My Foster Daughter

by Alan C
(Connecticut, USA)

I and my wife have been foster parents to abused teens. One of them, whose sexual abuse from an early age by a man she mistakenly thought was her real father, compounded by physical abuse by her mother, wanted her story told in some way. Although she was never available for adoption, at age 29, married, with a son and career as a medical assistant she remains a daughter to us.


Her story is perhaps like too many others. What might separate her history is that the sexual abuse was considered so bad, that when her predator was arrested after being a fugitive for many years, his trial led to the longest sentence for non-fatal child abuse in our state's history, 60 years, no probation. She was 15 and living with us during the trial and had to testify for two days. Her mother lied to try and protect him. Her sexual abuse started when she was 2 with countless episodes until she was 8. At that point she and an older sister were placed in foster care when the abuse was discovered. Back with her mother after some time, she and the sister were physically abused by their mother until ages 12 and 13 when they both came to live with us temporarily and the younger girl came to live with us for several years. There were some occasions where it seemed to my wife and me that the state officials were doing some things against the girl's interest and we had to advocate long and hard for them. Life in foster care is might create a safe environment, but the kids know it isn't home and it takes an awful lot of time and effort to give the kids the support they need.

The physical abuse of my daughter, aside from being hit by hand, included being struck by furniture, and in on case, being cut by a machete. How she has survived the way she has is remarkable to me, but even years after the fact, she still needs psychological support. She has reconciled with her mother.

I want to mention one other situation I'm familiar with. Several years ago, it came to light that a niece of mine had been sexually abused by her grandfather (not my side of the family, but I knew the guy socially and never suspected a thing). My niece was 13 when the abuse became known and he was arrested. It pretty much blew up that family and sent my bright, talented niece off the deep end into heavy drugs and two suicide attempts. She wound up going into almost a full year rehab program, emerging at about age 17 and dedicated to staying sober and making something of her life. She finished high school with a GED, went to community college where she got straight As, on to finish at a four year university where she achieved a 3.9 GPA and will graduate in two weeks summa cum laude. She plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in youth counseling. She is a survivor and a winner.

I hope the new year brings everyone the happiness and peace of mind they deserve.



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Comments for My Foster Daughter

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Jan 07, 2015
Alan:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

What a blessing you and your wife were for those two young women (and others) after they suffered so horribly at the hands of two adults that were clearly sick and twisted. You both provided support, encouragement and way more than the basic needs, basic needs that go so much deeper for abused children than they do for children who do not experience adversity.

It's been my experience that more often than not, when victims have difficulty sharing stories into adulthood, they still carry shame that is not theirs to carry. They often still blame themselves for the abuse, or at the very least, for not stopping the abuse earlier or at all. They apply adult values to what they did or didn't do as a child, forgetting that they really were small vulnerable children that were quite powerless. It can help to have one's story published by another, but catharsis happens when they can share their own story. Baby steps. It can take as long to give permission to someone else to write one's story as it can to decide to tell it themselves. It's all based on layers of healing. So again, bless you and your wife for all you've done and continue to do to help make life better for those now adult women and their children. I send you all love, light and healing energy. Thank you for sharing your daughter's story with my visitors and me.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

Jan 08, 2015
why aftereffects are the way they are
by: nobody at all

we read, and see on tv, over and over, that someone committed suicide, say, 10 years after being raped; or that someone who was abused as a child ends up with major depression, anxiety disorder, etc. sometimes it seems like there's a "step" missing in there somewhere. why suicide at age 30, over abuse at age 2? why inability to hold down a job at age 30, maybe 20 years after being abused in early childhood? for me, I've often wondered why I don't simply feel precisely and directly how I felt about my abusive mother, in adulthood, rather than just suffer endlessly from "anxiety" and "depression"? I mean, there's a gap there, as far as cause leading to effect. I just want 2 point out 2 anybody else who notices this "gap", that this is from the mind's, and soul's, need to kind of convolute the early pain until the memories of abuse might be deeply buried, or, the true, direct, INTENSITY of these early reactions 2 abuse might have been distorted because of the extremeness of the trauma, leading to diffused "symptoms" with "names" like anxiety and bi-polar, etc. yes, the victim does have these diseases, but they STEM FROM having BEEN FORCED 2 distort the direct, exact experience of their abuse. in order for their bodies and brains 2 save their lives. so this is why, imo, a teenage girl might develop bulimia, say, when her early trauma maybe had nothing 2 do w/food, vomiting, etc. we find ourselves (some of us, anyway) miles away from simply having problems and symptoms that directly reflect our traumas. we just feel awful, maybe not even ashamed, say, after being sexually assaulted, and all we might know is that we feel lousy, and crave alcohol, say, 2 ease the awful feeling. I personally have this a lot - I'm "anxious" because I was absolutely hounded all day long as a toddler by an extremely TERRORIZING mother. now, in adulthood, I "just" feel a creepy, free-floating "anxiety" all the time. I'm not, for example, freaked out by witnessing a couple argue loudly in public, even though my parents fought constantly during my whole childhood, which DID freak me out horribly THEN. so, why do the sights and sounds of married couples arguing viciously not simply send me into a panic NOWADAYS? instead, I feel nothing much about this, but I DO feel miserable, hard-to-describe anxiety all the time. so, a survivor's symptoms later on, or even very soon after a trauma, can seem like they have little 2 do w/the original trauma.

I just wanted 2 clarify this in case anybody who reads about aftereffects thinks, as I used 2, "where did the survivor get THAT symptom from the trauma they endured? one seems to have nothing 2 do w/the other!"

I realize my comment is general, although it does apply to this particular post somewhat. I've been wanting to make this Comment 4 a long time, and chose right now 2 do it, so please forgive me if it seems "off-topic". I don't know where else to post it.

thanks to everyone, and the happiest new year ever to all of u!

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