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This is Kayla (childhood)

The last time I left you I was just telling you how our mother killed our brother.

I heard it had happened in so many ways over the years. In one version she drowned him in the bathtub, in another she had suffocated him with a garbage bag. Her own words in a letter to me years later, “He wouldn’t stop crying so I put my hand over his mouth and nose thinking he would calm down. I must have left my hand there for too long because he stopped breathing.”

I wish I were making this up. She laid him on his back with his little knees bent up to his chest and applied pressure to him until he was gone. I found this out a few years ago when I got curious and requested the police reports.

After she took stock of the situation she was in, she called our dad at work. Her version was that she was going to turn herself in but of course that wasn’t true at all.

Our father came home from work, they drank a bottle of tequila and put little Tony in the closet for the night. The next day they decided to take him to the city dump. They found a metal barrel, but his small, lifeless body inside and set him on fire.

They stayed until the fire died out.

What happens next is a series of events that are nearly 30 years long. I’m going to give you the condensed version with some details.

We all went back to our little apartment and after who knows how long, our parents decided to go their separate ways. Our mom took Josh and I back to Montana to be with her family while our dad stayed in Texas telling everyone that “Lisa” had taken the kids and left him.

I don’t know how long things went on like this, but I do know that “Lisa” got caught. No one in Montana knew she had 3 children to begin with, so no one thought anything of it.

She did end up getting arrested and told them that it was an accident. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison and had made her parents promise to take care of us while she was gone.

Our grandparents though, for whatever the reason may be, decided that they did not want to take care of us and gave us up to the foster care system in Montana. All of this happened before my 1st birthday.

The first home we were in was in Miles City, Montana and I will never forget it. I still talk to them today and they are in their 80s now. This couple is truly the main reason I believe in guardian angels.

The couple after them though - not so great.

They were “Tina and Ed Watson” and they were something else entirely. They wanted to adopt kids since they couldn’t have any of their own and thought Josh and I were perfect for them. I was 4 and Josh was 6. We moved to Sidney, MT, got a new home, new names, and a new life. “Tina” quickly showed her true colors though, because before long she was taking whatever opportunity she could find to beat us.

I don’t mean beat us in that dramatic child way either. She didn’t even need a reason most days she just did it because she could.

I recall a time that was shortly after we had moved in. I was probably still 4 years old and at home working on some writing books they had gotten me. Josh was at school and “Ed” was at work, so it was just “Tina” and me.

I don’t remember why, but she got so mad at me and slapped me across the face. I fell out of the kitchen chair, crying and scared, not understanding what was happening. She told me to stand up, so I did and the next thing I know she has me by the back of my hair, pulling me across the kitchen. Then she pushed me up against the wall and proceeds to yell and spit in my face while lifting me off the ground by my neck. I remember wrapping both of my hands around just one arm of hers that had me trapped.

I couldn’t speak but I could feel the tears running down my cheeks as I silently pleaded with whoever could hear me for it to be over.

It finally ended and I hit the floor holding my neck and trying to breathe. I was too scared to try and move away from her, fearing what might happen next if I move. And then, just like that, it was over. Everything went back to the quiet way it was before like nothing ever happened in the first place. This was only the first incident that would make up many.

Many incidents that would take over the next 6 years of my life.

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Impressing Minds is about creating value in the mind of a child through the foster parents. Imagine the mind of a child being made of play-doh, and you are about to make a permanent impression. What type of impression will you make? I will encourage you to make a soft, lasting, affirmative impression in their mind by giving tools to get started fostering, accomplishing a great foster care home, and serving the children in your care. I offer support to you and others fostering. An important element of Impressing Minds is the support that others have given to those in need.


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