Dear Mrs. Harris,
I see from the newspapers and the television media that you are getting a lot of flak for what you are trying to accomplish with the "prevent in utero abuse of unborn children," by potential, drug/alcohol abusing parents. I have benefited from your advertising and program. How I wish it were so about thirteen years ago. I wish that I had some long-term birth control that I didn't have to think about at that time.
I have no problem sharing my children's story with you. I have no problem with you sharing my story with your detractors. I don't think they get it, not even after 15 or 16 years of this crack/methamphetamine/heroine epidemic, how addict's and their irresponsible reproductive habits is causing a serious problem in the "community." I can speak on this, because I am one of those addicts that should have bee implanted with Norplant, or had permanent sterilization. Instead, I, due to my addiction and my complete and utter dedication of my life, my money, my time, my sexual nature (prostitution for the next hit), my every waking thought, all of my energy to the full-fledged pursuit of CRACK COCAINE.
I'm an African-American woman, I have used drugs for a long time, on and off. I am thought to be highly intelligent, but cursed with a genetic code for self-destruction, alcoholism on both sides of the family tree. When I became strung out on crack, I lost my will to do the right thing. I lost the ability to pay rent, even while I was still working, I finally lost my place to stay, and as we in the 12-step program say, I "lived to use and used to live." I have done some horrendous things my quests for "The High-Life," all the way to living and turning tricks in alleys of Skid Row, and I DIDN'T CARE!!! I was pregnant, not only on one occasion, but two times. I continued to turn tricks and smoke dope, drink rot-gut wine, sleep on the sidewalk, go on dope-runs lashing for days at a time, couldn't eat, stayed awake at least 3 to 4 days at a time on a regular basis. What kind of life is that for a pregnant woman?
Most folks will say, "Why didn't you stop? At least until the baby was born?" The people who would ask these questions don't understand the truth about addiction. The addicted party cannot help themselves. Every step the addict takes is in hot pursuit of their drug of choice, and the addict has no choice in the matter anymore, hence the horrific things we do while under the influence.
The children are now 11 and 12 years old, respectively. A boy and a girl. I'm not sure who their biological father's are, due to the lifestyle I lived when I couldn't help myself, when I had no choice in the matter. They never came home with me, because they were born with cocaine in their systems. I had no home for them to come to, in any case. I never did get custody of the children, when I sobered up, it was too late. The children have been in the custody of their grandmother since birth, and their lives have been hard. Special Education, constant expulsions from schools, due to behavioral difficulties, impulse control issues. One child has even been CAT-Scanned. The neurologists said that part of his brain does not exist. This child forgets everything. The other child, is now in a group home, because she cannot behave in an appropriate manner.
One of the children has begun to go to jail for violent behavior. They are allowed therapy, but that is a joke, because they clam up on psychiatrists and therapists and social workers. The DCFS worker involved in the case wants to take both children away from their grandmother to be raised in mental institutions, or group homes, without love, without care, the goal is to control the children, with high-powered medications, to the detriment of their fragile central nervous systems. Their minds and bodies are damaged from birth, just imagine what the psych meds are going to do to them, in the long run. These otherwise bright children may only be fit for the human scrap-heap, jails, prisons, and mental institutions, all because of an egg-donor who could not control her own womb's activities due to her intense craving for drugs, to the detriment of decent living itself.
And these wonderful protesters say, "Let the addicted woman/man keep reproducing at will!!!" I guess not too many of them have been around drug exposed children. What's funny is, that my children are first generation crack babies. Their behavior is unpredictable, violent and definitely anti-social. They are not at fault, they have been born that way. When they are not "going off" they are smart, loveable kids, but more often than not, they are off on a tangent. My children aren't the only ones, and to a certain extent they were lucky. I know of other addicts who babies were born horribly deformed, with AIDS or HIV positive, flat out and out hopelessly retarded, and physically disabled.
I'm not saying that these babies don't have a right to exist. I love my babies as best I can, from a distance. When you think of the long-term costs escalating behind pregnant addicts.....? Look at the infant intensive care costs, the special education costs, the court costs, the shuffling of the poor baby through the system, the loss of brain-power potential, the lack of emotional stability of the drug exposed child. Some say that I'm being too harsh, but I have a right to speak on this subject, because me and mine are LIVING THE NIGHTMARE DAILY!!!
I wish someone would have tied my tubes back then or installed an IUD in me, by hook or by crook.
When you hear from your detractors again, talking about genocide, tell 'em to go and take care of some of these babies, and many of these children are quite beautiful, it's the peculiarities of the behavior and emotional instability will break the hardest heart.
It's also important to know that the use of crack is known to kill all maternal instinct. I do not know much about methamphetamines, nor heroine, they were not my drugs of choice. I know about alcohol, Olde English, Cisco and the like. An addict woman will cradle her pipe before she cradles her own child. I know, I speak from experience. The stark truth is that most addicts/alcoholics will never get it together, they just continue on, only interrupted by stays in jails, prisons, mental institutions, and "rest stops" in recovery homes. Only to come out, looking good, got the loved ones all hopeful, just to step back off the planet. I've known women to have only drug babies, and plenty of them, back to back to back. I've known a woman who kept relapsing, getting pregnant, having a drug baby, sober up, can't stand reality, and go back out, end up pregnant again. Pitiful, huh?
I could go on and on. Mrs. Harris, I hope when you get the opportunity to share this story with your detractors that are protesting "genocide," so on and so forth, they are able to face reality, look around and help escort their neighborhood dope fiend to the nearest clinic, for some long-term birth control. The real truth of the matter is that the dope fiend started their own genocide with the first hit, snort of dope, the first shot. Why bring some babies into it, if that doesn't have to be?
THANKS FOR READING MY STORY, MY TRUTH, I'M ONLY ONE OF MANY LIKE ME,
(Letter has not been edited for grammar or punctuation.)