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Joined: 9/28/2010
Posts: 1
I thought my life had ended on February second, 2009. Well, at least my entire life as I knew it. That was the day my dad dropped me and my brother off in Akron, Ohio to live with my aunt and uncle, as a ploy to leave my mom and us for another woman. Yet, that experience turned out to be the best of my life, thanks to the Barker-Palan family. Their constant encouragement and love that they showed towards me, motivating me to succeed, makes them my hero’s.
At first, I had a hard time “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel”. I was depressed from fear of being in a strange place with new people. Gradually however, their consistent participation in my life gave me the support I needed to carry on. Even before we started school my Aunt Jamie had me, my brother, and Cousin Josh volunteering with our new high schools production of “the play”, in efforts to get my brother and me to meet new friends and get involved in school activity. To my surprise, since I planned on dreading it the entire time and being a recluse, it was actually the best night of my life. That night I met two people whom are now two of my very close personal friends, Samantha Clarke and Jonathan Halverson. From then on I and my brother were completely embraced by the students and faculty of Firestone High. This of course boosted my self esteem and opened my mind to actually seeing what northern school curriculum had to offer me. Turns out I was very successful, and left my sophomore year with good grades.
In between my educational challenges, I had a few emotional hurdles to jump also. Realizing my previous hero (my dad) had abandoned me and my mom being an emotional wreck herself (she would not talk to anyone), made me feel very alone. In those times, in the moments where I felt like I had nothing left, the Barker-Palan family would some how know and have a “family night” or just hold me while I cried. I remember my first “family dinner”. I was extremely quiet, since the entire concept alone was foreign to me, my family never got along enough to sit at an entire meal together. Then my Aunt Jamie looked over at me and said “Ha’ani what is your high of the day, and your low of the day?” evidently it was a game that they played at the dinner table. However, I was sort of startled by the question. I thought for a second and replied with “my high was helping with the play; my low was getting mud all over my shoes.” I know that this moment seems fairly ordinary, but it was anything but ordinary, it was the moment I did not feel alone any more. From that day forward they accepted me as if I was one of their own, providing for me, kissing me good night, and helping me in any way they could. I have never felt more at home till I met them.
Their family gave me something to always look forward to, a constant life goal; somewhere where I know that I will be happy and supported, to live with them and attend Akron University. Not only have they given me a future, but they have and still continue to give me the strength I need to pursue this. In being the amorous, compassionate people they are, they made me who I am today.
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