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.
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.
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.