we already love—a whole year gone by—if it could unravel this easily, would He?
The woman on the line wants me to move quickly, take action… do something, anything, to keep this from going the way it could go.
But I can't give her anything to go on. I can't stop the world from unraveling. I can't be his mother if he won't let me, even if mere weeks ago it was all he wanted in the world.
I am held captive by the ever-important and always fluid social life of the American teenager.
The rumors come by telephone now like they did when I was 15 and I'm back in my high school bedroom somehow with Rolling Stone magazine covers and vodka advertisements littering the walls, holding my breath and willing the pieces of my fragile heart to stay put until I know the truth for sure. I am holding back breath and holding back tears and wondering how love can melt away so easy.
I'm afraid I'm being dumped by a 15-year-old boy.
Traded in for another girl because having a girlfriend is safer for injured boy hearts than having a mother.
Mothers drink. And mothers die.
And just like the first time, when I was all ribs and elbows, I start to dial his number and pause over the last digit, unable to complete the call. What would I say? How do I ask this burning question? And if the answer is what I fear… what then? What happens next?
Who else will fight for you like I will? Who else will love you every step of the way?
A lot of adoptions don't work out and I scold myself for being so hopeful, for already being his mother.
A lot of mama heartbeats echo beneath ribcages for what should have been, and I know there were never any guarantees in this. But I am reduced, nonetheless, for the fear of what we'll never give him. I am wounded by the fear of being replaced by something temporary and where that will leave him, and I am all ribs and elbows again, all captive-aching heart and whispers to my pillow of no, this can't be happening. But this time, the pillow is his. His pillow, on his bed, in his bedroom, in what was supposed to be his house.
I have no magazine covers on the walls these days, no room to call my own. No boyfriend troubles or stepfathers or algebra homework or raucous youth retreats to heal tender wounds with laughter. Just a house full of babies from all sorts of bodies and a mama's heart left behind.
No matter what happens, child...
I will love you every step of the way.
Linking up to Imperfect Prose, back from its summer hiatus. Join us here as we revel in grace and community?