Nine years ago I sat in a ob-gyn office looking at a pamphlet on domestic violence. I thought my partner is not the problem, but I am a domestic violence victim nonetheless.
During that pregnancy my adopted daughter kicked me in the stomach. During those years she subjected me to verbal abuse, kicked, punched, and hit me. We called doctors, the police, mental hospitals. Her anger was explosive and violent, but nothing she has ever done is worse than the things her brother did in secrecy.
Back then I did research. There was no support or process for parents attempting to pursue legal avenues of protection against abusive children.
I persisted. I attempted to get her charged with assault. I asked the police to take pictures of the marks she left.
They told me she was too mentally ill to be incarcerated. They told me to tie her up.
Juvenile court dropped the charges.
When I look back to the long-ago beginnings of my relationship with these two very broken people I see that their violence defined the relationship throughout. When young children with stories of neglect and abuse act out we may think there are solutions for caregivers in consistency, therapy, research, and time.
I never found those solutions. I found that their problems were bigger than us all, that I was lucky to have survived at all. Despite all our good intentions the advice I wish someone had given me twenty years ago—
Run fast, run far.