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A Girl in Need
My past haunts me, in my dreams and thoughts, everyday. I cannot escape it, but I would like to believe it has made me a stronger person, that it has helped to shape the person who I am today.
My name is Kaliah Eris and this is the account of how I got to where I am today. Currently, I am a pre-med student, studying surgery at one of the most prestigious universities in the country. I am engaged to the most loving and compassionate man, Brian Williams. I wasn't always as fortunate as this, though.
At the age of four, both my parents were killed by a drunk driver. I escaped with my life, but barely. I was so young and it's sad but all I remember about my parents is that they loved me and each other more than anything they ever had, as little as we did have. All I have of them now is their wedding picture, but I am not sure how I got this picture to begin with. After they were pronounced dead and after the double funeral, I was entered into the Ohio Grievance Shelter for Children (OGSC). At the shelter, I had no family contact; no letters, no phone calls - I was truly alone in this world. I never once thought that I'd have to experience this growing up, but then again.. I was only four years old.
When I was in the shelter, from ages four to eight and twelve to fourteen, I became introverted and basically mute. The only people I talked to were the counselors that the shelter provided for children who had dealt with trauma in their lives, but I didn't say much to them either. At age eight, though, my life changed drastically again. I was adopted then, and I started to believe that everything was going to be all right. My adoptive parents were kind and were as close to perfection as they possibly could be. They were quite wealthy and I was quite spoiled, I have to admit.
After Elizabeth and Robert Carlstone had adopted me, my life was virtually flawless. I finally had guardians, maybe even parents again. I had a home and I was attending a school regularly, not that the shelter didn't provide us with a "homeschooling experience". It was at age nine that I began to be more social and I eventually gained friends at school. Out of all the friends I had obtained at school, only two of them had ever come to my house and only one of those two had ever slept over. The house was huge, almost mansion-like, but lonely. However, this house would never become my home.
Two years after the Carlstone's had adopted me, they were constantly gone and when they were home, I scarcely saw them. The excuse was that they were always away on business, although I'm sure the responsibility of a child was a factor in this. A fragile eleven-year-old child shouldn't have to be raised by a maid. Some time between the ages of eleven and twelve, the maid had left my life, too. On my twelveth birthday, I returned to life in the shelter.
I have always been intelligent and because of this, I constantly thought of what I could have done better for Elizabeth and Robert. People told me I was beautiful, but when I was returned to the shelter, I stopped being able to believe them about this or anything else they said. I couldn't believe what anyone said to me, not even what I said to myself. I didn't think that there was anything positive about me and I was slowly slipping into the dark abyss of depression. I didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel, and never thought that I would be brought into a home again. I occassionally received letters from old friends from school, but I never replied. I saw no reason to. I blamed myself for not being good enough for Elizabeth and Robert's high class lifestyle. I blamed them, also, for not being around and for abandoning me.
At such a sensitive age, I desperately needed a home and parents and friends. I especially needed encouragement and a healthy home. I was lonely and bullied. The other kids teased me because I was returned to the shelter. They told me I was "unwanted". By the time I was fourteen, I had given up completely. There was no hope for me, no fireworks or glamorous lifestyle. I was in a shelter because I had no parents, no family at all. I couldn't see my life improving.
Four months before I turned fifteen years old, I was adopted again. Albeit, I was not so eager to accept these living conditions as I didn't want to have to go through another "Carlstone experience" as I had taken to calling it. These guardians, Ron and Julie Eris, were sensitive, loving and most of all, patient with me. Julie was a "stay-at-home worker". She owned her own company, Lady's Cakes, and baked from her own kitchen. Ron worked for a local factory as the plant manager. They didn't make tons of money like the last family did, but this house was much cozier, warmer even. Ron sometimes had to work late hours, to finish paperwork or sometimes the tasks his workers had left unfinished. He was a precise man and he never wanted to leave anything unfinished. Maybe perfectionist was a better word to describe Ron's work policy. Even though it was sometimes hard to do, they always made sure the weekends were for "family" time. They both put in the effort it took to make me become social again, to make me talk to them.. even just to say something simple like, "hello."
After a while, I learned how to function easily in their home. I slowly became more confident with myself and with my schoolwork. I did eventually become more social at school and I started to confide more in Julie and Ron. During my junior year of high school, I acquired my three closest friends. One of these friends, Brian Williams, became my boyfriend and is now my fiancee. I finally felt at home with Ron and Julie, for the first time since my parents had died. These two people were very likely the best thing to ever happen to my life. I took to calling them mom and dad after a few years. Julie was in such shock at this that she started to cry, I didn't blame her because I was crying as well when she told me for the first time that she loved me. Soon, Ron was crying with us. We became a mass of sobs and as we were cuddled together I realized that this was what a family was supposed to behave like. I believe that that event made our little three person family closer than anything else had in the time that I was with them.
I trusted Ron and Julie and they trusted me. There was nothing I could say to make them feel I was untrustworthy, as I didn't betray them. I had no reason to deceive them. They showed me I was worth something. They showed me that my life had meaning. Without them, I'm not sure I ever would have believed that again. Brian did have quite a role in this, also. Ron and Julie taught me the best lessons life had to teach. They taught me love, compassion, understanding. I slowly learned why I should be grateful for the experiences in my life, and not hateful towards Robert and Elizabeth, as they did the best they could, but not everyone is prepared for a child with as much baggage as I had. After I learned this, though, I did contact the Carlstones and we have remained in touch since. I even invited them to my wedding.
Ron and Julie held the highest respect and care I could muster. They taught me that I could achieve anything I wanted to, that I could be anything I wanted to be. They respected my decisions and supported me, "one hundred and ten percent" as Ron would say. But most importantly, at least in my eyes, they made me believe again. They made me believe in myself, in the good of others, and in them.