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|“We Were Not Lucky Children”|
Feb. 4th, 2014 at 12:35 pm
Heather Young, aka our LIZ has written and self published her memoirs—–only took her 10+ years :). You can get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble; it’s “Ezra And Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty.”
“We were not lucky children and I didn’t know why” she writes as she tells her story of being born to handicapped parents (her father was developmentally challenged with a low IQ and her mother was a paranoid schizophrenic who was convinced she’d been born on a planet called LaMordia). She, then called Hadassah, and her older brother, Ezra were named after biblical royalty because their mother wanted them to have names befitting their importance as half LaMordian and half earthling.
Authorities realized very early that Ezra and “Haddie” as her mother still calls her would need supplemental care and they worked with the parents. First, the kids went to foster care during the day and home at night to their parents. Later, they spent the week at the foster home and went home to their parents on weekends. When Ezra was nine and Haddie seven, the state moved to terminate parental rights and turned them over to an adoptive family who was LDS. Their names were changed to Rex and Heather.
I tagged and underlined and cried and smiled as I read this book because I kept finding nuggets of wisdom or interesting stories…..and heartbreakingly agonizingly sad stories of the abuse their adoptive family heaped on them. Heather writes about the total blankness that accompanied abusive episodes and she relates with unflinching honesty what she felt as she watched her brother being abused and starved. Through it all, she shares her life in the voice that we have come to expect from “LIZ.” Smart and sassy and true.
It’s mind-boggling what people could get away with at that time. Their adoptive parents, the Spencers, had lost three of their four biological children in a house fire. Virginia Spencer spoke freely to her adoptive children about the horrible abuse she’d suffered as a child and about how she’d abused her biological children, making it clear that life for their adoptive children was a veritable picnic in comparison. Right. Here’s a line early in the book “Rex was never going to eat dinner again.” The Spencers would force their misbehaving children to stand for hours leaning against a wall for the tiniest of misdemeanors. This ended when an Uncle visited during one episode (he’d had the odd experience of visiting his sister in the living room while Heather was stretched out against the wall, ignored). He questioned Heather about it and when told she had failed to include another adoptee in a roller skating activity, became upset and angry. He voiced his objection to the Spencers and “the Wall” punishment was stopped.
I could go on. You simply must read this book for yourself, not to torture yourself with the horrors these children experienced but so that you can exult in the overcoming of them. Both Ezra and Hadassah struggled, but both chose to make their lives count for something. Their birth parents, despite their limitations, loved their children and never gave up on their goal of being reunited with them. This resulted in a valiant legal battle that ended when the US Supreme Court refused to hear their case. While the kids were fighting to survive, their parents were fighting to get them back, unbeknownst to them.
Today, Heather’s dedication to her husband (every woman should have such a saint as her mate) and her children is unwavering. She’s making the world a better place in so many ways, including taking care of her birth parents, whose dream of regaining their children came true, although not in the way one would imagine. She’s brave and funny and strong and smart.
Ezra/Rex died of brain cancer in her home, going home to the “best friend” he had found in Jesus. He was active LDS before he died and Heather has great faith in the church as well.
When Rex died, in Heather’s husband’s arms, Heather knelt next to them and said “The ambulance is coming. They will take you to the hospital and make this seizure stop. I love you. You are the best brother in the whole world and I am very proud of you. I am glad I am your sister. You are a great man, Rex, and I will love you forever.”
It’s hard to make me laugh; you gotta be really funny. It’s even harder to make me cry, I ain’t gonna let myself feel that bad unless I have to….but I laughed and I cried while reading Heather’s book. You simply must read it for yourself. Brava.