An Adoptee's Tale

Love plays an enormous and unavoidable role in our lives. Love can create complete and utter bliss, and the absence of it can create darkness and 
deep pain. Every person desires affection, that feeling of being wanted or valuable to another human being. Every person wants to know their 
existence is significant. As a foster child, I was made to feel that I was nothing more than a nuisance, an inconvenience to the people around me. I had 
so little importance that when I tried to take my life, I was not helped, but handed off. I was nothing more than a number. My heart was viciously and 
unexpectedly shattered, the pieces only to be kicked under a rug. For the consuming pain that I am still unable to articulate was nothing more than an 
inconvenience. All that I held so dearly to my heart had been torn from my very hands without a second thought. I had nothing, and I had become 
nothing.

Throughout the course of foster care, my lack of worth became more and more evident to me. “Worthless undeserving white trash” are words I 
became very familiar with, as well as many others. The more I was harassed and abused, the more I longed for the one thing that had become foreign 
to me: Love. And the one person that I loved with every ounce of my being, the only person I ever loved in such a way, the one person I would give 
everything up for, didn’t fight for me. I had never felt so alone, worthless, unloved, insignificant, or broken in my entire life. I didn’t even know that kind 
of pain was humanly possible. Ever since I was a little girl I had practiced self-harm, at first not fully realizing what I was doing. When I was five years 
old and my father would do something so unmentionable to either myself or my mother, I would go to the bathroom, close the door, and slam my face 
in to the corner of the bathroom counter. I would go outside to the rocky steps, and drag my knees until they bled. As I got older, I started to break 
pencil sharpeners and use the razor blades to cut my stomach and my arms, and I would use lighters to heat objects such as keys and safety pins 
and press them hard onto my skin. This habit, this addiction, grew stronger as I spent more and more time in the system. I got relief from expressing 
on the outside what I didn’t know what to do with on the inside. I had also briefly fallen into the world of drugs, but that didn’t last long. Self-harm was 
the real struggle. That was my addiction. For those of you who can’t bring themselves to understand how a person could inflict pain upon themselves 
to escape emotional pain, I have one question for you: Have you ever felt so unimportant to those around you, that you became extremely 
unimportant to yourself as well? We all feel pain, and we all try to escape it the way we feel is most effective.
      
I had been shuffled from “home” to “home”, leaving behind nothing more than my tears and a bad reputation, taking with me nothing more than my 
self-worth and my confusion. I was constantly waiting for my happily ever after, pushing aside the reality that I was told: it isn’t going to happen. 
Something about fairytales, is that there is always something that goes terribly wrong, but then suddenly something goes terribly right. Cinderella didn’
t get her prince by sitting in her room, feeling sorry for herself and hoping he would make a move. If I wanted a happily ever after, I had to make a 
decision: was I going to feel sorry for myself and hope that somebody would come along and put me back together like Humpty Dumpty, or am I going 
to stand tall and choose to make my life something grand? Happiness is a choice, not a gift given to a select few. You decide whether or not to be 
happy, not your situation.

You see, there’s a point we reach in our lives on many different occasions where we need to make a choice. We reach the fork in the road, forcing us 
to choose one path or another. After constantly looking at the glass as half empty, I suddenly became grateful that I had a glass at all. My fellow 
youth, there are many things in our lives that are out of our control. But little do we realize the things that are in our control, such as our minds. When 
you think the world is completely against you, chances are it won’t matter what good things come your way because you will still come to the 
conclusion that only bad things happen to you. It is not until you yourself change your mindset from “I can’t, so I won’t” to “I can, so I will” that you start 
noticing that you are fully capable of controlling many of the important things in your life. Especially the way you allow yourself to react to situations. 
One day I realized that my happiness did not lie in the hands of those around me, but in my own.