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Child Of My Heart, Audrey's Story (Volume Four)

Updated on July 4, 2013

A Letter To My Daughter

When I wrote this letter to Audrey, I thought we had reached the end of our search together. As it turns out, I was underestimating us. After you read the letter, please go on to Volume Five. There was so much more to come with both happy endings and happy beginnings!

Dear Audrey,

On January 22, 2000, I first met a little girl with long, strawberry blond hair and the biggest, green eyes I had ever seen. You were just a couple of months short of your twelfth birthday and so very tiny and alone.

When I look back to that night, never would I have expected the magnitude of our meeting or what lay ahead for both of us. All I realized, at that moment in time, was my uncontrollable urge to protect you. It was overwhelming!

As we sat together in the little restaurant, I watched you eating quietly, at first. As you felt more comfortable, the words poured from your lips faster and faster, as you recounted the sadness you had suffered. Such sadness no child should ever have to endure.

I knew for certain you would need more than luck to rise above your circumstances.

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Adoption Anniversary

Reminiscing

Next Sunday, June 27, 2010, marks the ninth anniversary of your adoption. This is the day you officially became my daughter and changed my life forever. At thirteen, you had already given me a taste of what you were made of and proven to become my greatest challenge. I hoped, one of my greatest victories.

I remember, when you were growing up, I would hear the song by Helen Reddy, Me And You Against The World, and I would think to myself, "That is Audrey and me." Though there were others around us, it always felt like I carried the full responsibility of whom you would someday become.

Me And You Against The World - by Helen Reddy

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Goals

Success In Life

In the blink of an eye, I had to somehow give you eighteen years of knowledge needed to face the world in the short six and a half years allotted to me. I was hard on you but I had to be. There wasn't time to gently nudge you down the path. We had to hit the road at a dead run to survive.

During those years, I dropped everything. This caused problems with your siblings who were accustomed to my undivided attention. I know I wasn't really there for them as much as I would have liked. But they were adults with their own lives and you were still a child. They would show concern when you hurt me with something you said or did. I tried to explain to them that it was okay, as long as you matured into the kind of adult I longed for you to be. But, though they wanted you to be successful, I was their mother and they were just worried about me.

However, I had made a commitment that I had to see to the end and it took everything I had, every ounce of strength and stamina, as well as, many tears, sleepless nights, and prayers, to hold both of us together and keep us in sight of our goal...my goal. I know that the goal ahead was really my goal for you but I so wanted you to become an adult who could carry her own world...a world as a successful woman and, someday, mother to her own children.

Immediacy

He who helps a child helps humanity with an immediateness which no other help given to a human creature, in any other stage of human life, can possibly give again.

Phillips Brooks

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Molding A Life

One Day At A Time

Through it all, we have argued, both run away from one another, reached out for one another, been there when the other was in need, disagreed, and agreed to disagree. However, over the years, we learned to love each other as mothers and daughters should love each other. It didn't happen overnight and it didn't happen easily...but, it happened.

You aren't the only one who has grown from the experience. We have each been learning about ourselves every step of the way.

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The Woman I Hoped She Would Be

Standing Tall

Over the years, I have watched you fail, waver, and then dig your heels in and struggle to regain you footing. Today, I see a grown woman who is making life work and is becoming the successful woman I saw in your future those years ago.

There will be many life changes ahead and many hurdles yet to overcome. But, I know you have what you need to withstand all of them and land on your feet, just as your siblings, who have grown to adulthood before you. I also know, if I need you, I can always count on you.

Stand tall, Audrey, and never allow anyone to make you feel less than you are again!

You are my daughter, I love you, and I am so very proud of the woman you are and the life you are going to lead.

Once again, it is "Audrey against the world." However, this time, I am confident you will rise to the challenge, triumphant!

Your Mom

I thought this would be my last entry. However, God had other plans. Audrey came, this past week, to see me for Mother's Day. While she was here, we paid a visit to her father's family. Yes, Audrey found her biological family on her father's side. Continue with me in our excitement and Audrey's joy!! Now, her life is complete!

Child Of My Heart, Audrey's Story, Volume 5

Would You Like To Hear About Her Nieces And Nephews?

Living Life, Still On Two Feet

Eugenia S. Hunt's Work Is Copyrighted

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

No one has permission to copy or use this article other than for presentation on this Squidoo Website.

Squidoo's Summer Contest Award

Your Nomination Of This Lens Is Greatly Appreciated!

This Lens For The SQUIDOO SUMMER SUNSHINE AWARD. The donations go to Friends Of The Park and the children of Pendleton, South Carolina!

Every weekday from June 7th through August 27th, Squidoo will select one charity-benefiting lens to receive the Squidoo Summer Sunshine Award.

The lensmaster who built the lens will receive $99 and if this lens is chosen I will donate all the money to Friends Of The Park

AND the charity partner the lens benefits will receive $99.

Anyone may nominate this lens by filling out the designated form. Please go to the following website to vote: Squidoo's Summer Sunshine Award Nomination

Answers to help you vote: The URL for this piece is http://www.squidoo.com/audreys-story-4 . The builder of the lens is Mom To The Zoo. The charity is Friends Of The Park.

We sure would appreciate it! Thanks so much!!

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Who Is Mom To The Zoo?

My Bio

Born in the small town of Pendleton, South Carolina, in 1950, I was the oldest of two, five years my sister's senior. It was a wonderful place to grow up where the entire town raised its children. I was always surrounded by people who loved and looked out for me. I graduated from High School with the same people who were in my kindergarten class. At 59, my childhood friends are still my friends. I feel so fortunate to have known such a childhood.

After college, I worked at Clemson University until May 1972. At that time, I married and lived in Glyfada, 22 miles from Athens, Greece for two years...via USAF. We then moved to North Dakota for another two years before returning to South Carolina.

We divorced after 16 years and two children. I married my best friend two years later and moved to Florida in 1988 and together we have raised my husband's son and daughter and my son and daughter...one federal officer, one "stay at home" mother and wife, one sixth grade school teacher, and the other, after working for Florida Power and Light since age 19, is now with AT&T. In 1996, I adopted my step daughter. We are blessed with four grandsons and one granddaughter.

In 1999, we became foster parents with the Children's Home Society and had a number of children under our roof in the next 5 years. In 2001, we adopted a 13 year old girl, whom we first met at the age of 11, and is now 22. I also have spent more time in a courtroom than I care to think about, fighting for the rights of the children in our care. In 2004, I turned in my license so that I could be a full time Mom to our special needs daughter and keep our infant granddaughter five days a week while her mother was teaching.

Bill, my husband, is a retired USAF Air Traffic Controller. He is now working out of the country, on Ascension Island, with Computer Science Raytheon, as their chief controller, contracted out of Patrick AFB, Florida. This enables him to continue to do the job he loves, air traffic, and aid the military. He flies in and out on furlough and I handle things here at home. I jokingly call myself a Single Married Woman.

Actually, I am a retired Accountant/Credit Manager, now a housewife, where I enjoy writing, singing, piano, and sewing. I have had numerous poems and short stories published and have sung in churches and for church organizations for years, as well as weddings, a couple of variety shows, and even at my daughter's, and later my son's, weddings, one of the hardest things I have EVER done. We are members of Riverside Baptist church where I am a soloist and a member of the Women's Bible Study Group.

And, last but not least, we have two singing dogs. Raven is a thirteen year old Skipperkee/Chow with bucked teeth and attitude and Whisper, our nine pound, twelve year old poodle, who thinks himself a Doberman.

I have been Mom To The Zoo since the morning after our wedding. My friend, Lee, who was staying with our four children and two dogs answered the phone from a sound sleep, "Hunt Zoo, Zookeeper Speaking."

My life has involved many changes and avenues that I would never have dreamed of and has given me challenges that I never thought I was equal to. But, I have found that God has a plan and, if you follow His lead, you can handle anything he puts in your hands. However, you have to first learn to listen to Him. No matter what we want from life, it must come in His time. He has given my husband and me more than we could have began to imagine back in high school and we have found that what we thought was so important for our futures back then was nothing to what we have done so far. I have learned from our foster children, to look forward to the future and the next challenge with enthusiasm and excitement. If they can trust and love us after what the world has dealt them, we can surely tackle whatever lies ahead with ease. Life is a series of learning experiences and I continue to find life to be both a challenge and a joy which grows with each passing year. I learn more and more about myself with each passing day!

Eugenia

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    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @OhMe: That's great!!!!! Thanks for keeping me posted!!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      @OhMe: Yippee! We did it! Today's pay to Friends of the Park brings our grand total to over $5,000 so it is time to celebrate! Thank you so much for your continued support.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 4 years ago

      @OhMe: You are quite welcome! That's fantastic!!!!!

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Just wanted to stop by and thank you again for choosing Friends of the Park as your designated charity. This month our payment donation from Squidoo was $121.10 bringing our total Squidoo donations to $4,856.50. We will have to have a party when we reach $5,000. Thanks so much!

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      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      This page must mean so much to you and Audrey. So beautiful

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 5 years ago

      @mrducksmrnot: Hello...good to see you on Squidoo, too. I didn't realize you wrote here as well. Thank you for sharing our story...it has been quite a ride and isn't over yet. Audrey still flonders but picks herself up and starts again each time. Her sister, Holly, moved back to N.Y. in the spring so Audrey decided to move to N.Y. herself this summer to be near Holly. She has always wanted to return to her birthplace. So far, she is doing well. Their bio mother has remained here in Florida. I am glad...both girls need time for just the two of them. Holly's children, ages 4,6,8, and 10, spent a week with me this summer after a visit with their bio grandmother. It has been great to know that Holly's children have become a part of my life as well. Good luck to you and your daughter! All we can do is keep loving them and be there for them when they need us, being careful not to enable but to keep them steadily on track.

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      mrducksmrnot 5 years ago

      You, Audrey and myself and my daughter have gone through many the same and similar trials throughout our most blessed life. I'm glad you have each other and the world has you all. Thank you both and your families for the blessings and reminder of Life, Love and the stepping stones throughout life. Audrey may be interested in my lens on Education on the Constitution and Bill Of Rights - What Do You Know?

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      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      I had to read all four chapters before commenting. Sorry for not leaving comments on all of them but I did bless them all. We adopted our grandson and although we are not facing a lot of the issues you have, we have other issues to deal with. However, I see from your story that I may have to deal with issues that I had not considered. I think that you have provided me with a heads-up that I was not expecting. Thank you and Audrey for sharing this story not only for me but for the many people it has and will touch. I have an Adoption SquidAngel lens where all of these are featured lenses.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 6 years ago

      @myneverboredhands: So glad you were able to read the entire story. Many can't get past volume 2. The sharing of the story was Audrey's idea...she hopes it will help someone else who has suffered something of what she has. She called today and Barbara (bio mother) was with her...she was helping her with some banking and mail. Barbara ask to talk to me so we had a short conversation...the first in over a year. It is interesting to talk with her. She is very childlike, though knowledgeable of many things. She, too, has a story from her own childhood. I just hope that in adopting Audrey and taking Holly into our lives, this will be one generational story that will end with them. Thank you again for sharing Audrey with me. God Bless.

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      myneverboredhands 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this amazing story about your beautiful daughter, about your not easy life with all it's bright and bad moments...

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I am so excited and just add to pop back in and let you know that the August payout for Friends of the Park was $86.85 in royalties and $495.00 in contest winnings. Thank you for your part in making this happen! Friends of the Park is so appreciative of all our Squidoo friends. Thank you. Thank you.

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you for taking the time to read Audrey's story...I knew you would understand! I know I have changed some of my children's lives, other than Audrey. My first had me with her for the delivery of her first child...made everything worthwhile to be there to hold her child up for her to see for the very first time. My two youngest, (6 and 7) I was eventually able to help them out of their situation and into an adoptive home...they are now 17 and 18...straight A students. Some I lost...could not reach...but hope I left some kind of an impression on them that will someday resurface. I wouldn't take anything for the experience or the lessons they all taught me! The best of luck to you!

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      I read the entire story and I felt and have lived every word through one foster child or another. It has been a long and eventful 14 years of fostering sad, angry and frightened children. They all steal my heart because I can see through to their innocent souls. I have come to realize that I can't change the world but with each child I try to teach them that there is a better way and that there is good in the world and that trust and love can be very real for them. Whatever temporary role I play in their lives I hope that I have helped to change their lives even just a little no matter how long they are with me. I applaud you for giving Audrey all of that love and energy that changed her life. A note to Audrey .... you are so blessed that God led you down this path. Never doubt the power of love. It will all make sense to you some day. The understanding and wisdom will come to you as you raise your own children. God bless you all!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @Spook LM: Thanks, Kevin...yes, it can be done but it took a lot of work on both our parts to do it...I am very proud of Audrey!

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      Spook LM 7 years ago

      As usual an enchanting read. it just shows what can be done.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @puzzlerpaige: Thank you so much for sharing in our celebration! We had a wonderful evening together...dinner at The Chart House on the river...beautiful and delicious! :) I totally agree with Phillips Brooks...we are all a product of our childhood. I used to tell my children..."I am just like you...I just got older."

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      Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      A beautiful letter to a beautiful daughter! Congratulations and I wish you both the best!

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 7 years ago

      Happy Adoption Anniversary to both of you! I've enjoyed reading all of the parts to Audrey's story - a beautiful story full of accomplishments but also struggles. The quote by Phillips Broks above, Immediacy, is profound.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @mbgphoto: Thank you very much...I agree...she is beautiful! :) I think she's going to be okay now and is definitely strong enough to handle her life.

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @Michey-sq: Thank you, Michey...I am just so very glad Audrey is successful...the work was well worth the effort!! Yes, I agree...she is beautiful!!

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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @GrowWear: Thank you, Mimi...it has been a great year!!!

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      Michey-sq 7 years ago

      This girl is so beautiful, but is she shines today is your determination to make it happen, your love, your hard work putting your soul in all you do.

      Happy anniversary Jeanie and Audrey, you are a great team. I wish you both health and happiness.

      Michey

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      GrowWear 7 years ago

      Happy anniversary to you two!

    • Momtothezoo profile image
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      Eugenia S. Hunt 7 years ago

      @OhMe: Thanks, Ohme...glad you liked it. Audrey was thrilled with it this morning...just not sure about the photos...she NEVER likes her photos! LOL But she was happy with the lens...I am so glad! Thanks for the nomination!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Happy 9th Anniversary Jeanie and Audrey. Your series of lenses is a treasured gift for both of you and I am so glad you created them and shared your story. Nominated and thank you.