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The father I want to be

By Dimitri Carpenter

For me, the COVID-19 crisis is happening on two levels. As a deputy with the Montgomery County Sherriff’s Office in Conroe Texas, my work life has adjusted, we are taking precautions, but it’s still basically business as usual. I am trained to keep people calm, caution them to take care, but not to panic. Our message is that people should abide by the rules, that way we can get a foothold and curb the spread. We’ll get through it. But as a father, I do feel fear even though the statistics say little children are relatively safe. If anything happened to my two baby girls my life would end. They are my life.

I wish my story only happened to me, but I now know it is a familiar one. My siblings and I were taken away from our parents when I was three. There was violence. My youngest brother was adopted but the rest of us – my older brother and younger sister – bounced between a few foster homes and treatment facilities. At one point there was physical abuse. No one believed me; no one had my back.  As soon as I’d get used to a caseworker, I got a different one.

When I was about five, I was reunited with my younger sister; we were in two more foster homes until we were both adopted by my former therapist. But it was always clear she didn’t want me, just my sister. That messed me up for a while. From the fourth grade until my freshman year in high school I lived there and it was a struggle. I was put on nine different drugs. I slept 16 hours a day. I never felt loved.

But then it turned around. A family mediator got my adoptive mother to agree to let me move in with Sandra (read her story here). We talked with a child psychologist who said the mix of antidepressants and other meds I was on was criminal.  And don’t get me wrong, I needed help – just not turned into a zombie. And finally someone listened. I improved my grades; my emotions stabilized. When I was legally able to, at age 18, Sandra adopted me. She is my mother.

I’m 26 now. My mom is my hero. She’s gone through a lot. She always picks herself up. She has a strong will and doesn’t take no for an answer. I respect that and model myself after her. Especially as a father. My girls are babies now, but someday I want to be that father who is there for them emotionally; whatever their problems are they can come to me. But don’t come complaining, because that won’t get you very far. Life will kick you down, and it’s your job to get back up.

I love being a cop. I don’t know why but I always knew this is what I wanted to do. Protect people, show them the right way. Show the world that even though you had a bad start in life, you can still have a life.

Show the world that even though you had a bad start in life, you can still have a life.

Visit our Tales of Strength & Love page for more stories like Dimitri’s.

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