Father Abandoned Them In The Hands Of An Alcoholic Mother.

Story by Brandi Morris

When I was five years old, post my mother waking from a coma, my father left me. He said “I’m going to the doctors, I’ll be back.” My heart broke every single day after that, because he didn’t come back.

Though my memory is fogged from age 5-7 I know my mom wasn’t stable. Around age 7 my brother and I moved in with our grandparents. After some time we were too much for them to handle, we were officially wards of the state. My brother and I were moved one hour away from my family in Somers Point, NJ.

My mom slowly, but surely began healing and we went back into her care after my 8th birthday. We found out my mom was pregnant, with my life’s greatest gift, my sister. My sister was born a few months after we moved back in with our mom. My mom was good for a bit, but then went back to her normal struggle with substance.

During this time, I considered myself the main caretaker of my sister. At 8 years old I took care of my sister, cleaned the home, and went to school. Sometimes we’d move in with my grandparents, but we didn’t stay there long. This went on for a few years is what it seemed like.

At age 11, I marched into the counselors office, stomach churned from nerves, as I told them I was afraid to go home. The counselor pulled my brother out of class, and made us do an exercise to treat the doorknob as if it was my mom; what would you say to it? We met DYFS (department of youth family services) at home that day, it was the last time I would live in our home on 4th ave.

My sister and I stayed together, but my brother was separated. The foster home we moved to was across the street from my grandparents. Four months after we went into foster care, my mom was found dead in my childhood home. From that point on my life dramatically changed.

The State of NJ found my father, he drove to meet me with his wife. Though I gave names of other people I wanted to live with, the state forced me to move to AR with my abusive, alcoholic father. I felt incredibly unwanted, why did no one stable want me? My sister and brother moved in with his best friends’ family.

My father didn’t change through the years that he was out of my life. My teenage years were full of alcohol, biker rallies, and angry yelling inside of our home. One saturday evening, my father didn’t come home from his normal routine: drive his motorcycle to the bar, get drunk, then come home. My father had a heart attack while giving a ride to a woman he met at the bar. He was kind to strangers, but no one knew the real him behind closed doors.

In April of 2011, I became an orphan, at 16 years old. I stayed in the care of my stepmother until my senior year of high school, though she didn’t want me. Towards the end of my senior year I moved in with my best friend until graduation.

My life took a 180 shift going to college. I was turning into my own person. During my college career, I was an athlete, I studied abroad in Italy, joined a sorority, became a VP of my sorority, had two internships, worked a part time job and for the university. I pushed myself beyond my capabilities. Defying the odds set before me as an orphan, I graduated college as a first generation college student.

Post college I’ve worked a few different jobs, trying to find my footing of who I want to be. My end goal is to be in the C Suite for a large corporation, doing keynote speaking sharing my story of defying the odds and overcoming adversity. I’m lucky to say that history has not repeated itself in my life story, I hope to break the generational curse of addiction and abuse.

My goal in life is to share my story over and over, so that more foster children will hear it and see me as a beacon of hope. The statistics are extremely against foster children – I read only 3% graduate college.

If there’s anything I want you to take away is that your life matters. The season you’re in right now is preparing you for something in the future. Grieve the season you’re in, then use the heartbreak to fuel your life. At the end of the day, when you are broken down to nothing and have to piece yourself together you realize you are unstoppable, no one can hurt you; when trouble comes again in life you will be ok. You have the power to defy the odds and become who YOU want to be. 

You can follow her journey on: Instagram

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