Student’s adoption story shows ‘change is possible’

Junior Wendie Robinson talks about her childhood and the struggles she faced growing up in a troubled home. Her life changed when the Robinson family fostered and, later, adopted her.

Not all children grow up part of a loving family.

At any given time in the state of Alabama, hundreds of children in foster care are waiting for someone, anyone, to take them in. Some stories come with happy endings.

During the summer after eighth grade, my life changed forever.

I never had much growing up. My family moved from trailer to trailer, my father was in and out of jail, I was in and out of foster homes and my mother was not mentally capable to care for a child due to epileptic seizures.

I did not like my stepfather when I first met him, and that dislike remained throughout the years I lived with him. Soon after my mother and stepfather married, it became obvious that he was not the man my mother had thought he was.

We realized he had bipolar disorder and needed medicine to cope with the mood swings and other symptoms that accompanied his disorder. Not only that, but he was a drunk and not the happy kind. He would yell and hit my mother, sister and me.

My mother decided to leave him one day, so we packed our bags and stayed with his sister for a while. His sister informed us that his drunken state and bipolar disorder were not the only things we needed to be aware of. We found out my stepfather was a registered sex offender.

Regardless of all the things working against my stepfather, my mother decided to move back in with him, children in tow. My sister had to go live with her dad. I, however, had to stay, at least until the summer after eighth grade.

Once again, my mother decided to leave him, but this time we moved closer to my grandmother. One night, a few months after we had moved, mother began packing her bags and talking about going back. Enraged at the thought of being beaten anymore, I put my foot down. She did not like my defiance and threw the first punch. After a few hits, my mother called the police, and I spent the weekend in the local Juvenile Detention Center. I was put on probation for a year and had to stay within that county, which was not where my stepfather resided.

I was 14 when my mother left me to fend for myself while she moved back in with my stepfather.

I dabbled in illegal drug activities, and my 19-year-old boyfriend lived with me. I lived with my aunt for a while, but she soon kicked me out because I often fought with my cousins.

At the end of my ninth grade year, the Department of Human Resources placed me in foster care.

I went to live with a teacher from the high school I attended. Though I had never been in her class, she had heard about me, and none of what she heard was good.

Mrs. Robinson asked other teachers for advice about whether or not she should keep me. All but one of the teachers were against the idea of me living in her home.

The one teacher on my side taught ninth and 11th grade English. He was the only teacher that saw through the bad things and actually saw my potential and believed in me. Because of this, Mrs. Robinson decided to let me stay.

I ran away once and got into trouble here and there, but overall life was better.

It was hard adapting to the new life and breaking my habits. I stopped doing drugs and became a straight-A student.

A year later, the Robinsons made me a permanent part of their family.

The adoption not only changed my name, but it changed my life. It signified that someone wanted me. It gave my life new meaning.

Although I often feel the bad choices my biological parents made could have shaped the person I became, I now have a purpose.

I live to help people and show them that change is possible.

November is National Adoption Awareness month. It is also the month to remember all the things to be thankful for. Remember not all families are perfect. Not all families are related by blood. Families come in all types. A family is a group of people who have come together, united by love.