Live to Tell: a 4 to 8 hour adoption nightmare

It has been so long since I wrote a blog. I have a few saved up but didn’t feel it was the time to share them. This one in particular, I HAVE to share.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few weeks, watching 48 hour mystery episodes. I have especially been watching the “live to tell” series. It is real good but I find myself to be slightly unhealthily addicted to them…wink, sigh, chuckle….eye-roll.

I am not sure if it is because I can relate to many of the stories, or if it is because I have a bit of sociopath in me (according to those little quizzes on Facebook). Whatever the reason is, watching these episodes has brought me back to difficult situations in my life that I felt would have been different if I were the white blue-eyed, blonde hair with tall skinny legs daughter my mother adored so much.

You have read in my other blogs and listened to some of my podcasts about how I never really felt like I fit in. It is a feeling that I can never really put into words. Being an”oreo”, like my red-headed WAP would always say made me feel so small, like I did not really belong to any side. They used to laugh at me for not being able to “dance like a black person” or “speak like a black person”. They used to criticize me for not knowing how to speak my mother tongue.

My mother in particular would get real upset when I wanted to learn how to speak the Spanish language (once we moved to the neighboring latin country) because she believed that only English was important and Spanish was not necessary. When I picked up the language within 3 weeks of moving there, she was real jealous that I was able to comprehend the locals and she had spent years in latin countries and still could not speak the language. I think that was the control freak in her, wanted to control everything from what I ate to how I dressed, to how much water I could drink. It was overwhelming  to say the least.

But the breaking point came when I was around 17 years old. I can remember it like it was yesterday. My mother had forced me to exercise. As a 17-year-old, being forced to do anything was annoying. I was asserting my independence but for some reason, this time I felt I had to do it. It was the last walk I would take for years, especially down that scary path.

My father was quiet, and quite the opposite of outspoken. As a matter of fact, he didn’t have a voice at all. But this particular night, I saw him in a very different light. He stayed behind, and sacrificed his body so that I would not be harmed. He didn’t leave out the back door with the other white kids…..he stayed with me, the black adopted child….and endured horrific pain.

The home invasion didn’t start immediately. I got my jogging shoes on and started down the path. It was still early so I could time it properly. I’d be back just before the sun went down. I arrived at the gate (a 15 minute walk downhill) and turned around. Walking back up I felt that something was a bit off. I had no idea…I was tired, my legs hurt and I was fucking pissed off at my mother for forcing me to do physical exercise and not my other siblings. She never forced the white children to do anything. They were perfect…and I felt, well, like I was nothing.

I climbed the paved road that led to the top of the small mountain. Only a few more minutes and then I would be up at the big house, I’d be able to go and shower, and I’d be able to prepare for a dinner that I would not be able to fully enjoy because it would be controlled by my mother. She usually would not let me serve myself. She thought that my stomach was the size of her stomach (the size of a fist) because she had many eating issues.  She believed that being skinny was the way to go. Her obsession with the physical appearance was out of this world. So when she served my plate, everything was measured so that I didn’t “overeat”. All the while my siblings ate chicken legs, chicken breast, tons of potatoes, heaps of rice…all the good stuff my body craved….but nope, I was not allowed to have it. I was allowed a slice of bread, a piece of chicken and a few vegetables….and at times, even that was too much…the funny thing was….I was already a practicing anorexic and my mother thought that since it made me thinner, it was beautiful.

So as I approached the top of the hill, I saw 3-4 men with some kind of facial mask on. They grabbed me and pushed me to the ground. All I could do was pray, pray so fervently that this would be over real soon. But it was not, about 8 hours into the ordeal, my mother had “slipped out the door” with the other kids….my father had stayed behind to protect me. What happened between hour 1 and hour 8 was horrific. The Home Invasion was in full swing and my life was on the line. Click on home invasion to read the whole story.

But I lived to tell about it. I lived to tell about it and I am not sure why. I wish they had taken my life then and there. I was not happy growing up in a white home, I was not happy with who I was as a person. After the home invasion and being held hostage, I grew even more bitter and more angry at my mother. Why did she leave me? Why didn’t she stay behind? Would everyone have died? Did she do the right thing? Was I less important to her? Did she think I was strong enough to go through the humiliation and violation I had suffered at the hands of those men? Was God really that evil? Was I not worth it?

I had so many more questions about my place in the family after that horrific night. I bonded with my father throughout the entire ordeal. I watched my physically handicapped brother be left behind as well. Was he not worth being saved too?

My mother told me that when they arrived to town by foot (through the brush), they summoned the police. I didn’t want the police. At 17 years of age, I wanted her near me, hugging me, being there for me. I wanted her to stay behind with me….to sacrifice herself for me, …at that point, I wanted her to save me. That is what I would have done for my daughter, I would not have fled with the others. Never…ever…ever.

As I watch these episodes I think to myself how I have “lived to tell”. But living to tell often leaves more pain, guilt, and hurt. I didn’t want to live to tell. I didn’t want those horrible memories of my father being incapacitated. I didn’t want to relive the gunshots that left me partially deaf in one ear. I didn’t want to see anymore blood in my dreams, I didn’t want to see more cuts on my father’s back. I didn’t want to smell the men’s breath as they breathed on my…I didn’t want to remember what they smelled like, tasted like, felt like. I didn’t want to remember how much I HATED God….and Jesus,….and the Angels….I didn’t want to be ME.

I didn’t want to think that I…WAS…NOT…WORTH….IT. If only I were not adopted, and if only I fit in, would I be the one to run away with my mother and siblings? If it were my sister being held hostage, would my mother have stayed for her?

So many questions are left unanswered in my heart and mind. All I can think of is not repeating the same mistakes…..and never hoping or wishing this on anyone. But with this separation I currently have with my mother, I wonder what her side of the story is. Who was I to her? Who am I to her? Am I the daughter who was the triangle in the circular household? Am I just the girl who wrote a book and told her story? Am I the adopted child who Lived To Tell?

Yes…..yes I AM.

Who are you to your children? Your adopted children? Yourself?

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