My Story – Anthony Billings

Just a couple of years after birth, I was taken away,
From my family that I knew up to that day
Never understood why CPS separated us all
Joey and Alice went together though and I am grateful for that call
But my brother Jerome and I went our separate ways.
Wish there was a way we could have all stayed in one place.

I lived with a lot of families but they couldn’t accept it.
I thought I found home at last, but each time I was rejected
Most of the time, good people but some were abusive
So I put up walls in my life and it made me reclusive.

I lost hope in any love and pushed down all my feelings.
Some guardian angels then showed up and their last name is Billings.
They love me the way I am and it wasn’t conditional.
Proved it to me in court where they made my adoption official.

Sacrificed so much for me and I promise it was not in vain.
Acted stupid too often and I know it brought you much pain.
Weird ways of expressing my love but don’t get it misconstrued.
Thank you for loving me at the time when no one else would.

One thought on “My Story – Anthony Billings


    The heroes of many great 19th-century novels began life as orphans, oppressed, and discarded. Pip in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, or Kim aka “The Friend of All the World” in Kim by Rudyard Kipling. We rooted for them to defy the odds, just as we rooted for the hero in MY STORY. Of course, neither Pip, Kim, nor the subject of MY STORY thought of themselves as heroes; they were too busy surviving.

    These children were too young, in any case, to challenge the status quo. In any case, to protest the wrong they had been done by a drug-addicted caretaker, a wicked sister, or CPS might have invited even more punishment with dire consequences. In MY STORY, we read only that the poet “Never understood why they separated us all.”

    As a child, he was mystified, confused, naturally, but without rancor at this heartless system. In fact, he “was grateful for the call” keeping his siblings Joey and Alice together, the same system that tore him away from his family and his brother Jerome. No explanations were offered. If that was to mitigate the trauma of separation, it had the opposite effect.

    Unacknowledged or addressed, the pain of this traumatic rejection played out repeatedly with his foster families. Ultimately, those feelings became so problematic the boy tried repressing them: “so I put up walls in my life, and it made me reclusive.” And that walled-off reclusiveness would make our hero even harder to love.

    This seemingly hopeless state explains why the appearance of his Guardian Angels made us cheer for him and them. Kind, responsible people do, indeed, exist. Like in Great Expectations, those loving protectors seem to have come out of nowhere.

    The human imagination can re-create a family — not through a blood relationship — but by love and mutual responsibility alone. In those last lines, tenses hover between the past to the present. The Billings “love me the way I am and it wasn’t conditional. / Proved to me in court where they made my adoption official….”

    And in the end, the poet addresses these adoptive parents directly: “Thank you for loving me at the time no one else would.” And this comes with a promise made by a fully conscious adult, with the agency to act, as opposed to the orphaned boy in the beginning who is simply acted upon: “Sacrificed so much for me and I promise it was not in vain….” With those loving and courageous words, we felt the healing of this early trauma taking place. Thank you for allowing us to take part in this journey. Its memory will stay with us.

    Best Regards, Sophia, Louis, Sacha & Snow

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