Having 2 give up your only child simply b/c you're homeless
My story of motherhood began when I was stationed in SagamiHara, Japan. I was raped & unaware that I was pregnant until I ended up being posted in Georgia in June 1993. I was already 4 months pregnant by then. When I got the results my only response to God was "Gimme a daughter & a dog! The rest you can keep!" So I became Mommy @ age 22. I was all alone, no family, no friends-barely knowing God, but willing 2 be a better Mother than mine was 2 me. I'd suffered an already unimaginable childhood, so when I graduated high school, I joined the ARMY. It was & still is the best decision I could've made for myself.
I had not clue how 2 be a mother. All i knew was how 2 be a soldier. But God was there with me every step of the way. Eventually, my daughter & i ended up in Alaska, where I became injured & had 2 exit the military on a medical discharge. That was 1997. I worked as a Juvenile Corrections Officer until 2000. Then I was diagnosed w/ Epilepsy & Insomnia. The ARMY was all I ever wanted or knew how 2 do. Transitioning into the civilian life was beyond difficult. I had no help & anyone who says that there is quality resources & re-entry into the civilian world, especially for military women, is a liar. I didn't know what PTSD, Military Sexual Trauma, Depression or any of that was. I just knew I was healthy, active, full of life, my daughter was my world & all of a sudden I was sick. To say that I almost died twice, would be an understatement. My 6 yr old daughter had 2 take care of me. SHE is the true warrior. I became disabled & thus began the fight for my military benefits.
In 2006, the maintenance man in our apartment building sexually assaulted me. I filed a police report, to no avail. All I knew was how to survive by any means necessary. I found out he had been stalking me for 2 1/2 yrs. I packed a bag, gave our dog up 2 a family for adoption & my daughter & I literally went into hiding. That's when we became homeless. We left everything behind. My family knew & did nothing. Social Services & the Military did nothing. I didn't complain. I just did the best I could 2 keep us safe. We lived off of $418 per month & anyplace we could. People would claim 2 care, take us in & eventually put us out. Long story short, in August of 2009, I was still fighting for my disability benefits from the military. My daughter & I were literally like twins. We look exactly alike 2 this day. By this time, we knew God intimately, had a personal relationship w/ him & we talked about everything before we made a final decision. I promised her the day she was born we'd never be apart. It'd be me & her against all odds. It nearly killed me 2 have 2 break my promise. She was only 15, but very mature, as you can imagine. She'd been through & overcome alot, all the while remaining in school & in Advanced Honor Classes. I'd been in 2 foster homes growing up & was molested in both, so I didn't want her 2 go endure that. I chose someone I truly believed had our best interest in heart. This woman promised 2 financially provide for my daughter until she turned 18 & graduated from high school, as her sole legal guardian. Instead, she & her family hired a lawyer, got a court order, a case manager from child protective services & filed for adoption. Together, they built a case stating that due to my disabilities from the military, my numerous sexual assaults both as an adult & a child, my instability & inability 2 keep steady employment, no family support & no permanent place 2 house us, this woman was a better mother for my daughter than I was.
They took everything my daughter & I went through & manipulated her 15 year old mind, by buying her a brand new wardrobe (name brand designer clothes, shoes, handbags), got her nails done, hair professionally done, introduced her 2 marijuana, allowed her 2 drink, party & said she'd suffered enough & all teens deserve to live their life on their own terms. The court said I had no leverage & @ the age of 15, my daughter could choose where she wanted 2 live. My daughter was so confused, so afraid 2 hurt anyone's feelings or be forced 2 choose, she was so brainwashed by these people who claimed 2 love her, yet did everything they could 2 keep us from seeing one another & excluded me from every aspect of her life, that she believed I'd never get better & it'd take me @ least 2-3 years to get my benefits, but it still wouldn't be enough 2 send her to college. So my daughter told the judge that she wanted 2 be adopted. She wanted 2 be a part of a real family & she didn't want 2 be homeless ever again.
2 months after I gave up all parental rights, God blessed me w/ 100% unemployability & enough disability 2 take care of us, get us a nice home, save up for another car AND I got all education benefits for my daughter 2 attend any university of her choice b/c of my veteran status. The funny thing is, I knew very little about the system. But the woman I chose 2 take care of my baby girl, is a 20 year ARMY veteran. She refused 2 help me get my benefits, took me in, saw how close my daughter & I still were & when my daughter said she did not want 2 be adopted, this woman literally put me out of her house, while claiming she loved me & I am family.
I know nothing of my daughter's life & I can't begin to imagine all the pain, confusion & frustration she must have endured these past several years. But she's 18 now & she literally acts as though the first 15 years of her life never existed & her adopted family is all that matters. I know she's always wanted a family.
What no one knows is, the first 6 months after I gave legal guardianship 2 this woman, I was on suicide watch. My daughter was all I had. I've been carrying this around since August 2009. I've met people who've been supportive, w/ out passing judgment or placing blame. I blamed myself for a very long time. A part of me always will. I had no way of knowing that I was handing my only baby over 2 a monster.
I recently moved into a 2 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath beautiful townhome w/ a private patio in a beautiful neighborhood. I'm praying & believing God for a reliable vehicle so I can continue my volunteer work. I am an advocate for the disabled, elderly, veterans, teens in trouble & single mothers. I'm also an artist & award-winning published poet. I give God the glory for being there for me when the entire world turned their back on me. I have a book entitled "Broken On Purpose" I received from a ministry I support called Gospel for Asia.
I am not perfect by any standards & this is only a portion of my story, but it is my sincerest prayer, that my story & the grace & mercy of God will encourage, uplift & inspire any mother out there 2 hold on 2 their child (children) w/ everything they've got. I ignored my gut instinct far too many times. I had no idea Shaunecy was inside me when I left Japan 2 return 2 the US, but she is & always will be the greatest & unexpected gift God has ever given me. I chose not 2 have anymore children b/c of the manner in which she was conceived. She knows it's not her fault & that God is her father.
I hurt everyday, but knowing there are mothers who've lost their children 2 unspeakable death or tragic accidents, helps me get through the toughest of days. My desire is to start a foundation or global support group entitled "Momi & Me". It's a non-profit ministry my daughter & I started in our home years ago. I have no clue where to begin. God has answered my prayers by leading me 2 CafeMoms. I've told several people I know about your website. I pray I can be a blessing & learn as much as I can from all you super soldier moms out there.
I want to help in any way I can. This is my testimony to having the honor of being Momi (it's the way Shaunecy spells it) 2 an amazing young woman for 15 years. I can't worry about the what ifs. I need all the support I can get & I am available in any capacity in which I am needed. I love, honor & adore children. One of the greatest things I miss, is all the neighborhood children coming 2 our home & calling me Auntie Tango or Momi #2. To know that so many parents trusted their children w/ me, knowing that I'd never allow men around them, especially our precious girls, is like a nod from Heaven saying "You did a good job w/ what little you knew & what little you had kiddo".
Please feel free 2 share any advice, comments, ask questions or simply send me a hug or two.