When a Motherless Boy Becomes Hunted


America’s Most Wanted. I never imagined. You were older, unrecognizable, on the mugshot stating, “Convicted felon”.

And who says sin and pain, loss and anger don’t change the composite of one’s face?

If it weren’t for your hazel eyes, light skin, your spirit begging behind those wrinkles…I would have never recognized you.

In fact, I had to check the date of your birth. Your age. Your nickname…I had to text my cousin to see if it was so. Was that really you?

Over four decades ago, we were in Preschool together. Our mother’s grew up friends, living near one another.

You and your twin brother were cute, quiet, well-dressed, and respectful. Coming from a typical loving family.

What wasn’t to admire? 

Yet, fait has a terrible way of playing tricks on the unsuspecting. What once was a gentle mom, loving and caring…

Turned into a diagnosis.

And  how does a little boy, or anyone for that matter, lose their most prized possession and still find the strength to fight?

I have been told, she was special. I could tell by your tidy clothes, sweet smile, your gentle ways, your mother’s love for you was faultless…

But what happens when pain takes hold and robs you from the very thing you loved more than life itself?

zzWhat happens when the one who cradled you cannot be seen or heard….when two little twin boys, squirm and reel…

And have to make a life without bed-time stories, gentle kisses, the smell of cookies baking, and the taste of sweet perfume when you nestled your chin in tight?

What happens when we must live a life separate, distant from our mothers?

Is there anyone that can take their place? Can time or distance or life itself ever erase the face of the one who carried us in their womb?

And I can imagine…loneliness, regret, bitterness, and doubt….a poison seeping deeply? A toxin fueling the lie that says, “We deserve a childhood that looks a certain way”.

Still, it must be the questions without answers that plague us most. The “whys” and “what if’s” and “how comes”, that drive us to our deepest hell…

And without faith, how can one ever return?

How do we handle loss without a God whose Kingdom came, whose spirit we breathe? How do we cope if we have no Savior who parents us perfectly and comforts like a friend?

And although He offers reprieve, I can only imagine those with scars, pain, and terrible losses, pushing even God away, condemning, refusing, blaming Him…

For taking away…the thing they loved the most.

And then there is sin. 

Sin is a terrible poison, promising us comfort if we crawl unexpecting right up to it, give it permission to be everything we are not. Sin longs to fill the gaps, be mother and father, our evening song, the smell of loss, and everything in between…

But death. Death always stings. Sin always takes us farther than we ever think it will.

And I question when you went down sin’s road, and decided to never return?

I heard about you in High School. You had dropped out of school. Somehow found a gang, and they became your family.

Were these tough ones packing guns some kind of substitite for family? Or were drugs appealing? Did you use them to fill the hole in your heart? The sense of emptiness and loss that only festered with hate?

I have to question.

America’s most wanted.

I ran from you at age four. You and your twin brother used to chase me in circles around the tables, pulling my blonde braids reached well past my bottom. They say it was a sign you liked me, but I was far too young to notice.

Middle school. You wrote me notes. You were my first real crush. And I recollect moments at lunch playing ping pong while you smiled…

But, life is more than games, more than running and chasing…

And today, it’s not hard to imagine…your still running. Your name is on every public profile. You have your own t.v. segment on America’s Most Wanted.

How did you get from there to here? What did you do to make the nation be in search for you?zzz Why didn’t you retreat and forgive God who took your mother from you?

And do you think your the only one with losses? Still, we all have choices; live bitter or better. 

Yes, we must find our way through pain and let those scars somehow make us wiser.

Or….we can run. Chase. Dart. Dance. Play games with the cops, with people’s hearts, with your gangs….With the fait of our very own destiny. Hurting a thousand people along the way…

Did you think blaming, hurting, criminal activity, would somehow glorify the one who left you?

Don’t you know your mom is still watching? Don’t you know that saints don’t just leave us for a season, but watch from heaven, getting glimpses of our journeys?

And we are accountable to the ones gone before us. To live our one life well…making choices that are wise and selfless? What has been your one selfless choice, lately?

What can you do that is an act of kindness and surrender? What can you do that will shift the generations and offer your life newness, peace, and acceptance?

Did you ever think you’d be running? Ever think that blonde little boy with hazel eyes would be hiding, wrinkled up like an old man, never living?

I know your mom would want more for you than that!

And yet, this world is in a deficit for moms. Moms; a power-force, the stabilizing source, the morality checking course for the whole entire family.

And yes, you had a dad. Someone who worked hard when your mom died, to help take care of you and your brothers…

Still, every child deserves a mother….a real mother…someone who will surrender self-lessly and die to make their child’s life better than their own.

Someone who will give up their time and desires and choices to help to make their little ones brighter, their child’s future filled with promise and laughter. Hope that stems from somewhere deeper than ourselves.

Someone who comforts when their child is sick, runs to put band-aids on them, picks you up and sympathizes with everything your feeling.

And did you learn to not feel? Was that what really happened? Did you “Pull up your boot straps” and live a hard life without comfort and nurturing? 

Where did your world suddenly go wrong?

I am sorry. So sorry. I wish I could turn back time, and somehow bring your mother back. I wish cancer wasn’t so evil, time wasn’t so uncertain.

But most of all, I wish you had known my Jesus who is the balm for every hurt, and Redeemer of everything stollen….

Because no little boy should ever have to live without a mother.

A true mother’s chest will always be a place of peace, safety, and comfort…

The eternal resting place that says, a child is finally home.

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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. She speaks, writes, & passionately advocates for the orphan domestically & internationally with her husband of twenty-five years.
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1 Comment

  1. LOVE your heart Jenger, and love that you make us THINK about what could be behind a wanted criminal.So SAD he wasn’t fostered by a family like yours, and taught about the love of Jesus :(

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