I would like to share my story. Really hope it can help someone and possibly connect me with some people that need support! Sorry for the length, it’s not something that can be summed up in a few sentences.
I am a single mom with 3 children. Ages 9, 6 and 3. When my middle child was 2, I had made a very big decision to take in 4 children that lived in our complex who’s mom had gotten involved in drugs again and had disappeared and left her children to fend for themselves. There was a 13 year boy, 10 year old boy and twin 9 year old girls. I ended up moving them in on June 4.Found out 10 days later that I was pregnant with my youngest child, which came as a huge shock, especially considering I had taken on 4 children on top of the 2 I already had and now would be adding another. My boyfriend at the time, the youngest child’s father, I had been with for about 2 years, he was extremely abusive emotionally and sometimes physically to me and my 2 children. When I took the children in, he was forced to leave our apartment because of his record, which was obviously a God send. I tried to get him out many times before but he would break in and force his way back in. I was overwhelmed with fear, as he was on drugs and super unpredictable and absolutely fascinated with weapons. So me taking the kids in forced him to leave without as much of a fight. Things were rough with the 4 foster kids. Over the first month, I realized these kids had been through more than I could have ever known. They had a lot of issues with aggression, were very destructive, were very comfortable being messy and dirty, had inappropriate language and knew sexual things that were well beyond their ages. It concerned me but we were told they would get therapy services to help work through a lot of these things. I did my best to try and shield my children from it, but it wasn’t easy to do 24/7 obviously. By the end of June, I started to realize that the 13 year old foster child had some serious issues. He had pulled a knife out on his younger brother one time. He had purposely wasted his brothers emergency inhaler, that he desperately needed at the time, as it would take a while to get his asthma under control after it being untreated for so many years. He was super violent toward all 3 of his siblings and my dog. He was very sexually inappropriate, with words not actions, with neighbors kids, my kids and his siblings. I was trying my best to help him and show him love, me being a huge believer in the power of love, I thought that it could potentially change and help him just to have the love he deserved and never received. By mid July I began to suspect that the sexual stuff had begun to go beyond words. I was worried that he may have been touching my 2 year old son, his diapers seemed to be tampered with a few different time. By the end of July, my 2 year old randomly voiced to me that the child had touched him down there. I have always taught my kids from the age of 1 what their body parts were in case anything like this were ever to happen. And it came in handy. It was hard to believe that something so horrible could have been happening to my baby! The social worker called in a sex crime investigator. They were able to get the 13 year old to admit to touching my son. I was absolutely devastated, besides a death, I feel like it’s the worst thing that could ever happen to your child. It’s the one thing I always wanted to protect my babies from and I felt like I had absolutely failed my son! The 13 year old was removed from my home the same day. I kept the other 3 children, but after the removal of the brother, things got really bad. The kids resented me for making him leave and blamed me, as they did not know what had happened. Even after the social workers explained why, they still were so angry. But October a family member had contacted the county saying she wanted to take the kids. She had no idea they had been taken from their mother. I agreed, as my family had already been through so much pain and so had they. And I had a baby coming in a few months. They moved out on October 24. It was bittersweet. By this point I was a wreck. I was so deep in depression and guilt for what happened to my son. I didn’t even bond with my youngest growing inside of me once in all the months I was pregnant. I wasn’t taking good care of myself during the pregnancy, or going to prenatal appointments the way I should have been. I was doing the bare minimum. I could not eat, sleep or even function. I couldn’t look at my son without balling my eyes out. On top of all the emotions and stress we were going through, I got a call from the family member who took the children, saying they had come out about the fact that their brother was severely sexually, physically and emotionally abusing them for years prior to moving in with me. They told her it stopped once they moved in our house. The things he did to them was horrifying to hear. The state said my son could get therapy but when it came down to it, they didn’t offer us anything because of the fact that my son was 2 and they said he wouldn’t remember. I didn’t agree, so decided to go through insurance to try and get help. My son never talked to me about it until a year later, he brought it up to me out of nowhere. I was changing his diaper, and asked him why he wants to sit in his poop for so long, he wouldn’t tell me when he pooped, and he told me it’s because “the boy” wouldn’t touch him if he had poop. I fought with my insurance and the state day in and day out for therapy. They kept putting us in programs for parenting, not once was he ever given therapy related to the trauma. My son had severe behavioral changes, went through a long phase of wearing girls clothing, had a really hard time potty training, would not let anybody but me change his diaper, not even my family members, who he has always been super close with. It was horrible. And they wouldn’t give us any help. I was bitter and angry and resentful towards the system and our insurance for letting my son slip through the cracks. I was also angry and bitter towards God, how could he let such a horrible thing happen to my baby, when I was just trying to do something to help someone else? It didn’t make sense. I had never been so distraught in my life. The boy who did this to my son was going to school down the street from our house, less than a mile away, and the more I pushed the victims advocate on the subject, the more she ignored me and eventually stopped returning my calls and emails. At the beginning I was told that I could also receive therapy to help me deal and receive tools to help my son deal with the trauma. That never happened either. So we were left to deal and figure things out on our own. I ended up getting myself into support groups and a regular therapist through my insurance, who was able to help me with dealing with my own feelings about it and was helping me with how to help my son through it too. I also reached out to our church and got a lot of support and help from them. And of course my family and close friends were a huge support. If it wasn’t for that, we would not be where we are today. And if it weren’t for me being persistent and determined and doing massive amounts of research to find out how to help my son on my own!
As horrible as this story is, the reason I am now telling it, is because my son is now 6, 4 years from the trauma. And he is thriving. He is doing amazing. He still wears a diaper at night but at 5, I finally got him fully potty trained during the day. He has no weird sexual behaviors, and has never attempted to do anything inappropriate to anyone else’s children. He is smart and he is kind. We just finally received behavioral services through our insurance that I’ve been fighting for since he was 2 when the behaviors started. I am still fighting to get him therapy that is directly for the trauma, and will not stop until they give it to me! I am obviously still struggling, but getting better all the time. I am going back to work for the first time since before it happened, and am constantly working on improving myself everyday! I’ve let go of a lot of the guilt I felt. The 3 siblings are doing much better now too, they are now permanently adopted by the family member who took them from me and they are in regular therapy and seem to be doing very well considering all they’ve been through. Knowing that I saved the 3 younger siblings from a lifetime of torment, physical, sexual and emotional abuse from the older brother makes me feel less guilty. Even when I felt like I made the wrong choice because my son got hurt in the process, I was able to save 3 other lives and give them a chance to have a successful, happy and normal life. I’m not saying that we are all better, it isn’t like magic. It will take many more years of work and healing to get through this. Every August is always rough for me, but I try to be grateful that it wasn’t worse or for longer. I was fortunate enough to have realized something as quickly as I did. Most kids go through this for years before the parents find out, if they ever do! I was grateful that we as a family saved another family from a horrible life and situation. And I’m grateful that my son is not as affected by all this as he could have been!
I shared my story because I want all the other moms who are struggling with whatever they are struggling with, whether it be a similar thing or not, to know that there is always hope, even in the darkest and most horrible situations! Never give up on yourself, your children or this crazy life! Life sucks and a lot of times it is unfair and hard, and almost never makes sense, but we can’t let it take us down! Always keep fighting! I hope this story is able to help another mom going through this or similar! I hope my story can remind you that us moms are so much stronger than we realize!