It was late in the evening when the doorbell rang. Dorrie, who was four at the time, looked at her brother Zakeri and raced to the door. She was greeted by men in black uniforms, asking to speak with her mother, who had just entered the room. Her mother immediately began shouting at them and told Dorrie and her brother to leave the room. The next thing she knew, she and her brother were getting into a car with the men at the door. It would be the last time Dorrie would be allowed in her own home.
The court did not rule in Dorrie’s parents’ favor, thrusting Dorrie, Zakeri, and their two sisters into the foster care system. It was difficult to keep all the siblings together, but after four moves in six months, Dorrie was reunited with her siblings. This lasted for two years before ongoing abuse in the home was reported, catapulting them back into the system. Dorrie and Zakeri continued on to a few different placements together before Zakeri was adopted by the Collins family. Dorrie proceeded in her search for family on her own.
Shortly after her eighth birthday, Dorrie arrived at her tenth foster home. Her foster mom would frequently have a friend over, who would bring Anna, her foster daughter in tow. A friendship was forged quickly on the basis of proximity and necessity. Eventually Anna was adopted, but they stayed in touch. Dorrie and Anna both attended a camp that summer for foster kids, where Dorrie met Anna’s adopted parents who were working at the camp. One day when she was with their family, Dorrie playfully asked, “Can you adopt me, too?”
A year later, Dorrie was officially a part of the family. As Dorrie entered into her teenage years, rebellion and defiance robbed Dorrie’s parents of their sweet daughter. Also at this time, Anna was having some troubles of her own. Anna fed into Dorrie’s developing mistrust of STUDENT PROFILE Dorrie authority, poisoning in Dorrie any notion of good in others, which developed into a full-blown conspiracy against their parents.
As Dorrie entered high school, more poor decisions led to increasingly severe consequences. Dorrie’s parents began looking for out-of-home placement options. Dorrie landed in Job Corps and was there for two years when her parents presented her with the option of coming to CEM. As Dorrie considered the idea, her friend weighed in, “I have a feeling you’re going to change there.”
Upon arriving at CEM, Dorrie was excited to turn over a new leaf, but the transition proved to be rocky. “I was really defiant...‘No’ was my favorite word.” A negative report on Zakeri sent her careening down the driveway. Dorrie tested the authority and structure that failed her so many times before.
Dorrie was drawn to the Word more than ever before the week before Good Friday. “The armor around my heart was being taken off - the armor I had put on to not get hurt again.” Dorrie gave her life to Christ that afternoon in the gazebo. “I felt more peace than I have in a long time.”
The wilderness backpacking trip in August presented new opportunities for growth. Fear of slowing thegroup down and sustained periods of hiking clouded Dorrie’s attitude going into the trip. “[The trip] showed me that I could go past the barriers I put up for myself…It showed me a lot about perseverance and endurance. It also helped me to be more of a team player…”
On relationships, Dorrie says, “There’s been more trust, more healing...Now that I’m making relationships, I’m learning how to keep them.” As Dorrie builds on a new foundation of trust, she is experiencing richness in relationship and the expansiveness of the family of God. “I’ve accepted this as my family. I’m happy here…” Dorrie looks forward to celebrating her oneyear mark at CEM as well as her birthday this month.
Written by: Zoya Lee