SOMETHING SO PURE
(by Randy E. Halprin)
Like a video tape, I often rewind my favorite memories and play them back in slow mo-
The first four and a half years of my life were a blur of confusion, fright and abuse. I was placed up for adoption only after my biological mother and father realized, after already losing one child to the state, that they were too young and strung out on drugs to take care of me. My younger brother had been taken away from them as an infant. He was born with minor birth defects, arguably caused by drugs, and a severe case of asthma. Several trips to the hospital and a near death later, the state said, enough was enough and they took him away. Despite reports of abuse, I was left with them. So, I stayed in a perpetual state of confusion and loneliness. I didn't understand why the people who claimed to love me, the mom and dad who brought me into this world could cause so much harm to their only son. A scar from the physical abuse is still visible on my right wrist to this day.
Upon being placed up for adoption, I was shuffled around from foster home to foster home in the Dallas / Ft. Worth area. I was never in any particular home for more than two to three months at a time. I doubted I would ever have a permanent family, like my social worker constantly promised. The worst of it was that I didn't even remember hav-
A year passed and my file was turned over to a new social worker from the Edna Gladney Adoption Agency in Ft. Worth. She reviewed my case and was horrified to see that I had been separated from my brother for so long. She immediately took action to rejoin me with my brother and tracked him down to a foster home in the Dallas country. The foster family he was with protested against me staying in their home at first. They had plans of adopting my brother, whom they practically raised from infancy. They had already devel-
Looking back, my memory has grown sharper as time has passed and I can see my brother in his crib. He's crying. In another room someone is yelling. I'm scared and con-
As I stood at the door of my new foster home, I was anxious to meet my brother. My social worker had shown me photos of him as an infant and current photos and I vaguely remembered him. Still, I couldn't wait to be reunited with him -
As the social worker searched for a family for my brother and I, I was put through a ri-
A call was finally made to my brother's and my social worker saying a family had been all checked out and approved to adopt my brother and I. They would be coming from Arling-
It was early August, 1983, when that joyous day came. I don't think my brother fully understood what was going on, or that we were reaching an apex in our young lives. Our foster mom and dad tried to explain that nothing was set in stone, but I believed in the depths of my heart this would be the final stop of a long journey.
My brother and I waited anxiously in the humid heat on our tricycles. I can see myself on my "Big Wheel", a big piece of molded plastic with one gigantic wheel in the front, and two smaller wheels in the back. The seat was bright yellow with fiery red flames trailing down the frame of black plastic. My brother was riding on his bright red Radio Flyer. He wore his favorite incredible shirt and I wore a multi striped tank top with matching red track shorts, and my favorite shoes that made me "run faster".
What seemed like forever to a five year old boy passed by. I'm sure a little doubt of whether they would come or not began to seep into my brain. I was excited and nervous and full of hope. As noon approached and the day grew hotter I began to sunburn a little, but refused to go back inside. I drove around on my big wheel doing figure eights on the hot drive way over and over, when in the distance I noticed a bright flash of light off something metallic. I stopped my bike and squinted my eyes, but could see nothing. For-
The car slowed as it approached the house, and I watched breathlessly as a tinted win-
The tan colored automobile stopped and there was a brief pause as my brother and I waited. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears. The drivers side door opened with a great swing and a big foot stepped onto the pavement, following the head of a bald man, as it poked out into open. The man stepped around the door and shut it gently, almost as if he were afraid to scare my brother and I. He took off his dark glasses and replaced them with a clear pair. We stared at each other nervously and then I jumped off my big wheel and ran to him in a mad dash. "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" I yelled jumping into his big bear like arms and he picked me up as if we had been father and son forever.
My brother bonded well with my mother. I can see him sitting in her lap offering her dough nuts. I spent the day and every day after that trying to make him proud, trying to impress him. I showed him I could read, I could write my name, that I could swim and dive into the deep end. By the end of the day everything felt natural. Everything felt real. Never in my life had I felt a love like this. Never had I felt something so pure.