I was born with paralyzed vocal cords. I had no sound. The doctors told my mother that I came out this way due to no fault of hers, it was just something that happens sometimes. I had to spend the first three months of my life in the nicu and my mother went home with books to learn sign language as that would be the only way she would be able to communicate with her newest daughter. My grandmother prayed day and night for Jehovah to give her granddaughter a voice. One day without warning that prayer was answered. My grandmother told me that the first sounds she heard from me was a soft hum. She cried and thanked Jehovah that hear little grand daughter had sound. The doctors did not expect that to happen because it usually doesn’t. My vocal cords are still partially paralyzed today giving me the sweet raspy sound yall are all used to. For years I have wondered why I was given my voice back. I can sing a little but I’m far from being a singer. What is it that this voice is to be used for? 44 years into this life and I think I have figured it out. I think I am to speak on the things no one wants to talk about. I am to speak on the family secretes that we all keep. I am to speak on the family secretes that weigh us all down creating inauthentic connections, distrust and fear. I believe this is why my grandmother’s prayers were answered.
After being in several foster homes all I wanted more than anything in the world was a family of my own. I knew about my mother and my big brother and big sister. I wished for them all the time. Then it became clear to me that I would never go back to them for good. I just wanted a to belong in a family that loved and wanted me. I would have given anything for that and I did. Family secrets destroy honest, authentic family connections. My entire childhood was filled with family secrets that I had too keep in order to not ruin the family I had waited so long for. It was clear to me that this would be as good as it would ever get for me and I needed to make the best of it.
When I was a kid, I never got a good night’s sleep. I was always tired. I would fall asleep on my desk in class. I would constantly get yelled at by my teachers to wake up and pay attention or focus on the lesson or just wake up and stop sleeping in class. Sometimes I would sleep during lunch and in the hallways at recess. Other kids were playing and havin fun and I was trying to sleep. My elementary school teachers thought I was overwhelmed by the lesson because of my learning disability and would fall asleep. No one ever asked me about my quality of sleep at night. They all thought they know what was going on with me. According to the adults around me what was wrong with me was the same thing that was wrong with all foster kids. Foster kids are just damaged and have problems. The solution was always to give the poor saintly foster parents more support.
What they did not know is that there was a reason I was so sleepy all of the time. My father was a pedo. Bed time was super anxiety provoking for me. My mother would try to catch him in the act and would come barreling down the hallway and come into my room and say “What are you doing in here”? He would move away from my bed over to the window and say “I thought I heard something outside”. She would go back to bed. Depending on how angry she looked he would either go with her or not. I was always afraid of what would happen if she actually caught something happening. It took me years to realize that would never happen because it was not like she was tip toeing in the hallway. To feel safe, I would sleep under 8 or 10 blankets and sometimes I would empty all of my clothes out of my drawers on top of all of those blankets too. I would be so hot and sweating but I felt safe because I could not be seen underneath all of that. I think I was 30 years old before I could sleep without sweating.
This even affected how I dress. I would always have on way too many clothes. Layer upon layer of clothes. I would tell people that I am always cold when they would ask why do I have on three pairs of pants, four shirts, a sweater, and a jacket. Even as an adult I know if I am so layered up that I am sweating I need to get still and think about why I don't feel safe. Sometimes it would happen without me even realizing it. I would just be sweating and needing to take off layers. I am 44 years old and still can catch myself wearing way too many clothes trying to retrace my steps to figure out where the trigger happened. At least now I have more awareness. That's something. That's progress.
These words have been a part of my life from the moment I was born, maybe even before. I imagine me inside of my mother's womb Waiting wanting longing wishing hoping to meet her and then being born, meet her, but not being healthy enough to go home with her.
I am an adult Survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I was sexually molested from the age of three years old up until adulthood. I was sexually abused by my adopted father and two of his brothers. My abuse was at the hands of the same abusers. I knew my abusers very well. The main one, my adopted father, would apologize over and over and say it wouldn't happen again, but yet it still would. For years I thought my foster sister and I were the only victims. After she was rehomed, I thought I was the only one that had suffered at the hands of my abuser. During one of the last conversations I had with this abuser I asked were there others and he said yes. I was so shocked, so surprised and I asked him if there were anyone I knew. He said yes and had a very long list. He really had to think about the ones I didn't know versus the ones I did know. There were so many names. There were even kids he did not remember the names of. He was the maintenance man at a huge apartment complex. He had the keys to every unit. He would go in looking for latch key kids. He did not remember the names of any of the kids from the complex. He did remember the names of his victims in the family.
There are so many reason why I never told anyone I was being molested by my adopted father and his 2 brothers. The following statements/thoughts were either said directly or indirectly to me from age 3 to 22 when I moved out.
Many people go to therapy because of issues with their mother. If you are like me you end up in therapy because of issues with two mothers. Yes, I have two mothers. Not in the way most people think when they hear me say this either. When I tell people, I have two mothers and one father they usually think my parents where polyamorous or that I have two mothers that are a lesbian couple and my father was a sperm donor. Neither guess is true. I was adopted so I have one biological mother and one adopted mother.