Dedicated to my two amazing parents, who are the most selfless, amazing people I know.
All the moments in mine and my two brothers lives led to a very important and special day, the day we were adopted. I vaguely remember the first time we went into foster care. I remember someone picking us up, and taking us from our mom at the age of six and my brothers younger than that. We were scared and didn't know what was happening or where we were going. We just knew that we were being taken from our mom. I remember the person that picked us up took us to a hospital to have a physical and that's when we met our foster parents. My brothers and I got split up when we went into foster care the first time, so we had different homes for a while. I went to live with Birdie and Jim and my brothers went to live with Missy and Don. We were getting split up because I was acting as the mother for a long time, at the age of six, taking care of my younger siblings. Cooking them mac and cheese and peanut butter sandwiches and cereal. I also made sure they got showers and tried to make them behave. So the first time we went into care for me, was a learning experience on how to be a kid again. I got to visit my brothers a lot and got to know Missy and Don.
We went into foster care because our biological mom was sick, she battled with alcoholism. I believe we were in foster care for about 6 months before we went home again. She worked on getting better for us, children services helped her get an apartment that was security protected that didn't allow alcohol with three bedrooms, and finally she passed a home study and we were able to go home. She seemed better for a while and life seemed good. We were able to visit Missy and Don a lot and we would go spend the weekend with them. I was my biological mom’s best friend, more friend than daughter. I remember she told me that the boys were not allowed to call Missy and Don mom and dad, so I would yell at them every time they would do so. When she started to get sick again we could tell things weren't right. She had me sneak beer in my book bag into the apartment, like I said, they didn't allow alcohol because it was an apartment to help you recover from addictions and sickness. She would have us call Missy and Don almost every weekend to have them come and get us for a few days. A few days always turned into a 5 to 6 days. When she got sick again, she told us to call and ask if we could for a while and Missy and Don had to tell us no, they couldn't come and get us. We didn't understand why, but the reason they couldn’t come and get us was because children services to them they were not allowed to see us. They were in the process of taking us back into care. My biological mom told Missy and Don if they didn’t come and get us that they would never see us again. This scared my parents but they just had to trust that everything would be okay. If they would’ve come and got us they would have lost their fostering license.
Because Missy and Don didn’t come and get us, my biological mom made arrangements for us to go live with our biological dad. All we knew about him was that he was abusive to her when we were young, and when Lucas was born she left him. So we rode around on our bikes in Kenny’s (Her boyfriends) backyard talking about how much we didn't like him and how we didn’t want to go there. I don’t remember how we got there, but skip forward to the first day we lived there- We got to meet our biological dads family, our cousins and grandma's and grandpas that we had never met. The first couple days we good. We played tee-ball in the yard and had a picnic. There were a few good moments while we were there, but mostly bad ones. He was still abusive… to his girlfriend and to us. My brothers definitely had it worse than I did in that aspect though. He would make them stand in the corner for a long time with a quarter on the wall and he would beat them with a pointy belt if the quarter moved from the spot. He would beat them a lot. I got a glass plate thrown at me once, because I was wiggling around in the corner because my legs hurt. He would hide all the food so we couldn't have any. Thankful his girlfriend would feed us when he left. Our clothes were way too small, and the house was ridden with fleas. Children service found us about three months into living at his house. They questioned us about all kinds of things. I remember them asking us if we wanted to live with him, and I was scared to answer because he was there and I didn’t want him to find out that I said I didn’t want to live there. I was afraid the consequences for my brothers and I. On my eight birthday we went back into foster care. Children services decided that we would all live with Missy and Don, and that it would most likely be a permanent thing. They had to build a room in two days so that there was enough room for all of us to live with them. When the cops came to get us they told us to pick two things to take with us, so we did. I picked two teddy bears, which I later had to get rid of because of the fleas infested in them. I was so relieved that this was happening, and was excited when I found out that we were going with Missy and Don. When we got to their house, they threw me a birthday party. I felt so welcomed.
We found out a few months later that we were going to be adopted by Missy and Don! It was a bittersweet moment, full of emotion. We all cried that day. Tears of joy and sadness. So happy to be with a family who loved us and gave up everything to give us a better life. But, sad because we weren't going to see our biological mom again. We got to have a goodbye visit with her, which was also very emotional. She brought us some presents and told us she loved us. I know now that this was for the best, and I believe she knew this was what was best for us.
On December 4th, 2007 we were adopted. It was such a great day! All of our new family was there, and we went to dinner to celebrate our “Gotcha Day”. I am so thankful for all that has happened in my life, and I honestly wouldn't change it for anything. I know that God had a plan in it all. If this wouldn't have taken place in our lives I don't know where we would be today because I was only eight years old when I was invited to do inappropriate things with a group of family members at a party, and I said no and went to bed. Who knows what would have happened to me at my biological dads house if I would have been there much longer. And since then our biological mom has passed away from cancer. We would have been alone with no parents if this wouldn’t have happened. I fully believe that God had his hand on us through our lives. He was there every step of the way, and kept us safe. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), ‘For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’
I know this was God’s plan, and not just something that happened. There are too many coincidences to not be something God's hand was crafting all along. My biological mom and my mom’s name are both Melissa, and the both have the same birthday, May 28th. Shayne was supposed to be a girl, and his name was going to be Tiffany Amber, which is my name. Shayne and Douglas both share the same birthday, January 13th, exactly a year apart. Austen and Lucas’ birthdays are both in October, ten days apart, on the 7th and 17th. There are more that I can’t even think of. God is awesome! I am so grateful for all that has happened in my life because if all of this didn't happen to me I wouldn't be where I am today. Happily married, with three dogs, a house and a great job.
Thank you mom and dad for being so selfless, to take in so many kids over the years when they had nowhere to go, no safe place to call home. You gave that to so many kids. You guys truly are my heroes and I hope to one day be as selfless and great as you. Thank you for always being there for every game, for every concert, for every moment. I am forever grateful for what you did for us. I don’t say it enough, but thank you, and I love you!