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Sunday, November 17 2002

Football playoff scores
Bishop Carroll, 13; Windber, 10

Fruits of child abuse

Pat and I received a letter this past week from a former foster child that upset us badly. We knew this child came from a dysfunctional family that failed to protect her and had probably abused her and the other children in the home. She received intensive counseling while living with us but was never able or willing to open up and release the monsters that tormented and made her angrier as she aged. She left our home angry and still tormented and wouldn't or couldn't tell anyone why. She has drifted about and even lived out of a car for one entire summer. She has trouble making and keeping friends. She moved back to the home Children and Youth had taken her from when she was only 8. That didn't work either. Now that she is in her twenties, she writes to us revealing for the first time details of abuse that torment and give her bad dreams.

We feel some of her pain but more than anything, we feel helpless. She refused or, perhaps, was unable to accept the love we offered and she never let herself get close to us. She left our home angry and defiant and estranged herself from any close relationship with us. Over the years since, she has reached out tentatively during times of crises but, in the main she has kept her distance. We know that the few years she lived with us was the only stable period in her life. However, the stability and love we offered seemed to scare her as much or more than the chaos that has marked her earlier and later life.

Unfortunately, although the details of this young lady's life may be unique, the torment and instability are not. Abused children grow into adults who have a very difficult time finding lasting relationships and stability in their lives. A young man who had lived with us for several years tried to commit suicide when his girlfriend walked out with their child. Another young lady who lived with us received fetal alcohol syndrome from her mother and was repeatedly raped by her father. She left our home for a mental institution and, to the best of our knowledge, is still there. Two other young ladies who lived with us for several years became very violent because of the physical and emotional abuse done to them when they were small children. One of our foster children who had been sexually abused became a perpetrator herself. The first foster child we had suffered through several abusive relationships and an abusive marriage and is now a single parent struggling to make her way in life.

The letter we received made us sad for the plight of the girl and made us sad that we hadn't been able to do more for her. Sixteen years ago, as new foster parents, we believed that we could provide enough love and nurture to help any child through all his or her problems. Now, we still provide as much love and nurture as before, but we can't undo the damage done by others. These abused children will probably suffer torments in one way or another for the remainder of their lives, and the best we can do is listen and advise when they allow us to.

Signs across America

 

 


Take your pick and
start your engine.

 

 

 

 


—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for the day

If I gave each of my reasons for being a Christian, a vast number of them would be Mr. Blatchford's reasons for not being one.

—G. K. Chesterton,
in a debate with Robert Blatchford, atheist
editor of a socialist newspaper, the Clarion, 1904
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