Today's "Word Of The Day" - INDEPENDENCE


in·de·pend·ence -[in-di-pen-duhns] 


1.Also, independency. the state or quality of being independent.
2.freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.
Happy 4th American readers (even though it is technically the 5th now)!
  I have had a lot on my mind lately so I apologize for neglecting you all.  As some of you know and I have talked briefly about in past blog entries, I grew up not the most loved person in the world. I actually was taken from my parents when I was just about Sammi's age and made a ward of the state of California. They felt neither of my parents were fit to care for me either due to drugs and alcohol (which was my Mother) or outright neglect and indifference (which was my Father). I spent close to a year hopping from one foster home to another until just after my 11th birthday, I ended up in a group home facility. Now most of you are thinking, gee that had to have been horrible... but it wasn't. I mean sure, there are some downright shitty foster parents out there and I had my fair share of them. But I also had some really amazing people who truly cared about me, who loved and cared about me and wanting my life to be okay. Most of those people I met when I spent close to 4 years in this amazing group home in Northern California, I am fortunate to say they saved me and really helped shape the core of who I am to this day.
  The group home at the time was run by a retired Priest, the facility itself was formerly a nunnery, that is a place Nuns lived. It was large and beautiful, they took in kids from 6-18 and had their own school, church, pool, park... it was really a unique place. Father Steve was the Priest who was the director and he truly loved each and every one of us. There were close to 200 children at any given time and he knew each and every one of our names, it was really amazing now that I look back on it. His goal was to give us a safe place to be, where we could come to terms with the abuse and life we had been dealt and to give us good life skills to take with us into adulthood. We had everything we needed right there to make sure we had the highest chance at success and though it didnt fix some of the demons most of us carry to this day, it certainly empowered us to be the best people we could be.
 I was saddened recently when I found a group of people who too had spent their time at this amazing place. Some had been there before I was even born and some I remember fondly from my time there. We are the truest form of family because we share a life that wasnt fair by any means, we endured things most people can not even imagine but it bonded us, gave us something to go on for. I found out a few years ago they closed this place down and the buildings are now on the market to be purchased for god knows what. Apparently Father Steve truly retired and another gentleman took over the Director seat at the facility. he did not share the same love and desire to help children as his predecessor had, he fired most of the amazing staff that had been there nearly 20 years and hired less qualified, more affordable staff who like him, had no business caring for abused and neglected children and teenagers. Kids started running away, going "OC" (off campus) as we called it, and some broke into and vandalized homes in the surrounding neighborhoods. The residents of the town started to complain and so the home had to be closed and as you can see, sold.
   I know it seems funny to you that someone could be so attached to some place that really for all intent and purpose was similar to a prison. But to those of us who were there at that time, it was our home, we were safe there, the people who had hurt us so bad for so long could not touch us there. We were listened to and our stories heard, those people held me when I cried, defended me when I was wronged, they were my family, more than everyone but my grandmother ever was to me. I became a woman in that place, a feat that was frightening, they sat me down and took on the role of a parent, explaining all the facts of life and doing what they could to make it all seem like it was going to be ok. I wish there was more places like this in the world, and it is truly a loss to the world that this one is gone forever. 
   Anyway, I just wanted to share a bit of this with you all because it has been weighing on me a lot lately and well, that is why I have this blog, to share whether it is read or not :)
I hope you American's had a safe and wonderful holiday and to everyone, I hope you have an amazing weekend.


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