Janet "More Than Just A Number"

Photography by  Randy Bacon

Photography by Randy Bacon

I grew up in 36 foster homes and 2 children’s homes before I was adopted when I was 13 years old. I was pretty much set beside myself because I felt like nobody wanted me. Then my foster parents came and they picked me out and I had a good teenage life.

When I was older, my husband, kids, and I moved to Theodosia to get away from drugs, but they were there too. So we came to Branson and I got caught up in it. I’ve been in Rockaway Beach 20 years at least now. My son is currently in DOC waiting to go to treatment, and I'm raising his kids because him and his wife ain't got it all together yet. I see all my grandchildren as much as I want to see them because we all live in our own little neighborhood, with their homes right next to mine at the corner of Julie Lane and it's really cool.

Living in Rockaway Beach is peaceful and people are friendly. It's like a getaway to the beach. I love living in Rural America. It’s close to town but not too close. It's pretty. It's a lot prettier up here than it was where I’ve lived previously. The mountains, and the hills... just beautiful.

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As far as drugs go, I liked it at first. It was something to get me away from the real world...to take me away and make me feel all better. But it tore up my life. I lost my house and my family. I went to prison, became a number not a name and I’ll have it on my record for the rest of my life. It’s just not important to me anymore. It's not who I am. I want my grandkids to know that I don't want them to do the same thing I did. I don't want them to mess up like I did. I want them to learn something. I’d like them to never do a drug in their life. There is so much pain with it.

My church Bridge of Faith has really helped me a lot. I was bouncing around from church to church and I found them. My church and my friend Matt here in Rockaway Beach have been the biggest things to get me out of that life. Matt has been where I’ve been; not the same situations word for word but he knows how I feel. And if he can do it I can do it. And if I can do it you can do it. Anybody can do it.

Over the last 5 months, I’ve quit methamphetamine. I haven’t quit smoking but that's okay. I didn't think I could do it. I mean, I knew I could do it, but I thought only if I had to and not if I wanted to. This time I wanted to. It's not really hard right now...It was at first. I didn't think I was going to get past 90 days. 90 days was like a number I couldn't forget. The first 60 of them, I probably spent most of my time down at the thrift shop here in town. But I made it and I’m going to make it even further.      

I don't know if I have a dream anymore. I did have a dream. And I ain’t got there yet... I don't know if I will. I don't really care if my dreams come true as long as I can do something to glorify God. That's all I care about. If my dreams don't come true, they don't come true. But I’ve lived my whole life glorifying the devil so now it's God’s turn.

I want people to know that as you go through life, don't forget the maker of the world; God. Don't give up on God. He has to be first in everything, even if you do get off balance and mess up. He is there to forgive you and I don't want anyone, including my grandkids, to lose sight of that. God...He’s very important.

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This story is made possible by

Convoy of Hope / Rural Compassion partners with churches in small communities to help encourage them to work outside the walls of the church, by becoming a spiritually based serving center for their community. As the church begins to do this in their community, needs are met, hope replaces despair, and the light of Christ begins to shine brightly for others to see. Rural Compassion - Small Towns, Big Possibilities! 

We are partnering with 7 Billion Ones, because we believe that every person matters, regardless of their station in life. We also see the loving heart that Randy Bacon and this movement has for all people, and the way that is portrayed in his photography. We believe that 7 Billion Ones can cast a positive light on the rural communities through the impactful portraits and stories - these are stories that should be shared. People matter to God, and people should matter to people as well.