Thursday, February 1, 2007

The beginning

Today I am going to start over again by remembering the things I still have, instead of dwelling on the things I no longer have and miss. I am hopeful this will be a good way to start the process of accepting who I am. Regardless of whether or not this next major surgery is successful, this is something I need to do, since this may in fact be the way I will look forever. As I feel I am somewhat groping in the dark, maybe this first step will be helpful for me.

Let's start at the beginning. I am grateful for my family-my foster parents, who took me in when I was 5. They saved me from an abusive father, and a mother whos first concern in her life was herself. They gave me the gift of loving myself, they took me to counseling to overcome what I had been through the first years of my life. When I was first taken from my mom and dad I was put in foster home after foster home. I was separated from my siblings. I remember one family in particular, the family right before I came to Ralph and Gerry's. The mom would make me sleep next to a broken window and tell me that the boogey man came in the night to take all the naughty children from their beds, and I was indeed a naughty child. Why else was I "in the system"? My first morning at Ralph and Gerry's, Gerry made me pancakes for breakfast. I didnt even know what they were called, and when she told me I said "Panty cakes?" Everyone had a good laugh. I knew then I wanted to stay there and was so grateful that after the emergency period of time was over they decided not to send me off to the next foster home.

Because of them I stayed in school, got an education, played musical instruments, went to church, went to camp. Out of my whole family I am the only one who ever went to college, who ever tried to make something of herself. My brothers were in and out of jail and homes. My sister was adopted out. She has spina bifida and I have only met her a couple of times in my life. She was the only one my mother stopped trying to get back, only because she was crippled and my mom didnt want to keep her because she couldnt take care of her. The way I see it, my sisters' handicap was an inconvenience to my mother. She fought to get me back but I wanted to stay with my foster family. I felt stable there but she didnt understand that, only wanting us to live with her because we were her kids, but not wanting to provide the kind of home and lifestyle that is conducive to raising children. She left my life for a couple of years after I went to court and told the judge I wanted to stay with my foster family. I used to call her phone number just to hear her voice on the answering machine. Then one day she waltzed back in and acted like nothing had ever happened. I wanted her in my life so badly that I accepted that and have never asked since why she left without a word. She did manage to get my younger brother back and just recently allowed him to drop out of high school only a few months before graduation.

This was all the beginning of the many blessings in my life to find a family who cared for me. So many children in the foster care system have no one to love them and are moved from home to home. Many, when they turn 18 on their birthdays are kicked out of their homes to live on the streets and try to fend for themselves. Either not knowing their biological families or having ones who dont want them, they struggle until they end up on welfare or living in alleyways, selling drugs or their own bodies to survive and losing their own children to the system. My parents allowed me to break that cycle. I never had to face those problems and neither will my children. My parents let me stay with them until I decided to move out on my own. They let me move back home when my daughter was a newborn and offered to watch her while I went to college and worked. Even to this day they are always willing to take her in for me and watch her when I need them to, and for that I am also grateful. Not many moms have the support system I have in them.

I am grateful for my mom and dad. This is the beginning of my journey in finding myself.

Today my feelings are so mixed. I have mostly decided I will go through with this next surgery, as it is my last resort. I am still very upset. I'm feeling depressed. Hopefully these things will change after the shock of all this wears off. So far, it has not.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tina, I truly wish that I wasn't on the other side of the continent, so that I could be there to offer support personally. It somehow feels very hollow, leaving comments on here and hoping that they help.

Just know that whatever decision you make I will support you completely. What you've been through in the past two years is devastating, and you have every right to be upset about having to start from the beginning again.

I am so sorry, Tina.
Cyn

Jenn said...

Tina, Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. You are truly an amazing person who has overcome so much in your life. No matter what, you are loved. Please let us know how we can help and support you!
Jenn J.

Anonymous said...

You have faced a lot of adversity in your life, and still came out of it stronger. That itself is amazing.The more I read about you the more I know what a good soul you really are. I know you will get through this most difficult time because you are a winner, whether or not your next surgery is a success, you will always be a winner and will always be a beautiful person. Monica (3M&MGirls)

Anonymous said...

tina,

you are an amazing person and i truly enjoy learning about who you are and how you have gotten here. you are really an inspiration and wish you the best. my prayers are with you as you go through your "rebirth" (for lack of a better word)


aimie (yada, bbc)

Molly said...

Your story has really touched me! As I said, you are SUCH a strong woman!

I am thinking of you!

Jason, Jonda and Jack said...

I believe in you Tina. You have been through so much, you can do this.

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing woman.
Elena (squishys_mom)

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." Phil 4:13