In my second foster home, the mother was very nice to me but her husband wasn’t. He was abusive and he was an addict. I had to physically defend her many times. He wanted kids of his own, but he felt like I was invading their marriage. I was eleven when they took me back because “it just wasn’t working out”.

By fifteen, I had lived with four different families, but none of them felt like it was the right fit. I knew that I would only have one more shot at trying to find a family before becoming an adult. If I didn’t mesh well with a family by my eighteenth birth, I could guarantee I would be on my own for the rest of my life. 

I let go of my stubbornness and set my mind to make it work. If I was given a last chance, I was going to make it this time. I had to; I wasn’t going to waste this opportunity. 

The lady in the suit was replaced by another lady in the suit. I didn’t know who she was when she came in to talk to me.

“Abby, there’s a family who would like to meet you before making any final decisions. Do you want to meet them?”

“Yes!” I said with enthusiasm. 

She said, “but, remember is just a meeting. Don’t get your hopes up. They couldn’t have kids of their own, so they’re more open to the idea of having someone of your age. You know this could be a miracle; an answered prayer!”

“I understand, I’ll be on my best behavior,” I declared.

On Saturday, the big day, the lady in the suit came to pick me up to meet the new family. I got into the car and while she drove, I prayed.

“Are you okay Abby?” she asked.

“Yes, I’m fine. I’m just very anxious… I hope they like me.”

“Just be yourself, Abby. You’ll love you.”

We finally arrived at this gorgeous house. It was large and something I could never have dreamed of. We walked up the wide staircase to the main door. Without a pause, the lady in the suit rang the doorbell and I felt a knot in my stomach tighten. As I heard the clinging of the bell, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened my eyes, we were greeted by a  butler who opened the door. He said “Good day. Please follow me.” He guided us to a library.

“Wait here, please.” He said. 

The lady in the suit and I sat on one of the sofas. I was mesmerized by all of the books; the high walls were covered. It was breathtaking, to say the least. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man and woman walk into the room. 

“Spectacular isn’t it. We are avid readers, as you could have guessed. Hello, I’m Kathleen Mary and this is my husband, Henry. It’s so nice to finally meet you.”

I stood up to greet them. 

With confidence, I said, “Hello Mrs. and Mr. Mary. My name is Abby”. At that moment, I can’t explain what happened, but it was magical. Something just fit, and I could tell that I wasn’t the only one that felt it. Something just felt so right, so perfect. I felt like I belonged and I could sense that they felt it too; I was the missing piece to their puzzle. I found my forever family.

Mr. Mary was a diplomat, and over the next three years, we lived in different cities. During that time of traveling, I learned Japanese while living in Tokyo, Hebrew while living in Jerusalem and Russian while living in Moscow. At my school, I had the opportunity to speak Spanish and French, so I stayed fluent. English became my primary and educational language. Mr. Mary was very well educated; he used to force me to read a list of books in the original languages.

Mrs. Mary taught me so much about the world and etiquette. She hired help to come to the house to teach me different customs and cultural things from many places around the world. I was most fascinated by literature and the arts.

Mr. Mary hired an ex-military teacher who taught me self-defense, international security protocols and even taught me how to play chess. I didn’t have any time to make friends, but I never complained. I wanted their approval, and I genuinely wanted to please them. 

Mrs. Mary used to take me with her to her cocktail hours and tea meetings with friends. She dressed me up and taught me about posture and manners. She also taught me that sometimes we had to dress casually, to avoid getting so much attention, like when we used to go to the local markets, to buy fresh fruit and to explore the city a bit. 

I wanted to love them. I tried to, but because of my previous experiences, I was afraid I could be sent back anytime… So I learned to love them from a distance, but I didn’t get attached to them.

To be continued…

Published by lidiaaviles Copyright © 1987-2087 Lidia Aviles. All rights reserved.

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