Is it Possible to Give the Gift of Childhood?
Have you ever considered that it's possible to give the gift of childhood? My name is Amanda and I want to share my story with you because I did receive the gift of childhood at Collins Children’s Home and I will cherish it forever.
The day my siblings and I were removed from our home began like any other day. I remember my arm was hurting from the bruises I received the night before for not keeping Bryan quiet while my parents watched TV.
I got to just be a kid and a sister instead of a caregiver. I am thankful for everyone that helped me have a good childhood.
I dug through a pile of dirty clothes trying to find something ‘clean enough’ for the day; all the while being extra careful not to wake my parents. I got ready for school and then got Cindy and Bryan dressed. I found some dry cereal for them but there wasn’t enough for me; that was okay, I was fine. Finally, I got them out the door in time to meet the school bus. Thank God, because my parents would have been really angry if we missed the bus.
My Teacher Saw the Large Angry Bruises...
I performed well in school and enjoyed being there; I felt safe. The teachers were nice and no one yelled or hit me. On this day, I was hot and accidentally pushed up my sleeve. My teacher saw the large angry bruises covering my arm. The minute I realized she had seen my arm, I knew I had messed up. I tried to cover the bruises but it was too late.
Mrs. Mitchell asked to speak with me privately and I began to cry…I was going to be in so much trouble. When Mrs. Mitchell asked how I got the bruises I wanted to lie, but she was always so kind and sweet, how could I lie to her? So I explained that my parents hit me, but not to be mad at them because it was my fault…I was supposed to keep Cindy and Bryan quiet but forgot for just a minute.
"What Have I Done?" is All I Could Think...
“What have I done?” is all I could think as the man from the Department of Social Services drove my siblings and me to a place called Collins Children’s Home. Cindy and Bryan were crying and I felt worse. Would we ever get to see our parents again? I wished I could take it all back. Those people didn’t understand…I loved my parents…they didn’t mean to hurt me. It wasn’t all bad…sometimes we did fun things together and my parents were happy. They were going to be so mad at me.
The Other Kids Seemed Excited to Meet Us
When we got to Collins Home, they showed us our rooms, where we each had our own bed. I was so happy that Cindy and I got to share a room. Bryan shared a room with a little boy named James, the same age as him. Mrs. Crystal was sweet, and Mr. Jamie was funny. I couldn’t believe how nice they were…Cindy and Bryan stopped crying. The other kids seemed excited to meet us. It wasn’t so bad.
Mrs. Crystal wanted to make sure we had everything we needed for school, so I got to go with her to the store and buy clothes and some school supplies. Before long, it was time for bed…I didn’t believe I would be able to sleep, but surprisingly I did. I even felt a little better the next morning. When I went to the kitchen, Mr. Jamie had bacon, eggs, and grits waiting for all of us….it was so good, I didn’t want to stop eating.
We Were Part of a Safe and Loving Family
My siblings and I lived at Collins Children’s Home for over two years before being adopted by a loving family. During our time there, we were part of a safe and loving family. I got to just be a kid and a sister instead of a caregiver. I am thankful for everyone that helped me have a good childhood.
[children’s names were changed for privacy]