Adoption Horror Story

Adoptive Relatives

Good Friends

I had a cousin that was a grade behind me in the same school, once my old friends began trashing my reputation she ran right home and told her mother.  Of course, my aunt didn’t tell my parents; it was a secret from them, but she told everyone else who would listen.  As the “adopted trash,” it was just one more thing to remind me of my total inferiority.  One of the girls who initially made up the stories laughed at me and asked what was wrong with my family, because if anyone in her family heard stories like those about her they would stop them.  Even though children make adoption cracks and put downs, they really don’t understand the big picture.  It’s much easier to forgive children than adults, adults know better.  Even kids know that.

To add a great deal of confusion to the problem was the religious pretext of my adoptive relatives.  The worst relatives held the highest positions in the church, and there were times I was even talked down to by the Sunday school teachers because they had also heard the fantastic stories my adoptive relatives had told.  I still remember the first time I was called a whore, the grown man was holding a political position in our community. He was standing next to an adoptive uncle when he did it.  That uncle laughed when he did it.  At that time, I hadn’t even kissed a boy so my thought on the word horror meant that I was ugly and scared people.

But for whatever reason (God), I had friends.  They were good friends, nice girls, and descent parities to attend regularly.  I even had a best friend who I could depend upon (love you always Pat).  I never confided in her about the abuse; I’m not sure why.  Maybe I was afraid she wouldn’t be my friend any more.  But at the same time, I was so traumatized that it was impossible for me to spend much time thinking about it.  We had slumber parties almost every weekend, and we would stay up all night laughing, making crank telephone calls (there was no caller ID or *69 in those days), eating snacks, and watching old movies.  It was just a nice group of girls and we had fun together.

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Jill going to the Christmas dance 1971.

High School

In high school, there were days I would walk through the halls alone and feel as though I didn’t have legs; the terror that ran inside of me was like getting lost in the mirrors of the fun house.  I think that it was because I never knew exactly where the abuse would come from.  It was amazing that the boys with the worst reputations in our grade level were among some of the most respectful boys in our class.  It was the ones who wanted to run every thing, the wanna bees that were the worst.

My aunt laughed in my face, if she saw me hanging out with some girls she would seek out their parents to tell them the stories she told others.  All of the mother’s looked shocked, a few were appalled by my adoptive aunt and took pity upon me.  Several threw me off their property and told me to never come back.  I have to say that there were some really wonderful families in the community.  The stories were a celebrated topic among my adoptive relatives.  Generally, when there were gatherings I was seated off to the side by myself sometimes I sat with an older married cousin and her family.  My adoptive relatives caliber were to talk about you in close proximity loud enough so you could hear it, but so you weren’t part of the conversation to respond.  My mother’s married nephew once stated very loud, “She should be sent back to the county.”  At that point, I admit that I would have welcomed the opportunity.

An adopted third cousin whispered, “You make adopted kids look bad.” He should have known better.  I still hadn’t kissed a boy, and my aunt and adoptive relatives turned me into the town whore.  The filthy stories went so far that one preacher in town even bashed me personally from the pulpit; I never personally met the man but he did have a couple of sons who attended the same school.  School was all abuzz the following Monday morning.  The molestation reached new highs.

My aunt was so excited about all the filth that she encouraged her daughter and another cousin to associate heavily with the boys doing all the molestations at school.  Now I was forced to deal with the violent sexual assaults at family gatherings too.  By the time I was 15 years old, I no longer considered myself to be related to my adoptive relatives; I still had no sexual experience of any kind, but I had been groped twice by married adult male relatives who listened to my aunt and then stalked me.  I told my mother at one point about the two adult males, and she told me my skirts were too short, and she told my dad who said I was jealous of his relationship with one of the adult males.  I no longer considered him my father.  I had no idea that adults even did this crap at that time of my life; TV wasn’t that sophisticated yet.  I had never heard of kids doing this in school, but the sexual physical assaults were heinous.  I stumbled upon these same boys doing it to a couple of other girls.  One girl in the same grade as me, and the other was three years younger.  They both had reputations that I’m not sure they deserved either.  I remember trying to reach out to one of the other girls, “I told her that she didn’t deserve what was being done to her.”  I saw her a few years after we graduated high school and she was walking down a sidewalk talking to herself.

The Bright Side

Yes, there is a bright side.  What I discovered by accident was the more involved I was in school, the less my molesters could get at me.  So, I began signing up for almost anything the school had available; my parents liked that; my aunt did not.  I was in the band, the choir, a cheerleader, majorette, Future Homemakers of America, school paper, and outside of school I was extremely active in girl scouts and 4-H.  I was so involved in 4-H I won State Show every year, Conservation awards, grand championships, and I even won a National Award presented by the Standard Brands Corporation with an all expense trip to Chicago for a week with other high achieves at the Conrad Hilton Hotel.  We had no inter-mural sports available in our high school until after I graduated; they only came about because of the passage of Title IX.

My aunt was so outraged at my outside achievements, she heckled me at a 4-H awards banquet where I was the MC.  She especially hated my achievements in school.  She hated them so much that she came to school, and in front of me, yelled at our school’s superintendent.  It was an emotionally crippling experience.  The superintendent briefly listened to her, ran her off, and then came looking for me.  He pulled me out of class.  Of course when the superintendent comes looking for a student everyone assumes you’ve done something really bad.  He placed his hand firmly on my shoulder and sympathetically said, “If you need a place to live, you are welcome to come and live with us.”  I admit I was appreciative of him for doing that, but I was broken that he felt it was necessary.  I also must tell you that there were multiple community members who said similar things.  More than one member of the community walked up to me and told me face to face that what was being done to me was wrong, and if they could do something to help me they would.  That meant more than you know.  One boy in my high school graduation class came to school after the preacher bashed me and told me that his church prayed for me on Sunday.  At that point, I believed God was watching and I wondered why he didn’t stop the abuse.

At this point, I’d heard of Jesus, my parents strutted into church every Sunday and demanded I attend youth group.  But I had no personal relationship.  My maternal adoptive relatives attended the same church as us, so there was no relief at church either, the preacher was as bad as everyone else, and there was no witness to the love of Christ.  I remember sitting with a pair of brother’s in the basement of the church and we were telling jokes back and forth.  The brothers were about my age, the youngest was a midget.  My aunt walked past and sneered at one of my adoptive adult cousins, “Look at the rejects.”  They both laughed and walked away.  The three of us kids cringed, but none of us said anything about it – ever.

My dad got into it with my mother’s family over the garage door put on the preachers house; let’s face it, it’s always important to go after the big issues. We switched Lutheran churches.  We switched for all the wrong reasons, but I do believe that God saw what was going on there and said, “Enough!”  I thought I could finally breath some at church.  I remember walking into youth group at the new church for the first time, and there sat a girl whose family were huge friends of my aunt and uncle.  Her boyfriend took one look at me and asked the youth leaders, “Can we vote on whose allowed to attend here?” The young couple in charge of youth group quietly said, “No.”  But that was about all it took for me, I knew there was no safety there either.  As far as my parents were concerned, I attended youth group every week, but in all actuality I would take the car and drive around for an hour and a half and then go home.  If the adults in my life who were supposed to take care of me refused, I would do what I felt was necessary to take care of myself.

Sexually Abusive Janitor

Our school was quite the hotbed.  During the 60s and early 70s, we had a janitor in the public school who ran around and snapped the bra straps of junior high school girls.  He would corner the girls and then run his hand up and down a girls’ spine until he found the strap and then yank on it.  He never actually snapped mine, but I was standing in the lunch line with my back slammed up to the wall next to a girl he did it too; I could even smell his breath.

Even now, you would be hard pressed to find a student from that school era, male or female, who wasn’t aware of this.  He did it for years.  Plus, he did it very publicly and the community, school board included, knew it was happening.  The lady punching the lunch cards would laugh and just shake her head.  He was pulling this stunt walking through the halls with the superintendent and an adult male visitor one day, when the superintendent said to him, “Don, you’ve got to learn to leave those girls alone.”  Then they all laughed.  So, it’s really no wonder we had gangs of boys sexually abusing girls and threatening their lives.

Pregnant at 17

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Jill, 1972 Graduation

By the age of 17 I was a senior and drunk a lot; the legal age of drinking was 18.  By then I had been sexually molested at least a thousand times in school alone.  Looking back as an adult, I should have been drunk all day every day, but I wasn’t.  I’m not sure why I went to school, but I was hell bent on getting a high school diploma and getting out of that community.   I was date raped in my senior year of high school, and if I had even a shred of sanity before that, I was very suicidal after that.  I found a good looking “bad” boy and got pregnant.  He had a horrible reputation and for the most part he earned it.  It was surprising how many people were afraid of him, which actually ended up being a good thing for me.  Even though he was a lousy husband (I was a lousy wife), nobody messed around with me anymore.  He would have beat them to a pulp.

Title IX

It was 1972 and Title IX had been passed; some in the community wanted me permanently expelled, but the superintendent defended me so I was allowed to graduate high school.  I was divorced by the age of 20 and entered Community College where I received my Associates Degree.  I worked hard and fast and in four semesters, that included the summer, I transferred to a state college, where I graduated with my Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Administration.  I did all of that college in less than 3 years.  My undergraduate GPA was about a 3.2.  By the year 2000, I had earned my Master’s of Science in Career and Technical Education: Educational Technology with a 4.0 GPA.  I think my grades are important for others to know because I barely squeaked by high school; I thought I was dumb as a box of rocks.  Today I understand, it was all of the abuse.  I’m fortunate to have finished.  I think that there are many other people out there who suffered abuse during their youth that had a devastating effect on their ability to perform in school.  If that’s the case, you may have to take 90 level classes to get caught up (high school equivalent), but college for me was much easier.  Plus, my persecutors weren’t there.

Overcome Your Childhood Abusers

The three step plan to getting “even with” or to “one-up” your abusers from your childhood.

  1. Put Christ first in your life.
  2. Forgive them.
  3. Live your best life.

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