When I was a little girl my Dad was my hero.

He was the smartest coolest, handsomest, strongest man in the world to me.

My Dad drove a 280 zx.  Only the coolest Dad’s can drive a 280x, have 7 kids and get away with it 🙂

As I became older and more rebellious my Dad never gave up trying to reason with me. One night when I was way too young, I had a friend, who happened to be a boy, pick me up down the street from our house, of course I snuck out to meet him 🙂 Just as we hit good old Richfield main street my Dad pulled up next to us and he didn’t look very happy.

I told the guy driving to just keep going. He said, “Are you crazy? How about I slow down and you jump out?”

Instead of yelling at me my Dad rolled down his window and calmly asked me to pull over, when I got in his car we drove in silence. Right before we got home my Dad told me how much he loved me, how worried he had been. There were plenty of nights that I upset my Dad but when things got really tough he was solid every time. I can assure you that years later when Jace snuck out one night and I found out about it I didn’t handle it as well. I vaguely remember Jace walking into our house and Chad saying, “Look what you’ve done to your Mother!”

American Hero

Until a few years ago I didn’t know much about my Dad’s military service, I didn’t have a clue that my Dad was truly a war hero. I guess he was too busy to talk about the past? He always worked a day job, had his own side business, helped my Mom with her business, and got up at 4:30 in the morning to take care of the animals. He did all of that while raising 7 kids which seems unbelievable to me!

Both of my parents taught their children how to work hard by example. A few years back when my Dad needed a kidney transplant I spent a lot of time with him. We went to Doctor appointments, lunch, and spent a lot of time together just talking. I’m so grateful that I got that time with him.  It was during those talks that my Dad opened up and shared some of his military experiences with me.

At the age of 21 he was drafted into the military to fight in the Vietnam War. He was uneducated, inexperienced and probably scared. He was the oldest of 6 boys, and was expected to care and look out for his younger brothers. One of the coolest experiences I have had was watching my Dad’s brothers come to his aid when his kidneys permanently failed. Every one of his brothers volunteered to donate their kidney and after compatibility tests were run my Dad’s nephew proved to be the perfect match.

Preston didn’t just offer his kidney, he pushed forward and helped make the transplant happen and literally helped save my Dad’s life. His health was so bad that there were times I left his house at night worried that he wouldn’t make it through the night. My uncle Brett’s family made a very courageous sacrifice that completely changed my Dad’s life, what an amazing family we have!

Agent Orange

My Dad went into Vietnam healthy and came out with severely damaged, failing kidneys.  Shortly after I was born he got the grim news that his kidneys were shot due to agent orange exposure and medication he was given while in Vietnam. While serving his country my Dad was shot once and received the purple heart.  He was also wounded during an explosion that garnered another purple heart.

I can’t imagine what it was like as a young man going to a different country and having to adapt to such a terrifying environment.  He witnessed death, pain and suffering including bodies lying on the side of the road and in the backs of trucks. He lost good friends who were killed along side him and when he got back to the United States he suffered with severe PTSD.

It helped me a lot to talk to my Dad after my mental evaluation, I suffered with a lot of the same sensory issues and trauma issues that he did after the war. He was able to give me advice and showed me compassion and love that helped pull me out of a deep depression. The day that I was sentenced and Judge Shelby announced that he was giving me the maximum sentence, my Dad was there. He said,

“Portia, I know you will be ok, you’re strong and I know you will never give up.”

He told me how unfair the sentence was, but that he knew I would rise above the injustice. He told me that he would do anything he could for my family, and I knew he meant it. My Dad is a fighter like I am, he taught me how to handle trials and pain, how to suffer with dignity.

My Father taught me that failure is just another step toward success and that real courage comes when we are vulnerable and willing to accept our pain.

I am grateful today for my family, both of my parents have an amazing heritage. If you knew my Grandpa Adams you were fortunate! I was his ever so proud granddaughter. Our families love and support has been such a gift to us. Now, in a very real way through my blog you have all become part of our story and a great blessing in our life!

How grateful I am to be able to share our pain and our victories. I have said this before but I want to reiterate, I know that I am protected by a loving Heavenly Father.

There is purpose in this experience, and I will never give up!