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Your Not Alone Una Family Reunion The Robert Honecker Story

El Mirage resident Roberta Jenkins and Bob Honecker have lived hard lives.As a single, teenage mom with no means of supporting him and no support from her family, she felt compelled to give him up for adoption. He suffered through nightmarish formative years at the hands of those charged with caring for him.Each tried to find the other for years, only to run into roadblocks from government agencies and Bob’s biological father. Bob finally found her this year through an organization called Emergency Medical Locators, with the goal of learning his family medical history.Within 48 hours, Honecker said, the group found both biological parents. Three months later, mother and son met for the first time in 46 years at Sky Harbor International Airport and almost immediately, a void in their lives was filled.“From the second I saw her at the airport, the hole in my heart closed down,” Honecker said.Before they met in person, Jenkins and Honecker communicated via Skype for three months. Quickly, Honecker’s anger at being given up for adoption dissipated as he learned more about his mother’s plight.Jenkins took up with a seemingly regular boy in her New Hampshire town. Between the ages of 17 and 19, she bore two of his children, John and Bob.But by the time Bob was born in 1966, their relationship disintegrated. She found out that their brief marriage and starting a family was merely a means for him to avoid being drafted into the military.Six months before Bob’s birth, he impregnated another girl.“He finally got a hold of his biological father (this summer) and found out the kind of man he was. That kind of let him know what I had gone through,” Jenkins said.Jenkins left and asked her mother to move in with her boys while she tried to find a way of supporting them. Her mom refused to take them in.So Jenkins contacted the state and her boys were placed in a foster home. For the first year, she visited the boys regularly in that home.But when Bob was 11 months old, her ex-husband pressured her into signing adoption papers. Reluctantly, with no home or job prospects, she agreed.She was now cut out of her boys’ lives. Within a year, she moved to Arizona to get back on her feet with friends.Bob bounced around, eventually being adopted by a single man and settling in the Washington, D.C., area. But that experience ended up worse than the uncertainty of the foster system.His adoptive father was arrested for sodomy when Bob was 16. Understandably, Bob had difficulty with school and behavioral issues. Upon his 18th birthday, Honecker left a juvenile delinquent home without a diploma or skills.His only options were to join the military, which he said couldn’t happen because of bad knees, or return to the man who abused him.So he told his adoptive father he’d rejoin him but only if they moved to Amsterdam. His father ended up owning a hotel in the city’s gay district, which Bob helped run.After five years, Honecker decided he wanted something better. His adoptive father kicked him out and he spent a winter living in a park.He eventually found a place to live, married a woman and went though a series of temporary jobs. But he always remained, in his words, adrift, having contracted a form of post-traumatic stress disorder.“I lived my whole life thinking I had zero family,” he said. “Only now do I know that’s not true.”While seeking support groups, Honecker was struck by how many people his age and younger went through similar trials after being adopted or going through the foster system.Easing others’ pain, as well as his own, became his passion.“The pain is there because there is a possibility of having a happy life,” Honecker said. “But you just don’t know how to get there.In recent years, he’s become a champion for other children who suffered or died because of failures in the care system.In some cases, he said, a government agency, like Child Protective Services in the U.S., takes children from biological parents or grandparents far too quickly.In others, like his own, adoptive parents abuse loopholes in the system.Honecker is a producer of Freedom Talk Radio, which deals with this subject. In June, he became a peer support worker.While in the Valley Wednesday, he plans to Skype in to a English-based conference “"Children Screaming to be Heard.”""“We’re trying to give those children a voice,”" he said. “"That’s going to take a long time.”"The goal is to give kids in bad foster situations a chance to reconnect with biological parents and grandparents — if those parents are now suitable to raise children and are interested.In his own experience, Honecker said, both CPS and his biological father were roadblocks. CPS wouldn’t give him his parents’ information so he could contact his biological brother, who he found out is deceased.Jenkins ran into similar walls while searching for records on her sons or trying to get help from her ex-husband on their whereabouts. After years of searching, she had given up.She remarried 22 years ago. She and her husband, Dave, run a local barber shop.That’s why she was stunned when Emergency Medical Locators called her May 5 and asked if she knew of a Bob Honecker. She didn’t recognize the last name. But when they mentioned Sept. 3, 1966, she knew this was her son.After such a long separation, many parents don’t want to be contacted. Jenkins had no such reservations.“A lot of people after this many years don’t want to be contacted by family members because they figure they were on the take,” Jenkins said. “But I said no, no, no, I’ve been looking for him my whole life.”Charles J. Stecker of the International Child Abuse Prevention Task Force helped set up the reunion.Honecker also credited Dave Jenkins, who didn’t hesitate to welcome an unknown child who wasn’t his.“Her husband has accepted me as well,” Honecker said. “I call him dad because he’s been the backbone, basically, of this whole thing. I’ll thank him until the day I die.”They met for the first time Monday, on Roberta and Dave’s anniversary. Honecker will be here through Sept. 16 and will celebrate his first birthday with his mom and one of her sisters Tuesday.And while he has to work out the details with his wife in Amsterdam, chances are he’ll be back to stay. Honecker said he’s been taken aback by how friendly people are here compared to Europe and the weather is better for his knees.Most importantly, he’s finally part of a family and wants to spend as much time in it as possible.“I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I’m coming home,” he said.

journey's endRoberta Jenkins of El Mirage embraces her son Bob Honecker as he arrives at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, who she has not seen since she gave him up for adoption 46 years ago. Honecker traveled from Amsterdam Monday to meet his biological family.

From Victim to Surviver Now Thriver and peer support worker

#care #childabuse #children #kids #photo #sex #sexualabuse #video

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