Like the article? Share it with friends.
#simplyamazingliving, #truestory, #abuse, #survivor, Autumn Murray

Quote and Credit:  Anne Lamott | #MeToo

Mothers Don't Always Know Best | Birth Mother

As I have written about on a few other posts on my site, I was adopted.  My birth mother, Judy, got pregnant while she was in her early twenties.  Throughout my childhood, the parents that adopted me told me that Judy was not prepared and/or able to take care of me.  Judy worked full-time at a factory during the day so she hired what would become my mother by adoption as her babysitter to take care of me while she worked.  During the evenings, Judy would be responsible for me.

Just a Small Town Girl

After seeing numerous signs of abuse on my face and body, the family that babysat me eventually took steps to adopt me as part of their family.  They already had seven children of their own and I would round them out to an even number of eight.  Their oldest child is twelve years older than me and their youngest child is six years younger than me.  In total, they had three daughters and three sons and I would become their fourth daughter.

Mothers Don't Always Know Best | Birth Mother

Abuse Comes In Many Forms

I was either five or six years old when my adoption was final.  My father by adoption had spent many years in an orphanage growing up as his mother passed away at a young age and his father was not able to take care of him and his siblings.  I would find out years later that one of the sole reasons they adopted me was because they didn’t think I would be adopted by another family because of me being biracial and the towns around the area were all Caucasian.  And, they worried that I would be mistreated and suffer the neglect that my father by adoption did during his years in the orphanage.

My early childhood with my birth mother, Judy, was not ideal.  I was abused by her and a few of her boyfriends.  Oh, and there was an incident with a German Shepard that she put in charge of guarding me in the bathroom of our trailer while she was out doing God knows what.  The dog would bite me when I cried and of course, the more he bit me the more I would cry.  To this day, I am not comfortable around German Shepards.  However, I know now that the dog was just reacting to the environment that he had been put into and not because he was an evil dog so I can't hold the dog accountable for the sins of my birth mother.The MET I remember one of her boyfriends named Bear (which I assume is a nickname but I could be wrong), wasn't very kind to me.  I remember being spanked and slapped by him on several occasions.  He was a large man with dark long hair and beard and always smelled like cigarettes.    Not that it matters as a child should not be physically harmed for any reason, but I have wondered if it was because of me being biracial that he didn't want me around or if it were just the fact that Judy had a child that wasn't his that upset him.  Regardless, I seemed to be a roadblock for him in his path to having Judy to himself.  I remember Judy having several men at a time at the house, but I was too young to know if they were just friends having a party or if they were more than that to Judy.  It was the 70-s after all.

My mother by adoption told me that she saw burn marks from cigarettes on my body (which I still have the scars from) and that I would often be dropped off unbathed and my clothes would be dirty.  At one point, she told me that I was dropped off at her house with an angry red welt in the shape of a handprint across my face.  I can't be certain, but I think that was the final straw for my mother and father by adoption to take me away from Judy.

Meeting Judy

In 1994, I met my birth mother for the first time at the age of twenty-four.  I had a free plane ticket that I needed to use before it expired so I decided it was time to track down my birth parents. 

Google wasn't around in 1994, so I had to search for my mother's phone number by going through online phone listings.   I knew her name, and I figured she might have relatives still living in my hometown of Havana, IL.  So I searched for phone numbers with her last name.  I was able to find a phone number of one of her relatives and I called it.  The lady that answered the phone knew who I was and happily gave me Judy's contact information where she was living at that time, Lincoln, NB.

I called the phone number I was given and Judy answered the phone.  Apparently, the lady I got the number from had called Judy to give her a heads up that she gave me her number and that I would be in contact soon.  Judy seemed happy to hear from me and provide me with answers to my many questions.  She told me that she had a relationship with my father when they both were in college. She is Caucasian and my dad is African American. Judy told me that my dad was engaged at the time they were seeing each other and when she found out she was pregnant with his child she didn't tell him as she didn't want to ruin his future or tie herself to him because of a child. She didn't love him and he didn't love her, it was just sex that they had between them.

Meeting Judy

After talking to Judy on the phone, I made plans to visit her in Nebraska.  

When I landed at the Nebraska airport, Judy and my cousin Stephanie greeted me with smiling faces and open arms.  My cousin is only a few months older than I am.  She has her own story to tell and it is not my place to tell it for her.  I just know that Judy has a sister and they both got pregnant a few months apart.

Stephanie and I were close growing up as cousins should be.  We shared a crib when at our grandmother's house, we took yearly photos together, and we spent as much time together as the fates would allow.  She would eventually live with our grandmother and I would be adopted which would separate our lives.   

As I grew up, I would see my grandmother and other blood relatives a few times at the local pool where I would go swimming in the summertime.  They would try to approach me and get me to talk to them and/or go with them.  I told my mother by adoption about this and she told me not to talk to them and to run home if I saw them again.  So, I did as I was told as they seemed scary to me because of what my birth mother told me.

Mothers Don't Always Know Best | Birth Mother

Love. Me and My Babies

Hello Mother

Back to the point at hand, meeting Judy and Stephanie at the airport was an odd experience for me.  As I stated, Judy ran to me with open arms and teary eyes.  I was not prepared for that nor did I find that appealing as we were not on the Oprah show and she was not yet forgiven for her actions while I was in her care.  I allowed her public emotional display but I did not reciprocate.

We then piled into Stephanie's car and headed to Olive Garden for dinner and discussion.  From what I remember, Stephanie and I did most of the talking and Judy would occasionally jump in every now and then with a comment.  Following dinner, we went to Stephanie's house.  Along the way to Stephanie's house, we stopped by a gas station/convenient store where Judy worked and she picked up some beer – 40 oz beers (I had never seen a white person drink a 40 – just saying).

The best part of my visit was Stephanie's adorable kids.  I love kids.  I played with her daughter Kate most of the time while Judy got drunk.  She didn't have any answers for me.  It seemed she wanted a clean slate, a doover, to start a relationship with me.  Nope.  That was not going to happen.  Between playing with Stephanie's daughter Kate, watching Judy drink beer, I spent a lot of the night on my cell phone talking to friends and my husband at the time.  I wanted to catch an earlier flight and go home.  

Finally, it got late enough in the evening where I felt comfortable about asking to be taken to my hotel and call it an evening.  Stephanie took me back to the hotel and her daughter Kate spent the night with me. VRBOGoodbye Mother

Stephanie and Judy picked me up the next morning and took me to the airport.  We said our goodbyes and this time I hugged Judy in return as I knew it would be the last time I would see her.  She gave me a pair of sapphire earrings (sapphire is my birthstone), and we said our goodbyes.

Judy sent me a few cards and letters after our visit and tried to reach me by phone.  I did not respond.  She didn't have the answers or words that I was looking for.  No “I'm sorry” or anything that would have made me forgive her for leaving me with an even more abusive environment than what she provided for me.  

I have forgiven Judy and I wish her a long and happy life, I just can't be a part of it.  My love is endless, but I can only have people in my life that love me and respect me and do not expect anything in return.

More details on my experiences with the family that adopted me to come in future posts.

If you see signs of child abuse, report it.  Don't keep quiet – you might just save a child's life.

Mothers Don't Always Know Best | Birth Mother

IN ALL OF MY PERSONAL POSTS, I WANT TO SHARE HOW TO HELP STOP OR AT LEAST PREVENT CHILD ABUSE.  DETAILS BELOW.

Click to read an article about my birth father:   Who's Your Daddy

What is child abuse?

Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failure to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, and emotional abuse.

If you see signs of abuse with anyone you know, or are a victim of child abuse, get help right away.

For more information, to seek help, or find out how to help abused children click here:  Childhelp.

Click HERE to buy a Choose Love T-shirt!
Available in Tank Tops (Men's and Women's) and Unisex T-shirts.

Mothers Don't Always Know Best | Birth Mother

Like the article? Share it with friends.

50 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Jon Cougar Mellencamp songs – “I grew up in a small town.” Although he might have been going by the name John Cougar at the time he wrote the song, I can’t seem to keep up with his artistic […]

    Reply
  • What a powerful story! Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  • Wow Autumn, what an open, honest post, so personal and emotional. I applaud you for having the courage to write about what you went through with Judy. My parents were foster parents when I was growing up, so a lot of the abuse you’ve described rang true for the kids that would come and stay at our house. I’m happy to hear that you have your own loving family now x

    Reply
  • I’m glad that your story ended in a safe home because so many children’s do not. I respect the fact that you realized you could forgive your birth mother without having a relationship with her.

    Reply
  • I am really sorry to hear that you are abuse, I have a friend that adopted too

    Reply
  • Wow! I am so sorry for the pain that your endured as a child and so moved by the amazing message that your chose to give every day despite everything that happened to you! You are an inspiration to so many! Thanks for sharing your story!

    Reply
  • So sorry you had to endure such pain as a child. I absolutely HATE abuse toward children. They are so helpless and are too often left without a voice and without advocates like your adoptive family to speak up and care for them. You are a brave woman for sharing your story to help stop child abuse from happening to any more innocent children.

    Reply
  • You’re strong for noticing something wasn’t right and taking a stand. It’s not always easy to do so.

    Reply
  • I recently had to watch a video for an in service type training. It was about abuse and although most of it was no surprise doesn’t make it any easier to watch. I now however look at kids differently and wonder if they are ok. I send my daughter off to school everyday with kind words and tell her to seek out those kids that may need a hi or smile. Everyone deserves to be recognized and if they are recognized they may seek help and be a little happier. Love your shirt and your message.

    Reply
  • An unbelievable story. You are a real strong person. Thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
  • Thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately some women just shouldn’t be mothers. Not ready to sacrifice everything for their child.

    Reply
  • No child should ever go through what you went through. I’m glad your adoptive parents took action and raised you and gave you love. Thank you for sharing your story, we must raise awareness and have a voice for the little ones.

    Reply
  • You are such a strong and inspiring woman. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Lauren

    Reply
  • This was heartbreaking to read and I applaud your courage–I’m sure that you sharing your story will help other children, no doubt about it. I hope that you are well and happy!

    Reply
  • Thank you so much for sharing this brave story. I was abused as a child, and to this date, my parents won’t acknowledge it. It sounds like you were able to pull your life together with out your birth mother.

    Reply
  • Wow, I applaud you for sharing your story. From what I can tell the abuse did not stop when you were adopted. I am sorry if this is true. Abuse on any level is unacceptable. Children should be cherished.

    Reply
  • You story is much like a friend of mine but she is the adoptive mom. She is going through court now to adopt two little girls who are a family friends because of their birth mother’s drug abusive and physical violence and what not and the kids have been passed around over the years as the birth mom tried to get her life together. I think the court will be in my friends favor and these little girls will have a safe loving home and they did get custody so far so fingers crossed.

    Reply
    • Sending prayers and positive thoughts your friend’s way that she is able to adopt them and that she will give them all of the love they deserve. My adoption experience was actually worse than that with my birth mother. I will write about my experiences with my adopted family soon.
      Always Choose Love!

      Reply
  • Happy you decided to share such a personal story about your life. Child abuse is not okay in any form. Glad you had adopted parents who saw you were taken care of.

    Reply
  • This is such a powerful article. I admire you for your courage and strength.

    Reply
  • Wow, your life has truly been quite the story. It’s so sad that you experienced that kind of childhood, but you are so brave to talk about your experiences in hopes of helping others. That’s amazing. I think your entire life shows strong signs of bravery. Wishing you the best as you continue your journey!

    Reply
  • You’re such an inspiration to your kids. Keep up the great work 🙂

    Reply
  • What a powerful story! Thank you for sharing! This is a topic we need to talk about.

    Reply
  • Your story is heart-breaking, and I wish nobody had to go through something like that in their lives. There is however a lot of strength in how you write, and i feel it comes from forgiveness. Thank you for sharing such a personal story, you write beautifully,

    Reply
  • What courage and strength you have to share this openly with all of us. Thank you for being vulnerable – your story will no doubt open the doors for others to also heal from their situations.

    Reply
  • Wow, this was incredibly powerful. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. This made me just call my mom and tell her what a wonderful mom she was and how grateful I am to her. I’m sorry you had to endure such things. I bet you’re an amazing mom to those adorable children.

    Reply
  • Such a sad, yet triumphant story! I think more people should read this and kudos to you for your bravery in sharing this. Hopefully it will inspire more people to take action when they think something may be going on.

    Reply
  • Oh my! I am so sorry for what you had to go through! I am so happy that your babysitter decided to adopt you! Thank you for sharing your story!

    Belle | http://www.OneAwesomeMomma.com

    Reply
  • Thank you for sharing your story. It breaks my heart to see how kids have been cheated out of love and treated so badly. I see it all the time through my work.

    Reply
  • What a story! You are such an inspirational and strong woman, Autumn! I am sending all my love and a big thank you for sharing!
    xx, Theresa

    Reply
  • You are an amazing- strong woman and your kids have a fabulous role model. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Reply
  • You’re truly inspiring.. so brave and courageous. Thank you for this moving post. You’ve an amazing storytelling skills! <3

    Reply
  • I love how people give awareness in Child abuse. This is a sensitive topic that everyone should pay attention.

    Reply
  • Thank you for sharing your story! Abuse happens all too often and should be talked about more!

    Reply
  • I’m so sorry for what you had to go through and experience but I really respect your bravery for posting about your abuse. Thank you for spreading awareness to the effects of child abuse.

    Reply
  • So sorry you had to go through such abuse. I was adopted as well when I was three months old.

    Reply
  • You are so brave for sharing your story, it looks like you had a brilliant life with your adoptive family after a horrible start and I am so very sorry you had to even live through such an ordeal. I too choose love. Very touching post.

    Reply
  • Autumn!!! Thank you for sharing part of your story with us. this qoute…”My love is endless, but I can only have people in my life that love me and respect me and do not expect anything in return.” speaks greatly…and it is a powerful ‘testimony’ to forgive and let go. xo!

    Reply
  • I commend you for telling your story. I am a foster parent and know all too well how abuse carried long lasting effects on children, even into adulthood. I am glad you found a family at such a young age who loves you. God Bless.

    Reply
  • I’m sorry for what happened but I’m glad you’re taking a stand and talking about it for others who may need it

    Reply
  • Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure that wasn’t easy for you. All the power to you for being able to forgive your birth mother even after all that abuse. My heart goes out to you.

    Reply
  • A powerful story indeed. So blessed you are to have been adopted because somebody noticed. Many times people don’t notice and the abuse continues in silence. What a strong woman you are to stand up and put it out there for others to take notice and maybe make a change for another child as well. Lots of Love from here. <3

    Reply
  • Child abuse is such an important and hard topic to talk about! Thank you for dedicating some space to it!

    Reply
  • Autumn, this is such a powerful story. Kudos to you for setting boundaries and holding firm. You are a strong woman. Hugs and love.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Menu