I know your pain, I lived in an orphanage first three years of my life, my birth Mother had four children out of wedlock. One of my sister’s passed away in the first year of her life. One sister lived with her maternal Grandmother, my sister and I were put up for adoption; a package, adopt one get the other as a bonus, or as I put it – buy one get one free. My adoptive Mother always reminded us how much it cost to adopt us. By her calculations I’m worth approximately $2,500. My Mother was a violent person sober and as an alcoholic. I experienced criminal child abuse by her hand until one day God decided no more. My Father told me to protect myself, not to harm my mother, prevent her from leaving marks on my body. She used Cover Girl makeup on my face to cover abrasions and bruises. Going forward the violence never raised it’s ugly head again. My Mom never overcame her alcoholism, she tried to quit, but her health failed, she passed away in her early 60’s. Alcohol was her escape from all that she went thru. We believe that she may have experienced sexual abuse during her teen years which probably led to her violence, and physical abuse – she was angry and selected me and my sister as her source in which to vent and temporarily relieve her anger. I understand the mechanics of physical abuse and violence, however to continually abuse a person that is a loved one is beyond my understanding. God blessed us… one of us should have lost our life as a result; we survived and grew closer. The unfortunate thing is the white cloud will always have a bit of gray in it as a constant reminder of life experiences.

Despite all that you experienced, you are a good person, you’ve worked hard to improve yourself, your quality of life, and you are a superb example of what happens when one builds a life for them-self and defies the odds. On top of that, you have a good career, a wonderful family, and serve our country with honor and distinction. I am proud and honored to know and work with you. You are one of the very few people in my life I can always look back on. Your example is one that I can emulate and always remind myself that there are others who’ve had challenging life experiences that no one should have to experience. You’re one of the “Great’s” in my life. You always have my respect and admiration.