Kelsey Roach

Kelsey Brenna, Kels, WaWaWaWaWa

Kelsey Brenna Roach was born on September 17, 1986 and adopted on January 3, 1990. She attended Garfield Elementary, Stuchbery Elementary, and Little Cypress Intermediate.

 My Kelsey.

My giggling girl.

My happy puppet.

My images of Kelsey –

Smiling through the front window at her foster home.

They say it will take time for her to warm up to us

So shy is she.

We are strangers.

She makes liars of them.

She runs to us with splayed arms.

Weeks later, her body betrays her

It seizes.

Fifty times an hour.

How can her body fight so hard against her?

Now I know.

Angelman Syndrome.

Missing piece of a chromosome.


That’s her IQ.

She will never talk, never understand, never be out of diapers.

Still, she is our daughter and we love her.

We fight legal battles for her.

Our story is public. Television. Magazines. Newspapers.

In a legal metaphor, I place hands squarely on hips, stern look on my face. I demand.

Papers are finally signed. Kelsey is truly ours.

Years pass. Screaming. Biting. Pinching. Giggling. Hitting.

We cannot do this.

I feel a brick in my gut every time I open her door.

Every time she gets off the school bus.

We find another home for her.

Two hour drive.

All the way, my soul is draining out the soles of my feet.

I am a terrible mother. What kind of mother does this?

I am there five minutes.

Gratitude chases guilt from me.

She does not know me. She does not care.

She is my daughter.

And I admit what no mother can bring herself to say

Without heartbreak.

I cannot handle my daughter. I cannot raise my child.

It is all right.


May 3, 2003

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