My whole life while growing up, I never knew what it had in store for me
or even what it was going to be like as an adult.
many young men/women just graduating from High School or even College
know a little about what they want to do but can sometimes have doubt.
Many may wonder; what do I do now? Or how do I better myself and my
the other hand I had no clue as to what I wanted to do or even where I
wanted to be. Many teacher’s would ask while in school the most popular
question of all; Where do you see yourself in ten or even fifteen years
from now? I had no clue or idea.
since the fifth grade I knew I wanted to be an Author and write books.
Writing has and always will be a passion of mine. Once I left school I
never thought that I would stop my writing, after all my goals in life
was to pursue my dreams.
the next couple years I worked many different jobs but never felt like
it was what I was supposed to do or even where I was meant to be. Don’t
get me wrong I loved working especially for the two summers that I
worked for the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. I loved this job and
loved the outdoors, more importantly I really loved the opportunity to
work in the state parks.
end of my second year I realized that I wanted a career in Forestry and
the Parks. It made me very happy and I loved every minute. I wanted to
go down this road and see where life would take me.
while at my local career center I found an advertisement for Job Corps
in Limestone, Maine. It stated that they had a field of study in
Forestry. All excited I soaked up this moment and registered online to
after, I forgot all about my application into job corps. Then, one day
in the mail I received a package from them. Inside was a congratulations
letter, airplane tickets and directions to the center.
At this moment I took a deep breath in
and released it with lots of excitement; knowing that my life was now
going to begin. I wanted more than anything to make something out of my
life, but most importantly to better myself.
The bus ride to Boston International
Airport seemed long. At the same time I found myself getting very
nervous. This was going to be my first trip ever on an airplane. I also
battled the fear of heights. I was always afraid of it, more so of
crashing into the ocean.
Once boarded, that was when my anxiety
kicked into over drive. All I knew was that I refused to sit anywhere’s
near the window. The taking off part was not as bad as I thought it
would be. What hit me the most was the turbulence while traveling.
The second part that made me very
queasy was the landing. For the most part I really liked the experience
of flying and would do it again.
When I arrived later that night in
Presque Isle, Maine’s International Airport, I had no idea where to go
or even who to be looking for.
I went to the front counter and asked a
worker where do I go for Job Corp? He kindly pointed me out to a
gentleman who was waiting in the lobby for me and a few other students.
He introduced himself as we all did in return.
Within approximately forty minutes we
arrived on center. I wanted to see the center but it was too late at
night to see anything. The driver brought each of us to our dorms where
we where introduced to our night staff and other students.
I was shown my room after checking in
and a complete luggage check. This was done for safety reasons and to
make sure that no one had anything that would hurt themselves or others.
By the time this process was done I was
ready for bed and to relax. Within minutes I was out and did not wake up
until staff came knocking on the door to let us know it was time to get
ready for breakfast then class.
Once fully awake, I was excited and
ready to begin my day. When I stepped outside the dorm I immediately
felt lost. This center seemed so huge to me. The cafeteria was not too
far away from the dorms but the trade classes and the education building
where separated and spread apart a good distance as well as the on
campus recreation room.
When I arrived to the classroom where
the new students went for testing to see where we are at educational
wise and for our tour of the center, I was disappointed to find out that
there was no Forestry trade. This was an error on the website.
In return I had to pick out another
trade of interest. I chose the HBI trade. (Home Builders Institute).
This I also liked because it was based on painting homes both interior
and exterior. I did very well in this class; within the two weeks I was
there I already was close to phasing out on my level A. There are two
levels, level A and level B. Then once completed you have the choice to
both graduate and return home or to attend an advanced training course
in the field through Boston.
By this time I no longer wanted to
attend job corp. I felt that it wasn’t what I really wanted and I was
still bummed that I could not do the training in the field I really
Five days later I returned back to
Vermont. I was unhappy because I expected so much to happen and wanted
so much. Two days later I realized that it was time for a change, not
only for me but my surroundings in general. This was a very rough choice
for me to make; after thinking long and hard about things, I came to the
decision that moving to Caribou, Maine would be the right thing for me
This whole new move and lifestyle would
give me the opportunity to grow. By moving it would also help me figure
out my life and what I want to make out of it. When I arrived back in
Maine I resided with a friend for a few months while I saved up money to
get a place of my own.
It felt great to be on my own and
independent. Though I missed my family back home, at this moment in time
I strongly felt that Maine is where I am supposed to be.
Quickly, a year had passed. I couldn’t
believe how time just seemed to fly by since leaving high school. Maine
seemed to be going well for me, but I still had no direction as to where
I wanted to go with my life and career.
I dated a guy I met while in job corps,
a few months down the road I ended up pregnant with my son Cooper. I was
a very excited and happy mother to be, planning my future and dreams as
Shortly after finding out the good news
my boyfriend left us and moved to Illinois. Though I was very upset
about this I knew that I had only myself to rely on. Throughout my
pregnancy I faced many arguments with my ex and a couple with family.
I began doubting myself as a mother.
Wondering if keeping my son would be in the best interest for him. I
wanted him to be happy, loved and felt that I wouldn’t be able to offer
him things like family vacations, activities etc. This being because I
was limited on income and just wanted so much for him and his future.
Time passed on quickly, before I knew it
I was about five months along. Still doubting myself I looked into a
program in Houlton for single moms who are looking at the possibilities
of adoption for their child.
After seeing the site and thinking long
and hard during the trip; I realized that I wanted to be his mother that
yes I may struggle finance wise, but I would give him lots of
unconditional love and support him in any way I can.
Before I knew it, time came to have my
wonderful bundle of joy. As I held him close to me and herd his first
cry; it was then that I realized I had made the best decision and I
could not wait to start our lives together.
Two days later, my son was transported
down state to Bangor, Maine. When their; we both faced many upcoming
challenges that would be very tough to deal with, but would be worth it
so much in the end and draw us even more closer.
In a five minute time frame I found out
that my son had three holes in his heart and would soon need open heart
surgery and that he is diagnosed with Down Syndrome. This was very
emotional and hard for me to take in all at once.
I didn’t know anything about Cooper’s
medical problems and had no clue what would be in store for us. The
cardiologist team informed me that they had a home for kids like Cooper,
that many parents give their child up to the agency because of their
high level of needs and medical procedures.
I swallowed hard, replying back to them
that Cooper is my son and I will not give him up. Even though there’s a
lot to handle and deal with over the years, I refused to turn my back on
When I returned back to the Bangor
Ronald McDonald House I went to my room and cried hard for over two
hours. I was very scared for my son, I didn’t know how soon he would
need his surgery or even if he would live or not.
I felt that all my dreams and goals I
had set for us and the future was just shattered to pieces. My son would
have a hard time in school, be picked on and would not be able to do
many things that other children do like sports or even develop at their
At seven weeks old Cooper was air flown
to Portland Maine. Cooper had gone into heart failure and if he did not
receive open heart surgery soon he would end up dying.
I have never been as afraid in my life
as I did at that moment in time. When I went to see my son in his room;
he lay their so helpless. He wouldn’t drink his formula at all and was
Cooper got to the point where he was
weighing only five pounds. When I met with the specialist he had
informed me that now is the time for his surgery or he won’t make it.
His surgery was then scheduled for the following day.
I cried as I held my fragile and weak
son. I thought to myself that he wasn’t going to make it due to being so
weak and young. I called my parents in Vermont crying to let them know
what was going on with their grandson.
About an hour later my mother had called
me back at the hospital to see how I was doing. It was good to hear her
voice again. Mom informed me that she and dad were going to be here for
me in the afternoon for support. I was very happy and thankful that my
parents would take the time to make a four to five hour drive to be here
That night I was not able to sleep. When
it was time to carry my son down to the surgery ward my heart broke. As
I handed my son off to the nurses I broke down and cried. They took him
in at 11am. The nurse gave me a hug and told me to stay strong that
everything would be ok.
At 1pm I met my parents outside in the
main parking lot. They asked me if I heard anything on Cooper yet. I
didn’t have any information to give them; I was even getting a little
worried because I was told he would be out by 2pm at the latest.
Time seemed to go by so slow. I sat in
the waiting room of the intensive care unit with my family patiently
awaiting any news. By 3pm I still herd no word from anyone, then a half
hour later I was informed that they could not stop the bleeding and he
had to be put back on life support as they were going to try and go back
in to fix the problem.
By 8:30pm I was scared something bad had
happened. Mom and dad knew I was very upset; I could tell in my parents
eyes that they too where beginning to get worried. Within minutes the ER
surgeon and another doctor came into the waiting room.
The doctor introduced himself and shook
my hand. “Your son is such a fighter, he is stable and will be in his
room in about fifteen minutes then shortly after you can see him. Cooper
went through being on/off life support three times and needed a blood
He also informed me that the next 24
hours would be very critical, that anything could happen. Keeping that
in the back of my mind, I just wanted to hurry and see my baby.
When time come for me and my parents to
see Cooper I was not prepared to see what he looked like. Once I entered
his room I had to walk back out for a minute. I wanted to break down.
My son lay in his dipper on a huge bed
hooked to lots of monitors with lots of wires running through him for
his pace maker as well as a catheter and draining tubes from his chest.
Cooper was on a respirator and cut wide open from his chest down. They
had to even break his chest bone to cut him for his surgery. Dad took a
picture of him to put in his photo album so we can look back at what he
went through and how he survived every minute of it.
We didn’t stay too long because we all
were very tired and cooper was unconscious anyways. I gave my son a
kiss, rubbed his forehead, and while holding his hand I told him that I
loved him and would see him in the morning.
That night I was able to sleep better. I
thanked my parents once again for being there for the both of us and
told them over and over how much it meant. When we went to see Cooper
before my parents had to head back home, Cooper was doing ok. He did
however spike a 102 temp within minutes. The nurses had to ice him down
to get the temp down; they even had to give him an antibiotic and
Within a couple hours his temperature
went back to normal. Cooper’s first week in the ICU seemed long. The
whole week he battled coming off the respirator, he just could not
breathe on his own. Finale the very last day of the week he was able to
come off it. He still needed oxygen to help him but he only needed this
for about four days.
By the third week I am able to sit in a
rocking chair next to his bed and hold him. When I finale got to hold my
son in my arms I held him close to me. Not wanting to let him go but at
the same time scared to hold him because I was afraid that I was hurting
As the days pass day by day and week by
week, we finale found ourselves being in Portland for a month. This
seemed like forever to me, I could not wait to go home and see all my
friends again. Most importantly I was glad that my son lived and
overcame so much.
To this day Cooper is still my little
fighter and means more to me than anything. He completes me and who I
Since then the years went by even
faster. It would seem like we just would start a year then before we
knew it there would only be a couple more months left in the year.
By the time that cooper turned four I
had another child. This time a healthy baby girl I named Emily. Cooper
hated the idea of having to share me let alone the idea of another
child. Cooper for awhile turned against me, wanting nothing to do with
For the first two years of Emily’s birth
Cooper’s workers, school and I, have been working consistently so Cooper
will be nicer to his sister. Though he is doing much better now, we
still find ourselves every now and again struggling with that.
When Emily turned two and Cooper was
only five I found myself facing problems that were out of my control. My
ex-fiancé was very abusive but thankfully never hurt my kids. I wouldn’t
let it happen anyways.
Once I called the police and reported
him and put a restraining order on him that he agreed too; I thought
that my life would slowly start to get back to normal. I wanted to be a
better mother to my kid’s and I did not want them seeing or hearing
But once again things back fired. When
my ex would not leave me alone and kept breaking into my house, I finale
broke. Soon found myself in a crisis unit. At that moment in time I
thought and felt like I was doing what was right. I protected my family
from an ex, got a restraining order, and reported events to the local
Little did I realize that by admitting
myself for help in dealing with all the abuse, I was not completely 100%
taking care of my kids. I needed to help myself first then I could be a
parent to my kids.
Then the second day at the unit a DHHS
Child Protective Case Worker came to see me. When we got to talking by
the end of the visit she informed me that my kid’s where going to be
placed into the states custody.
I began to rebel against her and the
department. I was very angry at everyone including myself. For the
longest time I kept asking myself was everything did worth me losing my
kids? Why is that when I try to do the right thing and protect myself
and kids that I get penalized and the kids get removed?
Many thoughts ran through my head for
several months. I kept kicking myself in the butt, wishing things where
better and that the kids where home with me where they belonged.
Four months since the kid’s removal I
felt very lost. I felt like my whole world was crumbling down. That my
life was worthless. I had lost everything and just didn’t care anymore.
I lost my car I just got, I was losing my apartment, I lost over half my
income, but most importantly I lost my two wonderful and amazing kids.
I lived my day each day for them. They
were the reason I got up each day, they kept me busy, we loved each
other unconditional, and we were a family.
As each day continued to pass by I felt
myself drifting away. I refused to eat, slept all day, wouldn’t talk to
anyone including my family, and even got to the point where I was making
up a list and plan of different things I could do to end my life.
By that following weekend I felt as low
as I could ever get. Mother’s Day was the next Sunday, it really hurt me
because I was not seeing my kids and rarely talking to them on the
phone. I hurt so bad, all I wanted was my kids and for us to be together
At 7am I took my car for one last drive.
I was going to lose it on Monday anyways because I could no longer
afford payments and insurance.
I drove around town for ten minutes
thinking of what I could run my car into or over a hill. I wanted
something that would work quickly and kill me at the same time.
I broke down and cried. I felt so weak,
alone, helpless. I felt as though I don’t belong or that I should not
live. I pulled my car into the first parking lot I came to.
It happened to be a church. There were
so many different churches I could have gone to, but for some reason I
chose the Caribou Assembly Of God Church.
After three hours of sitting in my car
debating on going into the church or not; I finale got out of my car and
walked towards the church doors.
It felt as though something was leading
me there, telling me to try it and that all would be alright. When I
walked into the church I immediately felt a sigh of relief over my body.
I was welcomed by all and felt like I
mattered. Throughout the whole service I was amazed and happy. People
where so friendly and kind, they hugged you and shook your hand. By the
end of the service the Pastor and his wife introduced themselves to me
and welcomed me into their church.
When I walked back out of the church I
felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, for the first time in months
I laughed and smiled. I felt as though I was a new person and all my
troubles where taken away.
I no longer had or wanted the need to
hurt myself. From that Sunday morning on was the begging of a new life
and start for me.
I went each week and attended services
that were asked of me to better myself as a parent, I went to church
faithfully each week and just loved being around everyone and getting to
know God better.
Before I knew it by July at the next
team meeting I had, due to all the progress I had made and the changes
that have been made allowed me to be able to have visitations three days
a week for one and a half hours each visit. I also was able to call my
kids and talk to them on the nights I did not see them.
I was very happy. My life was slowly
starting to get back on track. I continued going each week to church,
preying and continuously believing in my God. For I strongly believe in
all my heart and soul that our God is amazing, awesome, holy, but most
One night when I lay down to sleep I got
to thinking about my God and how amazing he truly is. When I thought
more and more about him I realized that he had always been there for me.
Once I began thinking about it more and
more I realized that God herd me and was there for me and Cooper while
he was going through his open heart surgery. Especially when I was told
the next morning that a little boy with the same weight, age, and
medical problems went in for his surgery right after Cooper; he did not
The news never sunk in with me or hit me
until I realized exactly how many times God looked over me and protected
me. When I counted all those times I was very amazed and felt closer to
It was then that I realized I wanted a
new life, a new start. I wanted to live my life for God. To worship,
obey and love him. I wanted to commit myself totally to him and was
ready to learn more and more each week about our awesome God.
On August 1st 2010 will be a
day that I will never forget. It was a very powerful, wonderful, amazing
and emotional day for me and the other 8 people from church.
This was the day that all of us chose to
give our hearts and soul completely to God. As each of us one by one got
baptized, I felt completeness over me. When my turn had come I was
scared not of being baptized but because one I was fearfully afraid of
water and two because the fear of being put under water even if it was
only for a second.
The most emotional part not only for me,
but many others was my testimony of how God saved me. This is so true
and has even inspired a couple people attending the event. Below is a
copy of my testimony I gave
“Seven months ago I lost everything that
was important to me. I was about to lose my car, my apartment, but most
importantly I lost my kids to the state. The day that they were taken
from me I could feel my whole world come crashing down and my heart
breaking into a million pieces.
Throughout my whole life I battled with
temptations and sin, it even got to the point where it took control of
me. It even got to the point where off and on since fifteen all I wanted
to do was die. I was very unhappy and no longer wanted to live, I would
attempt suicide by overdosing but thankfully never succeeded.
I just could not bear or handle anything
anymore. But that Sunday morning, a week before Mother’s Day; I sat
parked in your parking lot for over two hours. Debating on rather to go
inside or just go home.
Finale I went inside your church. When I
opened the church doors for the first time my whole life changed for the
best and I got a second chance at life.
I was a very lost sole, I got to the
point I didn’t care about anyone or anything except to die. I honestly
thought this time I was not going to come out of my depression, that
that day was going to be my last day.
But God, your church and everyone in it,
including you Pastor Tony and Sister Angela helped me out so much and
made me feel welcomed. Everyone at the church made me feel like I
matter, like I am someone. You all helped make me realize too that I
have two beautiful and wonderful children who need me and love me very
I am so thankful for everyone and finale
finding and accepting God into my life. I realized that I am no longer
the person I was before and I never want to go down that long dark,
scary road again.
Grant it temptations and sin still haunt
me and try to take over every now and then, but as long as I have my
faith, God, church, and everyone else hear by my side you all will help
pull me through my darkest hours.
For I Love you God and am so thankful to
have you in my life for you have saved me. You turned me into a new and
better person. Now all I want to do is love you, worship you, and obey
By the middle of August I had another
family team meeting. This one was very different and unlike the prior
one. Half way through I was informed that the kids where going to be
coming back home for a temporary placement to see how we do.
I smiled from ear to ear, my heart raced
with excitement and joy. If I could have I would have probably jumped up
On September 5th we all meet
once again to see where things were at. At this meeting things got even
better for me. I found out that they would be coming home on September
The Department informed me that if all
continued to go well in January of 2011 when the Department and I went
back to court I would be looking at getting my guardianship back.
After the meeting I left with a huge
smile. I walked through my apartment door, closed it and jumped up and
down yelling with excitement “YES!”
Before I knew it my wonderful kids where
finale back home where they belonged. We were finale able to be a family
again. As the kids each gave me a huge hug and kiss after running to me,
I felt so much joy.
When it was time for my kids to lay down
for bed I could not help but check in on them every ten minutes. Once
they both were sound asleep I sat on the floor next to each of them,
held their hands, kissed them and told them each just how much I love
As I watched my kids sleeping so sound
and peacefully, a tear rolled down my face. This was only tears of joy;
my heart melted because it was then I realized my kids where home to
stay and reality of having them back kicked in.
Looking back now at everything that has
happened in the past seven months, I have realized that even though I
don’t want to admit it, I am glad that the kids were removed.
This gave me the time I needed and the
one and only opportunity to find myself. To get the help I needed so I
can be a better parent for my kids. It also gave me the chance to
connect with God, develop a relationship with him and also with my
God has saved me in so many ways. He
made me a better person and opened my eyes up. Because of him and my
faith I have become a better person. Most importantly I grew not only in
faith but as a person and mother.
I learned many valuable lessons over the
past seven months that have changed me even more. One that really seems
to hit home to me is that God loves us unconditionally even through our
sins. That he loved us so much he died for us all.
Without God and the second chance at
life that he has given me, I know I would not be where I am today.
Because of him I am a stronger and
better person. I will never turn my back on him and owe him so much, for
I will always love and worship our God.
I encourage many of you that feel lost
or empty to open your hearts to the word of God. Take it day by day and
allow yourselves five-ten minutes a day to pray to him. Ask for his
forgiveness and he shall do, except him into your life and he will
change it for the better. God is amazing and so powerful he works
miracles day after day always watching out for people even if they do
All that our God wants us to do is to
believe in him, obey and worship him. For the more you grow in him the
more miracles you will see in your own life.
If you except him totally and open
hearted and commit to him as your God and Savior you will be saved from
all sin. To me that alone is awesome.
Find a church you feel conferrable with
then when time comes and your ready ask to be baptized. It’s well worth
it and draws you even closer to him.
Obey his ten commandments, continue to
grow and learn his word, but most importantly spread the news of how he
touched your life and saved you so that many others can be saved and
follow the words of our God.
You will see a change, it will be worth
all of it, though it may take some time in the end the reward will be so
much greater; for we will be in our God’s kingdom and stand by his side.
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