A dark past leads to a brighter future


Staff writer Makayla Henderson is grateful for new beginnings.

Makayla Henderson, Writer

“Hardships prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny,” writer C.S. Lewis once said. All my life I have endured hardships and tragedies. Today at the age of 17, however, I am finally able to realize why I was placed in these inconvenient situations. I am now able to reflect back and compare the lonely fearful girl I once was to the strong, independent young lady it has made me out to be. Starting from an early age, I was encompassed by feelings of loneliness, abandonment, guilt and fear. 

I began being tossed about the world at the age of 2 when my parents became emotionally unstable and drugs became the forefront of their lives rather than their own children. No longer able to suffice as parental figures, my sister and I were separated from them at the age of 5. As a result, we were placed into foster care and hopped from home to home never fully receiving the love and acceptance we so longed for. Along with moving homes, I also repeatedly transferred schools every couple of months. This became such a struggle for me as a child, constantly having to be the new girl. Consequently, my grades were poor, and I was often on the verge of failing. Soon, however, this would become a thing of the past. 

On May 23, 2008, my world took an unexpected turn for the better. That morning after several visits with whom my social worker would constantly describe as someone who was interested in me, I was taken to court. After hours of long waiting and paperwork, these people would become my new family. It was such a drastic change for me. It had been years since I felt like I belonged and was accepted. However, Shellie and Michael Henderson created an environment and encompassed me in such a way that I was able to experience these emotions and it was so invigorating. It took me a while, but I finally began to realize the purpose God had for me in allowing these people to become a part of my life.

After a long period of waiting, I was finally able to fully accept the love and affection of my new family, whom I now called Mom and Dad. They began to teach me what it was like to feel loved again. They treated me like no other person who had been in and out of my life those past few years. They helped to shape me, they taught me the basics of personal hygiene, they coached me on the basics of acting like a young lady, they inspired me and helped me to reveal my inner self. For the first time in my life, I had hope. 

The longer I lived with the Henderson’s, the more successful I became; I began pulling my grades up and eventually became the top 15 percent of my class. I even got into track and cross country and broke school records, thus creating new ones. After several years of counseling, I was even able to forgive my real parents and build some form of relationship with them. Often thoughts of my past would fill my head and I’d realize that things could never be the same, although that to me was okay, because at that moment my future was looking brighter than ever.