Kimberly was adopted when she was three years old traveling from China to her new home in Washington State. What should have been a bright beginning to a good life instead became a young life marred by verbal, emotional and physical abuse.
“My mother was controlling,” 17-year-old Kimberly recalls. “She would become angry and violent. She’d hit me, but she was careful not to leave a mark. When there were bruises, she covered them with my clothes.”
The little girl’s pleas for help were only met with unbelief. “My mom was so different in public. I was told I was lying. No one believed she would hurt me.”
It was also at this time when Kimberly began to be told by her mother that she would never amount to anything. Her mother accused Kimberly of being a problem in her life and made Kimberly feel worthless.
When Kimberly was eight years old, someone finally believed her. The remedy was to make the mother and family attend counseling.
A more permanent solution involved sending Kimberly to her first child care facility – two hours away from her mom and dad. Being away from her mom stopped the abuse, but Kimberly was reeling inside. Confused, feeling abandoned, she began to close off the world. She became defiant. In a few short years, she would be placed in two additional homes. The final one was fenced and there were bars on the windows.
“I was closed off,” Kimberly says. “I wouldn’t talk to anyone. Every chance I had, I would run away.”
Her parents divorced and her father moved to North Carolina. Kimberly moved to a facility in Utah. Feeling more alone than ever, she felt hopeless.
“I never had visitors,” Kimberly says. “But one day, I was told there was someone to see me. They took me to this small room and there my dad was standing. He invited me to move to North Carolina and live with him.”
Moving to North Carolina was a big change. The 13-year-old had not lived with her dad for more than two years. As much as they wanted to, the father and daughter did not get along. Her dad had remarried and Kimberly rebelled. She skipped school. She was constantly argumentative and, finally, the fifteen-year-old moved out.
“I made some very bad choices,” Kimberly confesses. “But I’m not bad. Most kids I know aren’t bad, they just make bad choices.”
Kimberly’s dad asked her to have lunch with him one day. She agreed. He picked her up at her friend’s house and took her to Broyhill Home in Clyde. “I was so angry. But now looking back, it was the best thing he could have done for me.”
At Broyhill Home, Kimberly continued to push boundaries rebelling and disrespecting her houseparents. “I didn’t trust anyone.”
Now two years later, the high school senior openly shares her new faith in Christ.
“Things began to change for me when I accepted Jesus into my heart,” Kimberly tells the crowd attending the 56th Annual Western Area Conference. “My relationship with my dad is now amazing. My dad and new mom are so supportive. None of this would be possible without God. He has plans for me and I can’t wait to see what unfolds.”
Kimberly is part of Broyhill’s transitional living program. The program helps youth ages 16 to 21 prepare for independence. She has a part-time job, maintains her own checking account, and is shopping for her first car.
“I’m looking forward to the future with new hope. I’m somebody. I’m God’s child,” she says.
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