Teenage Denial

For the longest time, I thought I didn't need a family.

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As scary as that moment was, the thought of being adopted into a stranger’s home to be my “forever family” sounded pathetic, as if I needed a family or anyone else for that matter. Several times I was asked if I wanted to be eligible for adoption, and every time, I confidently said no. The same questions were asked when family members expressed interest in adopting my younger brothers, but given the familiarity with our foster home and the benefits that the state offered once we aged out of foster care, I convinced them that adoption wasn’t necessary for any of us.

Despite how difficult it was for my brothers and me to maneuver through college, the thought of wanting a family was quickly shaken out of my head. I never allowed myself to be bothered by the holidays where everyone went home and I stayed in my dorm room or the parent weekends filled with campus visits and care packages that my peers would enjoy. I had convinced myself that not only did I not care that I didn’t have parents but that I was better off for not having them

Last September that all changed. My older sister’s husband had lost his hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer, and as my brothers and I stood in the hallway with my sister and her in-laws, my sister, who had always been strong, began to weep uncontrollably. I had no idea what to do, but my instincts said to hold her in my arms and try to comfort her. As I tried to  comfort her I could feel her pushing away from me, so I let her go. At that moment, she began to walk towards the end of the hall to her burly father. She leaped into his arms, and he held her as she wept in his chest. Not knowing what else to do, I said good-bye to everyone that was there and headed home.

The three-hour trip from Houston to Austin on Highway 290 was a silent one. About halfway home, I was overcome with emotion and began to cry uncontrollably. With my vision blurred and my hands shaking, I pulled over. I cried out to the heavens on the side of the road. What was once an afterthought had been awakened by the comfort and security my sister had with her father– one that I realized that I will never have.

So on the side of the road I cried and prayed, and like a little boy, wanted to be held by my daddy. And for the first time ever, I wished I had parents. I wish I had a forever family. In the middle of my sobbing and praying, I was reminded of all of the trials that I’d experienced but somehow overcame.

And to my comfort, I realized that this whole time my Father had been holding me in His arms.