adoption, family

One Last Adoption: the Prodigal Son

Once, it was our “almost-adoption.” The son that was, then wasn’t, then was and then repeat again. Marcus was our Prodigal son. Each time he circled back to us I got more used to the push-pull of his affections. At first was a 16-year-old boy, desperate for a family while simultaneously terrified of family. He eventually turned into an 18-year-old with the same hopes and fears. Only then he was on his own, having aged-out of foster care.

Marcus has been back home since the end of September. He is 20-years-old now. A young man by all accounts, and yet he still needs his family. He’s asked us if we would still be able to finalize his adoption. Could he still take our last name? Could he still call us his “parents” in an official capacity?

Of course he can! And so we filed the paperwork for an adult adoption. He chose a name for his new birth certificate. He asked that we be listed as his parents. His new middle name will be based off of a favorite comic book character. It’s odd for a legal name but who am I to judge? He is an adult now. He can make his choices.

So now we wait. The fee has been paid and the clerk has signed off. Our court date will be sometime after Thanksgiving, either late November or early December. I should be overjoyed. I am overjoyed. It’s just that I’m also apprehensive.

Every time we got close to legalization in the past, he recoiled. It was as if he’d touched a hot stove and instinctively backed away. Then we would start over at square one to build a relationship with him.

It’s been so wonderful to have him home. It’s been great to hear, “Mom! Hey Ma! Ma!!” over and over (and over!) all day. Sometimes I think he is checking to make sure I’m still here. I am. I will always be here.

Eventually he may push us away again. He tends to follow a pattern in his relationships. But maybe, just maybe, it will be different if he has our name. Maybe then he will realize that no matter how hard he pushes, we will always be right here.

Marcus reminds me of Icarus from Greek mythology. He takes risks. He learns the hard way.  He wants so badly to love and to be loved. Like Icarus, he flies too close to the sun and burns. Perhaps this time will be different. Perhaps this time he will keep flying.


**names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


8 thoughts on “One Last Adoption: the Prodigal Son

  1. skinnyhobbit says:

    Dear Marcus definitely exhibited classic disorganized attachment. I’m so glad your family has been there for him, through it all. What you’re giving him, and him finally finally earning secure attachment despite all his wounds and terror…I could cry. This kind of love, homecoming, chosen family…so many of us yearn for it and believe it to be impossible because “who’ll want to adopt a damaged adult? I’m not a child or teen anymore.” Yet here you are with him. And it gives me hope that I’ll find/build/nurture a forever family one day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Skinnyhobbit! I love it when you comment. Yes, I do believe Marcus has that attachment pattern. I really hope we provide a secure attachment for him. Being his parent is very rewarding and we are very lucky. I know he doesn’t always feel the same way. He gets scared but I’m hoping we can love him enough to let him feel safe.

      And honey, I think anyone would be lucky to count you as one of their own. Yes, of course you can build a forever family. I’ve seen kids bond with a teacher or a coach and get in touch years later. They build a deeper connection with someone they already trust. Family are the people who are there. The people who show up. The safe place for you to land.
      I’d love to hear your story if you ever choose to tell it. I’m leaving my email. Contact me anytime.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Heila says:

    Wow, that is profound. Even if he does follow the pattern and pulls away again he will always have that reminder of being part of your family, in his name. And he will be back.

    Liked by 1 person

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