“When Ms. Ripley first observed the scars on my body, she promptly made plans for me to join their family…”

Both my brother and I spent a significant portion of our childhoods living in foster care. It was his good fortune to be adopted by a family by the name of Ripley.

In the span of three years, I moved out of four different houses, and each one was far less desirable than the previous one. Every few months, I would get the opportunity to visit with my brother.

Ms. Ripley used to take us to McDonalds for lunch on a regular basis, and that’s when she first became aware of the scars that covered my whole body. Almost immediately, she began making preparations for me to become part of their family.

When I was younger, the concept of family was not very important to me, however, the Ridleys made me feel at ease while I was at their abode. Whenever I was in the habit of acting inappropriately, Ms. Ripley would take me aside and discuss the reasons why my behavior was unacceptable.

In a very short amount of time after I had joined the family, Mr. Ripley was given a cancer diagnosis.

Additionally, he passed away later on in that same year. The whole of Ms. Ripley’s universe came crashing down.

They’d been inseparable throughout their time in high school. And at this point, she was all by herself with the two foster children.

Nobody could have faulted her for bringing us back to the beginning, however, rather than that, she brought us to court and made the decision final. After moving the three of us into a single wide trailer in the state of Mississippi, she became our mother and reared us there.

She took whatever random jobs she could find to make a living. Even though we were poor, we made sure to see movies whenever we could. We got together as a family to play games.

She kept us active by enrolling us in activities like little league and Boy Scouts, she must have been under a great deal of pressure, yet it is in no way what I recall about her.

I am only able to recall the assurance that she provided to me. It was never anything other than, “You’re clever.” Also, “You have a good looking face.”  And, “You made it through all of that because you’re stronger than it”.

She shed tears when I joined the Marine Corps, but she understood that doing so was my greatest opportunity to attend college.

And in the end, I was granted my degree from the legal school. The previous year, I became a parent to my own little girl.

And it really sent my emotional state into a complete whirlwind. because I came to the realization that the smallest decisions I make would have a significant impact on her future.

After that, I began pondering how drastically different the course of my life may have been. Because the way I developed as a youngster was the exact opposite of how it should have been for a child. I ought to be shattered, yet I’m not at all.

Because my mother made the decision to retain me thirty years ago. And yet, somehow, despite all the pain and suffering she endured, Mom managed to pour enough love into me so that I could get well.

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