I Always Follow My Heart
How it all began
When I feel that constant tug in my heart, the one that makes you feel like God is trying to lead you to Someone, Somewhere, I always follow my heart. It has never lead me on the wrong path.
My husband and I have gained custody of and are raising a child we have helped raise since birth. Our nephew who was sixteen going on seventeen and at the time, was living with us. He was dating a young girl who was fifteen almost sixteen. Even at that time, people described her to us as being crazy, troubled, slutty, a drama queen, etc...
She was pregnant, at just fifteen. Our nephew begged us to not judge her on that or on the things we were told about her. This was not an easy task but, as a person that had also lived a life that was less then desirable, I wanted to give her a chance.
The young girl was honest from the start about her pregnancy and told us all this baby wasn't my nephews child but, still, we knew there might be a very very slim chance it could be. If that ended up being the case, I wanted us to be able to be as much a family as possible. So, I did my part to be a friend to her and someone she could come to. She hung out at our home a lot and I actually did grow to love her very much. She reminded me of myself at that age in a lot of way. In other ways, not so much...lol
She came from a broken home where she was talked to like she was dirt. She didn't matter to anyone. Young pregnancy was a tradition in her family. Her mom was 14 with her first and now has 6 kids and 4 dads. Her grandmother was also 14 when she had her first child. We took her in as one of our own. My heart broke when she talked to me about all she had been through.
We took her to church, out on family gatherings, we made her part of our lives. Naturally, when she had her baby boy, our nephew was there and we were there when he got brought home to her moms house. Yes, they went to her moms house because her mom was very controlling and threatened to take the baby away if she didn't. Her mom told her "since you are a minor, the custody of the baby is mine since you are still underage and still in my custody."
What a way to make your daughter feel after just giving birth. Her mom refused to allow her to get any pain medication while in labor also. She was living in a mentally abusive home. That was for sure. But, the days passed and we would make the 45 minute trip a few times a week to see the baby. Man was he precious!
I never even knew it was possible to love another child that was not your own or that had NO blood bond, so hard or so much. He was just the most perfect beautiful little boy I had seen since the birth of my own son. He grabbed my finger but, got my heart. From that moment on, I was totally in love and was consumed by his little smile and his little face, and his little fingers, and his little toes, and... you get the point, right?
At that time, I was going through some health issues though, and I was told I would never be able to have anymore children. I have never had a miscarriage but, if a mental miscarriage was a such thing, I had that. See, in my head, I wasn't done having my own children. I wanted one more little girl. So when I was told my body couldn't physically handle another pregnancy, I felt like my world was crashing. I had a picture in my head of my life and how it was going to look. I needed another baby girl. Who was this doctor to tell me what MY body could do or not do anyway?! It's MY BODY! I'll say what can and can't be done! Right?? Unfortunately, that's not at all how it went.
This baby healed my broken heart. He came at a time I needed him and he would soon find out, he needed me too. We needed each other. Our bond was so strong and unbreakable. We always had him. Soon, his mom and my nephew started fighting and they broke up. We had DNA tests done just to be sure and they reviled our nephew was not the father. Even though we were told that from the start, it broke him apart and they split for good. (For the most part anyway)
She and the baby ended up moving in with us and they became permanent residents. Life was great. He fulfilled a place in my heart that I thought would be empty forever. I never knew the feeling of loss before you even had the loss. I never even knew that was an actual thing that could happen.
She later came to me after knowing We could love this child so much and him not be ours, and told me, her sister, (same father, not mother) who just found out she was pregnant at SEVENTEEN with her SECOND child, didn't think she was able to raise another child on her own and was asking if we would be interested in adoption?
As the thought of having another child consumed me, the excitement grew more and more. I could hardly contain myself after I saw my husband pull in the driveway that day. Although my heart hurt for her sister, I was excited for our family. Could this really happen? I mean, are we really going to get our 3rd child We have longed for? When my husband and I got together and talked about children, he wanted five kids so, I didn't think three was a bad compromise. We were excited but at the same time, we were scared to get too excited.
Time went on, her sister started coming over to get to know us better and it became more and more a possibility or even, dare I say, a reality! This was really going to happen! Everyone was happy with the decisions being made, we were already like family after all.
Time went on, we found out she was having a BOY! Another boy! Holy crap! It was the days of the boys! I could care less though! I was excited either way. A baby is a baby. We just wanted HIM to be healthy and perfect like anyone else does.
As time passed, she started thinking more and more about giving her baby boy up and she decided the week before she was due, she just couldn't do it. She couldn't give up her baby. She knew she was young and she knew she was going to struggle but, she just couldn't imagine her life without having this baby she carried all this time. She was keeping her baby boy.
As happy as I was for her, deciding to keep her baby and do what ever she had to do to provide for both her children, that was the worst night of my life I think. I cried and cried. My mom stayed with us that night too. I crawled in bed with my mom that night and just let her hold me while I cried. Once again, I had to endure the loss of a child I never got to even have or hold. I didn't know if I could go on with the pain I held inside my chest. Thank God I still had my own two kids that were my loves and I still had my other lil guy.
I clung even closer to this baby boy living in our home now. Knowing that he was probably going to be the last baby that comes into our home. We all got so extremely close to him and he became quite literally like our own. We stayed up with him at night, we took him shopping with us, we bought him whatever his little heart desired. He started calling us those special names that today, we hold so very dear and sacred :
Mammy and Pappy
The ups and downs
Oh the joy he has brought to us. Sadly, his mom got more and more unstable and she started taking him away from us then bringing him back. She moved out of our home and came back more times then we could count and broke all our hearts more and more each time she took him away. We always let her come and go though because we wanted to make sure the baby was safe and being taken care of. We feared for him when he wasn't in our care. His mom was still young, didn't really want bothered, let him go with anyone that would keep him so she didn't have to deal with him. So we just started going to get him and we would keep him until she called and wanted him back. It could be anywhere from days to weeks.
We never complained though because we knew as long as we had him, he was being taken care of. He was safe. He was happy. He was content. He was being loved. That was ALL we cared about. He loved us and being with us and we loved him and having him. He became one of ours. Blood or not. He was our baby boy and we would do anything to keep him safe and happy.
Soon, his mom started really messing up as she got older and the next thing I knew, there was talk of drugs. I was in shock and totally mortified. I didn't even believe it at first. She would never do that! She was scared of the pain pills she had to take from the dentist. I had to stay with her and sit with her until the feelings went away. There is NO way she would be messing with drugs. People just like to talk, right? Unfortunately, I was the one that was wrong. And things started going down hill very fast.
My family has suffered and missed out on things because we had to do what was best for that baby because his own mom wouldn't. She cared/cares more about her own wants and needs far above his. We, as a family, decided we wanted him in our lives, hearts, and home. We knew we would struggle with him due to him living the lifestyle he had been exposed to with his mom, but, we loved him.
We had tried to help his mom out in many ways, but, she would never choose the better of the paths. She liked the drama and trouble too much and was too young to want to settle down and raise a child the right way.
Fast forward a few years, mom really got in to drugs and partying, left baby with anyone that would take him, baby became hard to deal with, mom didn't know how to handle him, resorted to abuse, screaming, yelling, hitting, locking up in bedroom, doing drugs around him, having people in and out at all hours, once she even had HIM, a TWO YEAR OLD (at the time) smoke weed WITH her so he would sleep. She thought It was funny! He had been in not one but TWO house fires, one of which he started himself because he was cold and his mom was passed out and wouldn't wake up so he found a lighter in his TOYBOX, and set his curtains on fire to get warm. He once was found by the cops out walking his dog barefoot and only in a diaper, they simply returned him. Then again, thanks to a neighbor calling it in, the cops found him alone, outside in a car filled with needles, again, nothing was done.These kind of things went on and on and on. We would go get him for weeks at a time. We hated to take him back to his mom even though we loved her very much. We knew she was in deep.
Then, one night, I got a call, his mom beat him so bad for not sleeping, and not staying in his bedroom in the dark so she could party with her company, she let bruises up his legs.
We went and got him as well as Emergency Custody and
Today, he is a happy, healthy, safe, content, and very handsome 5year old little boy!
However, his mom on the other hand, has been in jail, rehabs, mental health facilities, and is still doing her drugs. She has another baby, whom is just 3 months old, born addicted, and now the father has her because mom is in jail again for drugs.
This is just ONE of the many issues I deal with in my life. It's not been easy. It was a choice we chose to do though because we love them. That being said, that little boy, the one that gives me a hard time daily? HE is my top priority. Not his mom, and I will fight with ALL I have inside me to keep him safe, happy, and healthy!
Most people don't even understand the daily ins and outs I've had to go through to bring this innocent boy back to a childhood of love and happiness after experiencing horrible trauma though. It's been one of the hardest things I could have ever imagined but, yet, here we are.
I don't think my own husband even realizes what I've endured or the hardships I have had to go through on a daily basis to get him to where he is today. Weekly therapy, daily "homework" from therapist, trying to undo what was done to him. It's still a daily battle. He is SO much better now but, will probably struggle his whole life sadly.
I have actual scars on my body from how he used to fight me because that was his knowledge of survival. I just allowed him to beat me, kick, bite, pinch, punch, whatever he needed to do to get his anger and fear out then, I'd just hold that sobbing little boy as tight as I could and let him know that no matter how much he fights or what ever he does, I will always be here. I'm never leaving him. I'd cry. I'd cry as much as he would, if not more.
How could anyone damage a baby THIS much and not even know it? How don't these people know their lifestyles effect every little thing about a child? HOW DON'T YOU KNOW! Or Don't you even care? Are you THAT selfish?! And just like that, my thoughts that were once filled with love and adoration for her turn into pure hate. Hate for the drugs, the partying, the men, the lifestyle, but not her. I don't hate her even though some days, I wish I could. I still love her and I still want better for her.
I pray for her every night. I pray for her to see what she has done and how she has hurt her baby boy and now is hurting her baby girl. I pray the hold the drugs have on her loosens it's grip before she ends up dead. I pray the day will come that I won't have to worry about him when she is near. I pray this all happens but, not until after he is an adult. That way he will have a strong foundation and won't allow the past actions of his mom (and I use that term loosely) to change his opinion of his value or worth.
If this is a story you can identify with in any way, please know that you did not choose this life. Nothing you did or didn't do could have changed the outcome. Unfortunately, most people that cling to drugs and/or alcohol have underlying mental issues that they would rather self medicate then see a doctor and get it taken care of the correct way. In our case, mom has Bi Polar Disease, Depression, and Anxiety. She has always had a poor self image even though she is beautiful, she has abandonment issues, and she just don't feel that she would ever amount to much.
Those are some hard feelings to live day in and day out with. Add them to an area that is high in crime and where drugs are easily accessible, you have a situation bound to end in disaster. There is help out there though! If you or someone you know and love needs help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will personally answer and help you get the information and help you need.
© 2017 Savanna Ryen