“God, please give me a mommy and a daddy who will love me and adopt me. I don’t mean to be bad, but nobody wants me. Can you please make me good enough so that some nice mommy and daddy will want me? Thankyou God. Amen.”
I lay in my bunk bed and prayed with my little hands pressed together and my eyes squeezed just as tight as I could, asking God to give me a home. For awhile I just lay in my bed on the bottom bunk and listened to the TV drone on in the other room. It was very dark in here and I was afraid. When I got bored of just laying there, I stretched my arms up and wedged my toes into the little round pieces of wood that held up the bed above mine and just hung there. I always got in trouble for it if I got caught, but like any five year old, I was well practised in doing things that were fun without getting in trouble.
I’m a girl, with thin blond hair, and blue eyes. I wasn’t very clean though, because no one would give me a bath and I didn’t know how to do it myself. Maybe that was why no nice family wanted me? In this foster home the air always smelled like cigaret smoke and it made me cough. One time, the woman promised she wouldn’t smoke inside anymore, but that only lasted a few days. Her name was Michelle.
Finally I got tired of hanging and I started to imagine in my head what my new family would be like if I ever got one. The mommy would be really pretty and the daddy would play with me all the time, and I wouldn’t have to play by myself anymore. I don’t know what else I imagined because I fell asleep, and for a few hours in my dreams I had a real home.
One weekend, Michelle gave me and the other girl who was about ten years old and also a foster kid, a dollar to spend at a gas station a few blocks away. I got some bubble gum that came in a really long strip. One time, I bit off so much that I couldn’t hardly chew it.
On the way back from the gas station, we went a different way, and came across a whole bunch of black ants. They completely covered the sidewalk and made it look like someone had spilled a can of black paint. We were both wearing flip flops because it was so hot outside and we didn’t want to get bitten. I started to whimper because it was too far for me to jump across, when the girl tossed the bag with our candy to the other side of the mass of ants far enough that they couldn’t get to it, and kneeled on the ground in front of me. “Come here. I’ll give you a piggy back ride.” She said. Immediately I was happy again. I clambered up onto her back and she got a running start before leaping over the ants! When her feet hit the ground on the other side, the impact knocked me off of her back as she fell. We both had some light scrapes on our hands and knees, but we were laughing at the way we had landed onto each other. I wish I could at least remember her name, she was the only one in that place that was nice to me. Sometimes she even tried to help me take a bath.
Michell had a friend that would come to the house and bring her little girl with her sometimes. I hated that little girl with as much venom as a five year old possibly could! She was so mean! Me and the nice black girl would save the seeds from popcorn in a little plastic container under our bed, and when we had it half full and had planned on planting it the next day, we found that that the seeds had gone missing. We looked everywhere for those seeds but we still couldn’t find them. When the little girl asked what we were doing, and we told her what we were looking for, she just gave a little huff and said, “Oh those stupid things? I threw them out.” Outraged at her, I shoved her just as her mom came into the room. She refused to listen to my side of the story and continued to yell at me as she dragged me through the house by one arm as I cried, saying that the seeds would have never grown anyway, and how dare I be mean to her daughter. Why would no one listen to what I had to say? Why was I getting in trouble when it was the other girl who had thrown the seeds out? I cried for a very long time that day.
And of course, I had to go to school. Like any little kid, I whined when I had to get up before the sun to get ready. They always got mad if I was too slow though, so I hurried to find some clothes and I tried to tie my shoes but I just couldn’t get the strings to turn into bunny ears like my teacher showed me! Finally, one of the other kids, the really nice black girl that would play with me sometimes, helped me tie my shoes. She rode the bus to school but I had to walk. I walked with another kid, I think he was a third grader while I was just in kindergarten. I didn’t like him and he hated me. He said that I walked too slow and that I was going to make him late. He was always worried about being late. He knew that he would get in trouble though if he left me behind because I didn’t know the way.
One time when we were close enough that I could see the school, and he was again yelling at me to hurry up, I told him I could go the rest of the way all by myself! Without looking back he ran off and left me to cross the last street on my own. Just as I was about to cross, I saw a car coming, so I waited until it had passed just like I was told to do. I stepped out onto the street again, and again I saw a car. Once more I waited until it passed. I went to step out a third time, and a third time, a car appeared over the hill. For a long time this kept happening, every time I tried to cross there was a car. I was never taught that you could cross if the car was still two blocks away. Finally I just sat under a tree next to the road and cried. I couldn’t go back to the foster home because I would get in trouble, and I was late for school now and would get in trouble with my teacher!
“God please help me cross the road. I don’t want to make my teacher mad at me because I’m late!” I offered up a little prayer as I sat there and cried little tears next to the road. I didn’t have to wait very long before another car came, but this one stopped in front of the crosswalk and waved at me. I looked up, not understanding why it had stopped. It was an old lady and she waved and smiled at me again.
“Go on! You’ll be late for school.” She said. She was waiting for me to cross! I jumped up and gave her my biggest smile and ran just as fast as I could all the way across the playground and into my classroom. I was a little late but my teacher didn’t seem to notice my absence.
That night I lay awake in bed again, praying for a family. I also remembered to thank God for the nice lady who helped me cross the road.
I prayed every night for a mommy and daddy. I didn’t really understand what exactly it was I was doing when I prayed. I had been told by my uncle that there was a God who loved me very much, and that He always heard me when I prayed and that I could always talk to Him. It was as simple as that. I didn’t question how He could always hear me, or why He loved me, I just believed.
I had been put in the foster system when I was around three years old, so I had some fuzzy memories of my life with my three brothers before. I really only had three somewhat clear memories. Sitting in front of a tiny TV eating some lettuce that was a little slimy with ranch dressing, leaning the mattress in our room against the wall so that we could try and see out the windows that were so high up on the walls, and the Police lights. The Police lights I remember very well. I was really scared and I clung to my brother’s arm and cried. Then we were sitting in the back of the police car with the flashing lights of other cars all around us lighting up the faces of my older brothers. I asked him for another piece of candy that came in those little plastic candy cane shapes he had gotten from somewhere, but he said it was all gone. I was very sad about that. I don’t know what happened after that. I only got to see them once or twice every year for very short periods of time.
I got moved from one Foster home to another a lot. My social worker was a really nice man and he would get me a little present that I was not allowed to open until after he had left to make the move a little less scary. One time he got me a sparkly pair of dress up shoes. They pinched my feet and I was always tripping in them, but they were the only pretty thing that I had and I treasured them until the day the dog destroyed them. Every place I can remember either stank, or they yelled a lot.
Eventually my social worker was able to arrange for me to be able to see my brothers again.They lived with my Uncle sometimes, (He was a pastor in Kansas) and I went there to see them for a week or so.
One day during my visit, Aunt Joy sat down in front of me and said that there was a nice couple who wanted to meet me while I was there. I got really excited. “Do they want to adopt me?”
She smiled. “We don’t know yet, but they are almost here so you need to be on your best behavior okey?”
“I will!” I said readily, unable to stand still.
I went and stood at the door and looked out the window until I saw them drive into the church parking lot right across the street from the house. “Is that them? Is that them?” I shouted excitedly as I pointed frantically. Aunt Joy peeked out the other window. “Yup!”
I looked at the couple again. The lady was the most beautiful lady I had ever seen in all my five years. She had the prettiest long brown hair and a really big smile. I couldn’t see any more than that this far away though. The man was a Cowboy! A real live Cowboy! He had a white hat and cowboy boots and a shiny buckle! He was also smiling real big at me. He had short black hair that curled at the ends. I don’t know exactly what happened right after they walked in the door because I ran and hid behind someone or something, suddenly too shy to talk to them.
In the next few days I got to know them a little. I learned that the lady’s name was Patty, and that she was my uncle’s sister. My brother’s and I called her Aunt Patty. Her husband’s name was Mark, and he really was a cowboy! He showed me his belt buckle and told me that he won it in a rodeo. He said that he had a ranch in South Dakota.
I really liked them a lot. Aunt Patty would brush my hair and braid it when I could sit still long enough, and Uncle mark would paint my nails. I had never heard of guys painting nails and I told him so. He just laughed. He was very good at it, never getting any of the hot pink paint on my toes or fingers other than the nail.
Before they left, we all went to Applebee’s, where Uncle Mark and Aunt Patty played the games on the back of the menu with me. After a while, I told Aunt Joy that I had to go potty. Once we were in the restroom, said, “I think they want to adopt me, but don’t tell them! I don’t want to ruin their surprise!” I made her promise not to tell before we went back to our table, where Uncle Mark continued to tell me funny stories and Aunt Patty was talking to Aunt Joy about something but I wasn’t paying any attention to them.
After that, my prayer changed. Instead of praying for God to give me a mommy and daddy, I prayed for this mommy and daddy.
In the following months I was able to visit their ranch for a weekend or two every month. Every time they brought me back to Michelle’s, Aunt Patty would get me a little present. One time she got me a big book of Dora stickers! I treated that sticker book like the most valuable treasure in the whole world, and only took out one or two stickers every day. But one day when I came back from school, I found my precious sticker book cut to ribbons! That nasty little girl taunted me and said that I was stupid to like Dora and flaunted the fact that she had cut up my precious book and waved the scissors under my nose. Again I was the only one to get in trouble. Her mom and Michelle refused to believe that she had cut up my treasured gift from Aunt Patty! I got in trouble for getting mad and crying!
And one time we made little books in class that was about mommies. I was so proud of my little book and I hid it in my mattress so that the nasty little girl wouldn’t find it before my next visit to the ranch. I checked on it every day to make sure that it was safe. The day before Uncle Mark and Aunt Patty came to pick me up for the week, when I checked on my little book, I found it shredded! That was it! I ran through the house until I found that nasty little girl and I shoved her just as hard as I could, screaming at her for tearing up my gift for Aunt Patty! The little girl started to scream for her mommy and her mom came running into the room and saw me standing over her daughter with one hand clutching the remains of my little book. Her mom was absolutely livid! I remembered being very afraid of her as she yanked me away from her daughter whom she believed could do no wrong, and threw me into my room and locked the door. I was not allowed out of my room until a little while before Aunt Patty and Uncle Mark got there the next day to take me to their ranch for a week.
Finally It was confirmed that they were indeed, adopting me! I don’t think there was any five year old in the entire world as happy as me! Finally, I was able to stay with them all the time, instead of having to go back to that smelly house with the cranky woman who smoked too much and the nasty little girl. For my sixth birthday, I even had a real party!
Once again, my prayer changed. I asked God to hurry up and make the adoption final. The second Christmas after I had met my new mommy and daddy, just as we finished unwrapping presents, we got a phone call. It was the judge who had been reviewing my case, saying that everything was done and all that was needed to make my adoption final, was a visit with him in the courtroom. So on December 27, 2005, my prayers were answered and I got my mommy and daddy.
Now, eleven years later, many of those memories are foggy and I have trouble clearly remembering much. Although the more stories I hear, and the more I write, I realize just how much I do remember. I remember praying to God as though I were talking to a friend, knowing that He was there listening, and that He loved me. Now my relationship with God is much more intimate than that, but I never forgot how he was always there with me in that dark, smelly room as I prayed for a mommy and a daddy.