I received a surprise email from someone who found my blog through one of the DIY/Crafty blogs I link up with each week. It was from an adult adoptee/former foster child. My heart immediately started beating faster and my thoughts raced.
I came across your website in another blog and was immediately touched by your story. You see, I am one of those children. Now 47 years old. I smiled and then cried a little, remembering how difficult is was for my foster parents, Doris and Paul, to try and connect with me at the age of 13. They are both passed now, before I was 23. They are in heaven where they rightfully should be.
My parents, too had demons that haunted them. My Mom grew up as an abused child, and suffers from severe depression and tried to commit suicide twice before I was 4. My Dad, Ed, was a severe, violent alcoholic. It is fair to say that their relationship was a bomb ready to go off at any time. My Mom, abused by my Dad, ran away when I was 5 years old. At the time there were four of us children…one sister 3 1/2, one 16 months and a brother 28 days old. My Dad decided to raise us on his own. I still think in some small way, he believed that Mom would come back to us. Little did he know that I would find her 25 years later.
During those years growing up with my Dad, I was the focal point of my is alcoholic rage. I cannot even try to remember how many times I had black eyes, fat lips, broken ribs and bruises and cuts. And yet, there were the times he was sober and he was a great man then. During his blackouts, I was the subject of his so-called friends affections. I still remember the first time I was se*ually abused. It took me many, many years, and a lot of therapy, to forgive myself and understand that it was not my fault.
I had to forgive myself for a lot of things. I had to admit that I tried to sabotage anything or anyone, however small, that was good or gave me happiness. I just didn’t know how to accept these things, and believe that I was deserving of them. I was the child that was meek and quiet, never allowing anyone to get to close. Poor Paul, the first time he tried to give me a big hug after coming to live with them, I ran and curled up in the fetal position in a corner crying for what seems like hours. All the time Doris sat close by and sang hymns to me, trying to rid my head of torturous thoughts. There were many episodes like this, more than I care to count. Doris, too was given some of the same…it took a long time for me to trust her. I was certain that she would leave and never return, therefore, I would not allow her to get close to my heart. There passing would be yet another turning point for me…you see, it brought all the abandonment issues to the forefront. I would spend many years in abusive relationships and marriages. Thankfully, I was one of the lucky ones, and did not turn to drugs or alcohol, ever.
The one missing thing in my recovery…and yes, I use the word recovery, because I had to recover from the years of torture to myself as well…it was God. You see, I could not understand how this loving person could allow such atrocities to occur to anyone. Of course, at those moments, I didn’t know what true, unconditional love was either. With the help of a new therapist and the man I would come to call my loving husband (of 11 years), Jeff, I learned who God was and is. I can still remember the day I chose to let God embrace me. I became a whole person. He allowed me to forgive myself. He allowed me to forgive, have peace and love with my Dad and my Mom. A gift I am so thankful for. This gift allowed me to be with my Dad during his passing…and has allowed me a beautiful relationship with my Mom. It has given me guidance through prayer. He has given me solace during the trials of ovarian cancer, lupus, RA and many other health conditions. And most of all, he has taught me love.
What I truly want to say to you is…Thank you from one of those children. For giving us hope and love. For not turning your back or averting your eyes. For making us matter in the turmoil our hearts and heads live with. For the patience and all the hugs. Most of all, thank you for loving us. You truly are Gods blessings.
Here is what she said when I asked if I could share her story:
Yet you have touched me once again. I am very humbled and happy for you to share my letter of gratitude with anyone. It is up to you if you feel you need to edit or use portions. It is in your hands. It is a part of who I am…I am not ashamed…I made peace with myself and with God. If some or all will help to sooth someones soul or give them hope, then by all means use every word.
***As I told Anonymous, my husband believes this is the letter we might never receive from our oldest adopted daughter. She may never find healing or we may never be in a relationship with her again. Only God knows but this letter was a precious gift from God to not only encourage me but other adoptive/foster moms. For every mama who walks the difficult path of loving a wounded child: There may not be accolades and applause here on this earth and your children may not ever thank you, but what you are doing is vital, life-changing work. Every day you get out of bed and continue to love in spite of the arrows and barbs thrown at you is a day closer to healing for your child. You are being given opportunities to show unconditional love in a way most people will never understand. I hope this letter touches you and reminds you there is still hope.