This is Me This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 18, 2012
By , Cornelius, OR
It all started when I was just a baby. I was eighteen months old and was taken away from my mother. Why? Because she was addicted to meth. I’ve heard many stories of what happened to me as a baby. Why I was taken away, why my biological mother lost all of her children. The reason as to why I’m not with her now is because when I was eighteen months old she left me with her neighbor and hid her meth needles in my diaper bag. Needless to say, the neighbor found the needles and immediately called the police. I was taken from her custody almost instantly and was put into my aunt, Veronica’s care.

Veronica legally adopted me when I was five years old. I was already calling her “mom” within three months of living with her because my adopted brother and sister were always calling her that, so as a baby, I just assumed she was my mom too. Growing up with them was a little different. We had a “family” of five. It was Veronica, my adopted dad Josh, and my adopted brother and sister, Cody and Tricia, who are both over ten years older than I. I was never really close with any of them though. Especially my adopted dad, who I wanted to be close with the most. But hey, I never said this would be a happy story, did I?

When I was nine years old, me, my cousin Tommy, and my sister Tricia were staying the night at our uncle Mike’s apartment while our parents were at work. My uncle Mike had always been kind of odd, I thought, but he always liked to hang out with me. So I liked the idea that a grown adult enjoyed spending time with me. I didn’t realize why, though, until that night. My sister and cousin had left to go for a walk and left me and my uncle alone in the apartment together. I was already in bed, just watching the Simpson’s, when he walked in. He told me he was just “tucking me in” but instead climbed in top of me and…well I’m not going to get into detail, but I’m pretty sure you can guess what he did. I was so terrified. All I could do was just lay there and hope to God that someone would walk through that door before he went too far. It seemed someone was listening to my hopes. Just when he was about to cross the line, my cousin Tommy walked in and threw my uncle Mike against the wall and literally beat him to a pulp. He was and is my hero to this day. Tommy slept on the floor outside the room I was sleeping in that night. I will never forget that. My cousin had saved me. I felt and still feel so thankful.

Let’s fast forward to when I was eleven. My adopted mom and I were going out to Multnomah Falls for some “bonding time” when she informed me that she and my dad were getting divorced. I’m not quite sure why, but I just couldn’t control myself. I was just balling my eyes out. My family was falling apart. It never occurred to me that Veronica and my dad were having such a hard time getting along until after she told me that they were getting divorced. I noticed it the very next day when I walked out of my bedroom after waking up in the morning to see her crying and my father screaming and throwing things in her direction. When he saw me, he yelled at me to go back to my room and then continued to yell at her. She and I had moved out of the house about a month later. The day we moved was the first and only time I had ever seen my dad show any kind of emotion other than anger. He was crying. I walked up to him and asked him if he was okay and all he said was “leave me alone, Miranda.” I was scared he would’ve gotten angry if I would have stayed there, so I left and helped finish packing.

Veronica and I moved into a little apartment in Kelso, Washington along with her close friend/my new “nanny”, Barb. Everything had kind of slowed down until Veronica started getting interested in a new guy. Josh G. She was constantly on the phone with him and ignored me all the time. I was twelve when she was interested in him. She actually went to Nevada with this man, who she’d met on the internet for God’s sake. They went to some show called Burning Man, which is full of drugs and naked people as far as I could tell. Why she would want to go somewhere so far away with some stranger is something I will never be able to comprehend.

That whole thing with Josh G didn’t last too long, though. They broke up after about three months, and then Veronica almost instantly met a new guy. Dan. Dan when I first met him struck me as the hard headed type of guy who doesn’t take s*** from anyone. Turned out I was right. At first he seemed really cool. We got along great. Then we moved in with him in Clatskanie, Oregon when I was thirteen. In the beginning everything was fine. We’d always go out on our quads and dirt bikes and go for long rides in the summertime and he would take me on runs on the Harley. I had a blast. But when I was thirteen was also the first time I ever tried something bad. I smoked marijuana. I was always getting into trouble at school. I can still remember the first time he ever hit me. I was fourteen and had gotten in trouble at school. I was
suspended for three days. When he found out I was behind closed doors in the safety of my room. I could hear him thrashing the house, slamming closet doors and cupboards. Then he came in with his face just beat red, full of hatred and anger. I could see it in his eyes that he just wanted to beat the hell out of me.

He grabbed me by the wrist and led me out to the back yard where Veronica was sitting in the hot tub and I noticed that he had a board in his hand. He turned me around, right in front of Veronica, and broke the board in two on my back. I was screaming in agony and pain. Veronica then jumped out of the hot tub and was yelling at Dan that she didn’t tell him he could do that and that he wasn’t allowed to touch me like that.

We ended up leaving that night. I stayed at my grandma’s house and I have no clue where Veronica went. I think she stayed in a hotel. Anyways, a lot of stuff happened after that and Veronica and I ended up moving out of Dan’s house and into an apartment in town. We lived there for about three months when Veronica decided to go back to Dan. Thank God she didn’t decide to move back in with him…well, actually, he had told her that as long as I was living with her, he wouldn’t live with her. So my sophomore year I moved to Kelso, Washington again with my adopted dad.

Things with my adopted dad were very awkward. He had got himself a new girlfriend named Martha. Martha and I did not get along. I couldn’t stand her. All she knew how to do was mooch off of my dad and complain about everything. She couldn’t cook, drive, ride a bike, or even swim. She didn’t know how to do anything. Anyways, as I had said before, my father and I have never really been close, so the daily ritual was go to school, come home, and go upstairs to my room for the rest of the day, considering I wasn’t allowed to do much else. Sometimes I’d stay downstairs and watch TV. But other than that, that’s all I really did.

February of 2010, Veronica and Dan got married, as I figured would happen. Veronica moves me out of the house and almost instantly gets married to the man who beat her child. Sounds like a living paradise, huh? Ha. I make myself laugh sometimes. Any who... At the end of the summer Veronica informed me that she wanted me to move back in with her and Dan. I didn’t really have much say so in this so August 29th I moved back to Clatskanie.

That’s when everything fell apart. I was constantly skipping school to get high, and kept getting in trouble. One day I had skipped the whole day to go get stoned, and was caught. A close family friend caught me and my friends walking across the street and picked me up and took me back to the school where a police officer was waiting for me. He questioned me and I strait up told him everything I did. I got suspended for five school days and had to take a drug and alcohol assessment. I remember when Veronica had finally picked me up she would not stop screaming and yelling at me. I suppose she just lost it because she punched me in the face and I hit my head on the window in the car. That whole week of suspension was pure torture. I was so depressed. Veronica was telling me everyday how worthless I was and how I was going to fail at life. I was constantly depressed. I just wanted to end my life then and there all because someone was constantly reminding me of what a screw up I was. I actually had attempted it a couple times, but each time I chickened out. Once, Veronica was yelling at me and was telling me about how worthless I was and I remember all I could do was stare at a screw driver behind her. I had these incredibly vivid images in my head of me just reaching behind her to grab it and just shoving it into my neck and twisting it. Killing myself, feeling every inch of pain. But at the same time knowing that this pain would have been nothing compared to the pain I really felt. Obviously I never did it.

I know this whole story seems really depressing, but I promise it gets better. Just keep reading. So anyways, I went back to school and things started going pretty good actually. But then I screwed up, yet again. I was home alone and knew I’d be there alone for a while. So I decided to invite a guy over. Terrible mistake. This mistake literally changed my life. I got caught, and Veronica kicked the guy out and called me upstairs. I went up there and pretty much walked into an attack. As soon as I went up there, Veronica instantly started punching me and hitting me and all I could do was block every hit. She kept yelling at me, telling me I was going to hell. When she finally quit trying to beat my face in, she went to the refrigerator, grabbed a beer, drank a little of it, and left the room. She told me to stand in the dining room. When she came back she had a huge leather belt in her hand. She had me turn around and hold on to the back of the dining room chair and started hitting me with it. Its buckle beating my legs so hard to the point that I was literally begging her to stop. It felt like forever when she finally did stop. She walked over to the couch and pulled out her cell phone and called her husband. She told him what had happened and he asked to talk to me.

I was scared getting onto the phone with him, but did it anyways. “Hello?” I asked. “So was it worth it?” He asked. I responded with a cracked voice, “no.” He started laughing, a cruel and evil laugh. “Well I can tell you this, when I get home, I’m going to beat the living f*** out of you,” a pause, “and I hope you tell school officials so that way maybe they will take you out of my house and you won’t be my f***ing problem anymore!” He hung up.

About ten minutes later he called back and was talking to Veronica. I could hear him yelling, telling her to get me the f*** out of his house or he’d drag me out by my hair. When I heard that I got up and started heading for my room. Veronica yelled at me to come back and all I could manage to say was “If you want me gone, then I’m leaving.” So I went downstairs to my room, (which was really just an old basement that leaked all the time and had no heat) grabbed my shoes and a jacket and then left without looking back.

It was pitch black outside. I couldn’t see a thing, so I had to just follow the road until I made it to a house with someone who could help me. I knocked on about five doors before I got help. This lady walked out and asked me if I was okay. All I could do was cry and tell her what happened. I asked to use her phone and called my biological mother to come get me. But she couldn’t transfer me over state lines, so I hitch hiked into Longview, Washington and she picked me up there and took me to her house in Vancouver. I was on the run, hiding from cops for exactly one week. I had gone everywhere, done everything. I stayed in Longview with this guy I knew from school, I stayed in Woodland with my biological mom’s friend, and I stayed with my biological mom.

The cops ended up finding me at my biological mother’s house a week later and took me to this shelter in Portland, Oregon called Harry’s Mother. I stayed one night there and ran again. I wandered the streets of Portland trying to find someone with a phone so I could contact my mom again to come and get me. Finally I got to this bar with a bunch of drunk people outside smoking cigarettes, so I asked them if I could use their phone and called my mom and told her to come and get me. She picked me up and sure enough, the cops came to her house the next day and got me.

This time they took me to a shelter in Vancouver where I stayed until bed time and then I dipped out the window, setting off all kinds of alarms. Cops were everywhere. All I could hear were sirens and alarms and I don’t know how I managed to get away, but I did. I got off the property and was wandering the streets, which were full of older men, all staring at me. Some of them even talked to me, trying to get me to get in their car. I didn’t of course.

So I was on my way to Taco Bell when a cop stopped me and asked me my name. I told him my name was Chelsea. That was a dumb idea. He got on his radio and described me to someone and then asked if that’s the girl they were looking for. Sure enough the person on the other end of the radio said yes and he cuffed me up and took me back to the shelter. But they didn’t want me to stay there again, so I went to a different shelter. By that time I was so tired of dealing with all of this, and I couldn’t hold myself together anymore. I started balling, and couldn’t stop, wouldn’t stop. I stayed the night at the new shelter that night and waited for my DHS worker to come and pick me up the next day.

I was taken back to Harry’s Mother then and decided to stay there. I was waiting there for a week before they found me a foster home to live in. I moved to Tillamook then.

Tillamook, Oregon smelled like cow poop. It was gross, but it was better than living in a shelter. Living there was alright. I met my new foster sisters there. Lucy, Adriana, and Tati. When those girls moved in is when I started hating living there. Not because of the girls, but
because all the foster parents did was complain and tell us about how much they hated raising girls. So Lucy and I eventually got tired of hearing it. So we ran away to go to a party and then never went back. Well, Lacy went back two days later, but I didn’t go back at all. I ended up meeting up with my biological mom again and she took me and my boyfriend at the time to a hotel in Kelso, Washington.

That night was insane. My mom and her boyfriend had gotten in a big fight and couldn’t return to the hotel, so I and my boyfriend stayed there overnight. The next morning I woke up to cops banging on the door. I got up and started cleaning up. I picked up an Arizona Iced Tea can and poured it out. I heard something rattling around in it and when I got the thing out of it I discovered it was a meth needle my mom’s boyfriend had used. I flushed it down the toilet and washed my hands about ten times and then answered the door. The cops took my boyfriend away and took him to the Kelso Police Department. Then they took me there.

I walked in to see my boyfriend in a jail cell, crying. I was locked in the same jail cell and was waiting there for what seemed like hours. Finally a cop came in and told me I was leaving. My boyfriend fell apart, and almost refused to leave my side, but he didn’t have a choice. I left, and was taken to Rainier, Oregon. My new DHS worker picked me up there and told me that I was being moved to Cornelius, Oregon with a new foster family. I wasn’t thrilled to say the least.

I had to break up with my boyfriend and I was planning on being alone for a really long time. I didn’t think I would ever be happy again. I felt so alone. Separated from everyone I ever loved. I was giving up.

But then I realized how cool my new foster mom was. She has helped me through so much. I started going to school, still nervous and scared. But I actually met some really cool people, not to mention, my boyfriend now. Devon. I know I’m only sixteen years old, but wow…I never pictured myself being so happy. I’m still living in Cornelius and I’m still happy with Devon. I don’t even know where to start. Basically, Devon is the best thing that’s happened to me. I never thought I’d ever be able to smile or be happy again, but being with Devon is like a whole new experience. Something so different and incredible. I love it. And I love him. And its insane, he actually loves me back! He truly has changed a lot of things for me. I am always happy now, and it’s all thanks to this boy that means the world to me. I’d do anything for him. And Devon, if this gets published and you end up reading this, I want you to know that I love you, baby. Always and forever.

So this is my life. Yeah, I’ve been through a lot of s***, but I can at least say I’m happy now. Everything was so bad, but I can still wake up in the morning and smile. I love my life now and I don’t want it to change. So if you think your lost and alone in the world, just wait. It may take some time but you will end up happy. You just cant give up and you have to keep your head up and be willing to take on anything. If I can do it, anyone else can.





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