I am really excited to have joined the Adoption.com team as a blogger and content writer! To lend credibility to my posts and perspectives, I think it’s important to let all of you get to know me and my story.
I was born in 1978 in Seattle, Washington to a young, single mother. I was her first child and she tried to make a life for me. She had married another man, who was enlisted in the Navy and was not my biological father, and we lived with him in Navy housing on the Whidbey Island base in Oak Harbor, WA. When I was three months old, she left me in his care for an evening. According to police reports, I was crying inconsolably, and out of frustration he hit me in the head with his military issued flashlight until I stopped crying. When my mother came home, he told her she should check on me because I didn’t “look right”. She immediately rushed me to the hospital, and he went down to the police station to make a statement.
I had suffered a traumatic brain injury- specifically a cerebral brain hemorrhage. I was airlifted to a larger Washington hospital for extensive treatment first to save my life and then to try to preserve a future quality of life. Once I became well enough to leave the hospital, I was placed in foster care in a home on the same Navy base in Oak Harbor. The initial prognosis was that I would likely never recover and would possibly function at only slightly higher than a vegetative state.
The man who hurt me went to trial and my mother stayed by his side. According to newspaper clippings, his lawyer based his defense on a history of him being a child abuse victim himself and asked the judge for leniency in sentencing as he was an “up-and-coming Navy man” and needed to preserve his career. His request was granted, and he served 90 days in the local county jail, during which time, he was able to get out every day to go to his job on the base.
My mother visited me periodically while I was in foster care. She didn’t know what to do with me and knew she couldn’t bring me home to him. The county tracked down my biological father and he came to visit once. He told the social worker that he had recently left the Navy and was couch hopping and in no position to care for and raise a child, especially one with special needs. Shortly after he signed over his parental rights, my mother came to visit me one last time.
I was six months old when she relinquished her rights, and I officially became a ward of Washington State. My foster family had fallen in love with me. Even though the doctors continued to give a limited prognosis for meaningful recovery, my foster mother said she could see that as I healed, I was quickly catching up to where I should be developmentally and strongly believed I would grow into a “normal” child.
The family already had six biological children and had been taking foster children for about three years before I was place in their care. They had been wanting to adopt a child, but at that time, adoption by foster families was not encouraged, and they were in their mid-to-late 30′s which was considered too old to take on raising a child. My social worker told them I would likely end up in a state institution for children with mental and physical handicaps. This strengthened their determination to be able to adopt me and give me a chance to realize my full potential.
When I was 18 months old, they won their battle. I legally became their child and a “forever” part of their family. They kept the news of my adoption quiet as they still lived in the same community as my biological mother and her husband. Shortly after the adoption was final, my Dad retired from the Navy and we moved to my Mom’s home state of Minnesota. I am now in my mid-30′s and have a family of my own – including one adopted child.
My Mom was right to believe that I could overcome my injuries as I have no real lasting effects of what was done to me. I grew up in a loving family, and I never held any blame or ill will toward my biological parents. I knew that they made the best choices they could in their respective situations, and I couldn’t hold that against them. Every event in my life has become part of my story and made me who I am today, and I am thankful in some way for each and every choice, success, heart break, and challenge that has brought me to this place.