Friday, January 3, 2014

Seeing it Both Ways

Its kinda strange to say but drug dealers, drugs, and the crimes around them have been with me my whole life.  Growing up I lived just blocks away from Jeffery Dahlmer the notorious murderer.  The going ons on my neighborhood were not pleasantville.  We were not allowed to go to our neighborhood friends homes because most of their parents were dealers or on drugs.  I dont ever recall a friend inviting me over it seemed to be a rule that was understood without it ever being said.  The neighborhood kids played in our backyard because we were the only backyard with a play structure.  Our yard had a lock on it which had to be locked/unlocked to allow our friends in to play.  Only my parents were allowed to lock and unlock it.  The people in our neighborhood were good people.  Most of them grew up in the lifestyle they lived and then went on to repeat it.  When we moved away one of the neighbors confronted my mother asking why she we were leaving.  My mother told her we had lived in the home for 10 years and it was time to move on.  The woman backed up, let her defenses down and told my mother she had never lived in one place for a straight 10 months.  I miss that neighborhood believe it or not.  It was one in which we watched each others homes, and looked out for each other.  You had to.  Suburbia was isolating even though I was finally able to go to friends homes I spent less time with friends.  Each family stayed in the confines of their property.  Gone was our backyard as the neighborhood "park" where kids from all over the neighborhood came to play.  Gone were the parents who would parent all the children on the block.  I missed it.  I couldnt invite my old friends over to my new home because most of their parents were drug dealers or on drugs.  There is something that brings a community together when you need each other for safety which cannot be duplicated in suburbia where community is based on voluntary social interactions. I still miss it.

I grew up, moved to a rural area (though those that live here would argue I live in a city).  We bought a home and settled in.  It was the first month living here that I picked up that we lived across the street from a drug dealer.  DH works for the town we live in and no one seemed to be aware of the presence of this dealer.  I started to complain to the town.  It took us about six months to get a no parking sign across the street from our home since they would park from the corner and down the street.  So I made it so they had to park a little farther.  It took about a year to get a real investigation going.  It took three years until the DEA broke down their door the week before Mothers Day. Turns out this unknown drug house could be linked back to every drug related crime in our area.  This home in our quiet neighborhood was a hub.  It quietly operated for years with three elderly couples as neighbors no one was the wiser.  Unfortunately our intervention was too late.  Two houses down from us lived a family with a son and daughter.  The girl was a soccer star and she babysat for neighborhood children.  Unfortunately the children of the drug dealer were two of the children she babysat for.  She was introduced to drugs, became the dealers girlfriend, and well the rest is history- her life went downward and her parents despite their efforts loss their daughter to the dealer across the street.

In between when we bought our home, and when the dealer was finally busted that we started our wait for Baby Girl.  We filled out every adoptive parents favorite worksheet the "preference" check list.  Most illegal drugs we were OK with most legal substances we were willing to "consider" but would have rather checked "no."  I was so focused on our future child I never really thought that if we were checking boxes about drugs it means that the birthparents were thus involved in drugs.  So when Baby Girl arrived and she was addicted to multisubstances we were ready  and OK with her exposures.  What I still wasn't ready for was D's (and although firmly denied J's) addictions.  It has taken me time to return back to a place of understanding that D and J have both made poor choices but they still are birthparents to my daughter, son/daughters, sister/brother, and family/friends to others.  They are people who deserve a chance to overcome even if the odds are not in their favor.

Last night an article was written about one of the people connected to the drug house.  Again like in every article our small town paper writes about the drug house he brought up the name of the girlfriend of the dealer.  He reminded us all that she graduated from the local high school in 2005 and was a star soccer player.  He wrote a paragraph about her when there really was no reason to even mention her while he only stated the home the drugs were dealt from was owned by the dealer.  Has the neighbor girl continued to struggle since her release from jail? yes.  Is it fair to continue to put her name in the paper over and over? no.  How can one pick up, and move forward when you google her name and all you get are articles linked to drugs?  D interestingly enough shares the name with a murder victim that made national news.  So before you googled D's name and you would find her mug shot.  Now you google her name you find story after story about this other woman who tragically died.

I do think that when someone makes poor choices that there should be consequences.  I don't trust someone that is currently using as far as I can throw them.  Just because someone verbalizes the desire to become sober doesn't mean I think they are ready.  Drugs do horrible things to those who use them, and their families.

I also think that people deserve the right to move forward.  To overcome their poor choices.  My hope for D, J and our neighbor girl is that they have the strength to realize that they have the strength to move forward and that there are those of us willing to forgive and provide a hand to get back up.  So I wrote our local crime reporter and told him to leave our neighbor girl alone.  Stop reporting on her unless of course she is involved in something newsworthy.  Hopefully he stops being a bully, lets her be, and starts picking on the real criminal- the dealer.

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