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

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