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The Soon to be New Life Chapter in Our Lives

I debated writing about this, though I’m excited about it. It brings up so painful memories. I could also easily write several thousand words about it. I will purposely try to keep it briefer, though it may be a little vague in spots because of the brevity. I also can’t guarantee that it won’t take more than one part to explain the new chapter to our lives that is going to start soon.

To understand the import of the changes that are coming, it is necessary to understand what happened in the past, at least in general.

Back in 2000, we were living in southern Oregon; my wife, daughter Cat, and me. At the time, I was working as a senior computer technician for a computer outsourcing company called Sykes. 

I’ve made it a point to try to give guidance to my kids without defining who their friends are. It has never been my right to decide who they can and cannot be friends with. I’ve also tried to let our kids know that we love them, even when they make poor life decisions. Cat was prone to making those poor choices because by that time, at the age of 18, she’d already been diagnosed with a bi-polar and borderline personality disorder, all stemming from a major car vs little girl accident that had occurred years earlier.

So it was that Cat found out that she was pregnant by her boyfriend at the time. Instead of going ballistic, my wife and I did what we could to make Cat comfortable while she carried her baby. The father was a violent person and he left the picture when Cat found out that she was pregnant, after he attempted to strangle her.

In 2001, Cat’s daughter, my granddaughter, was born. She was an exceptionally beautiful baby, though I fully admit to a bias in the matter. She was named Astali Acacia. ‘Astali’ is an archaic word meaning “light of the star” and acacia is a tree often thought of as ‘the’ life tree. The name fit and it described how we felt about her. To me, she was like a second daughter and a tremendously special gift.

Cat was really messed up by then. It was only when she was carrying Astali, whom we nicknamed Asti, that Cat realized that she really did have a mental illness. That is mostly because her body started producing a brain enzyme that it wasn’t producing since after the car accident. When she gave birth, and I might mention that I was there when she gave birth and holding her hand, her body again stopped producing the enzyme.

Although Cat has a brilliant mind and has since then received a Bachelors degree in English and is working on her Master’s degree, at that time, she didn’t have a high school diploma. She started taking medications for her illness, but she wanted to raise her daughter right. She knew that she couldn’t even get a decent job without a diploma, so she left Asti in our care and moved to Portland, Oregon, to get her GED.

I became the primary caregiver for baby Asti. I didn’t at all mind. As I said, she was like a second daughter. Nine times out of ten, when Asti would wake up in the middle of the night, I’d be the one who would go to her room, hold her, talk to her, sing to her, and comfort her until she went to sleep again. I changed diapers and did the sorts of stuff that parents are supposed to do. I’d raised two kids already, so at least had a little experience.

A big difference was that I spoiled Asti. I freely admit that. You can’t spoil a child with love, but I was finally in a position (working two jobs) that I could buy Asti little things that she wanted and several that she had no need for. For example, I bought her a four foot stuffed bear when she was just a little over one-year-old. She was extremely healthy at that age, but that bear towered over her. Still, she loved it, even at that age.

I also saw to her safety. My second job was as an online technical engineer. That position allowed me to work from home, right from the computer I had set up on the table. One day, Asti was laid down on the couch, roughly eight feet away and around the corner of the table from where I worked. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her roll over for the first time…into empty space. I still don’t know how I did it, but I caught her before she hit the floor.

I have many such memories and they are fond ones. I loved Asti as much as my own children and it was Agape love…unconditional love. I would have done anything for her and wouldn’t have hesitated to give up my life to protect her.

Then, for reasons that are too long to go into, Children Services Division got involved. Mind you, Asti was well cared for and we’d done nothing illegal, but CSD in Oregon at the time made their money based on the number of children they could take away from their parents and guardians. It was sheer numbers and, ironically, in disregard of the welfare of the children.

Asti was taken away on trumped-up accusations and placed in protective custody. At that time, I’d quit one job at the insistence of my family because I was working in excess of 100 hours a week. I couldn’t afford a lawyer, and though we didn’t have the money, we drove to Portland to get Cat. CSD had said that they would release Asti to Cat, only, though we were legal guardians.

They lied. In a meeting that we weren’t allowed to attend, they put the scare into Cat, telling her that if she didn’t allow Asti to be adopted out, they would make sure that any subsequent child Cat ever had would be immediately taken away from her, regardless of where she lived and what conditions she was living in. They also threatened her with huge fines. Not knowing any better and being totally terrified from all of the threats, Cat signed off her parental rights. 

Cat was allowed to visit Asti several times until the right adoptive parents (those with enough money) could be found. Then Asti was adopted out.

I was devastated. I went through a period of time of total apathy when I honestly didn’t care about anything. My little girl was gone. I’ll be honest; it was at that time when I very seriously thought about suicide. I didn’t care anymore, though I loved my wife and kids.

It was one of the rockiest times of my life and it affected everyone in the household. There was no laughter. There was no joy. I lived day to day and I wasn’t the proper foundation for the family. I didn’t fulfill my role and responsibility as father and husband.

Although I’m not at all trying to be a preacher here, it was at that time that I started reading the Bible again. I took comfort in the word of God. I knew that I’d never again see my little girl, never again be able to hold her, touch her, tell her that I loved her. Only the word of God and God’s love kept me from carrying out my plans for my own demise. He didn’t cause bad things to happen, but he had a way to make good come out of bad situations. That is because I believed what the bible said about how God has plans for everyone, including non-believers. He won’t force it on them, it must be their own decision, but it was because of that belief that I became ordained.

As I suspected, this has already been so long in giving the background that it will take a second part to explain the wonderful change in the situation and in our lives. It will be the beginning of a new chapter.


What do you think?

10 Points

Written by Rex Trulove

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    • Being bitter would be easy to do, but it wouldn’t accomplish anything at all. We all face troubles of one sort or another and if we learn from those problems and come away better than we were, despite the pain, it is still a win. Through all of this, I’ve gained a much greater reliance on God and that is a huge positive. Really, if I was bitter, I would be saying that I dislike the fact that I turned to God, and that wouldn’t be right.

  1. I feel so bad after reading such. Oh my Gosh, why system brokes lives of people. Children services sometime sare si inhumane, like robots without feelings. I can only imagine what the hell you went through. I am so sorry for you, friend.

    • It was very difficult for a long time and I’m not ashamed to say that more than once, I bawled my eyes out. The anguish was painful in ways I wouldn’t have been able to imagine. My self-esteem and self-confidence dropped to almost nothing and my wife and I went through a very rocky period in our marriage. Our marriage ended up stronger, but there for a while, we were very close to splitting up, mostly because of the pain we both had to endure.

      • The bottom line is that you made and all the time you were dealing with this you are also giving and helping others. Don’t put pressure. You are a great father, grandfather, husband and man. You have given me courage and strength. You simply don’t understand what your example and words do for those around you.

          • There are hundreds of days where I visit your posts just to be healed and remember who I am. You don’t recognize how much you do for those you don’t even know.

            Safe travels. Send me a message with your route!

        • I honestly didn’t know that I had that sort of an impact on others. I do try to be helpful when I can, but don’t often see the results.

          So far, we’ve narrowed the route down to two, but I’m not sure yet which one we’ll take. We’ll probably try to bypass Missoula, though, due to major construction around Dixon. We don’t actually have to bypass Missoula, we just need to get there another way. We don’t need to sit an extra hour in traffic, waiting to get through. Denver will be bad enough.

  2. I am deeply shocked to learn that that is how social services behaves in your part of the world. Is it really all predicated on money? I am so grateful to live in a country that believes in the “welfare state”.

    • To be fair, many states probably don’t operate that way, but in Oregon, it is a numbers game and yes, it is based on money. Had we had enough money to fight it, it is likely we would have won. We didn’t and they knew it. We were hardly the only people something similar has happened to. Still, things have a way of working themselves out.

  3. So sorry you had to go through such a bad period. Perhaps somehow someday Asti might find a way to get to know about her family. However, most likely she was never told about being adopted. As you say, God knows how to mend broken hearts and to make things right again. Many blessings to you and your family.

    • That is part of the sadness. The adoptive parents had no intention of letting Asti know that she was adopted. Her adoptive father actually told her specifically to hurt her and to make her feel inadequate. I don’t think that he ever thought about the consequences of doing that the way he did.

  4. Oh my goodness Rex. I am so very sorry you and your family have had to endure such senseless pain. My heart goes out to you and your family. I know you are strong, and life throws us all curveballs. I will keep you in my thoughts. So glad you are still here with us my friend. I hope sharing this has helped some of the horrible pain that never goes away.

    • We missed a great deal, and so did Asti. It has been an ongoing sadness. However, that is a page that will be turned. A new chapter begins. There will be good times and bad times ahead, but it is a step in a positive direction. We can’t undo the past, but we can move forward in a good way.

    • I am, too. People who think that Children Services works for the good of the children really haven’t had any dealings with them. That is absolutely not what they are about and Oregon CSD has had numerous lawsuits brought against them. I’m thankful that I no longer live in Oregon.


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