by Pristine Parr
I meet people all the time who want to write a book. Either they think they have led a fabulous and exciting life people want to read about or they burn to tell some story their way, giving people an inside look at something most believe they already know but don’t.
Before the movie Wolf of Wall Street, I met a man who claimed to know all the inside dirt about the NYSE and really wanted to write about it. I say claim because the way the movie Wolf of Wall Street showed the open prostitution, excessive drug use and generally amoral nature of those in the financial district, drove home his point, we: teachers, workers, average Joes, give these people our hard earned money for most of our working life and we have no idea who these people REALLY are.
His story was fascinating, and although he wanted me to help him tell it, I have found that very few people have the patience and resolve to REALLY tell their own story. They like short shorts, little anecdotes, elaborating ad nauseam about imagined scenes, but when it comes to actually tackling the blank page or, even telling someone else, so that a fully fleshed out experience can emerge, they lose steam. My former Wall Street informant never showed up for a single meeting, and that story, about a black man, working during the height of the bull market in 90’s, has yet to be told.
So I offer this to you, dear reader, who may want to write your own story. When I reread my story, a fictionalized account of what it was like to lose custody of my children, I saw a few truly amazing things:
First, a force greater than myself allowed me to endure that experience without completely caving in to despair. I call this force God, and reading what I went through is like reading a prayer. Anyone who has ever read David’s prayer in Psalms 86 knows what I mean. When David said,
Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
That is real yall! The Hearer of Prayers answered my prayers, too!
Which brings me to the next thing I learned:
My faith in God became as strong as a mountain then. Had I not gone through that I would not be the strong woman of unshakable faith I am now.
Finally, seeing my story all ripe and ready to be plucked from the tree of obscurity, I got an eery feeling of greater destiny intervening on my behalf. I am telling the story I was meant to tell, in the way I was meant to tell it.
I am writing about a depressing subject, but no one who reads my story will fail to see the humor, the wisdom, the absurdity of the situation.
Like the character in Slum Dog Millionaire, I saw
How being raised in a home full of foster children taught me to have compassion and sensitivity toward children
How being adopted (and not having that suspicion confirmed for years) and being raised around children who were separated from their parents, sharpened my sense of loss and gave me an intense fear of abandonment, a fear so profound at one time it caused me to endanger my life in relationships with people who refused to let go
And how I could not know that all that I thought I knew as a child about fosterkids was true. I was taught early that these were all abused, neglected and abandoned children. When years later, my foster brother Norman told me this was not true, in his own case his family was just grieving a close family member’s death, and Child Protective Services (CPS) had stepped in and made the situation worse, I did not believe him. I thought he was seeing things in a childish, exaggerated way.
Now that I know how ruthless CPS has been since at least the 80’s, and how people in the 50’s and 60’s were kidnapping children for childless parents, I know baby peddling and child trafficking has a long and sordid history.
I hope to do my part to completely destroy it. I hope you join me.