The Backwoods

Where we teeter between our love of modern convenience and the yearning for something long past; a world where neighbors knew your name and a “Friend Request” was eye contact and a smile.

The Prodigal Son…

Posted · 13 Comments



I remember clearly the night I decided to walk out on my first marriage.  I weaved between the buildings of our Arizona apartment complex in the dark of night, sobbing as only a broken teenage girl can. I clutched the handset of a payphone and held it against my cheek, eyes closed.  I swallowed my pride.  And then I dialed. 

“Mom,” I whispered into the phone. “I need to come home.” 

I thought about that yesterday morning, when I logged onto the computer to check airfare for my boy after a late night text, a plea for help and a photo. No doubt he deserved the beating…brought it on himself, I’m sure of it…and though I’d like to finish the job when I see him, a mama’s stomach curls at the site of her childs battered face…regardless.  I thought about this boy when he came to us at nine and how I promised to keep him safe from all he’d been through.  I thought about myself at nineteen and the long list of reasons my parents had to give up on me. I thought about the risk my parents took when they bought me that one-way ticket home.  The unconditional leap of faith they took in their wayward child, time and time again. And I clicked purchase.

After all, sometimes we all need a do-over.

I wonder where the limit lies.  Where that fine line between enabling and helping hides.  There must be one.  They tell us when we become parents that we’ve eighteen years ahead of us but perhaps those of us who adopt older children have a longer sentence. Or maybe it never ends. Maybe I don’t really want to relinquish control. And maybe it’s harder for the parent to let go…than it is for the child to walk away.

Billy left home a year ago yesterday and like most of us, has learned a few hard lessons along the way.  Or at least I hope he has learned. Next week he’ll be back with us for the winter.  A chance to rethink, refresh and rehab from the harsh world of adulthood.  At nineteen he is on the brink of too old to cuddle but the kids are excited to have their brother back with us.  And truth be told, so am I.

13 Responses to "The Prodigal Son…"
  1. cher says:

    Your parents never gave up on you or they would not have taken you in.
    You had not given up on Billy. Adopted or not, no matter the age.
    My 19 yo twins are out in that harsh world and learning its lessons. Hard lessons. Daughter in a situation possibly not much different from yours, sans child. Son is possibly in a situation similar to Billy. Occasionally I ship out care packages, banana bread and warm gloves. So far they have not asked, but if they do….

  2. Marie says:

    So happy to read this. I feel that when kids whether adopted or not, need an extra push, help or just plain love and someone to comfort them that it should always be welcomed. Parents are for life and that is what family is for! 🙂

  3. KyleBeth J. Hartman says:

    Love this! Love your mama’s heart. Prayers for you son too.

  4. Nancy says:

    I hope all goes well.. And I’m glad you took him back. Hopefully, he has seen what he needed to see for himself..

  5. Sharon says:

    Once you become a mom- you are a mom for life.It’s hard to step back when they are hurt or in pain, but sometimes they like you yourself have to learn things the hard way. My daughter and I were estranged for 8 years , 5 kids later she called and said “I need my mom”, and I ran. She said she did not realize how strong I had to be, being a single mom….but now understands. I love her will all my heart and will never let her go again.

  6. Ruby Beane says:

    My dear adopted or not some of our children just need that little extra love and care.We have 3 grown daughters and one of them just seams to need more care that the other two.We have had a rough several years and just the other day she said ” Thanks Mom for being there for me when I needed it the most” Worth it all. Hang in there and give them the love and support to help them through the rough times.

  7. Rebecca says:

    I am so glad to hear this!

  8. Lori says:

    Sometimes we all need the comfort and shelter of home to regroup, regain our strength, and be somewhere where ‘everybody knows our name’ literally and figuratively.

  9. Pam says:

    Theologians would tell you that the story of the Prodigal Son is really the story of the Loving Parent. Yes, you are!

  10. countrygalbelieves says:

    So glad he is coming to you and he is lucky to have you for his Mom!

  11. Melissa Compton Tangalin says:

    Wow…We experience that same things…You’ve got it right. I agree that we’re parents for life and we they call asking for help, we always help, because that’s what families do….Great job….Awesome piece and so timely.

  12. Liz says:

    I am happy for you…just love him…just…love him.

  13. Tiffany Haller says:

    Keri, so glad he has found his way back to you, I have been worried about him.

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