My name is Destiny Harris, I am Barbara Harris's adopted daughter: At birth I tested positive for crack, PCP, and heroin! I am 20 years old now and was adopted when I was 8 months old by Barbara and Smitty Harris.. When I was tested at age one they told my mother that I would always be delayed because of my prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. It turns out that the real neglect was after birth in foster care for 8 months. Now I'm on the Deans list in College and I owe that to my parents who dedicated their lives to loving and caring about me. Over the past 12 years my siblings and I have worked with our mother as she goes into the streets talking to addicts across the Country. We have been in all types of neighborhoods with people of all races, and the one thing I've noticed is that the addicts seem to love and respect my mother. When they learn what she is doing they tell her it's great and usually help her find other addicts to give the information to. I cannot tell you over the years how many heartbreaking stories we've heard from female addicts, telling my mother about their children that they don't have. I've heard them tell my mother about their infants dying, being born with deformities, being HIV positive, and worse. The looks on their faces as they tell their stories would break even the toughest of hearts. The saddest thing about this to me is that if they were using birth control while they were living that lifestyle they wouldn't have heartbreaking stories to share.
Over the years I have heard my mother ask so many of these women if they wanted to go into drug treatment, even offering to send them to Rev. Thompson's treatment program right there on the spot, but sadly they have so many excuses why they can't go to treatment at that moment. They have to tell their old man, just not ready to do that yet, they'll call my mom soon about it, or they cry and tell my mom they've already tried treatment many times and it didn't work for them. My mom doesn't take no for an answer usually asking them a few more times then giving them our toll free number in case they change their minds. My mom has the ability to walk away knowing that at least if they call about birth control that will at least take that worry and heartbreak away if they don't continue getting pregnant only to lose more children. Over the years I have met and learned about so many children born to addicts who have physical or mental problems, children growing up in foster care wishing they could be adopted telling me how many homes they have lived in which is just so sad to me because I know that could have been me and my siblings. I have no doubt that I would be a totally different person had I grown up in foster care. I was only in it briefly and even I didn't walk away without signs to remind me that I was there. The first picture I have of myself is when I am 8 months old because no one took the time to take pictures of me the first 8 months of my life. I will never know what I looked like before the age of 8 months. Unfortunately, I know I am not the only one with a story like this. I guess this is minor compared to the stories I've heard. To be honest if I had to live the life that many foster children I've spoken to have lived I would have rather not been conceived! To those who say what my mother is doing is wrong go adopt some of these children because to me if you don't you're such a hypocrite! I've heard people say negative things about the work my mother does, but what are those people actually doing to help these addicts? I guess if they all stop getting pregnant they'll be out of a job because then whom will you advocate for? Just who are you advocating for? Because all the addicts my mom has talked to don't want to continue giving birth to children the system takes. I am very proud of my mother because she saw a huge problem that was not only hurting children, but their mothers as well and came up with a solution. I love you mom, and as a child born to an addict I know my life without you could have been full of heartache like hundreds of thousands of children across the Country who don't know their siblings and long to be loved.
Mom you always say if you ever won the lottery that you'd buy the biggest home you could find and adopt as many children as possible and I know you would. I won the lottery when you and daddy adopted my siblings and me and rescued us from the system. Keep up the great work.
(Letter has not been edited for grammar or punctuation.)