To the woman who promised me a forever family:

It’s been nearly 5 years since we stood in a courtroom  and you promised not only myself but a judge that you would be there, as my mother, forever. That day, you took on the responsibility of a child as if she’d come from your womb. But this promise goes back to before then…it traces back to the day you asked me into your family; the day you promised me you and your husband could offer me more in this world than my heart could desire: a mom and a dad. Sitting behind your desk staring in confusion, wondering if it was true, I quickly agreed. In talking through options later on, we decided together that adoption was the way we wanted to go; that I wanted a mom and a dad, not guardians. I had my second thoughts, as did you, but in the end we stood in front of a judge and legally wiped away my history. We were each “sworn in” by the judge and asked if we were positive this is what we wanted..and I can’t help but remember the judge, the attorney, my therapist, my caseworker, and my ad-litem in earlier days turning to you and your husband asking for your reassurance and reassuring you that it wasn’t going to be easy. I remember the attorney adamantly trying to turn you the other way warning you that children with as much baggage as I have carried, at my age, are hard and rarely work out. In the end, in front of that judge, you gave an excitedly terrified yes.

Its been almost 5 years and I often find myself asking what happened to make the law invalid…to put you and I where we stand today. It also has me wondering how I will ever forgive you, or if you will ever forgive me, and if forgiveness comes, who it will come from first. I find the pain that you have caused in 4.5 years outweighs the 22 years of pain my mom has caused and I’m not sure I know what to do with it because I know that I too have caused a lot of pain. In that, my thoughts wander to my story..and your desire to keep it from me, even after asking me out of your family. It’s not yours and you are adamant that I don’t see it. I lived it and you refuse to accept that. I don’t know if I can be okay with that. And so I’ve taken my power back and refused to allow you to control me.

Each week that I pull away you try your best to pull me back in. You try to converse with me as if we are best friends and you are doing nothing wrong. When confronted with the issue you often change your story. You pretend that you know me when it’s been 4 years since I have even lived with you and 3 years since we’ve spent more than a few hours together. You don’t know me. You don’t understand me and yet because I’ve taken the control of communication out of your hands you are desperately on your knees trying to look like the good guy.

This last month has been the most freeing month I have had in…well since I can remember. I’ve torn myself away from my birth family and have slowly started pulling away from you. With every thing you tell me I’m doing wrong I add more and more distance. In every conversation you tell me how well your other kids are doing and how surprised you are that I am okay I add more distance. IN every text you contradict yourself I create more separation.

And then you apologize. You apologize for not understanding who I was when I lived with you and the struggles I bear every day. You talk about your epiphany in this struggle in a way that feels like begging for applause. I can’t give that to you because for 5 years I have tried to explain it to you and for 5 years, you’ve been convinced that it was all lies and manipulation. For 5 years you have told me to get over it, that it’s the past. So many times you guys asked why I couldn’t be like so-and-so who was kidnapped and who created a wonderful life despite their trauma..refusing to understand that it takes work and support. The apology was accepted and very appreciated..but apologies don’t change people. Change comes from hard, hard work. Something of mine that you’ve minimized for so long. But, yes, I’m glad you had your epiphany because it’s nice to know that you finally understand a smidgen of my battle.

From here, I’m not sure where to go. I have a close-knit support group here whom I’d consider my family. These people get me. They do not judge me and are patient with me (most of the time). They are willing to listen to my deepest secrets and help me through them without question. We fight and we cry but we laugh and we enjoy each other as well. And none of these people promised me a forever. None of them stood in front of a judge and said, “yes, she is mine just as my children from the womb”…no, instead, they said that they’d be there as long as I needed them and wanted them. They promised to never walk away but gave allowance for space. They promised me that no matter my ailment, they’d still love me. I never imagined that 5 very opposite people could make me feel so loved and so much supported in the process in which I’m working.

Because love is a strong word I will not say I love you, but I will promise you that I will forever care. I will always remember the silly times we had and the things you taught me. I will forever be grateful for the strength you showed me I had and the integrity, tenacity, and will power one person alone could hold. I promise that I will work on forgiving you taking the one thing I’ve always wanted and making it hurt worse than my insane mom ever did. I promise that one day I will re-asses our ability to be friends or family, but for now..I cannot. 2 years ago you asked me out of your family. It was something I never accepted and have fought against since…but I’m done fighting. I am ready to allow myself to walk away from all the hurt I keep subjecting myself to in hopes that one day, it will work out for real. I can’t say I’m not angry because I’m more than angry…but I promise you that one day, that anger will subside and I will be able to accept you for all that you are and have done. I promise that I will strive to return and restore the communication and relationship with you.

I am done for now. I am done with it all. I will continue my healing journey but as long as I can, you will not be a part of it. I have my support and you are not supporting me, so goodbye for now.

~Ruby

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