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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