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Rated: ASR · Prose · Family · #2241174
Every child who's been a victim of abuse needs to an Albert Forrester in his or her life.
Once upon a terrible time a young girl named Lottie lived with her mother (in name, not in nurture), her alcoholic step-father, her two brothers (one half), and two sisters. As the years went by, due to the abuses levied by both so-called parents in varying degrees, three of the siblings ran away from home leaving only Lottie and her half-brother Mark to be the victims of the myriad of abuses including sexual, physical and emotional.

Now, you may ask why neither Lottie nor Mark left as well. And that would be a valid question, but one far too complicated to answer - having mostly to do with each child’s psychological make-up. Despite the fact both children were reserved in school and underperformed, no teacher ever investigated as to the reasons. All physical evidence of abuse was strategically hidden in places where others could not see. And neither child dare say anything to the authorities in fear of retribution from the step-father.

Eventually Lottie grew brave enough to leave home, but had no aspirations for her future because, as a child, she was constantly told she was stupid and lazy. Life was more about going through the motions to make it through each day, showing up for her blue collar job as an insert operator at a direct mail firm, and trying to stay out of her head as much as possible. (Mark, in time, went his own way as well. None of the siblings stayed much in communication with one another.)

Still quite shy, Lottie’s circle of friends was more like a dotted line, but because of her work ethic and productivity at the mailroom she developed a relationship with her boss, Albert Forrester. Through their conversations Albert learned Lottie lived on her own and also, apparently, sensed Lottie’s empty emotional well. Albert happened to be married to a wonderful, God-loving woman named Donna and together they had five daughters.

One day Albert invited Lottie to meet his family, which then led to an invitation to spend the summer with them, with Lottie taking on the role of “big sister” to Jennie, Karyn, Franny, Reagan and Faith. Throughout that summer Lottie experienced family like family was meant to be experienced. She, for what she perceived to be for the first time, received hugs and was told she was loved repeatedly. She met the extended group of Forresters (Albert had five brothers), all of whom were close. Albert’s brother Don led the Baptist church they all attended including Lottie. Don also baptized Lottie.

Now you might understand why, before now, Lottie questioned the existence of God because what kind of God would allow children to suffer as she and her siblings had. The Forresters changed her mind because they were truly people living in the Light. They looked for and saw the good in people. They saw the potential in Lottie. Although it would take a long time for Lottie to actually believe she had intelligence, the Forresters recognized it right away. They insisted she apply to college - something she had never even considered. They even helped her to get into Don’s alma mater, Tennessee Temple University.

Though Lottie transferred to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs after one year at Temple (far too many rules and regulations), she made the honor roll that first year, much to her surprise. Through her success in the classroom, the continued support of the Forresters - although now many miles away, constant self-reflection and prayer, Lottie grew. She graduated magna cum laude. That once reticent child became a teacher.

It was not altogether a smooth ride. There were a lot of challenges along the way, including a bout with Bulimia and a few unhealthy relationships. Trust in most people continued to be a challenge for Lottie. But, thanks to God putting Albert and his family in Lottie’s life, her future changed drastically from the track it was taking shortly after leaving her home - going from struggling to survive to thriving. For that she will be forever grateful.

Her relationship with her biological mother remains the same - practically non-existent, but Lottie is blessed with three daughters of her own as well as a supportive husband. Together they, at least, are carrying on the examples led by the Forresters - experiencing family as it is meant to be experienced.

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