By Kimberly C. Rhyan
TW: Abuse, Trauma
December 11, 1991, is when I entered foster care. This is a small part of my story...
I grew up thinking, I just want to make it one more day.....Not because of a typical adolescence, but rather, I was abused and violated every morning and evening at home, during 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th grade. On my best days, I pretended I was okay. On my worst days, I experienced suicide ideation and wished I had never been born.
When I was in 8th grade, my family was being sued by a previous landlord. My mom wanted me to lie in court to the judge about what happened to the rental property by my family. My mom threatened me. She said I would regret my choices. But I did not lie. I went to school after the hearing was over and it later that day, my mom and step-father picked me up early. It was weird, but I knew when the secretary called my name to come to the office, my life was going to change. I had this feeling of fear, but also freedom. My feet were heavy and every step felt like a mile, but my heart just felt a little lighter.
I didn't know how much it was going to hurt- the way my mom confronted me, her denial of my truth, and her ultimate rejection of me as her daughter. Love was absent, but it had never felt present. The level of hurt that built up from my childhood- it was a tsunami, and I nearly survived.
My mom chose my abuser that day. I believed she knew I was being hurt and did nothing about it. Yet, when I refused to lie for her in court, she orchestrated my removal from her home, forever. For her, it was about getting rid of me. For me, it was the final day I had to live in fear of being violated.
I knew she didn't have any love towards or for me. She called me into the kitchen and unfolded a piece of notebook paper. I had written on pieces of paper for years and hid them in my room. I wrote my truth. I asked for help. I wanted to be rescued. Heard. Yet, on December 11, 1991, she read my words, not with a plan to defend and stand up for me, but rather, she protected her husband, my abuser.
The pain was unbearable and it was unfair, but the better outcome was foster care. I am thankful that I had another chance at a better life. My heart was forever broken because I was estranged from my brothers. Those relationships were impossible to restore, but I am trying now, with my middle brother, and this year, we are going to celebrate Christmas together for the first time in our adult lives.
I went into foster care before Christmas, so there are a lot of triggers. The hurt has decreased but it still happened. I am thankful for this day to acknowledge that I am more healed than broken. That's my story of faith in many ways. We are broken and by grace, we get to move forward and heal, when we let go of the hurt (what seems like a little at a time).
I share my story to remind you that in all those years, I smiled and hid the truth. I denied my truth because I pretended everything was okay. This year, there are kids out there in need of more than a wrapped gift under the tree..... I hope we listen and do good when it really matters.
Kimberly C. Rhyan