"Today, I celebrate!"

by Kat Milam January 27, 2016

"Today, I celebrate!"

On her 60 th birthday, Dorris—Thistle Farms’ Event Coordinator & Survivor Leader—shares her “beautiful journey.” 

"What a beautiful journey! I was born on a cold, snowy day Sunday, January 22, 1956—a day much like today. My family was in the midst of moving into a different house because the owner of the farm we worked on said, “It’s time to go.” What a cold day to be moved unexpectedly, an entire family uprooted in the snow.

All my childhood, my God-fearing mother told me, “Dorris, you were brought into this world moving. You shall move all the days of your life.” Words have power. We moved every year for as long as I can remember.

In 1968, my parents build a brand new home. That same year, my father was killed, and we stayed in that same house with those horrible memories until my mother died. While the physical moving had stopped, the running from myself had begun. My journey included 26 years of abuse, prostitution and addiction, with 20 of those years spent walking the same 10 blocks, over and over.

Today is another cold, snowy, and beautiful January 22 nd—my 60 th birthday. My moving, my running, my abuse, and my addiction have finally stopped and have turned into something meaningful and beautiful. I am now a Thistle Farms graduate and our Event Coordinator, organizing a couple hundred events a year. I finally have my own place to call home.

As I look over my balcony, not moving, not trafficked, not addicted, and not abused, I am grateful. I am thankful to be home, alive, healed, blessed, and safely hidden behind God’s wings. Today, I celebrate! My past is just my past, and it does not dictate my future. I know that I have truly found my way home."

Photo courtesies: Top, Peggy Napier; Bottom, Taro Yamasaki
Kat Milam
Kat Milam

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