The Holes in My Heart | Teen Ink

The Holes in My Heart MAG

July 30, 2008
By Anonymous

As a child in Cambodia, life was difficult. It went from bad to worse when my mother got sick. As usual, my father left us and went someplace else. I hardly ever saw him. I loved my ­father and maybe I still do. He wasn’t a nice man, though. He used to hit us, especially my mom. I never knew what we did wrong. Maybe the alcohol took over his mind.

One time after he left, I overheard people talking about how he had fallen in love and gotten married all over again. I never saw him after that.

Meanwhile, my poor mother’s heart was slowly melting. She was paralyzed because my dad hit her so much. She couldn’t move half of her body. So, at the age of six, I took care of her and my two brothers and sister. We had no money and lived in a very rural area without electricity and water. I had to cook, clean, beg for rice, and be the mother of the family. I rarely went to school.

I think my mom had seen me suffer enough. I’d had enough too! So, to make things easier, my mom sent my sister and one of my brothers to live with relatives in another village. People in Cambodia often take care of relatives’ children. I missed them but knew they were being cared for. I was the oldest, so I stayed; my mother needed me to take care of her and my baby brother, Long.

For a while it was just Long, my mother, and I. But then my brother, who was less than a year old, was very sick and skinny. One day I came home and Long wasn’t there. My mom said she had given him away to someone who said they could take care of him. He wasn’t coming back.

I was sad and confused but didn’t ask too many questions. I knew it must have been difficult for her, and we had no money for food or doctors to help Long. We didn’t know where he had gone, but my mom trusted the stranger who took him away, and hoped – we both hoped – that he would be safe and healthy.

My mom and I went on with our lives. We loved each other very much, but we suffered silently day ­after day. We were still struggling with hardly any money or food, and we missed Long terribly but ­never talked about him.

One afternoon, about a year after Long left, we ­received some good news. A man from the city came to our village and told us that a family in the United States had adopted my baby brother. He showed us pictures. My brother, now named Shane, was smiling, wearing nice clothes, and looking very healthy. Even though we missed him and life was hard for us, my mom and I were so happy to know that my brother was okay.

My peace did not last long. One night I had a horrible dream that my mom left me. I was crying and I couldn’t stop. I cried for such a long time that I woke my mother. I told her what I had dreamt. She said that she would never leave me.

Weeks passed, and then my nightmare came true. My mother died of a stroke. I blame my dad because of the injuries he gave her. Thinking about it now, I hate him.

I wish I could have done something. But when I saw my mother collapse, time passed so quickly I didn’t know what to do. I was only eight! The day my mother died, I didn’t cry because I didn’t know what death was. I did cry when they buried her. I knew at that moment that I would never see her again.

After my mother died, one of my aunts took me in. She was very poor, just like my mother. She was mean, and I think she was mad that she had to take care of me, but I had nowhere else to go.

One day the man who had brought the pictures of my baby brother came to visit again. It had taken him a long time to find us because I had moved. He was sad to hear that my mother had died. Then he gave me new clothes, a doll, and more pictures of my brother. My aunt asked him if the family who adopted my brother would want to adopt me too. The man turned to me and asked if I wanted to go live with my brother in the United States. Even though I didn’t know what to expect, I said yes. He said he would find out if it was possible. I waited for what seemed like forever. I started to think that maybe the American family did not want me.

But that wasn’t the case.

About a year later, the Americans who had adopted my brother finally came for me. As I now know, there is a lot of paperwork involved with adoption. They had to get permission from my family, the Cambodian government, and the United States government before they could come to get me.

The first time I saw my new parents was in a hotel lobby. I told the translator that they had long noses. I didn’t know I was being rude; I just wasn’t used to seeing Caucasian people. I was really nervous around them. I think they were nervous too. I didn’t smile until we went to the hotel room and my new mom showed me the clothes she had brought me. My face lit up fast! We didn’t talk much because I didn’t know how to speak English, but she made flash cards with pictures to help us communicate.

The day we left Cambodia I was filled with emotions. I was eager, worried, upset, and confused because I didn’t know where we were going and I had never been on a plane before. All I remember about my trip was that I threw up for most of the 21-hour flight. It was like the plane was a gigantic sickening machine. It felt as though the trip would never end.

When we landed in the United States I was so ­happy. After we waited in a bunch of lines, we walked out of the airport. The air was a lot colder than in Cambodia. In the distance, I saw a strange man waving at us. He looked excited and happy. I ­also saw a little boy next to him. I knew immediately it was my brother. I didn’t act excited to see him ­because I was still feeling so sick from the plane, but I was really thrilled.

My new grandpa drove us to my new home. In the car I looked out the window and saw strange yet beautiful houses. I kept peeking at my brother. He was now three years old and looked so clean and healthy compared to the last time I had seen him. At that moment I knew that I was going to be happy again.

And that is where I am now. The nightmares have ended because of two wonderful people who adopted my brother Shane and me. Adjusting to life in the United States wasn’t easy, but getting adopted is the most beautiful feeling. Even though we are not related by blood, I knew from that first day that my dad and mom cared about me very much. They filled up all the holes in my heart.

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This article has 182 comments.

on Jan. 3 2011 at 8:21 am
abeatleschick94 SILVER, Montvale, New Jersey
5 articles 7 photos 30 comments

Favorite Quote:
I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I'm one of those people. - John Lennon

that is so amazing that u survived through that! i could never do that. i'm glad you found your brother

on Dec. 18 2010 at 11:25 am
GreenDayFan SILVER, Phoenix, Arizona
7 articles 3 photos 134 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Every story has an end, but in life, every ending is just a new beginning."
-Uptown Girls

Wow you've been through a lot. I'm sorry. By reading this article it made me realize that I am lucky to have a mom and a dad that are both safe, nice, and healthy.

Ms.Dior SILVER said...
on Dec. 17 2010 at 9:24 pm
Ms.Dior SILVER, Tamarac, Florida
9 articles 0 photos 14 comments
You are an inspiration. Thats unbelievable you and your brother are lucky to  have found parents likke them

jkilmer SILVER said...
on Dec. 12 2010 at 4:41 pm
jkilmer SILVER, Washington, District Of Columbia
6 articles 1 photo 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
"His sins were scarlet, but his books were read."
"Declarations of love amuse me, especially when unrequited."
'Pity is a useless emotion.'
'Read. Breathe. Relax.'

Wow, your story was very touching, I cant believe what you had to go through at such a young age and handled it so well. I 'm very happy you and your brother got adopted and that you dont have so much responsibility put on you so that you can enjoy life now!

LetLoveLive said...
on Dec. 12 2010 at 12:16 pm
You made me cry! What   a touching story and I am proud of you for being such a strong girl throughout your life. Please keep writing! 

on Dec. 12 2010 at 11:11 am
Sacrifice018 SILVER, Griffin, Georgia
9 articles 0 photos 23 comments
It was extremely beautiful and touching. To be honest it was so touching that I almost cried. I truly loved it. Please keep writting. And best of luck.

on Dec. 12 2010 at 9:36 am
sleepinginthegarden BRONZE, Kingston, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 66 comments
truly touching if you put more detail into that and exaggerate on wat happpened a little you know wat you think of yr dad exactly what yr mom felt like ect ect then u might b able to publish it

Naeya2196 said...
on Dec. 8 2010 at 12:57 pm
i really lik this story it really made me think and reminded meh of my life but mine isnt as bad as wat happened on here

on Nov. 26 2010 at 6:39 pm
sabina22 BRONZE, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 47 comments
I wish you only beautiful experiences in your life from this point on. May your soul be forever blessed. =)

Ninz59 SILVER said...
on Nov. 24 2010 at 11:14 pm
Ninz59 SILVER, Orland Park, Illinois
5 articles 17 photos 71 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love conquers all"

I loved this. Youre an amazing writer!

Check out my work please!

on Nov. 20 2010 at 10:02 pm
DaydreamBeliever GOLD, Lockport, Other
15 articles 4 photos 140 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you live to be one hundred, I want to live to be one hundred minus one day, so that I'll never have to live without you. -Winnie the Pooh

for english not being your first language, you are a very good writer. I have always wanted to adopt a child when i'm older, because I've always wanted to be the difference in one child's life. your story is amazing, i can onnly hope other children have endings as happy as yours.

shailee BRONZE said...
on Nov. 20 2010 at 1:19 pm
shailee BRONZE, Newark, Delaware
4 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This article was amazing! It was so deep and inspiring. This story almost brought me to tears because of what happened to you in the past. But I'm glad that you and your brother got adopted by such great parents! I think it would be so hard to have a father not being home and treating your mom badly, and then knowing that my mom passed away. I thought you were strong to deal with something like that! Taking care of your brother and your mom at such a young age is very difficult and you're someone to idolize for that. I hope everything goes well for you in the future, and always remain happy. :) 

on Nov. 20 2010 at 12:24 am
Mortie PLATINUM, Oak Run, California
31 articles 0 photos 74 comments

Favorite Quote:
Whats The Point?

that... was amazing. you must have had a really hard time growing up. i am verry sorry for you, and a mvarry happy that you have found and live with a nice family, and that you gt to live with your brother.

gape horn said...
on Oct. 29 2010 at 4:31 pm

wow that was a very sad story. It makes me feel like I have everything. Your a very strong girl i probably would have never been able to do that


on Oct. 29 2010 at 1:52 pm
SMWells PLATINUM, Carlisle, South Carolina
22 articles 0 photos 294 comments

Favorite Quote:
Some truths best left unspoken.

Talk about make me feel stuped! I didn't know Cambodia existed. Your story made me feel as though I've been spoild. Both my parents Are alive. I harly know what I would do without Mom.

LastChapter said...
on Oct. 21 2010 at 10:25 pm
LastChapter, Hempstead, New York
0 articles 0 photos 215 comments

Favorite Quote:
(couldn't think of anything better at the time) "Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."-Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.

so many feelings and passion and longing. you made me--a spoiled suburban--feel as if i knew what it was like. you have amazing skill

on Oct. 16 2010 at 12:34 pm
thestorycritic GOLD, Hyderabad, Other
12 articles 0 photos 73 comments

Favorite Quote:
Live life King Size

I loved it. Especially the last line.

on Oct. 14 2010 at 12:11 pm
missdiana BRONZE, Rincon, Georgia
2 articles 3 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do you seriously believe what others tell you? Go find out for yourself!"

I loved that so much. It was deep, honest, and down to earth.  I cried. Well, I am still crying. But, thank you.

emusrock! said...
on Oct. 13 2010 at 11:16 am
very touching.

HelloLove said...
on Oct. 7 2010 at 8:20 pm
HelloLove, Dexter, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 68 comments

Favorite Quote:
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at.
Tut, tut, child! Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.

That was deep :')