It’s strange what life hands you. My husband and I both come from amazing, solid families—and we worked hard to create the same for our children and for the hundreds of foster care kids we cared for over the years; I truly believed we were living the dream. But all of that changed in a heartbeat. Two, I suppose.
First, my son died in a car accident. lub-dub
A few months later, a police officer knocked on my door: I had been accused of harming a child and he needed a statement. lub-dub
I had put my life into taking care of other people’s children—kids that had been abused, taken out of their homes, and traumatized beyond belief. I loved those kids. After my own son died, I loved our foster children even deeper. I understood what it felt like to lose someone—each of these kids had lost someone, too.
But in the end, it doesn’t matter all that you do right—all that matters is what somebody says you did, and with that everything else disappears. And in the end, the system turned around and massacred us.
This experience—being accused, on trial in a courtroom and in the local press, spending nights in a cage away from my family—has changed how I view people. It’s the filter through which I view the world.
It was degrading. I have every reason to be bitter and angry—but I’m working to make amends. The bitterness would destroy me.
But more than that: I have greater compassion now. I understand what it’s like to be a victim of circumstance and know that even when people do wrong, there’s should be space for redemption and healing.
In some ways, I’m disqualified from my own life. So I’m making another life—one that helps women coming out of the system.
I’m working to find meaning in this. To find peace.