You’re sitting there, just a young boy, when the doorbell rings. Your father answers the door and you see two gentlemen. You can hear them arguing but you’re not sure what about. As you watch you see your father walk away from the door, go through the living room, and to a closet. You watch him open the door, pull out a shot gun, and rush back to the door. The two men that were standing there turns around and runs as your father starts to point the gun at them. He slams the door, and puts the gun away. You can see it in his eyes. The anger that you have seen many times before. You start to cry and try to hide and he doesn’t like it. He takes off his belt and you brace myself for what is about to come next.
You are at a gas station sitting in the car while your parents go inside. As you watch them you see them demand the cashier for a box of cigarettes and money. The guy panics and gives them what they want. They rush back to the car and speed off.
Another memory comes to you. You are in the car with your parents and you are driving down the road. He is mad again. He reaches over to open the door you are next to, and your mother grabs on to you as he attempts to shove you out the door of a moving car.
You don’t have any place to stay and its dark outside. Your parents find an empty house and they break in to it and you sleep there for the night. At least you’re not sleeping in a car by yourself alone with just your younger two siblings again tonight.
There is just so much memories of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
The police show up one day with a case worker. They want you to come with them. You are scared and lock yourself in your aunt’s bathroom, and refuse to come up. They convince you to come out eventually and they put you in the back of a starnger’s car, and drive you and your siblings away. They take you to a building, give you and your siblings a teddy bear, and then separate your brother from you and your sister. They take you and your sister to a family you don’t know and tell you that you will be staying with them. However, you don’t know where your brother is.
With so much pain and hurt and confusion, you don’t feel safe around anyone. The family you are staying with can’t handle you and so they get rid of you. They tell the next family you are going to that they will end up hating you. At least this time they put you back together with all your siblings.
Looking at my life now, this person seems like a complete stranger to me. I was lucky enough to find a foster mom that was truly an amazing woman and my siblings and I stuck with that family and eventually was adopted by them. But it wasn’t easy.
I was diagnosed with PTSD shortly after going into foster care. I had a lot of issues to overcome as would any child who had to face situations like I did. I started to hate my birth parents and wanted nothing to do with them. Eventually my father lost his rights to us because he couldn’t stay out of trouble and do what he was told, not that I wanted to go back to him. My mother still came to visits, but she didn’t care enough. She refused to stop smoking even though my sister was constantly going to the hospital because of it.
The courts one day said that we were going to go back to my mom after several years. I couldn’t deal with that. At this point I wanted nothing to do with her. So, while we still had visits with her, my sister and I refused to get out of the car to go see her. My brother eventually did the same thing, but he was too young to really remember anything before we were put into foster care and was too young at that point understand what was going on. At the next court date, my mother gave up her rights because she saw that we didn’t want to be with her. I often think about that moment and realize that my life could have been much different.
There is so much in my life that I am thankful for. My past, while bad, has molded me into the person I am today. I don’t usually share these memories with people, and I didn’t share every memory I have, but maybe someone else needs to hear my story.
Eventually you grow up, start to learn right and wrong, and start to realize that the life you had before was not normal. Sometimes the situations you are in helps you to see what you really want and what you don’t want, and who you want to be. For me, it was hard growing up, even after I was adopted in the 4th grade. I had a lot of issues to get through. However, I was one of the lucky ones. There are so many people that stay in the system that never feel like they have a place to call home. No family to rely on.
For me I eventually overcame my trials. I knew who I wanted to be and the type of person I wanted to be. I had a decent support system (adopted mom and other parental figures) and I eventually found God which brought even more peace to my life. There were people that came into my life that helped mold me as they led by example and talked with me. They helped lead me to greater and better things for myself and for those around me. I went from feeling unsafe around people to feeling safe with some people. I went from being terrible and behind in school to doing really well. I went from being angry to having peace in my life. I went from having these terrible memories to using them to motivate myself to become a better person and to help others.
We all face difficulties in life. Some of us more than others. I’ve learned tmthat our trials can be our best teachers. Every time you face something difficult, there is always something to learn from it. Thomas S Monson, a past President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints once said,
“Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.” (I will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake)
I know this to be true. No matter what we face, we can get through it and we can learn from it to become a better person. The adversity we experience in this life can help us to learn and to grow into better brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters, husbands, wives, and any other roles we may find ourselves in.
I found help in those around me who loved me and in my faith. It helped me to overcome so much and find meaning in my life.
“Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain, and our suffering. He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity. He alone touches our tortured souls with His comforting words;” (I will Not Fail Thee, nor Forsake)
I sincerely believe this. You can find peace in your trials, learn from them, and overcome them. Any mistakes we make or trials we face don’t have to define us. We have the capability to overcome anything, and I believe we have a Savior to help us along the way. Work hard, believe in yourself, spend time in prayer, and find what makes you truly happy, and everything will eventually work out.