Monday, April 28, 2008

Ann's Story Part 7: Background

I probably should have started all of this with a little more of the background.

Ann's first 4 years were horrific. I have read maybe half a dozen files. None of them are pretty, but Ann's is the one that made me want to vomit, curse G-d, and die. How could anyone do such things to a child? How could anyone do such things in front of a child? I will give you only one detail. When Ann's mother's parental rights were terminated she got one last chance to say goodbye to Ann. She said, "If you ever love anyone else I will find you and kill you."

Ann first went into care with her brother. Ann's behavior though was both violent and sexualized. She ended up in a children's psychiatric hospital at 5 years of age.

When she got out, Mandy was willing to take her. Mandy and her husband tried to adopt her when she was seven, but she once again became dangerously violent. She was not adopted in part because she thought that if she were her birth mother would know and would find her and kill her. She went to a private school where they agreed only use the foster family's last name, at least on any document that Ann might see. Whenever she did see her name written as it was on her birth certificate she was afraid that it meant there was a way her mother could find her. When she was 10 she was admitted into the program for which I work. Mandy and "John" (I have to start using a name for Mandy's husband) were very happy. It is a permanent placement program. It was supposed to mean that they were going to be Ann's forever parents without putting Ann through adoption proceedings.

Somewhere in her twelfth year things got difficult. Ann started having more rages and tantrums. Shortly after her twelfth birthday she got into a fight with another girl in the house. Ann had a new pair of jeans with some sort of distinctive decorations. The other girl went shopping with her social worker and picked out an identical pair. This started a conflict that ended in a fist fight, a call to the police, and a juvenile justice proceedings for Ann.

That was when I first knew things were getting bad. In October of that year we were asked to consider taking another young man. He wasn't a match, but even before I agreed to meet him I called Ann's social worker. I wanted to know if her placement was likely to disrupt because if she was going to be moved I wanted her.

When she first came to my house in December it was because the other girls had ganged up on her and she had called her social worker saying she did not want to live there anymore. She was brought to my house to cool down.

She had a hearing connected with the fist fight in the summer and, though I never got clear on the exact recommendation/requirements, we were told that part of the result was that Ann could not go back home for at least a while. Ann of course was not happy about the decision being taken out of her hands.

Ann's sentence was to do community service hours and attend some courses for juvenile offenders. She did these things while she was living with us.

Part 8

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