family stuff- I am an ACOA
Friday, October 07, 2011
I don't post a lot of family stuff here, especially about my mom and my childhood. I'm 40 now so it's not like it happened yesterday etc. I just joined the ACOA team though so I thought it would be a good time to post some of my ACOA history. It's Mental Health Awareness Week too, so there's another reason.
My mother is an alcoholic. I can say that now. When I was growing up it wasn't allowed. She's been married and divorced 3 times and has been "single" now for many, many years although she almost always has a boyfriend around somewhere. She can't stand to be "alone".
When I was growing up she was married to my step-father (now ex-step-father) for a few years. During that time they tried to have kids but my mom kept having miscarriages. So they decided to do foster care. We got a 4 year old girl and a 6 year old boy. My parents still wanted a baby though so when I was 9 years old (3 years later) they got a 3-month old baby boy who they eventually adopted.
The foster kids stayed with us for 4 years. During that time my mother abused the girl. When the social workers finally caught on to the abuse the kids were pulled out of our home immediately. I pretty much never saw them again.
Flash forward 30 years. Last week I found their names on Facebook. They were connected to a friend of a friend.. the girl has changed her name thanks to adoption and marriage. The boy has also changed his name because of adoption. However after figuring out what I could I solved the puzzle.
So after 30 years we are getting the chance to catch up. My mother is in Florida and I haven't told her. I might soon, but so far I haven't. My adopted brother is 31 years old now, and still in touch with my mother and my step-father. He doesn't remember the foster kids at all I think since he was only an infant when it all happened. He's 9 years younger than me so he had a different experience with this all.
Still I think what is amazing is that I think the girl thought she was the only one to be abused, and while I knew that my mother hit her once I did not know much of the other stuff. The words that come into my head are "You are not alone." I think we both thought we were alone on this, and turns out we weren't.
Many ACOAs feel they are alone. I know as a kid I wanted nothing to do with group therapy because I didn't honestly believe that anyone else had a crazy mother like I do. I know better now, and sadly I have heard stories far worse than ours as the years have gone by. Still.. it's a good thing. Very traumatic, but a good thing.
I've done a lot of writing in the past week, and this is more of it. I think writing it down helps make it real, and helps me process what can best be described as "grief".
Thanks for reading my story.