Monday, May 20, 2013

This is My Blog & This is My Mission

Adoption may be an option for some people but to those who are adopted it is more than just that.
 There are so many aspects of being adopted that most people do not stop to think about when they are in the process of adopting and the lack of knowledge and information and resources comes back to haunt them and the child they adopt.
 This is my story about being adopted and having seen so many other people adopted, come from stories like mine.I am the voice for those who have no voice and I am the face of those who can not see clearly the process of adoption. 
I am a huge advocate of adoption and my heart is to see less stories like mine and more stories of those who have happy endings. Yes, there are stories like mine, my story is not a pleasant one but as you will read, I am not 'my' story, my story of being adopted does not define who I am today but it has helped me grow into the person that I am. My story is full of abuse, hurt, brokenness and a lot of pain, but I have emerged from that and have only hoped and prayed to grow in grace and wisdom.
 A lot of healing has taken place over the last 13 years and more healing is taking place with each and every passing day. Some wounds have healed and there are only scars, some wounds have not healed yet and are often ripped open just so that they can heal again.  
 Like I said, my childhood and my adoption do not define who I am today, 'I' through the blood, grace and endless mercy of Jesus, am who I am today.
As a Christian, I will be writing about not only the physical aspect of adoption but the spiritual side as well. I may not have had the greatest story being adopted and had the greatest childhood but my spiritual adoption has an amazing story, a story full of hope and picture painted with grace and mercy. 
My life's mission has always been to encourage others, inspire those around me and ultimately make a difference in someone's life and through this blog, through the words that are written, I hope to fulfill that mission. If you have a story of your own, if you have insight that you would like to share, please feel free to email me and I will gladly listen. I do not and will never claim to be an expert about adoption nor do I want to give the impression that 'I know it all' because I do not, but what I do know is what I want to share, what I want to share is what I want to use to touch someone's heart in some small compassionate way. 
This is my Blog and This is my Mission. 
~ The Adopted Child 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I am Jessica aka Darlene & I am 'The Adopted Child' (1)

Howdy! (As we say from my home state of Texas)
I am Jessica, 'The Adopted Child'. Jessica is not my real name though at least it was not the name my birth mother gave me, my name was originally, Darlene. Darlene would be my name for almost the first 3 years of my life. I was born in Houston, Texas in the Jefferson Davis Hospital, a hospital that is no longer in existence.
My birth mother who I now know as 'Rosa' was the only active parent in my first 3 years and she was from Mexico and did not speak any English.
Again, my name was originally Darlene, until the day the state of Texas had to remove my brother (who was related to me by my birth mother) and I from a neighbor's house. Neither the State or the neighbors had any idea what our names were or did not understand the heavy Spanish spoken by the neighbor. So, I was given the name 'Jessica' by the state of Texas and from that point on, my name would always be 'Jessica'.
My brother and I were placed in a foster home where we were not cared for properly and were removed from the home just as soon as fast as we were placed there. The only thing that happened there was my Spanish was broken and I was soon taught English.
 The process was long and was dragged out as far as finding our birth mother and trying to decide if she was capable of providing and nurturing us and it was soon decided that she was not. We were placed with another foster family who eventually became our adopted family. I was probably almost three years old, my brother was a year and a half. We were cute little babies, we were both of Hispanic decent because of our Hispanic birth mother, dark brown hair and eyes, deep sun tanned complexions and full of energy!
We had quite the story behind our cute baby faces on the pictures being displayed to foster families but unfortunately our story would not be told completely and we were being 'falsely advertised' so to speak to whoever would see our pictures and understand the need to be adopted.
While we were with our final foster family, the day had come when the judge decided that our birth mother Rosa was not capable of taking care of us and he terminated her parental rights after she didn't show up for a court date. Our birth fathers were no where in the picture and never would be except for as the word 'unknown' on my birth certificate. We no longer had biological parents and were now available for 'adoption'. Within just a couple of short years after being placed with our foster family we would be adopted into a family, a couple who had turned to adoption because they were told they would never have their own biological children. We, my brother and I became their last option to ever having children at least until the day came for us to go to court to finalize our adoption and they were now pregnant with their first own biological miracle baby. From that point on in my story, we would be just be an option and even treated like so. Up until the day the miracle baby arrived, my brother and I were treated like we were the only ones who existed but when the baby was born, everything changed and it would keep changing as we got older. But, that is for later.
For now, I want you to meet Jessica, I am 32 years old, a single mother, I have my own biological son who is 10 years old, I am a published writer and owner and photographer of 'Capturing Inspirations Photography' and I am totally in love with music. There is more to the story and I will tell it in due time, for now, I just wanted you to meet Jessica aka Darlene & I am 'The Adopted Child'
~The Adopted Child

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Introduction to My Confessions (2)

There's so much detail of my story embedded in to my memory, so much that I think it goes beyond my memory, it's found inside the deepest parts of my soul. Growing up, I found that I had been gifted with a photographic memory which probably is tied into my ability to have a keen eye for the photos I take today. But, my photographic memory has felt at times more like a curse than a gift, I can remember hundreds of events from my past, my childhood that haunt me at my weakest moments.

I've always known I had a story to tell, although part of my conscience has always scolded me and reminded me that my story is nothing compared to those who have known true abuse. But, without justifying my reasons for telling a story, I've learned that 'abuse' is abuse, no matter what form it is. I've always looked at my childhood as a dark place, filled with so much confusion and hurt. I'm 30 years old today, and I've found healing, forgiveness and have overcome issues that were a result of the lifestyle I was forced to live in. But, I'm very afraid that as much as I've grown and healed, there is much more to be done and I fearfully question if I'm willing to take necessary steps to continue to heal. I know I can do it, I've come this far, but, I 'have' to keep healing and allowing myself to heal if I'm going to end this story with complete victory and triumph. As I tell this story in parts/sections, I want to remind readers that my aim and goal in telling the story is not to attack the people in my life that hurt me. Some of the people in my story have made it very clear that they have no desire for me to be in their life or to have a relationship with me. For this reason, I am able to go forward with my story as I cannot just sit and allow myself to keep silent while waiting day in and day out for any kind of relationship to form. As I mentioned, I am now 30 years old, almost 31, it’s time, time to be a voice for those who do not have one and come out with ‘my’ story, a story that sadly is the story of many out there. 
Also, let me state that as I tell the story, I am telling it as I remember it, I have no reason to lie about the things that happened, no need to exaggerate truth or facts. It is how I remember it, how I see it being played over and over again in my memory banks. Memories do not lie, they can't lie.
I have found that as I tell my story, many are coming forth from my childhood who are now validating what I'm saying. The story is true and what I share is truth, confessions that I must tell. 

Please also keep in mind that as I tell my story and portray and list issues that occurred, I am a HUGE advocate for adoption and I encourage it, but I want to encourage it for all the good that it can be for those out there that need a home and more than that, need a family to call their own. I will cover the positive side of adoption as I go along, I will cover tips and insights from those who have had successful adoptions, in hopes to help those who need advice and encouragement in their journey of adoption. With that in mind, let the story begin. This is my story and this is my song. 
Be Blessed, Inspire to Make A Difference!
~The Adopted Child 
 (To read the blog/story in order, read from top to bottom and at then click on 'Older Posts' found on the right hand corner at the bottom underneath the last blog post) 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Beginning Had Just Begun (3)

I was almost 3 years old when I was legally adopted, around 2 when I was placed with my soon to be parents in their foster home. As I got older, the story of why I was placed up for adoption changed, at times I wondered what to believe, but thought that it changed with time and my maturity and ability to understand the true facts. I was told my birth mother couldn't afford to take care of me, that she left my brother and I at a neighbor's house and didn't come back for us. The neighbor not knowing what to do with us, called social services in Houston and then we became family of the state of Texas. The state didn't know what my name was, so, Jessica was my name given to me by Texas, even though it was Darlene at birth.
My memory goes way back, probably as far too when I was possibly 4 years old? There are short videos and images stuck way back in my head and as I've looked at pictures of me at those ages, I see a lot of resemblances. Talk about a memory, right?

My parents adopted my brother and I, he and I shared the same birth mother but had different fathers who were never in the story at all. We were told that they adopted us because my adopted mother couldn't have children of her own, well; she was pregnant when they took us to court to finalize our adoption.
When their biological son came, things and life would change, slowly but surely.

 Up until Matthew came, our little family did so much, we went to the zoo and I was in beauty pageants and I did so much with my mom and i was definitely Daddy's little girl.
I was told that I was independent, very much so and it showed in how I acted and interacted with people. I was to myself a lot, even with my brother being around and him being only a year younger than I, I was usually found playing by myself, entertaining myself which I was good at.
My adopted mother told me throughout my whole childhood that that I was so independent that I would never let her hold me; I wasn't the type to sit in her lap and cuddle. I wanted to be 'down' and on my own and left alone. She used to throw this memory at me, like I was supposed to personally remembering doing that as a toddler, even though I didn't and she make it sound like I did it on purpose to hurt her or something which I didn't.
 I would soon learn as an adult that there was theory for this, but until then, it would always remain a mystery, a painful one that was constantly thrown in my face as an excuse for so much. That part of the story would come later.
Things were definitely different when Matthew came along. As young as I can remember myself, I would start feeling the effects of 'jealousy' and being angry that Matthew would be and always would be treated differently. Matthew wasn't expected to do chores, to work, or to learn what 'no' meant. He was rarely disciplined during times when my brother and I would get whippings with a wooden rod across our bare back sides or on the backs of our legs.
My parents went to church and read the Bible, especially the adopted mother. She learned when I was 7 years old that when the Bible said 'spare the rod and spoil the child', it really meant to use a 'rod'. After using everything they could think of to discipline my brother and I with, from the wooden spoon, to dad's belt, they finally resorted to a thin wooden rod.
I will never forget the first time it was used on me. I had Matthew mad because he wouldn't leave my dolls alone, he threw a big fit and I being the oldest got into trouble for it and I was about to learn how awful that wooden rod was. I was already scared of it, I hated looking at it when it sat in its place on the back of the dryer in the laundry room. The adopted mother took me aside into the play room, told me to drop my shorts and I flat out refused to. I wasn't going to do it, I wasn't going to have that rod used on me. 10 minutes later, I found that no matter how much I threw myself on the floor, or if I put my hands behind me to protect me, she was going to swing anyways until I finally gave in and stood there and took my so called 'spanking'. I cried later, I cried then as it was happening but just enough to make her stop, I was sent to my bed, with welts on my backside, up and down the back of my thighs and worse, my hands would be swollen  because I would try to keep her from hitting me. I will never forget that, sitting on my bed, wondering how this was called ‘love’. I sat there and realized that from that moment on that I would dread that 'rod' and getting punished and my life was going to be miserable because of it.
As mentioned, my adopted parents went to church, they were my Sunday School teachers in kindergarten, we were always in and at church. My adopted parents were kind of famous there, always involved with something and because of it, so were us kids. I was in Children's Choir, Awanas, VBS, music camps, anything and everything the adopted mother had a hand in, I was in it. I really didn't have an option to do any of it, but I was glad to, I loved music, singing and being in drama. It was proving to be an outlet for me, a place where I could feel comfortable doing what I was good at.
Our family was always busy with church, and because of it, my parents socialized a lot. We were always going to other people's houses for cookouts and other friends would babysit us as their children and my brothers and I were usually close in age. We had good times hanging out with these people and life seemed normal and I started to get used to it. But, things would change and the beginning had just began. 
Until next time, be blessed and Inspire to Make A Difference!
~The Adopted Child 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Was So Hungry for Love & Food (4)

I spent Kindergarten in the Christian private school there at the church I was growing up in and it was a rather large school. I liked it and loved being there around the kids in my class. Again, thanks to memory, I still remember several of the kids in that class. There was Jesse Moon, who had two different color eyes but talked with a squeaky voice. Rumor was that his dad had died and he cried all the time and so much, it affected his voice. Not sure if that story was real but I still remember it and I felt bad for Jesse Moon.
I did good in school, learned fast, was a great reader, it was going to be my best subject in school over the years. I got into trouble too at school though. I remember sneaking into the teacher's supply closet where I knew there were colored mini marshmallows and I would eat me handfuls! I loved them and I got away with a few times and then I got caught, my friend Clint was with me. I learned never to take your friends along to do things with you, you'll always get caught! I got another 'spanking' when I got home when my parents found out and then was sent to bed without dinner. I was in Kindergarten! It was still daylight outside when I went to bed. Again, I didn't understand. I was just hungry and hungry for sweets. They were just marshmallows, what 6 year old doesn't eat marshmallows??
I got a lot of random 'spankings', for things I didn't understand. When I got in trouble for something my brothers did, I got one. When I bit my brother's toe for taking my toy away, I got one, well, I probably deserved that one.
These weird 'spankings' would grow in numbers the older I got and they got harder and I hated that 'rod' more every time. I remember wanting to hit the adopted mom on the back of her leg and see how she liked it. It hurt!!
I'm all for discipline and I believe what the Bible says about doing it, but I was really thinking that it was being taken out of proportion. When I got older, like when I was 12-13, the spankings started to just become numb and it really didn't bother me. It did because they still hurt physically but emotionally, I was being turned off and I started to expect them. I hated that rod.
When I finished Kindergarten, my adopted parents decided to 'homeschool' us kids. I was opened to the idea, thought it would be fun to do school at home. It started out as fun, we were involved in homeschool groups and we went on different trips and such. But, that became too much and the adopted mother was becoming involved with more than just church. She didn't have time and our schooling was being effected.

 So, back to the Private school Michael and I went. I was in 2nd Grade when I back and soon found that my Kindergarten class mates where in my class. It was easy to blend back in with them and I was good being there. I did well in school. I didn't really get into trouble that I can remember, not like Michael who was really having issues. We found out that he had severe problems with ADD and could not behave in school for nothing. He didn't last long in school that year, and after he physically was trying to hurt the other students and teacher, they pulled him out and I was the only one there. But, for some reason, the adopted parents decided to pull me out too. I kind of went with it, told them that I didn't feel right, being the only one who went to school while the family was home. So, home I went and I never stepped foot in a private or public school ever again. Looking back, I wish I had, I missed my friends and being around people. The second time around homeschooling wasn't fun anymore and there were no more homeschool groups to hang out with. It was just home.

 I did have a childhood girlfriend, who I had met in Kindergarten and our families became very close. She had two brothers, one was much older than us and was working at Little Caesar's Pizza, and Kevin was a year younger than her and was Michael's age. The four of us younger kids were inseparable. We started homeschooling the first time around at the same time; in fact it was her mom that inspired my adopted mom to do the whole 'homeschool' thing. When I was sent to private school the second time, my best friend Amanda cried. She didn't want me to go. Needless to say she was very much overjoyed when I came home the second time, to stay.
We did spend time with other families that were in the church were homeschooling their kids too. We were like this 'group' of people, us kids being homeschooled, going to the same church, being involved in pretty much the same activities. It was fun, while it lasted.
I was still having issues with Matthew though; he was getting away with everything. The one time the adopted mother went to spank him with the rod, you would have thought she was murdering him! He played the victim so well, that she only had to 'spank' him once more and of course she didn't spank him like she did me. His first time, he screamed and threw himself on the floor, but she didn't hit him until she won. It was starting to bother me. I felt something deep down inside me turning cold and a silent anger was settling in.
I was the oldest of the three of us, there was a lot expected from me, I was the one to watch out for us when we were on our own playing and again, if something went wrong, I was the one who got into trouble.

 Soon, the 'spanking' wasn't the only thing I would learn to hate. It would be the 'slapping' me in my face that would start to get to me. I was being slapped in my face for things I didn't understand. I was slapped for looking at my adopted mom the wrong way when she was scolding or correcting me. If I said something wrong, I was slapped. If I looked at her with an angry face, she would slap me. Again, as I got older, those would start to escalate and become beyond physically hurtful.

I was about 7, 8, 9 years old when things seemed relatively 'normal' in our family. We were still involved in church and hanging out with people and even going on trips to see extended family. Our family seemed normal on the outside, to those who were around us, who saw us at church, activities. But, on the inside, at home, our family was not really feeling like family. I saw the arguing with my parents all the time, I always wondered if they loved each other or if they would become divorced? I didn't understand the hate that seemed to seep through the arguing and yelling. It was always the worst right before we all piled into the car to go to church. If it didn't happen then, it would happen in the car on the way home from church. I always thought Sundays were supposed to be good days. It was church day, we were supposed to be happy, not acting like heathens with each other. When the adopted mother and dad argued and fought we kids got the brunt of it. My brother and I got yelled at, slapped and screamed and I never understood that either. But, my family, my adopted parents wouldn't dare do all of that where their friends could see it. We were the family that everyone looked up to. We were always in church and always involved in church.

Soon, we were more than involved in church; my adopted dad would be the custodian of the whole church. Our church was rather large, not just in the size of attendance but in property as well. Multiple buildings sat  on the acreage of land. 
My adopted dad was hired to clean the church, which had a school there too on the premises 5 days a week, it was the Christian School I went to in Kindergarten. My parents thought it would be a good idea to let us kids, Michael and I go with dad when school got out and help my adopted dad clean. He had owned his own cleaning business when I was growing up and we knew how to do that too. I was taught at the age of 6 how to clean a bathroom like the Merry Maids did and I knew how to do it. Cleaning wasn't a foreign thing for me, being the oldest, I was the one who got stuck cleaning the house, doing what the adopted mother should have been doing, but no, she was too busy being involved in things and when she said to go clean the bathrooms in our house, I jumped and went and cleaned.
 So, cleaning the church with my dad at age 10 wasn't a big deal, and apparently not a big deal to the staff at the school and church. They thought my brother and I were cute, changing out the trash can liners and vacuuming the rooms, the many rooms in each building. Pretty soon, we knew those buildings like the back of our hands and we knew where every closet and door and room were. I still have it stored in memory what every building looked like, where the bathrooms were, were the secret storage rooms were.
 I liked being there cleaning. I was around people again and I wasn't at home where I was soon becoming numb. I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be around the adopted mother in fear that I would get stuck with endless school work or chores or worse, I would have to see her interact with Matthew. They always 'played' around and spent time together.
 While I was cleaning a bathroom, they were talking or doing something together and if the adopted mother was busy, Matthew was 'playing' or watching TV or a movie, something that was a rarity for me, a treat. He was always eating too, whatever he wanted and they would buy him what he wanted. Michael and I had to eat our meals when they were made and served to us. If the kitchen table had a mess of the adopted mother's paperwork on it, we got to eat on the kitchen floor and eat our peanut butter sandwiches, our handful of chips and piece of fruit for lunch and sometimes for dinner.
That was hard too, because I would get hungry. We were only allowed to eat was given to us; sometimes we got to have seconds but not all the time. Soon, I would find where the snacks were hidden at church and when I went with my adopted dad to clean, I would find opportunities to help myself to them. I was hungry. I wasn't skin and bones but I wasn't at a healthy weight either. I was skinny. The adopted mother noticed one day that I had a 'gut' and wondered where it was coming from. She didn't know that I was eating whatever I could find at the church, whether it was left over doughnuts, crackers or whatever it was. My favorite was the goldfish; I loved it when I found the goldfish. It got worse though; I soon was so hungry that I found myself eating from the trashcans, if the trash was fresh. Even at home, I was harboring food, leftovers that I could find and store in my room under the mattress. I would save the ends of the loaves of bread that would get thrown away and eat my stash at night after I knew it was safe to do so. Yeah, it's sad, and nasty. But, I had to. I was afraid of going hungry and later as an adult I would find out that it was a survival mechanism kicking in for something that was going wrong or traumatic and it was most likely the 'spanking's and slapping I was getting.
Again, things were going to change in my so called  family and it was just going to get worse and more painful.
Until next time, be blessed and inspire to make a difference!
~The Adopted Child

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Just Wanted To Be 'Normal' (5)

Our family seemed normal, on the outside looking in. I think though that people were starting to wonder if something wasn't just right with our family. My grandparents, the adopted mother's parents were starting to notice when we would visit them in Dallas. We went often to see them and those visits were most of the time family reunions. My Aunt, the adopted mother’s younger sister and my Uncle, the adopted mother’s brother, they made up the family. My adopted dad had a mom, Grandma K. as us kids called her and he had a sister, Aunt Shirley, but we didn't really see her much. Grandma K lived in Dallas too, so any time we would visit Nanny and Papa we would go see her as well. These people were the only extended family I knew or would know. My adopted dad’s dad, died in a shooting when he was a teen and his mom never remarried after that.
Visits to Dallas were fun, and I loved visiting family. They spoiled us, especially Nanny and Papa. They would come and wake us kids up the morning after we would arrive and sneak us into the kitchen to eat breakfast with Papa before he would have to go to work. I loved those mornings. We had to be quiet so we wouldn't wake up the adopted parents who would sleep in. Nanny would always buy us these miniature boxes of cereal when we would visit and she would let us pick what we wanted and let us have as much milk as we wanted. It was bliss! We got to eat what we wanted! I always picked Frosted Mini Wheats or Honey Nut Cheerios and occasionally Frosted Flakes. We weren't allowed to eat cereal like that at home, we were served non sweet cereal, occasionally we would get the good stuff but that was for Matthew to eat. Of course the adopted mother would always wake up and walk into breakfast and Nanny and Papa’s and she would fuss at her own mother for allowing us to eat cereal like that. Oh my goodness it was just cereal! The adopted mother fussed a lot at anything special that her mom or dad would do with us, especially with Michael and I. It was okay to treat Matthew like he was human, but when we would visit, we had to bring the complicating rules and treatment from home with us and the adopted mother expected others to treat us the way she did. I used to wonder, was it because we were adopted? What were we doing wrong? I could never understand why she was treating us like that.  Even the dreaded ‘rod’ traveled with us in the car, it was slim enough to slip in the car without bringing attention to it. But, the adopted mother was never afraid to use it, even if we were at Nanny and Papa’s.

The rest of family, the aunts and uncles, they were starting to notice that we were treated differently. When we were supposed to be visiting with family, we kids were forced to go entertain ourselves elsewhere away from the adults.  My Aunt had a son,  and my Uncle had two kids with his first wife, a boy and a girl. We kids or cousins would hang out, but they were closer to Matthew’s age, several years younger than I and I would either get the responsibility of watching them too during visits or they were being spoiled by the adults.  Even at Nanny and Papa’s house, I remember spending time with just myself. They kept a few things around for us kids to play with but there wasn't much to entertain us with unless Papa would put on an Old Mary Poppins movie, the kind that looked like a record player. It was always Mary Poppins or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I fell in love with those movies. My imagination would run wild, yet very privately. I had wished on many occasions that I was able to jump into a picture scene chalked out on a sidewalk like Mary Poppins and step into a different world, where it was beautiful and always happy. I wish I had a dad and even a mom who would be so dedicated to their children like the dad in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I could only dream though and imagine and inside, I would cry. I thought I was their child, they claimed me, but why did they treat me different then Matthew? Why was it feeling like I was being punished or used as a slave girl to clean bathrooms? Those were questions I was going to ask myself for years to come and little did I know it.

As I mentioned, extended family were beginning to sense that we were being treated differently and when they questioned my mom, she had excuses and she became defensive. Soon, the family would just learn to not question. My Nanny noticed though. I remember at a family reunion, we were having it at a park, I was about 12 years old (maybe I was younger)  and we were all there. We were having the usual sloppy joe sandwiches for dinner and I hated them! I was forced to eat them and I dreaded it. I wasn't allowed to refuse it, the adopted mother would make my plate and I was expected to eat it like it was a steak.  But, at the Reunion, I was having a really hard time eating my sandwich; I was inching along with half of it and finally ate it. The adopted mother was sitting close by, not really saying anything about the length of time it was taking me to eat a sandwich because she was so engrossed into the ‘grownup’ conversation the adults were having.  ‘Adult Conversations’, that was another story in itself, but not now.  As I sat there that afternoon, hating that I still had another half of a sloppy joe to swallow down, I was dying on the inside. My Nanny noticed but she knew better than to voice her opinion to her daughter that I shouldn't be forced to eat something I didn't want to eat.  She was smart though, she made her way to my side of the picnic table and somehow or another, she managed to get me to sneak to her my half of the sandwich and she made it disappear and the adopted mother never saw it. I was beyond relieved! I wanted to cry, because I had been saved! I would never touch another sloppy joe in my life.

 My Nanny knew and she didn't have to say a word.  She didn't always get to ‘save’ me though, she tried though, bless her heart she tried. She couldn't understand why us kids were expected to act like robots or like were going through refining school. Yes, we were expected to say ‘yes sir’ and ‘yes ma’am’ and all, but that is normal, anybody in Texas knows you always say that and use your manners. But, Michael and I were not allowed to casually sit and engage in normal conversations with the family members. We were sent away to play or be someplace else where we couldn't hear the grownups talking.  I had a good ear though and could hear things from a good distance. The adopted mother soon realized I was good at this too and I was always sent far away from any conversation she would be having with anybody. I understood that I didn't always need to with the adults but for the most part, I just wanted to be around people. Not only that, but I was getting older, almost 13 and I wanted to feel like an adult or something close to it. I wasn't a toddler or a kindergartner anymore. I was growing up.

The adopted mother was making growing up difficult, not just mentally but physically. I found out the hard way that I was turning into a woman at age 12. I wasn't warned, or even had the talk of the birds and the bees. That was a taboo subject in our house. Anything to do with private body parts wasn't talked about and it was treated like it was a wicked thing. You didn't ask questions about any of it. I wasn't told how a baby was exactly made and I wouldn't know for quite some time.

Back to this growing up thing, it was harsh and I didn't understand why I wasn't allowed the things most girls my age were being allowed to wear as they developed physically. While most girls were allowed pretty undergarments, I was forced to wear sports bras and plain under clothes. I remember being given a really pretty purse, cheap perfumes and stuff like that but for some reason they were taken away. I couldn't be 'trusted' with any of it. It was almost like when I would try to act 'normal', it wasn't allowed.

 I was definitely not allowed to wear make up or anything similar to it. I was given lip gloss one year for Christmas and was so naive to believe I was actually being given make up, only to be told that it wasn't  But, I was soon not allowed those small pretty things. They were taken away and never bought for me either. I wanted ear rings and remember asking the adopted mother one day why I had scars in my ears. She told me that my ears were pierced when they got me as a toddler but she had them taken out and the holes were left to close up. Little did I know that when I was 18 and away from home that those holes had been opened my whole life. I used to wonder if the adopted mother knew that. I asked her about getting earrings and getting my ears pierced again and she would always tell me that I could when I turned the age she was when she had hers done, she was 16. I couldn't wait! But, 16 came and went and that promise became a lie and it never happened. I didn't deserve it was the response I was given the last time I asked about it. Why? Why didn't I deserve it? Why did I deserve to be lied to? 
Why was I not being allowed to grow up? I didn't want to be a little prissy, preppy girl or , look or act like anything inappropriate, I just wanted to be normal. For the longest time though, I was led to believe that this kind of treatment and upbringing was normal, but I would always look around and see girls my age being allowed these simple, normal luxuries at least to me they were luxuries.  Why wasn't I? Again, this was another question to be asked for the next several years. 
Until next time, be blessed and inspire to make a difference!
~The Adopted Child

Monday, May 13, 2013

Jacob My Little Miracle Brother (6)

While I was struggling with the changes going on with me physically and dealing with confusion, changes with our family were changing yet again.
Because our family had been known in our church for having adopted children, the adopted parents got a call one day that there was a baby, who was born prematurely at a hospital downtown Houston. His parents, who already had multiple children under the age of 7, didn't want him and abandoned him at the hospital.  Why did they abandon him? Well, Jacob as he was named, had been born 4 months early due to the car accident that his birth-mother was in. He had to be delivered or he wouldn't make it. It was kind of a bet though, they would have to deliver him 4 months early and risk him dying and not making it or he would die in his mother’s womb anyways. They delivered him, via C-section, he weighed in at 1 lb and 12 oz. He weighed the weight of a bag of potato chips. Because of his much early birth, he was instantly placed in an incubator where the oxygen levels needed to keep him breathing and alive were set so high, they damaged his still developing eyes.  He was blind, but only partially. He definitely lost the sight in his left eye but there was some hope for his right eye but we would never know what he could see out of that good eye. Jacob had other issues, respiratory problems, speech problems due to mental problems. He was so small at birth; it was told that my adopted dad could take his wedding ring off and slide it on to his arm. 
Back to the phone call my parents got, they took the call, when they did; Jacob was already almost 4 months old. He was born in July and it was November when we learned about him. He was still in the hospital due to needing to be seen for the medical problems he was having. My adopted parents were told up front by the lady who called us that Jacob would probably be a vegetable his whole life, if he lived long enough to have a life. He would be completely blind, retarded and would always need help medically. What they were being told was that there was a huge risk at adopting him but the idea that he was stuck in a hospital nursery because he also had nowhere to go wasn't helping either. We had a family meeting about Jacob and it was agreed that we wanted him to be a part of our family. I was curious to see how this was going to work out, first, Matthew wasn't going to be the baby of the family anymore and there were going to be new things to learn in order to adapt and deal with Jacob’s handicaps.
We brought Jacob home right in time for Thanksgiving. I was almost 11-12 years old and I was now the oldest of 4 siblings. Even though Jacob was home from the hospital, he still needed to go back and see doctors and surgeons. When he came home, he came home with a heart monitor and any time his heart would act up, the monitor alarms went off. It was kind of scary, I thought he might die, it was a possibility. I fell in love with this tiny baby. We had an emergency baby shower for him and as grateful as we were for all the cute clothes, half of them we wouldn't be able to use for another year and a half. We had to shop in the ‘preemie’ section for clothes and diapers. The diapers were so cute! They would fit a baby doll, that’s how small Jacob was. I was told that I was going to be needed to help take care of him, I would do everything with and for him but change his diapers that was a taboo thing too cause he was a boy. Oh heavens.

I would spend a lot of time with my adopted mom as I would always go along with her and Jacob to the hospital for his appointments. I got to carry his diaper bag and the heart monitor he was connected to. I got to carry the car seat when it was empty. I felt good, knowing I was needed to help, at least I thought I was ‘needed’ for the right reasons.  I would learn how to make Jacob’s bottles and run them up the stairs to my adopted mom, run and fetch the diapers and wipes, do this and do that. It was a lot of work, but I loved it. I would find myself sneaking into his room and watching him sleep, he was so precious. Occasionally when the adopted mother was in a good mood, I got to hold Jacob, by myself and that was priceless. I got to hold my baby brother, who was a miracle baby.  Today as I write this, I still remember exactly how it felt to hold him, so small, light and it felt so natural to hold him. I can still smell him and see his eyes as he would try to look around and then at me. I used to wonder what he could see. Could he see his big sister? Did he know how much I loved him?

Jacob was acting relatively normal in spite of the few medical issues he was dealing with. Jacob would have a few surgeries on his ‘good’ eye, what the doctors were doing I never knew, I guess they were trying to salvage what was left of his eye that was good. As hard as they tried though, they would never know for sure what he could see. As he got older, we knew he could see light and colors, shapes but if he saw anything specific, we couldn't tell. Jacob as he got older was able to start communicating with us, he couldn't speak and say words but he grunted and shook his head when he talked to us. He was acting just like any other baby growing up; he was just a little bit behind. The older he got, the more my responsibilities grew with him. I was the one that watched him as he would lay on the floor and play with his toys that made noises and light up with bright lights and colors. I had to watch him even more when he learned how to crawl and roll over. He couldn't see, so I had to be his eyes for him and make sure he was always safe. It was quite the responsibility but I loved it. As he got older and more mobile, the more I was watching him and entertaining him and the adopted mother would be ‘busy’ again, doing things. She was there to cuddle him and rock him to sleep and all, but I go to watch him and play with him and eventually, I would be the one to teach him things that nobody knew about, good things that helped him grow and learn. 
Until next time, Be Blessed and Inspire to Make A Difference!
~The Adopted Child

Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Cried over Spilled Milk (7)

The first year we had Jacob, another change would take place. We had a seminar being held at our church when I was about 12 and my parents went to it, it was for adults anyways. We kids were watched by workers who were watching other children whose parents were at the seminar. I didn't understand completely what the seminar was about or what it was for, all I remember is that after it, there were more seminars to come and our family was going to change. There were people at this first seminar that were from surrounding churches, well, mostly from one church. The church they were from would become our family’s home church soon. Our church was becoming different. The pastors that had sound standards and preached great things were leaving and other pastors were coming in but with different perspectives and standards. Our church had a youth group but we were never allowed to be a part of it. They listened to contemporary music and had concert like meetings. I was taught from my parents that it was not a good thing and we would never be allowed to associate with the youth in the group.
The seminar. It was a Basic Life Seminar, hosted by Bill Gothard who was apparently well known for his Basic and Advanced Seminars, designed to teach families basic, Biblical Life Principles. He taught the parents about character and so much more. He taught the parents that sin was a sin, that Disney movies were evil, anything that had to with magic no matter how innocent it was, was evil. Listening to music that had a drum beat in it, was also evil. There was a lot that they were being taught that was ‘evil’. My adopted parents went to more seminars and I never understood why go to the same  one over and over? Didn't they learn the first time they went? They were being taught the same thing. Soon, we were going to seminars that had seminars for the children! My brothers and I went to those and they were fun, we learned about character traits and how to obey our parents and so much more. I liked it but remember it was very strict. I remember thinking that whatever my adopted parents were being taught, was very strict too. Soon, our house was cleaned out of anything that looked or sounded like ‘evil’ or sin. We threw out all our videos that were Disney related, anything to do with kissing or even remotely sensual. We had quite the video library before the ‘seminars’ happened, it pretty much got wiped out.  We didn’t have anything ‘bad’, my adopted mom always made sure we had clean, family kind of movies and that was alright, I understood that. But, now, we didn't have much, because we were forced to believe that it was evil and it would influence us kids to be rebellious children. That word ‘rebellion’ was going to take on a different meaning as well, especially with me.
Thanks to the seminars and what soon became our ‘Home school Curriculum’, I was taught that rebellion was an evil thing as was the slightest form of disobedience, dishonesty and irresponsibility. That was being taught about the time the ‘rod’ became used more often. I knew something wasn't right with all this. But, I had no choice but to try to obey and do what I was told.
But, here is where some of the biggest of my problems and heart ache began. It didn't matter how hard I tried to be obedient, somehow it wasn't good enough and I was led to believe that I was being ‘rebellious’ and a problem child. Just because, I didn't put the glass in the right cabinet didn't mean I was doing it the way I wanted to do it or I was being disobedient, I just misplaced it without thinking. You would have thought that the world was coming to an end with that kind of stuff started to happen. If I messed up a load of laundry because I didn't see the red sock go into the wash with the white clothes, it didn't mean I was irresponsible like the adopted mother accused me of. Just because I didn't clean the kitchen when I was supposed to didn't mean I didn't want to, I was just scared to go in there while the adopted mother was in there. She would watch me like a hawk and I was always nervous and scared.  Scared of being slapped or preached to.
Anytime I was being corrected verbally, it turned into a 20 minute sermon while I stood there, not allowed to move or blink. I hated those sermons. They became verbally abusive and humiliating. I was put down all the time, called names and I always heard the same thing over and over. I wasn't allowed to sit or stand there and ‘act’ like I was listening or I would be slapped in the face without warning. I was told that I was stupid, that I was never going to amount to anything in life because I couldn't do anything right or follow instructions. I was told that I would never get any where if I kept being 'rebellious' and insisted on doing everything the way I wanted to. For years, I would listen to this and eventually I would start to believe it. There was nobody around me to tell me otherwise, I wasn't allowed to talk to anybody, there was nobody around to run to for help. 

I soon hated homeschooling, it was informative but boring. Maybe my frustration with all the changes going on and the so called ‘house cleaning’ was happening, I may have acted differently? The 'house cleaning' wasn't just cleaning the house, it meant ridding the house of anything that we were being taught was evil or that would influence us kids to be rebellious.  It wasn't just the house as a whole that got cleaned out, but each of our kids’ rooms got cleaned out. Soon it was evil to read Nancy Drew books. I had a collection of them from my Nanny who would send them to me when she found them in old bookstores. They were not a common thing to find at stores and when she found them, I got them and added them to the collection. I loved to read, it was my escape, and it probably saved me on some occasions. But, my world of imagination and relief would soon be sold at a garage sale. Needless to say, Nanny was not too happy when she found out what happened to the books. It was so heartbreaking.

 Not only did those get thrown out but my trophy and ribbon collection. I had won every award and ribbon in Awanas for having memorized everything they could ask me to memorize. I even qualified to go to our district Quizzing event one year. I went and answered every question from memory correctly, in fact, I was the only person there who had answered every single question right. I won the biggest award and ribbon for ‘quizzing out’. It was quite the accomplishment, especially when there were over 200 other participants from other area churches. I remember my Awana leaders bragging to the adopted mother back at the church when she picked me up, about how great of a memory I had. She kind of just nodded and smiled and soon we were on our way home. I sat in the car and looked at my ribbon. We got to the house and she in a roundabout way warned me that it was a sin to have too much ‘pride’ in something we did or accomplished. In other words, don’t be happy you did something good or amazing. I was heartbroken. I was confused. I thought we were supposed to take pride in what we did, what we worked at. I had worked hard, memorizing those scriptures backwards and forwards. I had won something that only one person could win. I wasn't allowed to be happy? Soon, Awanas was going to be evil too and I was taken out of the program a year before I would have completed the program from Kindergarten on up. That last year of the program, would have me socializing with the other kids my age, the teenagers. That wasn't going to happen, that was for sure.
So, yes, my trophies and ribbons from swim team were taken away. I was on a swim team for a couple of years. I wasn't the greatest at sports, and it was obvious. I had tried gymnastics when I was younger and that didn't even last more than 2 classes. But, swimming was something I was pretty good at and I competed at the swim meets in the community. I won a lot of second place ribbons and pretty much amazed myself. But, those ribbons that were pinned to a bulletin board would probably cause me to be ‘proud’ and so they were thrown out with my trophies and anything that resembled a job greatly done, or something I should have been proud of and that were ‘memories’. It’s a good thing I don’t need things to jog my memory of memories that were close to me.

So much was changing in my life; so much of it was confusing and frustrating. I didn't understand what the heck was going on. Did my adopted parents love me or were they punishing me for something? I could never do anything right for the adopted mother, no matter how long I tried to please her. She was a perfectionist and I would never do anything right enough for her. Things at home were actually becoming more stressful rather than the so called pleasant and calm atmosphere that was supposed to be a result of having cleaned out the house of evil and being taught good things. It was like it was having the opposite effect. The adopted mother became more hostile, especially with me. I remember coming home one day from the store and I was bringing in the groceries like I was told to. I was carrying the milk and as I walked into the house, I tripped over something on the ground and I fell face first on the floor. I spilled the groceries and worse than that, I had busted the 2 gallons of milk that was in my bag. I didn't mean to trip and break the 2 gallons of milk. It spilled all over the laundry room floor; it looked like a lake of milk. The adopted mother came in to see what happened and all she could do was yell at me, something degrading and she instructed me to clean it up on my hands and knees with some cleaning rags. The milk was under the washer and dryer, under the water heater that was on at the time and hot as could be. I cried while I mopped up the milk. It was just a mistake, it was just milk. Never mind I had hurt myself falling so hard. The saying ‘whoever cried over spilled milk’ or however it went, meant something to me that day and I all I could is cry, on the inside. 

The milk incident didn't seem to be as bad as the day that we came home from church one Sunday and it seemed like all hell had broken loose. We were at the time, raising Dalmatian puppies. It was something Matthew wanted to do as far as the whole Dalmatian thing went, all because of the movie, the movie that didn't seem to be ‘evil’ of course. And even though it was something Matthew wanted to do, he never had to do the work, he just played with the puppies.
 Anyways, we had puppies in the same laundry room and the puppies had gotten out of their box and had pottied all over the floor. Thank goodness there was a gate up going into the kitchen or that floor would have been destroyed too. Well, as usual, Michael and I got the nasty jobs and it was our job to clean up the laundry room. We were never allowed to use mops and useful things to help clean a mess. The adopted mother never bought it, she used us and our hands and knees. After changing out of our church clothes, Michael and I went to cleaning the laundry room. It wasn't our first time, we knew what to do. We bickered a lot though when we did things together. Michael was always instigating trouble, he would never listen to me and this one Sunday afternoon, he was being awful! We were fussing and not getting along and the adopted mother came in to see what was going on. She and my adopted dad had been fighting again and she brought the argument and harsh attitude with her to the laundry room. She began to yell to at me, scream was more like it. I was getting the brunt of it, I was the one causing problems. Before I knew it, she was screaming at me, ‘I hate you!!’ She said it more than once. She proceeded to throw the wooden baby gate in my direction and then stormed off. I don’t think she had a chance to slap me as I was looking at her dumbfounded, thankfully I was standing near the backdoor and she was a few feet away from me. I felt everything inside of just die. I turned and went out the backdoor and if my adopted dad hadn't been outside the backyard gate, I would have ran away from home that day.

 I had been thinking about running away from home for some time now, I hated it there and now I wanted to leave more than ever. I couldn't believe that she had said that to me, but then it kind of answered all my questions as to if she loved me. I was sobbing hysterically and my adopted dad looked at me funny. I think he had heard what had happened; it would have been hard for him not to. I don’t remember what he said or did but it calmed me down a bit. I was sent to my room after the laundry room was done, mom and dad were still fussing, my adopted dad and my brother and I were supposed to go the church and clean it like we always did on Sundays so that it would be ready for school on Mondays. We didn't go with dad that day, he went by himself. The adopted mother came into my room and tried to apologize for saying what she had said to me, she tried to justify it by saying that it was my ‘attitude’ that she hated, not me. I wouldn't believe it or the tears. The adopted mother was a great actress. I sat there on my bed and looked at her, responded to her but inside I was screaming and crying. I was starting to hate her. I knew she didn't love me, how could anyone say that they love them and then tell them they hate them? Especially a child, a child they had taken in to love and care for because their own biological parents couldn't do that for them. There's more to the story. 
Until next time, be blessed and inspire to make a difference!
~The Adopted Child

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I Wanted to Die Because Love Had Died (8)

Oh how my heart hurt and it was going to hurt even more. I would sit or lie in my bed on many of a night or morning and think. If things in our family weren't weird enough, my brother and I were never allowed outside of our rooms or even out of our beds without verbal permission. We literally could not get out of the bed until we were told to get up and get ready for the day. We had 5 minutes in the bathroom, to do what needed to be done and then were supposed to either go to mom or dad for instructions, or sit on our beds until we were called. It was insane and it went on like this until the day I left home at 17.

 But, as I would sit there, I would look out my bedroom windows and think of ways to get out of the window and run away from home. I would think about jumping just right out the window because my room was on the second floor. I didn't think it was that far down. I would think about where I would run from there. Where would I go so that they wouldn't find me?  I knew my way around town, knew where certain people lived. I didn't have phone numbers, I wasn't allowed that kind of information, and it was considered something I would ever need.  I would think and think about it. I always wondered what I would do if I had to run away? I didn't want to but I couldn't take it there anymore, especially since the whole ‘I hate you’ incident. But then one day it happened, I ran away. 

 It was on a day when the whole family was home and it was house cleaning day. Michael and I were outside doing chores in the backyard, the adopted mother was inside cleaning out the refrigerator and putting away fresh groceries. She was throwing out some waffles that she just didn't want anymore. I saw the trash going out and when I thought I could sneak over to it, I would grab some of the thawed out waffles and eat them. There was nothing wrong with them and it was a treat. This was during my stage where I was always hungry and looking for food to eat. I saw an opportunity and I took it. I thought I wasn’t being watched but as I was gulping down the waffle, I noticed that Michael had found me and he was always looking for ways to get me into trouble, unnecessary trouble. He saw me and I saw him, I was ashamed of myself, he had never seen me eat food or sneak to find it. He took off towards the house and I felt myself sinking into an imaginary hole. I started to think really quickly. I knew he was heading inside to tell the adopted mother and I only knew what was going to happen. I saw my bicycle near the trashcan and before I knew it, I was on it, heading out the back yard and I was riding away, away from that home.

After all the planning I had done in my head, I didn't have a clue as to where I was going. I just rode out of the neighborhood, waiting for them to drive up behind me and take me back. I wasn't going back, I didn't know where I was going to go but I wasn't going back there where they hated me. I rode for hours, riding the back roads. My adopted dad was going to wish later that he hadn't taken us kids on rides in the suburbs down the back roads. I had them memorized. I drove my bike up to the church where school was just letting out and there were people everywhere. I thought maybe I could go there and find someone and tell them what was going on at home and why I was running away. I was never allowed to talk to adults not even my Sunday School teachers there without the adopted mother's permission, she was afraid that I would tell people what was going on. People either didn't know or they were oblivious. But, there was too many people there at the church that day, so I just drove through and then down the back roads again, heading further into the city. I was getting tired though and I didn't really know what I was doing or going to do. I had heard about kids running away from home, but I never heard how they got away with it.

Part of living at home like I was, was the fact that everything about life and outside world was protected from me. I didn't know a thing about child molesters, people who kidnapped children, drug addicts and such, I just didn't know and I wouldn't know until after I left home at 17. That day, I just rode my bike. I’m sure I looked misplaced and odd, I was wearing a homemade dress that the adopted mother had made, it was ugly and it probably looked ridiculous on me as I was riding a mountain bike around town. I went to a Burger King, got me a free cup of ice water, and cooled down as it was hot outside. I went to the Sam’s Club where the family shopped regularly and managed to get in without a membership’s card. I told them I had to use the restroom and on my way there and back, I would grab some of the samples of food they were handing out. I was hungry.  I left there on my bike and kept on riding.
 I ended up a friend’s house; she and her family went to the same church. I told my friend’s mom what happened and that I was scared to go home. She called the adopted mother and tried to reassure me that the adopted mother wasn't going to be harsh on me even though I was probably going to be punished for running away. I knew that wasn't going to be the case. I knew the adopted mother was going to probably kill me. And that she almost did the day after I came home.

 I was taken home, in the car, with my bike in the trunk. I was never going to ride that bike again; it was going to be given to a missionary family on furlough. I went home, was sent to my room, to my bed to sit while the adopted parents sat downstairs and discussed what had just happened. I think they were shocked that I had actually done what I did. I shocked myself I must admit. I had done it but to what avail? I just came back, I came back to this living hell on earth. 

The adopted parents brought me downstairs to the kitchen table, we sat and talked. They had asked why I had run away. I told them which meant that I had to admit to having sneaked food. They told me that Michael had never came in and told on me. I basically had ran away for no reason which made me feel that much better. They went on to explain to me how embarrassed they were, people at the church had seen me and they knew it was out of character for me to not be home. I don’t remember the whole conversation word for word, all I remember is that it was awkward and somehow, deep down inside me, I wasn't a bit sorry for what I had done. I was glad they had been embarrassed. I hoped people would start to wonder what our family was really going through. I thought I was going to be ‘spanked’ after the talk; instead they allowed me to eat some left over pizza they had ordered. It tasted good. I was then sent to bed, I was watched every step of the way to my room. I wasn't trusted.

 Part of me had really hoped that I wasn't going to spanked and somehow I slept soundly that night, only to wake up and see the adopted mother walk into my room with a belt. She didn't have the ‘rod’, she had dad’s belt, leather belt. She told me as she looked at me with disgust in her face and voice that she didn't punish me the previous night because she was afraid that she would probably physically kill me. That scared me.  She had to wait for the morning to punish me because she had to be ‘calm’. As she made me strip down to my underwear and stand against the foot of my bed, she began to whip me, literally whip me. She was definitely calm about it, too calm that she was slow at the lashings. She wasn't just hitting my backside; she was hitting the backs of my thighs and lower back. It went on for what seemed like 5 minutes. I tried not to cry, I thought I deserved the whipping. But, then she got harder and more frequent. I was starting to cry, I was starting to shake from the pain. I started to fall over the edge of the bed, but she made me stand up for more lashings. I was in so much pain. I felt my backside burning and my legs screaming from the pain. Finally she was done. She told me to get dressed for the day and then to sit on my bed until she called me. She never shed a tear, there was no emotion in her face, it seemed like she had felt ‘good’ about what she had just done. I may have deserved a spanking for running away but I did not deserve what she had just done to me. I went to the bathroom to get ready for the day; the day that I wish would end already. I turned to look in the mirror at what had happened to me. I saw blood seeping through my underwear, I removed it to find welts, swelling and bleeding. Multiple welts. I saw the back of my thighs and I cried all over again, silently so that she wouldn't hear me. I was black and blue from my back side down my back side, all over the backs of my thighs. I was scared, I was hurting inside, I was wishing I had never come home. I would have rather died than have gone through that whipping. I hurt so badly that day and as it wore on, I was swelling, I could feel it. We had to go shopping that day and as we walked around forever in K-Mart, I felt the pain. You couldn't see anything because I wore dresses now. I kept looking around that day in that store, I was looking for someone who looked kind, who I could sneak up to and show them my legs. All they would need to see was my legs to know what my backside looked like. I was hoping I could get someone to do something about what my so called mother had done to me. I knew that if I did, I was going probably going to die the next time she laid hands on me.

 I cried that night in my bed, until I could cry no more. I laid on my stomach the whole night long because it hurt to lay on my back and legs. I hated life. I hated the adopted mother and I hated myself. I wished that I had never been adopted. I hated Matthew. I hated everything. I wanted to run away again that night, but I hurt too bad to even move. I could only lay there and wish I could die. I knew my adopted dad was on multiple medications, there were prescriptions in their bathroom and I knew where they were. I didn't know that the meds were but I figured out that if I just took them all, I just might die. I wanted to die so badly. I cried out to the God that I grew up believing in and begged Him to do something. I couldn't do it anymore.

I didn't know what to expect God to do but I was taught in church that He hears us when we pray, when we cry. He sees us. But, that night in bed, He seemed so far away but I wanted to be with Him. I didn't want to be there with this so called family. This wasn't a family, this wasn't ‘love’. I wasn't sure where God was but I knew I wanted Him to take me to Heaven. I fell asleep that night crying, silently as tears would rush down my face into my pillows. I didn't want to wake up; I didn't want to keep on living. Little did I know then and there that it was just going to get harder and there would be many nights like that one, crying, begging God to die, wanting to run away. I was almost 14 when I ran away that day. I wasn't going to get to escape for another 3 ½ years. There were going to be more nights lying in bed wishing to die. A lot was going to happen during those years and then relief was going to happen, but lying in that bed that night, I didn't know that. All I knew was that I was hurting, not just physically but emotionally and mentally but deep down inside. All I knew was that I wanted to die because love had died along the way. 
Until next time, Be blessed and Inspire to Make A Difference!
~The Adopted Child 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Day my Daddy went to Heaven

It has been two and a half months since I wrote my last post here on the Blog and as I sit here preparing to write, I've been thinking about the many reasons why I haven't written since then. I look back and I recall having lost my one and only job, facing possible evictions, dealing with struggles in my life that do not need to specified right now, job hunting, trying to stay on top of the bills, helping a dear friend through a struggle and the list could go on, in fact it does but then it stops.
I had been struggling all summer trying to configure in my mind how to keep the story that has already been written flowing in the same format of story telling while preparing myself to open old wounds and ultimately find healing in my heart and soul. You see, all that has been written on the blog which is my story and had been written almost a year ago. I had written to a friend the accounts of my childhood and the story came out as such, it being a story. So, when I went to start the blog and post my story, it had already been done, all that was left for me to do was fix a few things, and revise to fit and flow. But, all that has been posted had been all I had written and so the need to find time to sit and devote myself to my memory bank and computer and put it all into a story was challenging. I had a job to find, other areas in my life demanded my attention, my energy and even emotional devotion. I think a part of me knew that when I sat down to write more, there would be as I said earlier, wounds to open up again and scars to be remade and ultimately emotions to deal with and I guess I just didn't need any more emotions to deal with, at least that's what I thought but I think the Lord knew differently. 
Right when I thought my plate couldn't be any more full than it was in my life and there wasn't enough stress and chaos to deal with, it happened, that day in my life that I had only seen in other's lives around me, was now unfolding and it stopped my world. The day Friday, July 26th  had started out as usual, looking for a job, working another part time job that morning and then the day had allowed time for me to lay down and rest and try to find relief from a stress related headache that was quickly turning into a migraine. I laid down to rest and even silenced my phone so that I wouldn't be disturbed by notifications going off while I slept, I really needed to get rid of that headache. I must have been tired and that wasn't unusual, stress can do things to you and it had made me constantly tired. I slept for a couple of hours and then woke up around 4:00pm eastern time, and like I usually do when I wake up, I reached for my phone to check for anything that had come through. I found multiple notifications at the top, text messages, a missed phone call, private messages from Facebook and Facebook notifications. I quickly made myself wake up as I started reading all that had come in. The first message I read was a text message from a dear friend in Houston and she had urgently suggested that I call my Dad saying that he had just posted something on his Facebook page and he sounded suicidal. I had another message from her saying something to the effect that he was saying things on FB and it just wasn't making sense. I quickly pulled up his Facebook page to find this long status update from him. The update in three paragraphs stated how heartbroken he was, and how he just couldn't go on with life. I won't go into details about what his heart breaking for, I want to save that for the blog later in my story. But, the status update he had written sounded like a good bye letter, at least it did to anybody who had dealt with suicides and people having been depressed and suicidal. 
I then went and checked my FB messages and there was one from him. It said the following, word for word, ''sorry for everything...but this is what I have to keep're a rock...i love you!!!'' I think my heart stopped, and my brain started racing. My Dad had been struggling with depression and for the last few months he would occasionally say things and I guess I just thought he was venting. And then the statements would get more discouraging and disheartening but again, I just thought he needed to vent and I was never sure why he wanted to vent to me, I guess it was because I was the only one who would listen, who would try to encourage, who tried to care. The weekend leading up to the 26th, he had been given divorce papers by my adopted mom and he and I knew it was coming, there had been events that had been leading up to it for several months now and he had been dreading it and then it happened. He didn't want the divorce, he didn't want the circumstances that he had found himself in to even happen but they had. My adopted parents had been separated for 7 months now and it was a nasty separation on her part, why it was like that I'll probably never know but it had. 
Anyways, without giving away more of the story that will come later, my Dad was just heartbroken and depressed. And as I read that message over and over I knew in my heart that this was it. He had told me that he had guns in the apartment and even had made a remark about them and possibly using them one day to 'end it all' and that remark quickly came back to mind and I immediately sprung into action, as much action as I could being in Jacksonville, Florida and he being in Conroe, Texas. I immediately called my friend who had been frantically texting me and asked for the phone number there at the police department and I called them. Thankfully Dad had given me his new address when moved into his apartment and I had it to give to the police, they said they would do a welfare check on him and then have a deputy call me back. That was the longest 2 hours I have ever seen go by in my life, it felt like 12. I sat with my eyes glued to my computer, to Facebook, hoping that I would see my Dad come back online and post something or respond to the few people who were commenting on his status. I tried calling the Conroe police department but because there was an hour difference in time zones, I reached their station after they had closed for the day and I didn't have a way to get a hold of anybody, I couldn't call 911 or I would call the 911 here in Jax. 
My friend had posted on her Facebook for people to pray for the situation without giving out names and I had in a roundabout way posted an emergency need for prayer on my own Facebook page. I didn't want to be specific because I didn't know what was happening or what would happen. 
In those 2 hours I saw people from all over the world offering words of prayer and encouragement, it kind of awed me because these people had no idea what they were praying for, not a single one knew that a life was at stake, that a heart was about to break in a million pieces, that lives would be forever changed if the outcome happened as it was suspected. 
I didn't want to believe that I was asking a few specific people to pray for my Dad who was possibly going to commit suicide, I just didn't think that it was really happening. It wouldn't happen to me would it? The one person in my life who was trying to be a parent, trying to love me and make up for all the time and years gone by where we weren't allowed a relationship was about to leave this world if help didn't get there on time. 
And then it happened, I was at home watching Facebook on my phone, waiting for that phone call and then I saw it. My brother, their biological son had posted to my Dad's FB page saying what a great dad he was and at the end it said he my Dad would be missed. I kept re-reading it. I wouldn't believe it. So, I sent my brother a private message on Facebook asking him what had happened and in short, curt responses he confirmed it, that he had done it and he was gone. I cried. I wept. I felt everything inside of me just crumble and die and I think I felt my heart shatter, maybe I had even heard it but I wouldn't know because the sobs were uncontrollable and probably loud. I knew it would happen one day but a part of me thought it wouldn't, it couldn't. 
In the midst of sobbing and tears, I posted on my Facebook page what happened, told the world that the spiritual battle they had been praying for had ended and that a soldier had lost the war. 
I sat on my bed with my phone in hand for what seemed like hours, I was numb, I couldn't cry any more (at least that's what I thought, I would find that we are capable of shedding tears for long periods of time), messages and phone calls were coming in by the numbers. I found myself not really wanting to talk to anyone except for a close friend of mine. 
I didn't know what to do, here I was in Jacksonville, over 2, 000 miles away from my Dad and I didn't know what to do. I hadn't had a job, so I only had $10 to my name so the idea of going anywhere was out of the question. I didn't know who to talk to, or what else to say. I had posted what picture I had of my Dad and I and a short description of what had happened to my Dad on Facebook and I saw in awe as I saw the responses come in, words of sympathy and people's memories of my Dad coming in my the numbers. I even had messages come in from people I didn't know offering their words of condolences and it would be like this for the following days and weeks ahead. 
I thought that night would never end, I knew that I wouldn't sleep that night, I sat aimlessly at my computer watching comments, reading messages and talked to a few people. The headache that I had been trying to be rid of earlier was coming back, I was starving but didn't have energy to eat or fix anything. I had a very dear friend in Houston call me, she was in tears, I was in tears, we tried to talk but we couldn't understand a word we were saying. Eventually we were able to speak and all I could do was tell her that I didn't think this was real. It was though. She immediately started making plans for me to fly to Houston, she was going to fly me out the next day if I wanted, bless her heart she wanted to do something for me and I was just touched by her generosity and kindness. She ended up buying me a pizza from Dominoes, she ordered it from Houston and had it delivered to my door from the Dominoes around the corner, it's funny what we can do with technology these days. She and I knew plans needed to be made, her dad was my pastor growing up and the pastor of the church where I had practically grown up in, the church my Dad spent so many years as the custodian. 
Because of the situation at hand and because I was not in communication with my adopted mom and who I was just angry with at the time, and because of how I know she had treated my Dad before he died, I knew that he was not going to be remembered for the man he was and all that he had done for people. So, I knew it was going to be left up to me to make sure that he had a memorial service or something to allow myself and others to remember him by. 
So my friend on the phone started talking, I wasn't sure what to do but she kind of took it head on and pretty much ran with it. Between her and another dear friend of mine who was like another parent to me growing up in the church, they made the arrangements for me to fly to Houston the the following Wednesday and plans for a small memorial service were being made for the people at my home church to participate in. 
I was so anxious to get to Houston, I knew I had dear friends there who had also expressed their desire for me to come back so they could love me and be there for me. I was immediately homesick for Houston, for my home church, for my friends who were like and had become my family because the one person in my life at the time who was my family was now gone forever. 
I knew that going to Houston was going to be what I needed physically and emotionally but I knew it was going to be challenging. The 'family drama' had started the day Dad died, my brother, their biological son was just being angry and he was finding it necessary to take it out on me. He of course sided with my adopted mom who never made an attempt to call me and so I knew that I didn't want to be around them when I got to Houston and I and friends of mine at home in Houston would do what they could to make sure that I would be safe. None of us realized that after I got to Houston that me needing to be safe was going to become a literal thing and would need to go into action. 
Days after Dad died, I would be bombarded with questions about a funeral and arrangements but I would always have to answer with a sincere 'I don't know.'. I really didn't. I was not being included in the passing of my Dad and the reasons for this could have been numerous. I am sure that my adopted mom wanted nothing to do with me because I had finally started talking about my childhood through my blog and the truth was coming out and my Dad in his last FB status had come out with the truth about what she had done to him and what he had been going through because of her. 
So, anything concerning Dad or a funeral was not being made known to me whatsoever. 
I arrived in Houston on Wednesday and it felt good to be home. I was staying the whole time with a couple who were like another set of parents to me growing up, their girls and myself were close in age and they were just special people, in fact they became even more special by the time the week was over. There was a lot to talk about, a lot of catching up to do. Being connected with people on Facebook just doesn't do anybody any justice when it comes to being reunited. 
The first night at my friend's house, we talked and talked, I spilled everything I could as far as my story goes, we talked about the blog and the events that had led up to my Dad's passing. It was draining talking about everything but I felt relieved and my friend just repeatedly validated everything I had been saying. I think I went to bed that night around midnight but like the all the nights since my Dad died, I wouldn't sleep, I hadn't slept. For the first 3 or 4 nights, I would cry myself to sleep, to sleep for an hour or so. I would toss and turn, I would sit there and rehash everything that had just happened. I would earnestly desire and look forward to that one night where I would sleep through the night. While I was in Houston, it became a daily question of whether or not I slept that night and I wouldn't find my first full night of sleep until a week after returning home from Houston in Florida.  
On Thursday, I got a call from another friend who had confirmed that there was going to be a funeral for my Dad and I was not allowed to be there, in fact I was told that extreme measures were being put into place to make sure I wasn't there. So, it had been confirmed and I knew it was coming. The funeral would be Friday the next day and there wasn't a thing I could do. I would go out that day with my friend who I was staying with and we would go shopping to buy things for Dad's memorial service at her home on Sunday evening. It was nice of her and it kept my mind off of things. We purchased a frame that could be signed by those attending Sunday evening and then we found items for a scrapbook to put together. It would have notes inside of memories that the guests would write down, memories of my Dad or notes to me. And then we would have pictures with me and the guests put in the scrapbook. My childhood girlfriend and her mother who was like a second mother to me growing up were photographers and they would kindly take the pictures that evening. 
Sunday night finally came and I was just excited about seeing people who I had known since I was 4 or 5 years old and who I hadn't seen in 13 plus years. Again, we have been friends on Facebook but it just doesn't do any justice. More than 40 people showed up at my friends' house that night and it was very special. We sat in the living room talking about my Dad and the memories we all had of him, we sang songs, well they sang songs, I was in tears. We watched a 20 minute segment of a sermon Rick Warren had preached for the first time after taking a 4 month sabatical after his own adult son committed suicide. Rick Warren would preach his first and most powerful message the day after my Dad died. I think the Lord may have been in the timing of that. 
The evening was sweet and precious, the Lord was there in the midst of it all. I had finally seen and hugged people who were family to me, even people who I had just reconnected with the day before the memorial. The Lord truly showed up that week and even more so that evening. I found peace that night and even though there was something inside of me that felt like something was either missing or I felt like I didn't have closure yet (probably due to the lack of being able to attend a funeral), I had some peace. The night wore on until about midnight, it ended with a few friends around a dining room table eating tacos from Jack In The Box and going down memory lane. It was very special and I will never forget it. 
I was able to spend time with a few dear friends who I had met at a church that I went to in my last couple of years at home, again, we were all connected on Facebook but hadn't seen each other in 13 years. These friends would become special and dear to me as well and that part of the story will be told here shortly on the blog. 
Eventually the week came to an end and it was time to get back to Florida. I had missed my Little Man and my friends there and so I was ready to come back but dying inside to leave Houston and all the dear special people who had just touched my life in more than just one way. They reminded me of what true love was all about, what being a friend is and what support means to someone. They didn't just tell me they loved me and cared about me like most people do, they acted on it and put their words into action and I saw every bit of it displayed. 
I've been home from Houston for a week now and have gotten back into some kind of routine, I am still looking for a job, facing an eviction at the moment, trying to stay on top of bills, dealing with the same issues I was dealing with before Dad died but I have finally been able to sleep at night which means that I'm finding peace about my Dad's untimely death. Yes, there are questions as to why or what if but as Rick Warren said in his message, ''I would rather walk through life with God and not know the answers to all my questions than to walk through life without God and know all the answers.'' 
I know my faith in the Lord is strong, I know He is sovereign and that NOTHING catches Him by surprise and even in the midst of the heartache and the pain, I know He is still on His throne. I don't understand why I've gone through my childhood dealing with such heartache and rejection and keep finding myself at places in my life where I wonder why me? But I know He knows why. 
My Dad kept bugging me before he died about my blog, he actually encouraged me to keep writing, he would bug me to the point of irritation as to why I hadn't written anything else or posted it anyways. In fact he would ask me 2 days before he died and even told me that when he would talk to the people there at his apartment complex about his children, he would tell them about each of the stories and when he would get to me, he said that people's jaws would drop, he told me he would direct everyone to my blog and that those people would come back  and tell him 'wow'. He wanted me to keep writing and I think in his heart he wanted to know how the story would end. 
So, I will keep writing my story as he told me too, I will keep trying to make a difference in someone's life out there, no matter who they are and what they're story is. All of us are broken people in one way or another, we all struggle with issues like depression and heartache and overwhelming circumstances. We all have a story to tell and like my childhood pastor said, 'how you determine the outcome of the story is up to you'. You can make it a good story or you can make it bad. My story is bad but it will end good, because I know the One person and have confidence in Him that 'He who hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.''. That comes from Philippians 1:6 which is one of my life verses, a second one is my mission statement in life, 'And of those have compassion making a difference' (Jude 22). I think I said it when I started my blog, I want to inspire others in life and inspire them to make a difference, I want to make a difference in someone's life. According to all the comments and memories that people had written about my dad, he made a difference and I too want to make a difference and I'll do that by continuing my story.
So, sit back and be ready for the second part of the story, I think you'll find it  inspiring. I have been at a Writer's block for a while now and the Lord had to put a pause in my song but it's time now to move on and share with others what He has taught me. 
Until next time, be blessed and inspire to make a difference!!
~The Adopted Child

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Change, ATI & the Gothard Church (10)

Change. Change was always happening in our house, as an adult you would think I would be able to handle change considering all that did change when I was growing up. But, no, I don’t really handle it well, but on the other side of that coin, I expect it and so when stability starts to take root in areas of my life I find myself restless, needing to go and find that urge to find something that can change in my life. Everything in my life growing up was changing. I can recall that our family was always moving from one house to the next, we lived in 7 houses from the time I was adopted around age 3 up until I was about 14 or 15 years old but I would be able to add about another house and a half by the time I left home at almost 18 years old. You’re probably wondering why a half? Let me tell that part of the story.

The house we lived in when I ran away from home was owned by a family and they had rented the house out to us and after renovating it and spending a few years there the family decided to sell the house and we were going to need to find a new place to live. So, we moved just a few streets over in the same neighborhood into another rental house, a huge house! It was while in this house the adopted parents decided that they wanted to live in the country, it had always been a dream of the whole families’ and especially mine. I had always been told  that I would only get a cat if we moved out to the country and I just longed for the day to come when that would happen. Well, it would happen. The parents found 11 acres of land out in the north west part of Houston, out in the middle of nowhere to be exact, it was a small town called Waller.

 I remember the days we would drive out there and look at the land, talk to people about it and then it happened, they bought the land and we had 11 acres of land to our names. The land was out in a part of the country where there were no tall pine trees, in fact the land had been used to plant peanuts and corn, the days we would go out and look at the land, us kids would run all over it and explore it while the parents and adults talked business. We would always see the left over peanut shells and corn stalks, occasionally we would find the foot prints of critters that would walk all over it when we were not around. We would find the prints of the deer, rabbits, birds and yes, the coyotes. The land as dull as it seems now, was always full of adventures for us city kids and I loved it. There were flowers, critters and the famous HUGE banana spiders that would build their massive webs in the few trees that were on the property towards the middle.

The acreage of land was shaped like a flag, with the pole part of the acreage being from front to back and the flag part of it in the back going to the right, if you were looking at the property from the street.
The parents would soon start looking at buying a mobile home to put on the land, it was one of these deals where we would literally design our own house. It was kind of cool but boring as all get out. We spent so much time at the mobile home dealership and we would sit forever while the parents would design and design some more.
 Finally the day came when they would order our house and it was getting closer to the time we would get to move out to the property. But, until that day came, we would start the transition from the house we currently lived in to the new property and I guess to save money or what not, the parents decided to start packing up the current house and they would rent a small single wide trailer that sat on the property of a couple we knew from the church we used to attend.
The trailer was just that, a small trailer probably from the 60s? I thought the parents had gone crazy, we were going from a huge 4 bedroom house that had 4 bathrooms, a game room, dining room, study, living room and huge master bedroom to this little trailer and there were 6 of us! There were 2 small bedrooms and then the ‘master bedroom’, a living room and a kitchen that included the eating area. Talk about downsizing. All of our belongings that wouldn't fit in the trailer would be put into storage and we would only move with the bare necessities. We kids couldn't bring our toys or anything, there just wasn't enough room. Michael and I would share a room and Matthew and Jacob would share a room and both rooms shared a small bathroom. I wasn't too thrilled with sharing a room with Michael, up until this point, I had always had my own room, and at times my own bathroom and so the idea of sharing a room with him didn't settle with me at all, never mind we were ‘teenagers’. I would later look back and regret that they ever did that to me.

So, we moved into the trailer and we would wait for things out at the property to be done, there was a culvert to put in so that they could take the house out there, there was the well to dig, the house to be moved out there and be put together and the electric that needed to be installed. It was such a drawn out process and patience was starting to wear thin. I was ready to be out of that little trailer. While we waited for the house and land to be prepared, we would work on projects. By this time in my life our family was in the process of leaving the church we had known for so many years, things were changing there, they were changing in our lives and the parents for some reason found that the need to be at the church was no longer necessary and we slowly started to leave and eventually we didn't go at all. The church had hosted a Basic Life Seminar, hosted by Bill Gothard and soon discovered that there was a whole home school curriculum designed to support the Basic and Advanced Life Seminars and we would get in to it and that would be our home school.
 The whole thing was just weird, the Home school curriculum/group was known as the Advanced Training Institute of America, better known as ATIA. It was a huge deal, full of thousands of families all over the world. The curriculum would center it self around the scriptures of Matthew 5,6,7 and somehow all the subjects you would use in a regular school setting would be drawn from those verses, history, science, social studies and so much more. I hated it! I didn't really feel like I was being taught practical stuff, I was being taught stuff that was kind of blown out of proportion and it just didn't make sense. The whole thing was taken seriously though and the belief system behind the whole thing was just insane. The seminars taught and hosted by Bill Gothard was go legalistic and so wrong but we wouldn't know that at the time. We thought we were being taught what was truth since you know it came from the Bible, verse for verse. We were taught that Disney movies were bad, that they were of the devil, that listening to music that had a drum beat in it was written from the devil and we were taught that it was only proper for ladies to wear skirts that went to down to their ankles or at least below the knee cap, that men/boys were not allowed to wear shorts because it would cause a lady to lust after them. The list could go on of the ‘beliefs’ that were being taught and brainwashed in to our heads, it was just ridiculous and it would go on until I left home.

So, when the family had found this new home school group called ATIA, they found a church in Houston that mirrored the seminars and teachings of Gothard and I am pretty sure every family there was an ATIA family. All the families used the curriculum, would follow the dress code, and the Pastor would even preach/teach like he had been taught from Gothard himself. Again, at the time, I guess the parents thought they were doing something right, they wanted the family to be taught standards and morals and to be taught how to raise children who would never ‘rebel’ and bring shame to the family name, ever. All the families were like this and they followed the rules right down to the letter of the law. There was more that happened in my life that stemmed from our family moving to this church and I’ll share that later in the story.

So, change was happening all around us but there would be more. Because my Dad was the custodian at the church were we were leaving, he would need a new job and he found one. A family that we knew from the church now worked and managed a Lutheran Retreat Center in Tomball and they needed a cook to provide meals for the guests that would come for different events. So, my Dad took the job and it actually became a family business. It had already been a business in the making, he had started catering while we were at the Bible Church and he would cook for all kinds of events there, he would be known there as ‘Chef Rando’ and people would fall in love with his cooking. His cooking was good too, and he would make everything under the sun and it was just amazing food.

We would work at the Retreat Center, mostly on the weekends when people would come out for an event, and an event could range from anything like a small business group meeting to a full blown out wedding weekend. The Retreat Center was a good amount of acreage with a huge pond on it, the Dining Hall area was up on a hill and at the bottom was the Inn, where 24 rooms. There was a pavilion area next to it at the bottom of the hill and eventually there would be a Olympic size swimming pool put in. The place was gorgeous and family operated and there was always something going on there. I loved it, I loved it even more when there would be weddings and we would get to cater the reception. Sometimes we did more than cater the event, we would decorate the hall for the customers and set it up and then take it all down after it was all over. Us kids weren't really around the people a lot, at least Michael and I were not, Matthew was usually allowed to socialize with the adopted mother but for the most part Michael and I were in the kitchen doing dishes or working. That was the usual for us and at any event. We would usually get used to it. We were allowed to eat though, if fact the getting to eat part started to get a bit more relaxed when we were there, because we would work our tails off, it was kind of our reward and I loved it!
The adopted Dad would make the best fajitas in town and they were my favorite. He cooked the best bar-b-Que, egg souffle, pancakes, fajitas, and party foods like cheddar poppers, wings and meatballs and the list could go on. He would make desserts that were out of this world like Chocolate Eclairs, Dump Cake. In fact, I would watch him or the adopted mother make the desserts so often, that I would have it memorized in my head and know how to do it myself. I remember the one time when the adopted mother wasn't around and it was just my dad and I in the kitchen and a dump cake needed to be made for that evening and as I sat there at the counter watching Dad do what he was doing, the ingredients were sitting right there in front of me and he asked me if I thought  I could make it and I said yes. So, he told me to go for it and I made it, without him saying a word. When I was done he kind of looked at me and said ‘wow’. We never told the adopted mother that I did that, she would get furious that I was doing something she normally did and it would just be bad. So, when I was with Dad and she wasn't around, I got to make Dump Cake and it felt special, I felt special!
Everything was changing and so much would happen in that amount of time. I was getting older and more mature mentally and I started to really key in on things being done and said. I would never intentionally eavesdrop but I would and I understood so much of what was going on around me and between the parents.  She would really think that I wasn't catching on to things but she would be wrong. I was starting to become more and more calloused to things happening and especially to those things happening to me.  The idea that Michael and I were no longer ‘important’ was really starting to grow. Matthew would constantly be given privileges and allowed to do whatever and eat whatever and whenever. He was being allowed to be involved in things like baseball and Little League and all the time and attention went to that. When we would all go to his practices, the adopted mother would sit on the bleachers and just ‘gaze’ at her son play ball while I sat in the car and took care of Jacob or would watch him play near the bleachers. I was always taking care of him, when he needed to eat, I was the one to feed him, since it was very time consuming for him to eat.  He and I would spend a lot of time together.

Again, things were changing and they would keep changing even more so in drastic ways when we finally moved out to the property. I was so anxious to see that day get here, I could hardly wait. I was tired of the little trailer, tired of being cooped up all the time. I needed space and room to live and breathe pretty much. But, that day was coming and little did I know about what was going to happen. 

Until next time, be blessed and inspire to make a difference!
~The Adopted Child