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Solace in the Garden

I had to sever ties with my foster family. It has all become so much. I have accepted their pain and pressure, while mine has been neglected for 33 years. They have hurt me in so many ways, and I am sure that I only know half. I suspect their mental health, trauma and experiences are partially to blame. I think another part of it is that my foster mother saw a baby she wanted and didn’t think my father deserved. On more than one occasion she threatened him. She bragged to me about how she could yell, shame and threaten him. She said that my father was scared of her. I guess…there is no hiding that her name is actually Karen. I don’t want to shame her, and I don’t want revenge. I cannot rewind time. But she was wrong. Even in her pain and trauma, she took opportunities from me. She leaned on me emotionally, and eventually financially. As a 33 year old woman, I could not allow it to happen anymore. I don’t have to justify my feelings, but sometimes I feel like I need to explain it because a lot of people expect me to be grateful for being adopted. A lot of people expect children to provide for their parents.

I have been weighed down by depression and feelings of grief. And I have begun to let these weights go.

My foster mother was in a toxic relationship. She removed herself from it several times in life. Once when I was 5 and possibly 7. Again when I was 12, and again when I was 17. Through these times, I made sure she didn’t kill herself. Literally. I sat with her in bed. I stayed up late with her. I tried to keep the peace between my foster parents. I developed unhealthy eating habits. I isolated myself from friends. I became the “good” child. When I was in my early 20’s and in college, through means of my own, I started supporting her financially. When I got married and moved out, I continued to pay her mortgage for two years. When she no longer could pay for her house, almost ten years later, my husband and I welcomed her, asking for some compromises, but not accepting rent. She disrespected our home, avoided us on holidays, would disappear for days or weeks blamed us for her losing her house because we did not open her mail, and was finally asked to move out two years later. She tried to manipulate me and use her mental state and age as an explanation for behavior. I will remind you that she has many biological children. My eldest foster brother came and got her and said, “I thought this would be her forever home.” Insert shock face emoji here. She started calling me crying and saying that she was not my mother. She threatened to send cops to my house because I would not answer the phone.

That’s just surface. Her behavior, and my lack of consciousness with my true reality caused me to become depressed, stress, inactive, and I gained back the 100 pounds I had lost three years ago. My blood pressure went up, and so did my white blood cells. My heavy, irregular periods came back, and I constantly was moody, tired and angry.

I blamed myself because I had never healed from my childhood abuse and trauma that reached the depths of my adult years.

I would not let her steal the love of my husband and the joy we found in life together. I tried to maintain a relationship with her when she first moved out. But she wanted more of my energy and time. I had nothing left to give her.

I had given her my best. My best behavior. My best encouragement, days that I should have been celebrated but was not, my emotional support, my compassion, forgiveness, time…. I would listen to how big her family was, and when I explained to her that they are not my family, she would get offended. I don’t know those people. I don’t have relationships with them. I realized at 33 years old that I had never viewed myself as a foster child, but they….oh they had. That was clear. Not only that, I was ungrateful and selfish. Don’t I deserve to know about where I come from? Who my mother is? Who my father was?

My father died in 2011. I never once spent a birthday with him. Now, I have learned just how hard his life was. His mother and father died very young. So did his sister and brother. He was dishonorably discharged. My mother tried to kill him. He may have been abusive to her as well. He raised my sister alone, and still tried to develop a relationship with me.

Foster parents are supposed to nourish a child and support reunification. Unfortunately, I fell through the cracks in the system and my foster parents manipulated the situation to best suit what they needed or wanted. While I cannot speak on their intentions, I was abused and neglected emotionally and psychologically in the process.

As an adult I use my art to heal and connect with other survivors. I will continue to share my story because awareness can bring understanding and change.

This blog only touches the surface of my pain. Check out my Youtube channel for more videos where I share my story. You can also find my interview with Stop Child Abuse Now on their Website.