Child Of My Heart, Audrey's Story (Volume Four)
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The Woman I Hoped She Would Be
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!
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!
Would You Like To Hear About Her Nieces And Nephews?
Eugenia S. Hunt's Work Is Copyrighted
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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!!
Who Is Mom To The Zoo?
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!