Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sexual Abuse

I don't know how to title this blog any other way. As you can probably guess, I'm going to be talking about sexual abuse, specifically that of children in state's custody.

So in our second week of IMPACT classes, we discussed all the different types of abuse that a child can endure that takes them out of their birth parents home and places them into custody and the challenges that children in care must endure for the rest of their lives after they are removed from that unsafe place. Two of the biggest reasons that children are children are taken from their homes are sexual abuse and sexual assault. The differences in the two are very clear: Abuse is anything without penetration, Assault is penetration. Here's where it gets scary ... 1 in 4 girls in state's custody are sexually abused by the time they are 18 .... 1 in 3 are sexually ASSAULTED by the time they're 18!!

I know that I have to accept this and just move forward and be the best mommy to her that I can be. But to be honest, I'm having a very hard time with this whole situation. I mean, I went home that night and had a seriously emotional breakdown. I keep thinking my daughter is out there somewhere and I can't protect her. She could be living in her birth family's home or in a foster home and being abused everyday. I know it's not possible for me to know her now and where she is so I can keep my eye on her, and I understand that, but I worry about her like she's already mine.

I worry in the morning if someone put a dry diaper on her and fed her breakfast. Did she get to nap today or did she get beaten for crying when she was just sleepy and needed someone to comfort her until she fell asleep? Does she get enough milk and have strong bones or is she malnutritioned and is very sick all of the time?

I constantly worry about her and pray that she's safe. I know that people say you are in love with your child the moment you find out you're pregnant, but I truly am in love with this little girl that I don't even know. This really sucks sometimes because so many people look at you like you don't know what it feels like to be a mom because you're not pregnant. Yes, I know I'm not pregnant, but you can't mistake the love that adoptive parents have for their children as not being "real parent" love. It just really hurts sometimes to know that people don't see you as real parents.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Impact Classes

Okay I'm not even going to act like I'm diligent at this blogging thing. I need to get on it ... but man there's not enough hours in the day.

So we have now completed all of our IMPACT classes (the state mandated training for all foster/adoptive parents in the state of Georgia). I had my ups and downs with this class, but all in all, I swear I would have never been prepared for this unless I took these classes. I learned so much about children in state's custody.

Here are some things we've learned during our classes:
1. There are only really two reasons that children are taken out of their birth family's home - Abuse and Neglect. Now there are some instances when a child is abandoned at birth but these situations are much less frequent than situations of abuse and neglect.
2. When abuse happens, the child's developement stops at the age the child was abused. So let's say that a child is 7 and does well in school, but she was physically abused by her father when she was 3. Her physical and cognitive development are at an age 7, but her emotional development is at age 3 still (how old she was when he was abused) and she has trouble trusting men. And rightfully so.
3. There's a HUGE chance that our child will come from a home that she was sexually abused. I will touch on this in another blog as this was very hard for me to take and has had a bit of a lasting impression on me.

At the end of the day, I'm very happy we finished this course and I look forward to our next steps in our adoption process.

Soon I'll be posting more about the adoption, so keep posted :)