At the age of seven, my second cousin, Justice Leann Deveney had been abused, deprived, and neglected. Her father and mother who had been married in our own backyard had gotten into a violent divorce that led to a scared and confused child. For the first seven years of her life, she never really felt loved or wanted. Her father had gained custody of her and the two of them would drive a few hours to our house to visit my family and me a few times a year. Every time Justice came to visit a smile seemed to be plastered to her face. It was evident that my mother and Justice had a mother daughter relationship and clear to the rest of the family that she wanted to be with us. Time passed and she began to stay for weeklong visits in the summer. With my parents working and my sisters moved out, I was frequently given the role as the babysitter. I had always been the youngest in my family so taking care of her, could at times, be a pain. Nonetheless the weeks when I babysat her passed quickly and I hurriedly returned to my life as a teenaged boy. Months passed and each month I kept hearing my parents talking about Justice and her home life. She was a sweet, innocent little blond hair blue eyed girl who needed to be loved and cared for. However, at home, she wasn’t eating three meals a day, being educated, or cared for at all. On January 13th, 2007, Justice Deveney became my real and legal sister.
You never know why things happen the way they do. Throughout life, something valued by us has been taken away or mistreated at one time or another. Blame could be directly pointed at someone or something while the reason of the situation could also be unknown. As humans, we try to make sense with the evidence we have, but sometimes there is no factual reason for catastrophe. Life is not fair and no one ever said it would be easy, but I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.
I never realized how lucky and spoiled I was to have three older siblings. Adopting Justice and having a younger sister made me realize a lot about myself. I realized how much thankfulness I had lacked for my three older sisters. Taking care of a younger brother or sister can be a dreadful task. As adolescences we are constantly trying to grow up and be more mature. We want to surround ourselves with older more knowledgeable people who will make us feel grown up. However, everything happens for a reason and it took a little seven year old girl to make me realize how I needed to take a step back and understand how good I had it. I am now more patient and appreciative of others and their needs because of what has happened to Justice. I’m sure that there is some greater reason as to why Justice was treated the way she was and is presently living with my family. She is now in good hands, being loved, cared for, and educated in all aspects of life.
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