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Today I will begin to tell some things about my family. I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time, but didn’t know where to start. I finally asked my oldest daughter if I could share some of her life with the world. She quickly said, “Yes!” I, however, wanted her to pray and think about it for a while. She came back and again told me it was ok. The issue with telling people about our family is that I won’t be believed and there will be judgment from others.  I’ve come to realize it doesn’t matter if people believe me or not. What matters is whether or not I’m being honest…I am!!! So, if you feel the need to disbelieve or judge go right ahead.

Phebe is my oldest daughter. I was able to adopt her when she was just a baby. She is a beautiful young lady inside and out. In fact, she is more the person I want to be than what I actually am. She’s loving, patient, pretty, thin, empathetic, hardworking, and so understanding. There’s so much more, but I’m sure you get the point. She’s not perfect, mind you, and there are many things that she works on daily. When she was little she was such a good girl. She was very obedient and just fun to be around. She was very smart and had memorized many verses by the age of 3.  Phebe was able to always make me smile even when I didn’t feel like it. I have to admit as a young mom I was way too strict with her. She dealt with my strictness very well. She was extremely obedient.  A few years later she became so different. She lied a lot, and she didn’t seem to care if she got in trouble.  She seemingly changed into another person. I still loved her. I just didn’t enjoy being with her as much.

I worked many hours at that time. I left the house around 2:30 in the afternoon. This was right in the middle of nap-time for Abner, my 2 year old. Phebe would get home from school right when I left. She would wait for Abner to wake up, and then they would walk next door to my parents’ house. She was only 8 at the time, but was more than capable of doing this. Before she left our house she was supposed to call my mom to let her know they were on their way over. One particular day my mom was outside and didn’t hear the phone ring. Phebe left a message that they were walking over and thought she had hung the phone up. She hadn’t…so you could hear everything that was going on in the house. You could hear her screaming at her little brother. She would yell and then either hit or kick him. He was crying and begging her to stop. This went on for quite some time. When I heard the message I cried uncontrollably. I just couldn’t understand what had made Phebe so angry. I confronted her with the tape and she swore up and down that she hadn’t done anything like that to her brother. I was flabbergasted. How could she deny what was so apparent?

Another time I found knives all over the house when I came home from work. They were in the bathroom, under the couch, in her bedroom…everywhere. When I asked why she had done that she again denied it. No one else was in the house except Abner and he was 2. He couldn’t even reach the knives.

When Phebe was in the 3rd grade I received a call from the school. Phebe had been caught red-handed cheating. I went to the school to talk to her. The principal and pastor had already talked to her but didn’t get anywhere with her. I talked to her for hours. My mom talked to her on the phone. My dad left work and came to talk to her. She denied, denied, denied.   I was angry, confused, and ready to give up. When you’re a parent you don’t get the option of giving up, though. So I prayed for her and got her into counseling. We went through many counselors. Most of them just said they didn’t understand, but I was wasting my money trying to get her help. I knew it wasn’t a waste. I knew she just needed the right counselor.  

I remember saying, “If I didn’t know better I would say she had Multiple Personality Disorder.” It was so frustrating. I would explain how to do something, like how to wash the dishes. Then next time I would tell her to do dishes she would say she didn’t know how because she’s never done it before.  I would get so angry with her. Her bedroom would become an absolute mess. So I would go in and just clean, clean, clean. I would find tons of food, dishes, and silverware. I would line everything up and ask her why she had put them in her room. You guessed it…she would say she never took that stuff in her room. This would happen about 4-6 times a year. Every time she was asked why she did something she would deny it. I was so sick of the lies.  It’s something that just makes my blood boil.

She also never had a sense of direction…at all!!!!  We lived in the same house from the time she was 6 until she was 16. We went to the same church, stores, and gas stations. Our church/school was 4 miles from our house. She went to that building almost every day of those 10 years. She had no clue how to get there. It was only 2 turns. I just couldn’t understand.  Phebe wasn’t dumb by any stretch of the imagination. In fact she is quite smart. I remember when she was 15 my hubby and I were trying to figure out what school grade to put her in that year. We were planning on homeschooling and ordered a packet of tests. In each subject she had 3 or 4 tests. They were all VERY similar. In each subject the results showed that she needed to be in as many different grades. For example in English she tested to be in 10th, 3rd, 6th, and 9th grade. It didn’t make a lick of sense. We didn’t have a clue as to what grade to put her in.

By the time she reached her teenage years my relationship with her was strained, to say the least. If she entered the room, I exited and vice versa.  We argued constantly. I wanted my little Phebe back, and I didn’t have a clue as to what she wanted. Actually, I don’t believe she knew what she wanted. Nothing really made her happy. I encouraged her to have friends over, but she wouldn’t. One year her birthday gift was money and being able to take 2 friends to the mall. She refused to do it. I asked her hundreds of times what was wrong. I asked if someone had hurt her. I asked if she was mad at someone. I asked if she was scared. I asked if she hated me. I asked if she wanted to go back to Haiti. I asked if she was a Christian. I asked if she was sad. I asked if she was happy. She just never had a clear answer for anything.

I didn’t know how to help her, but I never gave up.

Three years old is what you’d be
on January Third.
I’ll try to write how you would be
in just a few short words.
You’d probably be very tall
and know your ABC’s.
Your older brother, Abner,
would teach you to climb trees.
Phebe would be proud of you
and pictures she would take.
She’d capture all your silliness
and crafts that you would make.
Your little brother, Asher,
would be your constant shadow.
You’d probably try to hide from him
but he would always follow.
You have another sister,
Selah Grace is her name.
Were you there in the room
the day that she came?
Daddy and Mommy miss you
more than words can ever say.
You would still be in my arms
if I could have my way.
But for now, my precious boy,
I’ll just dream of you.
It won’t be long and I'll be there
in Heaven with you, too.