“My Life So Far”

by Courtney S.

Life is an interesting thing. It’s full of ups and downs, highs and lows. I guess you could say mine started out in a low. My earliest memories involve my mother and father fighting, that’s all they seemed to ever do. As two barely functioning alcoholics with anger issues, they were a toxic couple from the beginning. This was made blatantly apparent when I was only 3 years old. After a night of heavy drinking from both my mother and father, their regular argument turned more violent than usual.

This ended with my mother in the hospital, my father in prison, and me in temporary custody of my grandmother. I would not see my father again until my mother’s funeral, four years later. Her alcoholism, paired with her depression became too much for her body to handle and she passed away from heart failure in the same room we shared in my grandmother’s trailer. It was decided that due to the history of family violence, my grandmother would be given full custody. This left me with yet another alcoholic caretaker. My grandmother’s condition was made worse by the death of her closest daughter.

I managed to stick through the terrible childhood though, my perseverance that I would make it out of my situation and change my family history kept me strong. It was a long and difficult road though, filled with self-harm and toxic relationships that encouraged my bad decisions and unhealthy lifestyle. I skipped school so often that by the end of my 11th grade year, I had only a third of the credits needed to graduate the next year. That summer I decided that I needed to make a drastic change. I took my first step in the right direction by choosing to go live with my aunt and uncle for my last year of high school. Everything was going great and I had never felt better. They were the kind of parents I had always wished I had. Within my first few weeks with them I began working two jobs to save up for a car. At the end of summer, I kept the job I preferred the most and worked through my senior year. Under their care and guidance, I was able to recover all my lost school credits and build good habits. I earned my first car a few months before graduation. But this period of bliss didn’t last.

After graduation, just into my first week of college, my toxic friends from before reached out to me and I decided to meet up with them. After a weekend of terrible decisions, which included totaling the car that I spent all school year saving up for and hooking up with a guy I just met, my aunt and uncle asked me to leave. This left me to spiral into a self-destructive path that only ended when I found out I was pregnant. This was only 6 weeks after leaving my aunt and uncle’s. It was a very scary and surreal situation and I was left with little options at the time. I went through the next couple of weeks in a daze, which only cleared up when I heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. The moment I heard it, I knew I would do anything to give my child the best life possible. Which lead me down very hard paths, including the consideration of adoption.

The sorrow I felt when I walked into the first adoption agency is unlike anything I had felt before. But at that time I was not equipped to raise the child and did not want him to experience anything close to what I did when I was growing up. God had other plans for me though. Having to give up my child for adoption was not to be. Through what can only be described as divine intervention, I was connected to a maternity program through the adoption agency! That helped pave the way to allow me to keep my child. He was born on July 5, 2016 and I named him Damien. He’s now 1 year old and one of the best miracles to have ever been bestowed upon me. We currently reside in an apartment a part of the GRACE Transitional Housing program.  I am taking the next steps needed to help myself become a better, more self-sufficient parent. God always has a plan and I trust in Him to lead me where I’m meant to be.