Is the child support I’m paying benefiting you?

Have you ever had a moment where you finally realize that you are not who you used to be and it’s time to let her go? Well I had that moment a few weeks ago, now that I think about it, I’ve had those moments quite a few times but I wasn’t ready to let her go.

Literally the week I was due to leave for MegaFest my sons father told me that he needed to speak with me about something. I was so busy preparing for my trip that I forgot to call him back. Finally on my way to the church for an event (go figure right?) I remembered to call him back. As the phone rang I couldn’t help but get a little anxious about what was so important that he needed to speak to me since we have almost zero communication now that our son is old enough to communicate on his own. When he answered we went through the formalities, you know, the “how are you, I’m good, and you….” both ready to just get to the point, but me more ready so I just went ahead and asked, “What’s up?”. His response was one I honestly can say that I wasn’t prepared for and he completely through me off guard with. He asked me if the child support he was paying was benefiting me. Yeah, I had the same response you have right now, “What?!”. As he repeated himself I took a few seconds to breathe before in my mind, I went from zero to one hundred, real quick. “No, it’s not benefiting me, it’s benefiting your son, as it should be”. I’m not sure what his expectation of this call would be but I don’t believe that he expected to get that response so of course I became the selfish and ignorant baby mother that wants to see him work like a slave to pay his child support. I had to remind him that out of 15 years, he was only paying $6 per week for the first 12 years. As he proceeded to call me out of my name, God reminded me of who I was then and who I am now. Let me pause and take ya’ll on a little road trip to whence where I came from.

I was 19 when I met my sons father, I’ll refer to him as J. Other than my middle school sweetheart I hadn’t really liked any guys. I developed fairly early as a child so I was very cautious about male attention. J was different though. He was a sweetheart and made me feel like I was the only woman in the world. My life was already hectic as I was searching for a love that I had never received before. J was the calm to my storm not to mention he lived in my hometown of Bridgeport, a place that I longed to live as it made me feel closer to my birth mother. It wasn’t long before I began to find out things about J that he wasn’t up front about, things that I was not ready for. He already had two children, from a relationship that had just ended and a child on the way by another women. You would think that after having learned all of that I would have left him alone, but I had already moved in with him at his father’s house and was head over heels with a man I didn’t even really know. 

I can’t say there was a lot of baby mama drama because one lived in another state and the other one just wasn’t crazy. She was angry, but not crazy. I stayed in my place for the most part as the girlfriend and let them do what they had to do as parents. I helped where I could and let him do the rest. 

When I found out I was pregnant there was never a question in MY mind as to what we would do. He didn’t want any more children but he wasn’t crazy enough to request an abortion. So I began preparing to be a mother. I didn’t have a lot of family support at that time so I knew I wasn’t going to be having a baby shower so I headed over to KMart and Walmart and put all the things I would need on layaway, (don’t you miss that good ole layaway??) and applied for housing and State Assistance.  Early in my pregnancy I as well as J and his two children were involved in a car accident. Although we were not seriously injured, we were rushed to the hospital to be evaluated. That’s where BM1 (Baby Mother #1) found  out for the first time that I was pregnant as she stayed with me to make sure I was okay. I certainly didn’t want her to find out this way but God has a funny way of making things right. Although she was hurt, from that moment on she was in my corner, making sure that I was good and delivered a healthy baby. Shoot at one point after I gave birth I stayed with her for a few weeks until I could plan my next move, but that’s another story so we’ll leave that right there.

In June of 2002 I decided that I would be the good girlfriend and pay for J to go visit his then 1 yr old daughter for her birthday. That would turn out to be the dumbest idea I have had to date and also the point where I lost myself. When he came back home he didn’t come alone. He came back with his daughter. Gave me a story that her mom let him bring her back for the summer, even allowed me to speak to BM2 and confirm what the plan was. From that point until I gave birth I took care of his daughter, loved her as if she were my own. Even after I found out through my God given discerning spirit that he and BM2 had slept together while he was there and apparently he proposed to her. 

On July 7, 2002 after much complications, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy via Cesarean that I named Jamir.  I wasn’t able to hold him the day he was born because they gave me too much epideral so I was highly sedated. BM1 came to the hospital and made sure Jamir and I were okay and brought him tons of gifts. On the second day, I had another visitor. One whom I had never met. It was BM2. She flew in from out of state and came to visit me. I was FLOORED to say the least. I thought it was the most disrespectful thing I had ever witnessed. I couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital and as soon as I did I went straight to his father’s house to fight her. Mind you I had JUST had a Cesarean. My stitches weren’t healed and I was on pain medicine. That fight was only one of quite a few she and I had that summer. I was such an idiot, fighting over a man who could care less about me and my value. 

By the end of the first year of my Childs life I had been arrested due to domestic violence, broke car windows, slit tires, egged his car, put sugar in his gas tank and even saved his life when the apartment we ended up moving into was the scene of a real life home invasion. I had literally lost my mind, but boy was I in love. Ha! I can laugh now, but back then the joke was on me. 

One day his father called me to his house and made me look at myself in a mirror and tell him who I saw. I honestly couldn’t even recognize the women I saw in that mirror. I knew then that it was time for me to move on. I looked like a fool and the sad thing is, even though he was only a year and a half old, my son witnessed every bit of my insanity. 

I moved in with my cousin not to long thereafter until I was able to get my apartment and start over, but it didn’t take long for the toxicity that had become so apart of us to follow me. So one dreadful August afternoon after being disrespected yet again I took matters into my own hands and attempted to take the life away from the father of my son. It was only God and my cousins who was able to bring me back to reality and spare his life. That day was the final straw for me. I walked away and never looked back. 

So here we are, 11 years later and I find myself being disrespected yet again, but this time as a saved Christian. How would I respond? I chose to just hang up. That was all, hang up, and then I wept. I wept because just a few years ago God had directed me to pray for not only this man, but also his girlfriend. He had directed me to pray for increase in his finances and for stability on his job and good health. Yet here he was asking me if the child support he paid was benefiting me. I wept because I thought we had find gotten to a place of mutual respect for each other just because of the child we shared. I was wrong.

 So what do I do now? I dry my tears, I bow my head and I pray. I pray as God directed me to do years before. I pray for an increase in his finances and for stability on his job and good health. I pray for his protection and that God would be so kind to continue to extend his grace and mercy over his life. See this was a test to see if I had truly forgiven him. We as single moms and baby mothers often say that we have moved on and have forgiven our counterparts but as soon as they try us we are ready to act like our Mama’s named us Jazmen Sullivan and bust the windows out his car. Call child support and have him arrested or try to get the support enforced all the while our children are witnessing it all. 

I haven’t spoken to J since that day and honestly unless something awful happened to our child, I probably won’t speak to him again, unless of course the lord says otherwise, but I know that I passed the test. I have released the pain I held in my heart and gave him to the lord. What I will continue to do is pray for him. I won’t pray that God changes how he treats me, or even how he treats our son. I’ll pray that God changes the way he treats him 👆🏽. See when he gets it right with God, God will make sure that he gets it right with our son and then with me. 

So I say to you Single Moms. Those of you struggling with unforgiveness. Those trying to get the last say or the upper hand, is it worth it? Is it worth the damage that we are causing our children? Vengeance belongs to God. Trust me he has your back. 

His story is not over yet either….

This past weekend was my nieces birthday party. She turned 8 years old. She is my twin brothers only child and my only blood niece. My brother absolutely adores his daughter, he does the best he can as a father although I often think he feels like he has failed her.

When my brother and I were placed into foster care I immediately went into survival mode, while my brother recluded to a place within himself that wouldn’t allow anyone in. We went through a period of time where he wouldn’t speak to anyone but me. The trauma that we both endured definitely affected us in different ways and because I was the older twin (by two minutes), I felt that I needed to protect him. As we grew up he came out of his shell but always struggled in being able to advocate for himself. I believe that because he internalized his feelings for so long they began to manifest in other areas of his life and eventually he found himself in trouble and then in jail for all of his teen and some of his adult life, but then came my niece, who I will refer to by CASM. CASM completely took his heart and although he didn’t change immediately it didn’t take him long, with a little help from the good Lord, to understand that his life was no longer his.

This past weekend he was able to make his daughters birthday wish come true. All she desired was a Barbie dream house, (didn’t We princesses all want a Barbie dream house?) which of course cost and arm and a leg. Her mom told her she would have to wait until Christmas but mentioned to my brother how much she wanted it for her birthday.  Last week I walked in the house and there was this 4′ box that contained my nieces birthday wish. My brother was so excited to tell me how he used his paycheck that week to buy her that dream house. He was so proud and so was I. 

People will never understand the struggles that my brother endures on a daily basis. He wants to do good and be a great man and an even greater father but it’s hard. When he went to jail at the age of 15 I believe that time just stopped. So therefore there are things that he has to learn as an adult, but one thing no one has to teach him, is how to love his daughter with all of his heart.

The moment that he and his daughter shared when he gave her that dream house is one I will never forget and I pray he doesn’t either. It will be that moment that will remain embedded in his mind when the devil attempts to attack him. It will be that moment that will remind him that his story isn’t over yet. 

MY STORY IS NOT OVER YET.

A few weeks ago I was given this bracelet by my aunt. It wasn’t until today that I really took a minute to read and meditate on what it said, “MY STORY IS NOT OVER YET”. 

To most that statement is nothing new. We’ve seen it before, heard it before, and most have even said it before, but for me, it was another whisper from God that he STILL has not left my side.

See, the aunt that gave me this mantra bracelet not only knows my story, but God used her as an important piece to my story.  She is the only person alive who knows who I’m named after. My aunt was actually in the cell with my birth mom and listened as she spoke about her twins that had been taken from her and placed up for adoption. My aunt knew where those twins had been placed, in the home of her sister, miles away, on the other side of CT. 

It was my aunt who called her sister and urged her to allow my birth mom to meet us. It’s been my aunt who has encouraged me through the years and reminded me that I needed to win inorder for my birth moms purpose to not be in vain. 

Today I needed this reminder. MY STORY IS NOT OVER YET. Thank you auntie for always knowing my heart. 

I Feared 15

Today is my first born child’s birthday, my only son. Today he is three years away from being a legal adult, three years away from mommy not being able to protect him from this cold world any longer. As I sneak peeks of my first love going about his day I can’t help but to feel like I’ve failed him in so many ways. I chose to give my heart and the inner parts of me to a man who couldn’t handle them. From that mismanaged decision we created a life that we weren’t mature enough to comprehend the level of responsibility that it would take to be successful. There were times when as a mother my only job was to cuddle and love this new life but instead I chased after and fought for someone to love me, who wasn’t qualified. I put the life that God entrusted me with in compromising situations. I allowed him to see me cry and fight. I allowed him to see me weak with no control of my choices and yet he loved me. As God increased the years of his life he witnessed me learning to love myself so I could love him better. What I didn’t see was the damage I was causing. I didn’t see the pain he was hiding. While I thought I was making the best decisions for his life it would be those same decisions that would later cause him to struggle to love himself. Although I’ve done the best I could do, provided him with all his material needs, I deprived him of his spiritual needs which would have undergirded his mental needs. So here we are, three years away from the worlds definition of the legal age of adulthood and I’m scared out of my mind. This is the age that I watched my twin brother get ripped away from me and our childhood as he would know it. Never to be seen again for almost 10 years. He suffered in silence while being told to be seen and not heard. Since July 7, 2002 I have feared July 7, 2017. I have feared the age of 15. I have prayed that Generational curses would not exist in the life that he entrusted me with. Although I’ve prayed and I’m sure he has heard my prayers, I didn’t completely trust the man I was praying to. So I tried to instill the fear of Sana in him. Stayed on top of his every move. Didn’t let him leave the house. I did any and everything I thought I could do to solidify his chances of never seeing the faces of men who’s souls were trapped behind steel bars, but all he wanted me to do was lay in the bed with him while his head laid on my chest and we made music with our breathing in silence. Today I cried. I wanted fear to be my excuse to throw in the towel because I failed him. Then God sent me a gentle reminder, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Even when I think I’ve failed he whispers in my undeserving ears;  You can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth you. So, I look at 15 and claim the victory because my father told me that victory is mine and my son, he still loves me. Happy 15 Jamir! You were, are and always will be, the Best Parts of Me.

When Realization smacks you in the face.

I had a miserable Mothers Day. Not because of any real reason in particular. It was just tough. I had watched many television specials and movies about mothers and the joys of motherhoods. Read so many social media post that quoted the word of God as it relates to mothers and famous quotes and memes about mothers, and I was miserable.

As I went through the week leading up to this much celebrated day I could feel the spirit of God nudging my ear because he had something to say.  I attempted to keep busy because I wasn’t ready for my heart to hear the words that I knew surely would pierce it.

On Mothers Day he sat my little self down and tore into me like only he could. See, if I’m being completely honest with myself, and the truth that is mine, I must admit that I can’t relate to all the things that make mothers so great, because I wasn’t able to experience them. Now don’t get me wrong, my adopted mother did the best she could. We lived in a nice, clean home. We dressed nice, went to private schools, had home cooked meals every night, even took summer vacations. My mother (and father) took very good care of us, we never lacked for what we needed. But even with all of those things that we needed, there were things that I desired that were more important to me than the things that I needed.

Webster says that to nurture is to “feed or nourish.” A mother’s nurture is fuel for the soul. Good mothers pour care into the souls of their children much like sunlight and water pour nutrients into a plant. Our souls flourish when we are being nurtured and cared for. We grow, develop, and change according to the way we were designed.

That is what I desired. To be nurtured. You must remember that I was taken from my birth mother at a very young age. While pregnant with my brother and I, our mother was addicted to drugs. After we were born my mother continued to spend the majority of her time on the streets instead of nurturing her young. After we were removed from our home and our mother we were placed in a foster home where unfortunately we were only two of many. Nurturing was almost non existent there as well. By the time we arrived to our adopted parents, I was dying to be nurtured. I was in need of someone that was going to encourage me, support me, motivate me, push me, tell me they loved me, hug me, wipe my tears, ect. Needless to say that’s not what my mom had to offer. She provided me with what I needed, not what I desired.

Without nurture we wither. The “failure to thrive” syndrome and many other childhood problems are directly related to a lack of nurture. In some cases, institutionalized babies have even died from maternal deprivation and a lack of nurture. We were created with needs that go deeper even than our physical need for food. We need the immaterial and spiritual requirements of relationship in order to live.

As I grew up, through middle school, high school, and now adulthood, my desire never changed. Because my mother could not provide me the things that I desired I put walls up around my heart and kept a safe distance from her so that I would not be disappointed.

When my father passed away last May, I literally moved in with my mother for almost a month. During that time, God gave me a supernatural strength. My mother had lost the only man she loved and she was devastated. I had to give her what she needed, the very thing that I desired, she needed to be nurtured. So for a month God gave me the opportunity to nurture my mother.

Now here we are, on Mothers day and the only gift that I desire is to be nurtured, by my mother. My husband continuously asked me what was wrong with me as I moped around. I couldn’t find a way to explain to him what I felt, because I felt empty.

Finally, before the day was over, as I settled in my bed to ponder my day and feel what I was feeling, God took the opportunity to speak. He told me that just like every other person he has allowed to play apart in my life, my mother had a purpose. Her purpose was not to nurture me. Her purpose was to take care of me and she served her purpose. Her purpose was to give me what I needed and introduce me to the person who would give me what I desired, because it was only that person who could quench my desire. “Sana”, he said, “I never intended any of the mothers I gave you to nurture you. The nurturing that you require will only come from me. I will nurture you in the way that I expect you to nurture the people that I will send to you. Honor your mother for the purpose she served in your life because now it’s time to serve your purpose in her life.” 

We often times put a high expectation on the people in our lives that are the closest to us. Even when God reveals that their purpose has been served, we continue to expect from them what they don’t have to give. Looking for people to nurture us rather than the ultimate nurturer. Walking around hurt, angry, and confused with a broken heart. 

It hurt when this realization smacked me in my face. I thought that being adopted would afford me all of the desires of my heart. That there would be a completeness that would overtake me. It wasn’t until Mothers Day that I realized completeness had always been within me…HE had always been with me. I just needed to shift my focus. 

My relationship with my mother will never be that of a Disney story, no fairy tale endings, but my purpose in the life of my mothers will be fulfilled. 

Period.

 “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

Recently I was doing a heart check of my role in my marriage. I try to do them often as a way to better myself and increase my value as a wife. As I began to check myself, my heart was convicted. I realized that every month or bimonthly Josh and I get into some sort of spat. Most times they start with something small or something that really has nothing to even do with us, but it ends up into a full blown argument. I have always had a short temper so I am normally the one that goes from zero to 100 real quick. After each argument, I sit back and say to myself, “Why did you get so angry?’, Why did you say things that you now can not take back?, what was your angle, what was your trigger point? You can’t keep doing this.” Eventually we make up and life goes back to normal, but is it really normal or have I been making that behavior MY NEW NORMAL?

A few months ago I began to ask God to show me when my trigger is being pulled and give me time to catch it. Last month he gave me my “Ah Ha!” moment.  I realized that it was normally the week of or before I was to be visited by my monthly friend (menstrual cycle) that this spats began. Some months I would be overly exhausted, and other months I turned into a demon possessed women that I was ashamed of. The devil is so tricky. See, the devil aims to destroy marriages. My husband is the head of our household but I am the neck. It’s my role to encourage him, pray for him, instruct our children, keep our home clean, ect. If the devil succeeds at cutting off the neck, then the head can not properly, and completely lead. So what does he do? He uses the very thing that we have been taught as young women is a sign of entering into womanhood, something to be cherished, our menstrual cycle. See it’s a silent destroyer. When you get your period, your mother talks to you about all of the side effects and symptoms that come with it so you will be properly prepared and not afraid. They tell you that you will get cramps, you may crave sweet treats, exhaustion may overtake you and you may have mood swings. But don’t be afraid, there is a cure for each symptom. If you have cramps, take some Tylenol. You crave sweets, just eat a Hershey bar. If your exhausted, get some rest and drink plenty of water. As far as the mood swings, others around us are taught to just ignore them and us. The mood swings was the side effect that the Devil chose to use against me. My mood would make me irritated and annoyed easily. I would respond to Josh with short answers. Lay in the bed and allow my thoughts to run laps in my mind, stressing out about everything from bills to goals I didn’t reach, to people who hurt me in the past, giving myself my own little pity party and then taking it out on the person closest to me, Josh. He had no clue what was going on, so feeling attacked, he defended himself and the spat would become an argument. The neck wanted to go one way and the head the other.

On Saturday we came home form a relaxing four day vacation. We had a great time. As soon as we got back we began to head to our church’s Easter Egg Hunt. It was an absolute blast. When we finally arrived home that evening and began to wind down and prepare for Resurrection Sunday. My smile soon turned into a frown. The reality of unpaid bills hit me. My upcoming schedule began to overwhelm me. Josh kept asking me what was wrong and of course my response was “nothing” which is girl code for “I don’t want to be bothered”. That was not a good response for him so of course he kept asking and pushing and I could feel my adrenaline beginning to rise. It was then that the holy spirit spoke to me and said, “It’s coming”. Just like that I snapped out of it. I refused to allow the devil to take advantage of a symptom that I was taught was normal. I chose to take control. I immediately began to pray and ask God to give me strength over my attitude and my feelings. I then thanked him for giving me insight and putting me in a position to see the devils weapons form before they could prosper.

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This got me to thinking over my life. How many times since I was twelve years old had the devil used something so precious to my womanhood to control my words and actions toward my family and friends. How many times could battles have not been turned into wars? How many relationships had I lost because I was blind to his weapons and allowed them to prosper? As I prepare my daughter to welcome her monthly visitor, in addition to the cures that my mother taught me, I plan to teach her about the cure that you don’t have to purchase, it doesn’t require a prescription, it just requires you to listen to the calming whisper of Gods voice and go before him in prayer. It will save you from stress, anxiety, and depression. I will teach her to pray.

 

 

“Now did you think you wouldn’t be held accountable?”

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37).

Growing up, school has always come easy to me. I always excelled in my classes. At one point they wanted to skip me in elementary school. My parents never questioned my homework, did I study for test, was there a project due., ect. They just knew that I would come home with honors. I wasn’t celebrated, it was just expected.

My twin on the other hand, always struggled in school. I would watch him sit at the table for hours after school attempting to complete the work that I breezed through. It just didn’t come as easy for him. He would constantly get in trouble regarding his school work. My parents both worked full time jobs and neither had the patience that he needed to complete his assignments. So, he continued to struggle and literally JUST passed each year.

When I gave birth to my son I noticed various similarities that he and my twin shared. One of the biggest was his struggle with school. Now, I’m going to be honest. If as a young mother I was busy reading to him, and working on his numbers and math with him instead of chasing after his father, and playing detective, he would have certainly been further along and struggled a lot less, BUT, I didn’t, so here we are. He is now a freshman in high school and he is behind his grade level. I must admit, I saw this progressing from middle school, but I was in denial. I made excuses for him instead of really pushing him to work harder.  A few weeks ago, God began to speak to me through visions. He brought back to me the memories of my twin, struggling at the table. I could vividly see the tears in his eyes and the anxiety that plagued his mind. Behind him I could see what was actually not there, and that was the support from our parents. It became clear to me that God was showing me what could very well happen to my son if I didn’t step in and cut off that generational curse. So I jumped into action. I began calling the administrators, and requesting meetings. Really talking to my son and seeking God in prayer for direction. As I laid before God one evening last week he placed on my heart the spirit of conviction. I mean this thing tore me up. He began to show me the various parts of my son’s struggle that I needed to own. He showed me the time I rang the door bell of my son’s father’s home, and then ran to my car down the street, and watched the door until he came and picked my son up out of his car seat. He showed me how I wouldn’t answer the phone none of the ten times his father called me because I felt like I was justified since he was slacking off as a father. He showed me the times I cussed his father out in front of him or refused to send him clothes for the weekend because I felt his father needed to spend some money on him. Now don’t get me wrong, my son never lacked of anything materialistic. He was well taken care of, but for the first three years of his life my main focus wasn’t on him like it should have been, it was on making his father miserable for hurting me. God showed me all of that AND some and then asked, “Now did you think you wouldn’t be held accountable?”.

See, we think that those actions don’t affect our kids because they were so young. We convince ourselves that they couldn’t possibly remember that, but the truth is they do. When we hurt, they hurt. When we cried, they cried. When we screamed, it scared them. The anxiety they feel, that’s because of the situations that we placed them in the middle of. When we used them as a pawn in the games we played, we planted rejection in their spirit.  We did that…I did that. So now 14 years later, I am trying to repair damage that I did physiologically, that is manifesting it’s self through his school work, and his behavior and I feel like as his mother, the person who carried him within her womb, who had such great plans for his life and even had great intentions, has failed him. What now?

God sent me reassurance through one of his servants. He said that my son will be okay, but as for me, this is not a storm that he will pull me out of, this is a storm that I must weather and it won’t be easy. In fact it will be hard. It will hurt. I’m going to cry. I’m going to scream. I’m going to be angry, but in the end, my son will have the victory.

My First Memory of Life.

“Everybody get on the floor!”, that’s what the officer yelled as the police raided the place I called home. My brother and I were somewhere between 3 and 5 years of age when Bridgeport police kicked in the door of the crack house we lived in with our mother and grandmother. I remember sitting there, aware. Not scared, not sad, just aware. Aware of what had become normal for me. This wasn’t the first time the crack house had been raided and it certainly wouldn’t be the last, but this time it was different. I was aware.

As they dragged several people away in handcuffs, I realized my mother was one of them. She was high and seemingly clueless as to what was going on. As my grandmother held us, high herself, the last officer looked at her and said “next time we’ll be taking them with us” as he pointed to my brother and I and then they were gone. Just as fast as they invaded our “home”, they were gone.

Not too long thereafter, maybe a few days or so, we received yet another surprise visit. Late in the night. I heard a knock on the door and when my grandmother opened it, in they came like soldiers. One grabbed me and the other scooped up my brother. Just like that we were now in the custody of the Department of Children and Families and life as we knew it would never be the same.

This blog is simply a place for me to share my story. To tell my truth. Come along with me as I take you on a journey called life. Some said it was impossible, but God made an impossible life, Possible.IMG_6501

The System Was Good to Me.

Most foster care stories are sad. They are abused, scared, moved from one home to another, mistreated, ect. I didn’t have that experience. After being removed from my home, I was immediately admitted into Park City Hospital in Bridgeport, CT. I lived in that hospital for several months until I could be placed into a temporary foster home.

The home that I was placed into was located at 161 Sixth Street, I’ll never forget that address. We were placed with the Mackey Family. This was where I was introduced for the first time to God. The Mackey’s was a Pastor and First Lady. When were first placed with them they were using their basement as a church home, but not too long after that they acquired a building. At this new church is where I learned to usher, and sing in the choir. It’s the place that I learned how to serve. All of the Mackey kids were involved in the church, no exceptions.

One Sunday I was sitting in church. I happened to turn around and was blinded by a bright light. The light was coming from two pews behind me. I felt like there was an angel sitting right behind me. I couldn’t stop turning around to look into the face of this angel. Immediately after church I wanted to speak to this angel. She was older than me by probably 8 or 9 years. I found out that her name was Sylvia. I was in love. Something just drew me to her. I’d like to think it was the divine plan of God. Sylvia was visiting the church with her siblings. I never knew why she came, but to this day I believe she was sent by God just for me. For two weeks I begged my foster mother, Mrs. Mackey, “can we take her home?, please can we take her home?”. One Sunday we finally did, we took her home to live with us. Sylvia played a pivotal role in my life. She spoiled me. She took me on her dates, she listened to me speak my fears, she held me when I cried, she calmed my very soul. She literally protected me, she was my rock, Sylvia was my angel.

One afternoon, my foster siblings and I were playing in the back yard. I suddenly heard someone call out “Sana, I’m over here Sana, come to the gate” when I ran to the gate before me stood my mother. I birth mother. It had been at least a year since I watched her being dragged away by the police, and now here she was right in front of my very eyes. As I ran to open the gate to hug her, I was cut off my foster mother. She screaming for me to get in the house. “You can’t be here” she told my mom, “how did you find them?, you can’t see them”. I was pushed into the house and for what seemed like hours, I stood at the door sobbing as my mother stood on the other side begging to see her babies. I think I cried myself to sleep sitting at that door and finally the banging on the door stopped and the sound of my mother calling my name was gone. She was gone.

Life with the Mackey’s was good. I can’t remember bad times there. I was comfortable. I was home.

On October 1, 1990 my life went through another shift. I went off to school with my siblings as I normally did, I said by to Sylvia and walked to Newfield elementary school. At Lunch time I was called to the lunch room. The lunch room was decorated for a party. balloons, gifts, the whole nine. I was quite surprised and confused. My 8th birthday was a few days away so surely this was not a birthday party so what was going on?. Suddenly my social worker Ms. Gay walked in the room. She said to me, surprise, this is your going away adoption party. Huh?, Adoption party? “Yes” she stated. Today your going to live with your new family, the Mayfield’s.

I never got to go back to 161 Sixth Street. I never said goodbye to Sylvia. I never said goodbye to the Mackey’s. I was placed in the car where all of my clothes were already packed and in the trunk, and away we went. Next stop, New Britain, CT.

Talk About a Divine Connection

Last night in bible study my co pastor was speaking on Peter, a Jew and Cornelius, a gentile. She was teaching from Acts chapter 10. She was explaining how God used Peter to bring salvation even though by religion, Jews and Gentiles did not have any relationship with each other. But because of God and his divine connection he brought these two gentleman together for the sake of salvation.

I began to ponder this thing called divine connections and began to reminisce on my life, which to me is one big story of divine connection, but one part of my life in particular. Now, I’m going to fast forward my story a bit, but because I am literally writing this blog according to God’s direction, this is where he directed me to, August 2006.

One summer, almost fall day, I found myself in a crazy situation. My son’s father was coming to pick him up for the weekend. Now I knew there was going to be some mess because there always was. This day he decided that he was going to bring his new girlfriend along for the ride. When they finally arrived at my cousins house, where I was staying until my apartment was ready, it seemed like this was going to be an easy send off. But as I strapped my son into the back seat of his car, he made a comment, I’m not even sure what the comment was, but whatever it was, it was enough to set me off. Now when I say set me off, I mean set me OFF. I literally blacked out. He began calling me every demeaning name he could think of, right in front of our son. When he sat down in the front seat and closed his  door, I immediately jumped into the back seat, directly behind him, grabbed the gold link chain he was wearing around his neck, and pulled it until his head was strapped to the headrest. I’m not sure how long I held him like that, or where I got the strength from, but I didn’t snap out of it until my cousin’s husband was able to carry me out of the car. Oh, but it didn’t stop there. When I was able to get free, I took a hammer that I found in the driveway and proceeded to try and bust the windows out the car while I grabbed my son out the back seat. My cousins husband yet again grabbed me up and this time put me in the house.

“Sana, snap out of it!!, what is wrong with you??” My cousin screamed. “Look at your hands, their bleeding all over the place”, “You have got to stop allowing him to have this power over you!”After I cleaned myself up, and looked myself in the mirror, I realized I didn’t know the girl staring back at me. Somewhere along the way, when I thought I was in Love with a man, I stopped loving myself. I sat down and I cried out to God, “God, I’m tired of THIS. I’m tired of being tired, I need you God. I just want to be loved. When are you going to send me someone who loves me for ME??”.

That night I cried and prayed myself to sleep. The next morning I awake to my cousin shaking me, “Get up, you need to go to church” she said. “Girl I’m not going to nobody’s church, do you see how I look? Look at my hands, their bandaged up”, “If you go with us to church this one time, I won’t ask you again” “Okay fine, I’ll go.”

I’ll never forget that day. It was raining and as we walked up to the church I noticed this guy on crutches, talking on his cell phone. As we walked by I turned to my cousins husband and said, “I’m going to marry him.” He looked at me and laughed, “Sana are you serious? You don’t even know him and you almost went to jail for murder yesterday”. We went into church and I couldn’t even pay attention to the message, I just stared at the guy from outside who was now playing the drums. At the end of service, they did the announcements and the lady called up Bro. Josh Cotten, he had an additional announcement to make. Well Josh Cotten turned out to be the pastors baby son. My cousins husband turned to me and said, “you still want to marry him?” “I sure do, and when this is over, I need you to give him my number”, “what? I’m not giving that man your number, girl you in church”. Long story short, I ended up approaching Josh myself and I asked for his number, his response was “I don’t normally give females my number in church, so I’ll give it to your cousin and then he can give it to you” No problem, that works for me.

Josh and I ended up talking later that night, and went on our first date that Friday. Our date conversation went like this:

Me: Listen, I don’t have time for games, so if you playing games then we can end this now. I’m trying to be married.

Josh: Well just know that even if you have a baby by me,  I won’t marry you until I’m ready.

Just like that we were an item. I moved into my apartment 2 days later and he moved in with me. He proposed on July 4, 2007 and we married on August 14, 2007.

Now that wasn’t even what makes this a divine connection. This is what makes me a divine connection. Prior to Josh proposing, he took me to meet  his grandmother, Nana. When I walked in, Nana says to me “I know you already”.  “You do?”, yeah hold on, I’ll be right back. She goes in her room and comes back a few minutes later and hands me a photo. The photo is a photo of me and my twin brother when we lived in Bridgeport with our foster family.

My God. It was already his plan. Joshua Cotten is my Peter, God sent him to me to bring salvation.