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

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