By Sophie Nielsen-Kolding
At the age of three, her mother opted for adoption in hopes of providing her daughter with a brighter future. She was adopted, by a volunteer worker, but all hopes quickly disappeared as the next 12 years became the worst of this young girls life.
The volunteer worker had convinced the mother of five to let her adopt one of her children, promising a better life for her. Now 20, Alex Trice said that growing up was more like a nightmare.
“She was really abusive and just kind of beat me all the time,” Trice said.
Trice has countless memories of being abused, sometimes beaten to the point where she found herself thinking that she was going to die. She recalls one time when her adoptive mother thought that Trice had rolled her eyes. Trice said that the woman picked her up and slammed her so hard against the wall that all of the pictures fell. Then she felt fingers tighten around her neck.
“She just started really strangling me and said ‘I really just want to kill you right now,’ Trice said.
The woman let her live, but with another kind of fear. Trice recalls the lies that she was told throughout her childhood. She never heard the truth about where she came from.
“Mercedes told me that I was abandoned,” Trice said, “that my biological mother didn’t love me,”
Not only did she hide the truth about Trice’s biological family, she isolated her from everyone else too. “She used to say I was too stupid for school. She said I wouldn’t survive one day in school,” Trice said. So her adoptive mother never let her set foot in a classroom. Until that point, Trice had never had any formal education. She said that her adoptive mother would beat her if she was ever caught trying to read. But one day everything changed.
Trice feels that the neighbors knew of the abuse. After years of waiting, someone finally reported it to child services.
She recalls the day she left her adoptive mother’s house. “I ran inside the house and I told my sisters, I was like, there are social workers outside.”
Next came six months of foster care. She refers to it as, “six months of hell,” where she was moved between families and a group home.
Trice kept in touch with the social worker who had taken her away from the abuse, and despite rules about worker-child relationships, the two had formed a bond. This social worker is Tanya Meachum, and a few months later she quit her job in order to legally adopt a then 15 year-old Trice.
It was only after Trice left her first adoptive mother that she began her formal education. And she started with the first day of high-school.
Once settled in with the Meachums, Trice found out that she had another family that was waiting for her to come home.
In May, Trice met her biological mother, Linda Gwynn, for the first time.
“I was so excited, and I was crying but I was excited,” she said remembering their first contact.
And they hadn’t forgotten about her either. “They had all these pictures of me in their house. And they were like, “we always kept all these pictures all these years because we hoped that one-day we would be able to find you,” Trice said.
Now a junior at Elon University, Trice dove into all the challenges that she saw ahead. A Communications Fellow, Periclean Scholar and online editor-in-chief of the Pendulum, she gives no indication that she skipped eight years of formal education. Her academic advisor, J. McMerty, agrees. He said that Trice is one of the best students in the School of Communications.
From a scared child with one abusive mother, Trice is now a top student in college and two loving moms. A far cry from her abusive past.