Friday, August 29, 2008

A Must Read

My 16 year old neighbor kid was telling me about this series of books that he'd read, recommended that I also read them. As you likely know, I've become highly involved with foster care and we are soon going to be finished with our applications and classes to become full time foster parents. I also grew up in a home that was less than ideal, and spent a short period of time in a foster home, so I am aware of a lot of the things that go on, from both sides of the foster care system and what its like to grow up in an abusive home. Now, growing up it wasn't as bad as it could of been, but it also was not pleasant. With that said, I tend to not read books that tell of abuse and such as it breaks my heart that it goes on and often brings up a painful past of memories, but as I've grown and matured I've come to better terms with it and despite some of my own wrong tendencies in the past I have been working on over coming more and more of it every day. I have great friends and resources that have helped me tremendously!

Often though children are left suffering because of people's own selfishness, or something I have no idea, often ones who report abuse become the targets for some very negative things, I've seen it, as a child I assisted in it. I have learned that it is better to be the person who reports a child being wronged than it is to be the person who overlooks it or ignores it. I was a person who'd ignore it, make excuses for the abuser, or rationalize it in some other way...a lot of that had to do with my own fear of being outcasted by my peers, both growing up and as a young adult.

My first step out of this shell came almost a year ago. I knew that my nephews weren't living in the best of homes, and I can rationalize a lot of circumstances, but I've always known that it was not the case where they were concerned, and it took me years to get up the courage to report it. I stood the chance of their mother leaving with them and I never getting to see them again, not knowing if they were well or even alive, but I took that chance, those boys deserved that chance. It took several months, lots of research, and several attempts for the boys and their other two siblings, to be taken into custody, but they are finally, and doing very well, their mother refuses to aknowledge that anything was wrong on her end and thinks its nothing more than an attempt for those of us fighting for the children to take her children from her, you'll be hard pressed to convince her otherwise, I feel bad for her....but thats a whole other matter.

Yes, I'll admit, I was a horrible mother, who in every right should of had her own son taken by the authorites. I even reached out at one point in time to child welfare myself and blantantly told them that I was not taking care of my child, I had a drug and alcohol problem, I was homeless, I had no vehicle, no job, and I had more men in and out my door than most doctor offices...they pressed no charges against me, offered me no resources, packed my son up, sent him to live with my (then) mother-in-law, and told me that when I felt like it I could go pick him up and take care of him. I wanted help, I wanted to make a life for my son, and the system in that way failed me. My mother-in-law's house was way worse than the crappy situation I had him in, I remembered the stories of my ex, how he was smoking at less than 7 years old. addicted to crank and other things by 9 and a regular drunk by the time he was 10, not to mention the beatings, there was no way I was going to subject my son to that, no matter what it made me determined to get myself in order and take care of my son.

Within an hour of them leaving with him I had a job, it wasn't much, but it was something. Within a month I was living with sober friends. Two months after that I had most of my senses together, I was down to drinking rarely, I was no longer doing the drugs, and I had enough money saved up to attempot to make a new life for us.

One of the other things that helped me was instead of going to bars for siocialization, I went into chatrooms, finally landing in one for Austin, TX...I was living in Tulsa, OK. I virtually met some people, talked to one on the phone on a regular basis. He was a great source of encouragement and support for me. We came up with a plan for me to start life over there in Austin. I jumped on it. Now I was met with a lot of tough critisms from several, and a lot of help from others, as well as a lot of fun times. I met some of my dearest friends this way, and my husband. It wasn't at all easy, I had my moments of relapse as well as other obstacles, most of which I still deal with on a regular basis, but I learned. I take complete responsibility for my actions. Yes, there were other circumstances that played into it all, but it was MY reaction, MY decisions to react the way I did. Looking back I can see everywhere I made the mistakes, I can also see where others around me enabled me to make these mistakes, and more. They all looked the other way, made excuses, or were afraid that I might actually get the help I needed to make sure my son was properly taken care of, had I not been aware enough of myself and what I was doing things in my life would be no where near as good as they are now. Its likely that I would of been upset with them if they would of stepped in and addressed the problem with me, and I'm sure there were one or two that saw my actions and said something about them...but thats all they did, I likely got upset, they dropped it and proceeded to ignore the situation, only fueling me deeper into that lifestyle I'd made for myself.

Anyways, since I subjected you to all of that my main reason for this post was to recommend that others read a book by Dave Pelzer, actually he has at least a series of three, telling about his life and feelings growing up in an extremely abusive home. The first book, and the only one I've read so far is called A Child Called "It". It touched me deeply and I hope that it reaches others and opens their eyes to the realness the effects of abuse are, as well as the horridness of simply ignoring it.

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