My Story Chapter II Continued

When they told me I would be going to school I became excited. I had been in Kindergarten while living in foster care and had enjoyed it. However, they told me that I would be going to third grade. I was very confused because I had not been in first or second grade. I tried to tell them that I wasn’t old enough to go to the bigger classes, but they wouldn’t listen. Prior to that, I had my Birthday and everyone kept telling me I was eight years old. I tried to explain that I was turning seven, again, no one would listen. So, on the first day of school I was very nervous. I could not read and did not understand math. My teacher called my mother many times to complain about my bad behavior. She told her that I wouldn’t sit still and that I refused to read and did not know all of my numbers. Instead of trying to work with me, my mother and father thought it best to punish me. They yelled, hit and called me names, to no avail. I still couldn’t read and do math. I tried, again and again, to explain that I had never done those things, before, and didn’t understand what the teacher said in class. They did not believe me and whenever my report came home, I was punished. I became frustrated, truculent and angry. They started pairing me against their biological son. We would sit at the dining room table every night, after dinner, and mother would hold up math cards and whoever got it first, was praised. Obviously, her son won every time. I would be made fun of. My father would sit back, beer can and cigarette in hand, shaking his head. Finally, realizing that it wasn’t working, she came up with the idea that if I received anymore unsatisfactory grades on my next report, I would be punished, in my room, until the next report came home! That was every six weeks! The new punishment was that I would come home from school, clean the kitchen, bathroom, take out the litter pan, and do laundry. After which, I was to do my homework then get things ready for dinner. She would come home from work and we’d eat and I had to be in bed by eight. Her son was allowed to do whatever he wanted. There were no rules for him.

 

My social worker came to visit twice. The first time she came, my mother made me dress up and clean my room. She coached me on what to say. One thing she kept saying, over and over again, was that I was never to mention that daddy drank beer. I was not to tell her how daddy got mad and yelled at me and hit her. I was never to mention her biological son, at any time, during the conversation. She would send him down the street to a friend’s house. When she arrived, we would sit in the fancy living room with the white sofa and chat. I would show her my room and she’d ask questions. I answered as carefully as I could. I know I sounded rehearsed because the social worker mentioned it in my records. However, she did not seem to care. I behaved as everyone expected; prim and proper.

 

The time came when it was her last visit and she interviewed my adoptive parents, together. I sat quietly, listening. My adoptive mother complained to her about my behavior, bad grades and my inability or lack of wanting, to learn. She told her I was a “chronic” liar and that I often blamed her son for things that I had done. The social worker asked if her son was always honest and she said that her son never lied, it was always me and she was at the point of sending me back. The social worker suggested they take me to see a therapist. They agreed it may be something to look into.

 

We saw a therapist twice. The first time she interviewed me and asked me questions. I told her about my real family and how much I missed them. I explained that my new parents were always mad at me and I never knew what I had done wrong. She asked me if I had a choice, would I stay with them or go back to my sisters. I told her I wanted to go back to my real family. I told her how, when in foster care, I was abused sexually and  I was scared of their son. He was so mean to me when they weren’t around. The second time we went I colored a picture while my adoptive father and mother saw the therapist. They were in there for a very short time when my adoptive father came storming out yelling something about, “…it not being her business.” My adoptive mother grabbed my hand and we drove home. Mother told me that we were never going to a therapist again. Later, after getting my paper work, I read that he had become angry because the therapist asked about their sex life and whether he drank. She, also, implied that the problems were not being caused by me. She addressed the issues I had with their biological son, as well. She suggested that he not be left in charge of me when they went out. All of her advice was ignored.

 

 

 

 

My Story Chapter II

 

 

My New Family: Chapter II

 

I held my social worker’s hand, tightly, as we climbed up the steps leading into the airport. I remember being extremely scared and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. I watched as she pulled my little blue suitcase, decorated with pink flowers, from the conveyor. Before leaving Florida to go to Virginia, she had taken me shopping and had a permanent wave put in my long blonde hair. By this time I understood the importance of appearance when looking for a new home. It had been a painful process and I had cried so much that the stylist had rushed through it. My hair was frizzy and quite tousled. My social worker tried her best to get it to behave, to no avail.

 

I stood quietly beside her as she searched through the crowd looking for my new family. When she located them she raised her hand and motioned them over. There were three people standing before us. A man, woman and their son. They smiled kindly and the man shook my social worker’s hand and took my suitcase. I simply stared at them, not knowing what to do. The next thing I knew I was in their car, heading to their house.

 

The house was a two story split level transitional. It contained three bedrooms upstairs, a den and utility room, down. It was the largest house I had ever seen. The bedrooms were down a hallway with a bathroom on the right. My bedroom was in the middle. My new “mother” had made curtains with a matching bedspread for me. She had extra material, so, she made a matching dress, as well. She placed my clothes in the closet and left me alone. I remember peering out the window and looking out at the front lawn. The yard sloped down and ended in a very deep ditch. There wasn’t any grass, just orange clay. There was one tree in the entire yard. I was accustomed to seeing Palm, Grapefruit and Orange trees. It looked so barren. I opened the door to my bedroom and walked down the hallway to where I heard voices. They were sitting at the dining room table. My new “mother” suggested that their son give me a ride on their riding mower. I had never seen one and thought it was a good idea. He rode me around the back yard several times, before, finally stopping at the door. This was the environment, in the beginning. It seemed I could do no wrong. They invited friends and family over to meet me and show me off. I felt special, however, I was so nervous that I would say or do something wrong. I wanted this new family to like me. I did everything I was told to do to the best of my ability.

 

As the days turned into weeks into months, there started to be a type of competition between my new brother and I. I was unaware of it, at first. It seemed as if he did his best to antagonize me when our parents weren’t around. I was six years old and did not understand that he was probably growing jealous of all of the attention I was receiving. Now, that I look back, he was an only child prior to my arrival. I had simply showed up and he no longer had the attention he was accustomed to getting. In the beginning it was silly things. He would pull my hair or kick me and I would scream at him. Later, he became more aggressive. My new family, cousins, aunts, uncles, all sided with him because they loved him and they knew nothing of this little girl who suddenly appeared.

 

I had no idea that my biological brother had been adopted into the same family as I. He had been adopted by my adoptive father’s sister, thus, making him my cousin. The first time he came over, I was very confused! I knew who he was! I recognized him instantly. They explained everything to me prior to his arrival, however, I had been told by my new parents that I was to behave as if he were my cousin, not my biological brother. That was very difficult for a six year old to do. However, I kept silent for many long years.

My Story

I saw this quote, the other day, that made me decide, once and for all, to write down my story. I will do my best to be as honest as possible, to not fabricate or embellish any of the events. Thank you for taking the time to read it. I write this, with the hope, that it will make a difference to someone. Blessings!

Disclaimer:

This is my story. My version of events will, most likely, be different from what others believe. They weren’t there when we were alone. Those individuals, and family members, were only there during special events, i.e. holidays, cookouts, and birthday parties. They never saw how we lived when they went home. Therefore, their opinions and reflections,  are not warranted, nor, will they be appreciated. Other opinions, thoughts and comments will ALWAYS be wanted and appreciated. The names of any and all individuals involved have been redacted.

 MY STORY:  Chapter I

 I was taken from my parents, at the age of two and a half, and placed in foster care, along with three sisters and our baby brother. We were taken to a Receiving Home. There we were “processed” and sent to various other homes. My two middle sisters were placed together, while the eldest, was sent to live in another. Our baby brother was sent to Virginia to live with a cousin and her family. I was sent to a foster home that had another foster child closer to my age. The events of that evening are sketchy, at best. However, I do remember the police banging on our front door. We were huddled under our bed, in our two bedroom bungalow. We shared the same bed…all five of us. My eldest sister (name withheld) tried to get us to be quiet because our mother had left her in charge. Our father was at work, as he worked nights, and our mother had gone out for the evening. Prior to this, my eldest sister had gone to the neighbors house to ask for some bread as we hadn’t eaten for days because our parents had padlocked the cabinets and refrigerator. Apparently, she had called the police after giving her the bread. So, as we were climbing into bed, together, there came the loudest knock I had ever heard. Finally, after much coaxing, through the door, my sister climbed out from under the bed and opened it, allowing the officers to enter. They gathered us up and placed us into several police cars and questioned each of us. We were not the cleanest, nor, the best behaved little girls, however, the officers patiently listened and garnered the information they needed in order to take us away.

 

I was moved around a great deal, as my behavior was “deplorable” and many of my foster mothers could not handle me. We were re-united once, with our parents, under the strict guidance of our social worker. It did not work out. Our mother had been arrested for Grand Theft Auto and our father was unable to care for us because he had to work. We were, once again, separated and moved to various foster homes within the state of Florida. I landed in Hillsborough County. I lived with a Spanish foster mother and her elderly mother. I was made to call her grandmother. I was told that my job would be to clean up after her, which meant that I had to run behind her as she trotted off to the bathroom. She being extremely old, was not able to hold her bowels. I will not go into details, suffice to say, it was difficult for me to do the job correctly, consequently, I was punished often. As an example, she missed the toilet once and I was told to use Comet to clean it up. I, being around three at this time, simply powdered it with Comet and left a goopy mess. I was severely punished. It was reported that I was molested by her “Yard Man” during this time, as well. Once this was discovered, I was moved, with my other sister, to another home where they believed, strongly, in corporal punishment. There was no crime too little for a spanking, slap or kick. I wet my bed, so, I had to leave that home, as well. I was moved to another receiving home until they could find a placement for me. By this time, my social worker had become frustrated with me and didn’t know what to do.

 

Our father had remarried and his new wife wanted us back. The social worker suggested that they take us a little at a time. We were four little girls and she was afraid it may be too much for her. She insisted on taking all of us in the hopes that our father wouldn’t have to pay the state anymore money for our care. They went to court and we were remanded back to our father’s custody. However, it didn’t take long for our step-mother to realize how difficult four girls could be. Once again, we were sent back to foster care.

 

My social worker had contacted another cousin located in Virginia and asked if they would be willing to take in the two youngest girls. They said they could only take one and they wanted the youngest. So, off I flew to Virginia…leaving behind my three sisters. I cried during the entire flight. My social worker tried to convince me that I would love my new family…I wasn’t convinced. I was six years old.

My New “Family” Chapter II will be coming soon.

Weasel

Artwork by Samantha Humphreys

 

As a child I listened

to your tirades about

those who wore

darker skin.

 

They were “filthy,

nasty animals”…

not to be spoken

to.

 

In our neighborhood

our skin was much

lighter than theirs…

“as it should be.”

 

I would watch as you

grabbed another

beer, quickly, chugging

 

the golden rage down

your red, aching throat.

 

Another empty can

thrown aside as you

screamed about the

injustices of being a Parking

Lot Attendant. How your

third grade education

and your intelligence,

above all, should have allowed you a better

pay. How, your boss, a black man,

should never have been promoted

over you!

 

How you stressed to me, many, many

times that I should never date

a man outside my own color.

 If I, ever, did you would

kill me.

 

How you told me that I better

wear a slip under my skirt

because women have been raped

for less! How you taught me

that if a woman was raped she probably

asked for it because she wore her clothes

too tightly.

 

Another empty can thrown

aside as you screamed about

the political scheming

of the black man! How, if one were

to ever move in our

neighborhood you would

sell our home!

 

Another empty can thrown

aside as you screamed about

my grades and my “denseness.”

How I couldn’t even memorize

my multiplication tables.

 

Another empty can thrown aside

as you threaten to take me to a doctor

to see if I were “untouched.”

 

Another empty can thrown aside

as you tried to push me further into an abyss

of self-hatred.

 

Another empty can thrown aside

as you smashed your cigarette onto

your dinner plate and stood awkwardly

staring down the hallway towards the

bedroom.

 

I called you “dad.”

They called you “Weasel.”

 

 

 

Lethargy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bitter winds

help me to

transcend

 

into warm

memories

of oceans

green and

 

star fish

shells, yet, unseen.

 

The heat of

the crimson sun

rays bouncing

off my tanned

back

 

watching, waiting

for the time 

I lack

 

to delve into

its mysterious

froth.

 

For this Winter’s

cold has left me

a mind full of

wasteful sloth….

Turquoise

nature photography, stars, night sky, sapphire blue, teal, trees, peaceful, serene, turquoise, blue, stars, nursery idea, 8x10

I see the blue

of your eyes,

the color

of a brilliant

sky,

 

reflecting back

my tear stained

face.

 

The piercing

brilliance of

many generations

before

 

like your father’s,

your grandfather’s

and his….

 

My green eyes

watch

as you

call me names

 

forsaking all

that was done

for you….

 

claiming your

innocence and

blaming others

 

for your actions.

 

I stand bravely,

before you,

hoping,

begging

for change…

 

a clear Turquoise sky

against your murky

blue eyes….