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Scott Lee Gabriel

Scott’s Personal Bio:

This has been a life of overcoming tragedies and turning them into triumphs!

As my body was developing in the womb there was not enough room for me in there, so my legs did not develop correctly. When I was born the doctors and specialists told my parents that I would “never walk” and to “buy him a wheelchair.” My biological dad’s (Robert Hall) response was, “He is broken; I don’t want him.” Thankfully, my Mom (Billie) refused to accept that answer and contacted the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital who took on my case at no charge. The first 3-4 years of my life involved them busting up and putting back together my lower body and a series of braces and bars. At the end they said, “It’s a miracle, he can walk!” and then they added, “But, he will never run, jump or swim.” My mom was a very smart lady who decided not to tell me that part. Instead she said, “You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to.” So I played sports all through school and even took 3rd in the state of California for the 50 free style swim.

Due to severe addictions to alcohol and gambling, as well as infidelity, their marriage ended when I was 4. That is when my mom (Billie) married, dad #2, Gene Brokaw. Although the marriage was short lived the damage was devastating! Being the “man of the house” at 4 and it being unbearable to hear the cries of my mom or sisters I tried to take the brunt of his rage and would provoke his anger in an effort to spare them. When the abuse would start I would keep coming back for more as long as I was conscious. The level of every type of abuse… physical… sexual… mental… verbal and emotional were so intense that it led to me being removed from the state of Iowa and his eventual incarceration. I was sent to live with my Grandparents for help in raising me. My Grandpa is one of my favorite people to have ever walked on planet Earth.  Although this period of my life was traumatic, overcoming it has become one of my greatest triumphs and it has provided a skeleton key for connecting with so many other people who only open up to someone else who “knows their pain” and for that I am grateful!

At age 8 my mom met and married my next dad, #3, Lonnie Christiansen and they were married over 20 years. He was a good “Christian man” who didn’t smoke, drink or gamble. He was strong and stable. However, he was also an authoritarian and he didn’t like me much. In his eyes I was just “part of the package” that came with marrying my mom. Shortly after adopting me we had a one on one conversation that took place in a local park, where he said, “Let’s just put our cards on the table. I can’t stand you, and you can’t stand me. But we both love your mom, so we have to coexist. Here’s the deal. You will listen to me and obey my rules and do your chores. In exchange I will not charge you rent, and I will buy your food and keep the utilities turned on. Once a year I will buy you new clothes for school. Outside of that, if you want something put it on your Christmas or Birthday list or get a job and buy it yourself.” Well, that was pretty clear. He did not want me. He did not love me. But at least I wouldn’t be abused and neither would my mom or sisters. He was very strict and I was in trouble and grounded far more often than not. Although it was not ideal, it was probably exactly what I needed because I was a headstrong and troubled kid, and he provided me with a strong sense of right and wrong, good and bad, actions and consequences. He also inspired me to work for what I wanted and to earn my own way. These things have served me all the days of my life.

In my early 30’s my mom remarried again, and I got Dad #4 Robert Gabriel. We hit it off right away and I really liked this guy. For the first time in my life I felt like I had a dad, well, step dad, who actually wanted to be my dad. He wanted to know about me, to get to know me. He took an actual interest in my life and you could actually feel the love. Just before I married my wife, he called and said, “I’ve got a question for ya. I know this may sound ridiculous, as you are a 30+ year old man, but I know that if I don’t ask before you change your fiancé’s name, that it would make even less sense. So, here goes. I have always wanted a son and you are it. I have considered myself your dad since your mom and I married, and I would like to adopt you and make you my son for real. What do you think?” I was honored… yet overwhelmed. I thought. I prayed. I talked to my wife, my family and Lonnie (Dad#3), and at the end of the day I decided that since “Papa”, as I referred to dad #4, was doing the job as Dad, he might as well have the title. I had waited my whole life for a guy who actually wanted to be my dad, and I had found it. So, as a 37-year-old man I was the first adult in the state of Florida to get adopted after 9/11. So after fingerprinting, FBI background checks, credit checks, tons of paperwork and meeting with judges we made it official.

I have changed my name more times than most ladies, overcome most of my “daddy issues” and feel that I am a much better man because of this journey. One of my favorite books is Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. I jokingly say that I must be an over achiever because it took me four dads where it only took him two.

As most people who are abused, I had intimacy and promiscuity issues throughout my teens, 20’s and 30’s. I dated a LOT and as soon as someone would start to get close to me, my walls would go up and I would find a way to end the relationship. I was actually proposed to 7 times by 7 different women. All of which I turned down and ended the relationship. My secretary used to say, “Scott, if the woman you are dating lasts longer than the milk in my fridge, I will learn her name. I do NOT say these things bragging, just the opposite. I hurt many amazing ladies because I was damaged myself. It is one of the areas of my life I am most ashamed of.

However, it set the stage for the most incredible relationship of my life. Mary was married for 13 years and had 5 children. When we connected she was divorced and she said, “Every guy I even date wants to marry me.” I honestly assured her that she was safe with me because I was just not the “marrying type” and shared my history with her. I once heard somebody say, if you want to make God laugh, tell him what you are going to do.” Well, God it seemed had plans other than mine. Mary and I have now been together almost 9 years and we’ve been married for 6 ½ of them. She is the most amazing person I have ever met. She has such a gentle spirit and a heart of gold. A friend once said, “Have you met Scott’s wife? She is like a supermodel who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.” I chuckle, but I agree! She is stunning to look at but she outworks anybody I’ve ever known!

As I mentioned earlier, Mary has 5 children from her first marriage, so I am a step-dad to 5 amazing people Parker, Katrina, Derek, David and Jason. Three are now adults and working and 2 are in high school. Mary and I also have a child together, Trinity, who is an amazing three-year-old. So I am a Dad and a Step Dad. There are no words in the English language for a parent who has lost a child, but if there were I would have that title as well. In the past 15 months we have buried 6 children, including 2 sets of twins, all of whom were miscarried. The pain that brought was almost insurmountable and balanced only by the joy brought by the kids who are living. It has taught us such a deep appreciation for all that we are blessed with and a true understanding of not taking anything for granted.

Some would say that I’ve been through a lot. Others would say that I’ve survived more than most. Others insist on labeling me… however I know this, these experiences were all ingredients in making me who I am today and without any of these experiences, good or bad, I would not be the man that I am today. I’m far from perfect, but I’m a whole lot better than I used to be. I would consider myself a ‘work in progress.’ I do know that there are no such things as a coincidence and that everything happens for a reason. Every pain has a purpose, and the areas of our greatest challenge can become our deepest wells of strength. You have your story too! If there is any part of my story that you can relate to, then I am certain I “know how you feel” and can relate to you. The universe connected us for a reason and I am looking forward to finding out what role we can play in each other’s lives. Contact me, and let’s find out.