Friday, March 25, 2016

A Turning Point in Life

          The softening of my heart was a long process and it began with the choice to allow myself to give up control and let God in. When I found myself pregnant at just 16 years old I was terrified and angry but still never accepted that I needed to grow up and take responsibility. I wanted everyone to take care of me and fix the mess if gotten myself into. That's why, at first, I couldn't help but be bitter, finding out my parents wanted to ship me off to a maternity home to live with a bunch of old dragon ladies who were going to tell me what to do and force me to scrub the floors. There was no way I was going 4 hours away from my home my friends and all the trouble I was still involved in. I had a boyfriend at home that swore to me we would be together forever and many “friends” that insisted they would babysit for me and never let me down. The mindset I held at this point in my life is what my dad always like to call “magical thinking”. I had big plans, solid goals, but no drive to achieve them or even get them started in most cases. As far as I was concerned everything was going to fall in to place because I deserved it to.

I’d made up my mind, I wouldn’t go. “I’d rather sleep outside, eat dirt, die.” I told my mother.

God, however would not take no for an answer and through months of having my life fall apart he allowed me to think clearly and accept that my life needed to change. I lived three different places and none of them worked out. I led a life not of the strong, responsible woman that I foolishly tried to make myself out to be but I was a kid, quite frankly a dumb kid. To no one’s surprise my relationship with the father of my child was failing right along with any meaningful friendships with anyone remotely decent. I drove the good people away and attracted the bad ones like moth to a flame. It’s crazy looking back now, amazed that I had no idea I would soon burn out.

When I’d finally exhausted all my options I went home. That’s when you know you’re at rock bottom, it looks just like this: me, not for the first time, standing just outside the threshold to my parents’ home, yesterday’s makeup running down my cheeks and on to the shirt that hadn’t been washed in weeks, begging for my 89th chance. Like the prodigal son I was forgiven. Unlike him I was not immediately trusted, I had no privileges or freedom and I gave my parents the last of the fight I had in me to show my discontent. I hated them for laying down the law but a still, small voice reminded me how I’d gotten to this place and how I knew I needed to get out. I applied to the Liberty Godparent Home program in Lynchburg Virginia and was promptly accepted and given a date to move in.

 To my great surprise, my first day at the home I was greeted by my young, non-reptilian case worker with sense of humor that made me love her immediately. In the weeks following I met the rest of the equally young and fun staff who welcomed me in and sympathized with my hormones and homesickness. The first 21 days at the home you have no access to the phone or computer. They enforced this to help with the adjustment period. I did not use it to adjust. I whined and moped and planned my escape. I developed a hate for the other girl in the residence and kept busy arguing with her and writing angry letters to my cruel parents cursing them for abandoning me. One worker noticed my poor attitude and reached out to me to find the cause. We stayed up hours past lights out while she pulled down the walls around my heart brick by brick.

For once I didn't resist the helping hand I was offered. I took my time more seriously. I listened in church and bible study. I did my chores with gratitude in my heart and contributed all of my energy into making my temporary home a more peaceful place to stay. I studied every day and got my GED and my drivers permit. My belly was growing in time with my love and concern for the tiny life inside. With the realist mindset I was developing came horrible thoughts of what would happen to us. The women at the home advised me to look into adoption. I met with an adoptive couple and agonized every minute over what truly mattered to me when it came to being a good parent.

When the day finally came for my son to arrive it had only been days since id made the decision to parent. It was the scariest day of my life. Jonah Michael was born 3:36 on January 5th, 2015. Looking into his eyes for the first time I was sure I knew what love was and that everything was going to be okay.

Those nine months were the hardest of my life but I know I came out of that place a better person. Liberty Godparent Home loved me while I was learning to love myself and more importantly loved the little baby I was growing in my belly and wanted us both to thrive. I can't place the exact moment when my heart changed but somewhere between laughing about crazy housemates and crying because I put the wrong sauce on my stir fry is when I left my childish ways behind and my broken pieces were healed.

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