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From the day Brianna was born, her mother, Tracy, was addicted to drugs. She grew up wondering why her mother wasn't always there for her, why she wouldn't leave the bedroom for days at a time, and why there were always so many people at the house.

Tracy says she allowed drug dealers to sell out of her home. "I just let the riff-raff come on in and instead of getting cash for room and board, I would get dope," Tracy says.

Eventually, Brianna came to a serious realization. "When I was 8, I realized that my mom wasn't out here to take care of me [or] my brother and sister, so I took care of them," she says. "I did everything a parent should have done."

For five years, Brianna led a secret life. "I was afraid to tell people at my school, teachers, friends' parents, that I had to take on big responsibilities because I was scared that I was going to be put in foster care," she says.

When she was 13, Brianna's fears came true. Shortly after her mother gave birth to a second set of twins, hospital nurses called authorities. Child Protective Services took Brianna and her siblings. "It was like pulling little puppies away from a big mom puppy," Brianna says. "I wasn't able to hug my mom. I wasn't able to say goodbye to her."
FROM: Childhood Interrupted
Published on October 20, 2006


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