So I finally finished answering the Questions for the Royal Family Kids Camp Newsletter. It took me forever because I had such Drama with my Birth Mom and I felt like I really needed to take my time. My Mom's response/reaction to all of this really hurt me to the core. I am not one to hurt on purpose and I am trying to learn to choose my words carefully. I am still sad that I have hurt my Mom by anything I've said or done. But I'm even sadder that she seems to withdraw herself and ends up rejecting me yet again, anytime I say or do something that upsets her. It seems as if our entire relationship (14 years) I have been the one telling her that "It's ok" I am always reassuring her that I don't have anger or regrets towards her for giving me up. My Foster Parents and extended family/friends did such a good job of making me feel Loved that I didn't have any Holes that needed to be filled by My Mom. Getting to know her has been a bonus and mostly a Joy. I just wish she could be happy that there Were some wonderful people in my life. Everything that Does NOT involve my Foster Parents, was a living Hell.
Here are the answers I e-mailed to Julie at Royal Family Kids Camp:
1)How old were you when you were placed in a foster home?/2)Was it because of abuse and/or neglect, or both?
I was about 2 years old when I was first placed in a Foster Home. My parents divorced and my Mom gave up Custody to my Dad. There were 3 of us under 3 years of age! This was a huge burden for both him and his parents and we ended up in 2 separate foster homes. My Sisters were eventually adopted by the foster parents they lived with. My Dad took me back to live with him after he remarried (I was about 4 years old). I was physically abused by my Step Mom and sometimes my Dad. I feared that my Step Mom would succeed in killing me and I ran away at age 9. I was placed in Maclaren Hall (a State run home in California) and went back and forth between several foster homes before ending up with Mr and Mrs Duckworth. Mrs. Duckworth was a penticostal minister at a small church in Southern California. This was the first church I had ever attended and the first time that I ever heard who Jesus was.
3)How long did you remain in foster homes? I was in foster homes until I graduated from High School. I went back to Maclaren Hall a few times and I even went back to live with my Dad and Step Mom for a short time as well. The state of California also tried to get me back with my family and sent me with one of my Aunts. However, this did not work out well for their already stressful family and I was was placed back in yet another foster home after just a few short months. I spoke to my social worker and asked her if I was going to be with a foster family, could I go back to live with the Duckworths and she was able to work this out for me and in fact, they got a new license that was only good for 1 child, Me!
4)You said you met your husband in a foster home – was he a foster child in that home, as well? My husband is the nephew of my oldest foster sister Wanda. (sounds crazy I know) My foster parents were quite a bit older and had Grandkids my age. Wanda’s Mother in law lived near us and I met Dan and his sister when I was only 12 years old. We enjoyed many summers together when his Aunt and Uncle came to California from Washington for a visit. Over the years, our friendship grew and we fell in Love and married at ages 18 and 20.
5)Was it the same foster parents that you lived with then that your daughters call “Grandma” and “Grandpa”? Mr. and Mrs. Duckworth were always there for me even my senior year of high school when I was rebellious and ended up in yet another foster home due to some bad choices on my part. They were so happy that Dan and I continued our relationship and got married. She knew that God had planned that for me. My girls referred to them as Grandma and Grandpa Duck! (the Duckworths have both since passed away)
6)What did your daughter’s think about you going? My 3 daughters are all grown and were very excited that Dan and I participated in RFKC. They are already asking us if we will do this again. (Yes)
7)Do you work outside the home? If so, was it hard to get the time off to attend camp? I was a little stressed about this as I didn’t really have much saved paid time off. I was able to be off and God still worked out my finances and all my bills were paid with money left over.
8)How long have you attended your church? My husband Dan and I have been attending WFA for a little over 4 years.
9)When did you first learn about RFKC? I recall reading about it almost 5 years ago. I think our former church Snohomish First Assembly did something to help with it a few years back. At least the name was familiar to me. Our church here in Wenatchee announced that we were going to do this several months ago.
10)Did you immediately want to go or did it take some time to make the decision? By the time Dan and I walked out to work at the welcome center, I think we both knew. I wasn’t sure what to say to Dan about my desire, but to my surprise he beat me to it. “I think I need to do this.” He said. I was so happy because he didn’t say that he thought “I” needed to do it, or that “We” needed to do it. God had put the desire in his “Own” heart. This was all the confirmation I needed
11)Was this your first year going? Yes.
12)Did you form a bond with your campers?/13)Do you have anything you could share, as far as something special that happened between you and them (or one of them)? I was assigned 2 young girls and my counselor buddy had 2 very young girls also. We had 2 six year olds, and a 7 and 8 year old. Since they were so young, we did everything together as a group. Our cabin was the “Owl perch” so we called ourselves the Night owls. As we would walk along to the various activities, some of the youngest ones would wander off a bit. I’d yell out “night owls!” and they would holler back “whooo-hoooo!” (to sound like owls) This way we knew were they were. They really enjoyed belonging to a group. They enjoyed the sense of “Belonging”
1)Did your campers know that you had been a foster child? If so, how did they respond to that? At one 30/30 session, I did bring it up. I wanted to let them know that I had been in foster homes from a young age. I wanted them to know that I understood how they might feel, and I let them know how I always knew that God loved me and was with me. Our camp bible verse was ‘Nothing can ever separate us from his Love’ Romans 8:38. I am living testimony of this. My Foster Mom Mrs. Duckworth used to tell me that God would be my Mother, my Father, my Sister, and my Brother. I wanted them to know how true this was.
15)Will you consider being a Counselor again next year, or is there another role you would consider? I would like to be a counselor again. I was asked about being the camp nurse, but I feel that I can be a nurse every day I work. I had an amazing wonderful life changing time.
16)What was the best part about being a Counselor? The hardest? The best moment of camp was when we were walking though the meadow to a “surprise” for the group of girl campers. When we came around the corner and saw that there were 2 horses for them to ride, their squeals of delight nearly burst my eardrums (and my heart) The hardest part of camp was saying Goodbye.