To Angelina & Anthony: For Their Unconditional Love and Patience ….

100_1000 (2)This ridiculous adoption that Letty set up and profited from took everything.

It took my niece.

It took my sister’s entire being.

It took a baby I lost by miscarriage ten days after we found out.

It took two marriages.

It took peaceful dreams and replaced them with nightmares.

It took our sense of security.

It took the faith we had in people doing the right thing.

It took the air from our lungs.

It took our free spirits and left us with a heavy darkness.

It took normalcy and gave us chaos.

 

It took ME.

 

It took me from everyone who loved me.

It took me from my friends.

It took me from my job.

It took me from smiles to tears.

It took the relationship between an aunt and niece I always wanted.

It took me away from my own children.

 

When this all happened, I changed so drastically. In an instant, I was an entirely different person. I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other.

I couldn’t eat.

I couldn’t sleep.

I couldn’t think.

I couldn’t keep track of time.

I couldn’t follow a conversation.

I couldn’t remember things once engraved in my memory. 

The sparkle in my eyes was replaced with a glossed over daze. All these things have stayed with me since then and I have to pray through it and force myself to be strong no matter how much I want to crumble.

It hurts me so much that my kids essentially lost their mom in this madness. A mom that took care of her family with an eager and loving heart. I cooked, cleaned, ironed, baked, planned the best parties, handmade costumes, read stacks of books, always took such good care of the kids and their friends. I surprised them with goodie bags and balloons at their school on Valentine’s Day, took them on picnics, helped with homework, took them on weekend outings, had regular slumber parties, all while working a full-time job. One day it was smooth like butter, and the next it came to a screeching halt. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I started getting terrible headaches, my body was constantly achy, I didn’t want to see the sun, I didn’t want to talk, I just wanted to crawl in a hole and pull the whole in after me.

My daughter was 9 and my son was 6.

Fast forward 9 years, my daughter just turned 18. The last nine years have been an enormous struggle. The day-to-day has taken every ounce of energy I have left. I’ve had to talk myself through everything I do and remind myself that although I am fighting this huge battle, I still need to be the mom I once was when all was right in the world. I still have desserts to make, museums to go to, games to cheer for. I can’t break down and cry in front of them because then they’ll fall apart. I have to get them through something that I can barely get through myself. I tell them that God will make it right someday. I pray us through long nights and emptiness. I remind them that love is the strongest force.

They’ve gotten me through this without holding it against me that I almost gave up. They’ve reminded me that there is always hope. They’ve held me when I felt like I couldn’t go on for one more second. They said so sweetly, “mommy please don’t cry.”

They were so little, trying to understand a grown up nightmare. A nightmare we still can’t make sense of. By her “parents” demands, they weren’t allowed to see my niece or have contact with her. They made sure to break their little hearts as they did ours. It didn’t matter that they were innocent children. They act  as if my niece just dropped out of the sky and had no one who loved her and needed her. Complacent, just like Letty.

Every time I got home from a visit, they asked me endless questions, wanting to know every detail. I had to swallow with a lump in my throat and when we finished talking, I would go in my room and bang my head against the wall with tears streaming down my face. Until this happened, I never realized that more than one tear could fall at a time. They literally poured out until my eyes were puffy and sore. 

Despite having only seen her in pictures their love for her remains unbreakable. They still miss her, still think of her, still wonder about her, still have pictures of her in their bedrooms. They await her return with a love that will never fade. So young, they’ve shown courage beyond words.

I’ve tried to balance the world despite being weak in the knees from heartbreak. I’ve done my best to make them smile as I hold back tears. I just want them to know that I for everything I couldn’t manage and the times I came up short, I’m truly sorry. I hurt so bad that I literally prayed for God to kill me just so I wouldn’t have to feel this any more. The burden of heartache is that heavy and profound. Their love made me realize I had to find a way to survive this. I’m sorry that our lives were ruined, I’m sorry that this left us with a million pieces to put back together. If I could give them back all the time they deserved, I would.

I owe them everything for getting me through this, for not letting me completely unravel. They took care of me when I was stuck in a trans. They brought me soup when I needed to eat. They gave me the time and space to grieve even though they were hurting too. They’ve been so strong and understanding, patient and loving.

I want them to know how much I love them and how thankful I am that they were there for me, and still are. This ordeal robbed them of them of so much yet they saved me …. 

 

 

Angelina and Anthony, I love you more than words can say. With a sincere heart, I truly thank you.

Chains Broken, Spirits Free

I dream.

I wish.

I cry.

All this time later, I still wonder why.

Will you ever come home?

This just isn’t fair.

It’s so hard to cope with the restlessness.

I toss and turn with racing thoughts.

They’ve tied our hands and there’s nothing we can do.

Only God hears the screams through the forced silence.

All I can do is pray and have faith through the storm.

The time will come when I can hold you close.

One day the sun will shine through the clouds.

The love we’ve saved will beautifully bloom.

The black and white replaced  with bright colors.

The emptiness will be no more.

The heavy weight will be lifted.

Chains broken, spirits free.

“The Suits”

It’s so terrible having your whole life and well-being decided by some “suit” that sees your name on a file, makes a decision on your life, then you never see them again. Men you don’t even know getting to pass judgment on you, your past, your future, your very sense of self and place in the world. They get to decide as if they are God and what gives them the right?

“The Suits.” The judges, the district attorneys, the flashy lawyers that know the law and how to bend and break it, the police and detectives that are supposedly there to protect you, when in reality they’re there to protect themselves and their own. Then it’s not until years later that you find out about their sins and secrets, immoral acts, and wrongdoings. By then, it’s on court-filed paper and undoing it is impossible. Their connections give them advantages the rest of us don’t have. They can just not answer questions, files are “lost” or buried, they get to get to point fingers and pass the blame. They’re simply not accountable. They get to take advantage of the innocent and their victims get victimized over and over again. How many families have they torn apart that shouldn’t have been? How many times have they made the wrong decision? How many times have they stepped in the middle when they should have stepped aside? How many times did they look away instead of looking through?

Those who “know best” don’t always know best.

 

Jody & Melissa : The Other Neighbors

Jody and Melissa still live in the house across the street from one of my parent’s houses, next door to where Letty lived until recently. Their family was already there when our family had our house built on the empty lot across the street. I think my sister was three and I was eleven. I babysat both Jody’s daughters and had what I thought was a good relationship with Jody.

We got our Thanksgiving gravy from Jody’s husband, her parents stayed in my parent’s guest bedroom when they came to visit. She gave us vegetables from her garden and my mom and I dressed her up and did her makeup for a special dinner, my mom helped stencil roses in her dining room. Yes, there was an obvious friendship that extended beyond the normal hi-and-goodbye neighbors. We trusted them, they trusted us, which makes it harder to swallow the betrayal they inflicted upon us.

Jody was originally the person that my sister confided in about her pregnancy. She asked her not to say anything, but the first thing Jody did was run to Letty. And, Letty took it from there, promptly sending her sons to move my sisters things over to her house, without my sister even agreeing to do so. Jody’s character can be described as weak, a follower that worked too many long hours to give her daughters whatever they wanted. Jody told me a lot of things about herself and her rebellious stage growing up and she lent an ear when I needed to talk out my confusion about coming into womanhood. She told me how her father had to go get her and bring her home after she got into “drugs” when she was living in California, and I knew of her affair with a married man and the conception of her eldest daughter, she definitely had her fair share of making bad decisions.

After I found out about the adoption, what Letty did, the situation was still unfolding, and I couldn’t hold back the way I felt for one more second. Being that we had been so close, I was so dumbfounded to learn that Jody had any part in it. But she did, and I called her on it.

Overcome with emotion, I called her on the phone; asking her how she could do such a thing, did she even know what this had done to our whole family, how could she look us in the eye after having done such an awful thing. Her daughter Melissa was on the other extension, trying to defend her mom and her deceitful actions, as if they had a leg to stand on. What they did was dirty, but still they tried to justify it. I remember myself hysterical, wanting to jump through the phone. Not surprisingly, I had a few not-so-nice things to say, but never once did I threaten them, I simply told them how I felt and what disgusting people they were. But the story doesn’t end there.

They actually had the audacity to call the police and what a surprise, good ol’ Douglas County jumped on the chance to issue an arrest warrant for ME, which I didn’t find out until I went for a visit and the police were investigating a missing turkey, yes a missing turkey, near a house I had spent the night at. They arrested me, I posted bail, and was given a date to come back for court. To this day, I feel I did NOTHING wrong, so I made a phone call to people who I had known for twenty years and told them how I felt. I guess the truth hurt them so much they had to try to make themselves look good by smashing salt into our open wound, it wasn’t enough they took part in this clandestine adoption. Our family obviously hadn’t suffered enough, now it was ME who was on trial for something so ridiculous as a phone call, yet Letty sold our baby away from her ticket window. What a great DA with impeccable judgment, anything to take the focus off what the issue really was.

So I went to court, missing my daughter’s eighth grade graduation to go defend MY name. Seeing Jody and Melissa, and Letty at the window, mere feet from where I was being tried and questioned made me dizzy. It took every ounce of self-restraint I had not to completely go postal on these horrible people. 

When I was finally before a judge, I never denied calling them, why should I have to, I never threatened them, I merely told them they were garbage and how could they do such a thing. The judge looked at me and I could tell he didn’t want to be hearing what I was saying. There was no order that was in place stating that I couldn’t call them, but because I never denied having made that ONE phone call, he gave me the most lenient punishment of one day in jail, suspended so I wouldn’t have to actually go spend the day in jail. Thank goodness I was able to clear my name completely.

What justice.

All that these people had done and I was the one being held accountable for A phone call, as in ONE call I placed to them. Sounds like a joke, but it’s not. I told the judge I had no interest in ever speaking to them again, that they were trash, and I wanted nothing to do with them. They helped to set this unnecessary adoption in motion and all they got was a phone call, how did they ever make it through such a horrific thing …. I hope that phone call didn’t land them in therapy for the next ten years. It’s so ludicrous, I don’t know which it makes me do, laugh or get mad.

Really, I’M the criminal in this scenario?

Give me a break.

I utterly despise Jody and Melissa. They stuck a knife in our backs so eagerly after so many years of trust and friendship. I can only hope that they are given the same courtesy they bestowed upon us, that their hearts will be torn out by a friendly face when they least expect it.  

They certainly have no room to talk when it comes to family situations, or scandals, so the finger they point at our family for the small incidents we ever had is just plain stupid. They have a lot of nerve thinking they’re superior to anyone. I pray that with every misfortune they have they will be reminded that what goes around comes around, no matter how long it takes. I hope God shows them every tear we’ve cried and that they too will face a trauma so deep they can barely get out of bed. They should be ashamed of themselves. They cannot be trusted as friends or neighbors, and I hope they’ll keep their blinds shut tight like they have since this all happened. I hope being in their own home makes them uncomfortable, as they try to save face.

I don’t ever want to lay eyes on them ever again, they are absolute garbage.

What Goes Around ….

It’s late and I’m tired. Emotionally I feel so worn out. As usual, the quietness of the late night seems the loudest time of day. I seem to go crazy right before bed every night unable to get away from the rage I feel. The emptiness only soothed with prayer.

I’ve been creating a new writing space, since I have all things pertaining to this adoption in a huge ottoman-style storage bench, I need the room to be able to keep everything organized and accessible. I have had to create a designated space for my writing so I don’t spread the negative emotion throughout the house. As I sit here going through paperwork, seeing documents, I feel my blood pressure rise. I’m not even a lawyer and I’ve put this case together like my life depended on it, because it does. Since the DA of Douglas County turned a blind eye to our accusations, because that’s what Douglas County officials do to protect their own, I’ve put it all together myself. After all, Letty’s boss’ actions were essentially covered up, so why wouldn’t hers be? She worked directly for him, no wonder we couldn’t get any questions answered; justice denied.

If you follow the money, or in this case, the Tiffany jewelry, plane ticket, and God knows what else, all roads lead Letty. After all, she was the star of this show. Instead of performing office tasks at her clerk’s window, she was busy setting up an adoption that should never happened. She seems to take pleasure in the fact of knowing that she did such an ugly thing.

Recently, I found out that she no longer pollutes the house across the street from one of my parent’s homes. She and her husband sold their home, separated, and she now lives in a mobile home park. Not that it gives me any satisfaction in seeing her life fall apart, no amount of despair could ever come close to what we feel every moment of every day. Only me taking one of her children and selling him away would make us even, and that is something I could never do. I’m just glad that should I ever decide to visit that area, I won’t have to see her living so comfortably and going on with her life as if she had no part in ripping a family apart. Not so pleasant when that family is your own ….

Love, Auntie

I’ll wait anxiously forever if it means one day I’ll be able to hold you …

I wish for you when I look up and see the stars in the sky …

In my dreams, I find you, and no one can take you away …

I hope your heart will show you how much we long for only you …

My thoughts always drift to you and I cry silently inside …

I ask God to bring you home through the days and nights I pray …

I remember your eyes and your smile, the way your hand felt in mine …

You’re my niece and no one can ever change that.

 

It Hurts Too Much To Cry.

For the past few days, I’ve been having a really hard time.

My mind has been running wild as I’ve been trying to maintain everyday life as well as coordinate a graduation celebration this weekend.

Whether I’m prep-cooking, cleaning, driving… I find myself getting lost in the anger I feel over this whole mess.

I never felt trapped in my own mind like I do now, constantly having to force myself to stop and pray. I have to remind myself that things won’t be like this forever, one day I’ll be able to breathe.

It makes me so mad and so frustrated that so much is taken from us every day. Memories and happy times are put on hold until my niece has a voice of her own. Snatched out of our life before we even knew what was happening, taken from our family tree and so conveniently put into another. The anger makes my heart race, and I so often feel like I’m on auto-pilot because my thoughts would otherwise paralyze me. I just want some peace. I want this all to be over. I want to wake up tomorrow morning and have someone tell me it’s not real, that this new reality has just been some horrible mistake, it’s all been a nightmare I can now wake up from.

I’m so exhausted, mentally and emotionally, and physically there are so many days I just want to stay in bed, in the dark. It’s a revolving door of hope and heartache. One minute to the next is unpredictable. Any little thing can trigger it, and every time it hits, it’s like having my heart ripped out over and over and over again. (Thank you, Letty, and may you reap what you have sewn.)

The wound just won’t heal as long as my niece is in the dark about the circumstances of this horrendous adoption. I can only imagine the pretty-little-lies she’s being told. Actually I try not to imagine that because if I allow myself to, I will snap, plain and simple. The crushing weight of this hurt is enough to make the strongest person buckle at the knees. We’re all in so much pain, but we have to push through it, we have to make ourselves get up and out everyday. It’s all just so tiring, being trapped in this mental enigma, always having half of your mind preoccupied no matter what you do. Needing justice, vindication, wanting to scream at the top of your lungs that it isn’t fair and it isn’t right.

I’ve become so cynical and I can’t even help it. Wishes and dreams have been replaced by caution and suspicions. Can you blame me? I haven’t spoken to a neighbor in almost ten years, I don’t make eye contact because I don’t want to let anyone into that intimacy of looking into my eyes, I don’t talk to strangers and barely respond to them even though they’re always trying to talk to me. This person I’ve been forced to become is someone I never thought I’d be. I thought I’d always be outgoing, a social butterfly who couldn’t get enough fun or friends. The only people I have in my life are the ones that have been there for ten years or more, those who knew me before this drastic transformation. People who know how bright my light once shone. People who knew me when I could seemingly singlehandedly make the world go round.

It’s frustrating. It’s maddening. It’s consuming. It needs to be made right.

It’s been so long that I’ve felt this way that I don’t remember what it was like to not have to think about this. It’s hard to get through life carrying a huge bag full of broken pieces. Life goes on around you, and you can’t fall apart because so many others depend on you to be strong and in control. They look to you to let them know it will all be okay. Frankly, I’m surprised at my strength and endurance. Truth be told, it is God alone who has carried me because not for one day could I have managed. It hurts too much to cry, the physical pain of  the loss of a child actually hurts your body. It doesn’t just hurt your feelings and emotions. I never knew that it quite literally hurts to cry until this all happened. Just like it feels good to laugh, tears bring an ache that reaches the core.

I cling to hope. I protect what is left of my broken heart. I suffer quietly as I tell our story.

Can you blame me for how I feel? Do you pass judgment upon me because I don’t know how to handle this? Put yourself in my shoes. What would you do?….