For many years I didn’t understand what family was all about. I guess it was partially due to being raised for several years in foster homes, some good and some bad. The last one, however was the only one where I actually felt like I was part of the family. I loved them so much and grew so attached to them that I actually cried and asked if I could stay when it was time to go home to my mother.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my mom, but spending so many years away from her with only a few visits a year, she became a stranger to me. Before you jump to any conclusions, my mother was a good woman. She wasn’t in prison and she didn’t lose us because she didn’t take care of us. She was in a mental hospital for six years.
They diagnosed her with a nervous breakdown, but back then they didn’t know as much about mental health nor did they have the medications to treat people with problems. I know, from what she told me, that there were times she was sedated for days and that there were times that they actually gave her shock therapy. If they had the knowledge back then that they do today, she may have never needed to go into that hospital.
All in all, I had five families growing up. Four foster homes and then home with my mom. Going home to her was a little rough. I didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t have that bond that a mother should have with her children, no, in fact my mother and I didn’t bond until I was in High School, a year or two before I graduated, and then I was gone because my step-father had rules. When you turned 18 you were to be out of the house and on your own.
Before my 18th summer was even over, I was getting married, mom came down and signed the license, then her, my two sisters and brother were hauled off to Mexico by my step father. He said it would be a better place for them to live. I never saw my mom again. Six years later she was gone.
As a young adult, I still didn’t know much about what family was, but when I became a Christian I started learning about “true” family. True family is not always blood related. True family was like the last foster home. It was made up of people who loved you, cared about you, respected you. A true family would give you advice, listen to your problems and help you the best they can down that long road called life.
I have gathered a lot of family members through two marriages and through the marriage of my son and through Gods orchestration of events in my life. I have more children, that I did not conceive, than I ever thought I would. I have a ton of grandchildren. I have more sisters and brothers than I left home having. When I think about all my blood relatives, all my Christian relatives, and all the ones in this little town that have become extended family, I have a huge family, and we all have the same father, God
Today I am thankful for my father and for the large family he has given me.