Adopted by a pedophile

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I was born to 2 heroin addicts in 1958. I was removed from my birth mother when I was 1 year old. I was placed with a couple who adopted me at 4 yrs old. They also adopted a girl they got when she was 4 (Debra, who I consider my sister even though we are not blood related) and a boy whom they got at 2 weeks old. (Joey, whom I do not consider my brother but that’s a different story.) My dad worked 3 jobs and wasn’t home much. Terry (I stopped calling her mom at 13) was a very twisted individual. I don’t know why she adopted 2 girls because she hated us. From my earliest memories, we girls were tortured, molested, beaten, forced to perform sex acts on Terry and each other, locked in rabbit cages in the hot Calif sun, tied to our beds, made to eat vomit, burned, told we were worthless, etc. School was our only escape. I adored school and made up my mind in second grade to learn everything I possibly could so when I grew up, I could get away and go to college to escape. We always had marks on us, but in catholic schools, no one ever said a thing. In all my sister’s school pics she has a busted lip. Terry cut our hair short like a boy so we were both teased mercilessly but it was still better than being at home. Debbie and I each coped in our own way. I learned to disassociate and become a people pleaser and Debbie became very meek and sad. She ran away 8 times and finally left for good when she was 15 and I was 12. I understood later, she needed to get out. But then the abuse of me took new demented turns. I was beaten at 12 when I had my first period. I was so frightened, I didn’t understand what she was saying as she was beating me (“The boys will smell you now!”) and had to have a friend at school explain to me what was happening, that it was normal. I really didn’t know what normal was. I wasn’t allowed friends, Terry kept us away from everyone. Yet we went to church every Sunday and holy day, went to catholic school, my “parents” were active in many church organizations and we looked to all the world like a good catholic family. They were praised for adopting 3 children. Yet it was all a sham. I was coping until Terry had an affair when I was 16 and my dad found out. He freaked out and raped me, so my dad was the first male I had sex with. I tried to kill myself for the first time after that horrible night. I ran away, but Terry cried and pleaded with me to come home when I called her, she said she would change and all would be better, so I came back. It was okay for a month. Then all types of abuse began again, every single day, worse than before. I took it until I was 17, then I had a nervous breakdown and ran away again, never to return. I was on the honor role and qualified for a scholarship, but my dad was self employed and wouldn’t show his tax returns, so I never went to college. That broke my heart.
I’ve left out a lot, but you get the gist of my story. I was so sheltered and naive that I thought getting out of that house would solve all my problems. Um, no. I had issues galore and spent a lot of my adult life addressing them in therapy and with prescribed medication. After 12 years of therapy I succeeded in putting myself back together and I have never ever hurt my 4 kids. I never wanted to. I knew I was going to break the cycle of abuse before I even knew what that meant. I truly love my children and loathe pedophiles. I have turned my anger into awareness and fighting pedophilia instead of despair or addiction. I have a deaf son, so I fight for all children and the deaf.
Terry died last August and I am at peace. Closure, whatever. I tried to have some kind of relationship with my dad, but he’s in deep denial. So I’ve made my own family and I’m a very positive thinker. I hope I can listen, console, help or do whatever is needed to help others who have gone or are going through an abusive childhood. That’s all I want to do, is help others and make my little corner of the world a better place. I live in Ohio now, I tried to run from my past but it came with me, so I dealt with it. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. And you can too. Courage.


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17 comments

  1. Shannon Volunteer

    Hi Sirkissa,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry for everything you have been through. It’s good to hear you found some kind of closure and became an advocate for children. I hope you are thriving, but if you ever need us, we are still here to listen. Be kind to yourself

    Shannon

  2. Kevin Casey Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story it was not your fault if you have any questions or need anything we always here help you at avfti

  3. sirkissa

    Donโ€™t just advocate and argue for what you value. Live it.
    Donโ€™t just wish for and talk about your dreams. Live them.
    Devote each individual moment of your life to what you sincerely care about. Bring your hopes, dreams and values to life by consistently living them.
    No matter what situation youโ€™re in, you can live it with a focus on what truly matters to you. Every day, there are countless ways to put the beauty of your unique perspective into meaningful action.
    There is no need to wait for your dreams to come true. Today is when you can make them true with the way you live your life.
    You are overflowing with amazing possibilities. Today, and every day, live what you are.
    โ€” Ralph Marston

  4. jamie

    Sirkissa I wanted to thank you again for contributing and being a part of this site. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. sirkissa

    Awww, thank you. I just want others to know life CAN BE OKAY after a horrible childhood. And your abuse is just as awful as mine, no child should be abused in ANY way. I’m here to listen, help, whatever is needed. If I can help one person, than I have made something good out of something awful. I love all of you here for caring, sharing, and trying to help. Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. imoverit

    Sirkissa – I had to stop and breathe for a moment reading your post, and process everything that happened to you, how you rose above it, and how much love and forgiveness it must take to want to even have contact with your Dad after what transpired. You are a gem, and your human spirit is amazing! I was abused but nothing like what happened to you. And I’m angry and sad and hardly ever bring myself to feel forgiveness or compassion towards the people that hurt me. Thank you for sharing your story, choosing to break the abuse cycle and choosing to raise your children with all the love and gentleness they deserve. And to go on and try to help others while being a busy mom BRAVO! I applaud you Sirkissa!

  7. sirkissa

    I must say sharing my story even after all this time has been cathartic for me. I also want/need to share just a bit more. When I was 12, it was a very hard, confusing year for me. My sister left, Terry’s reaction to my hitting puberty, and then my godfather came over one day when I was locked outside and nobody was home (always when they left I was locked outside or in the car for hours) and started to kiss and fondle me. He was doing work for our neighbors. I freaked out and became hysterical so he left. I broke into my own house and called my godmother asking if my godfather had been drinking. She was totally confused until I told her what happened and then she came over immediately. It was awful, she didn’t understand why I was locked out, why I didn’t know where Terry was, she called everywhere trying to find her, she even called the group home where my sister was but Terry wasn’t there and they wouldn’t let me talk to my sister. My godmother called her son to come stay with me while she went and got my godfather and reamed him a new one. SHE held me and comforted me and stayed with me until Terry finally came home. Terry was furious, I remember her pinching my arm so hard it bruised out of sight of my godmother. She was more upset that I broke into the house then at my godfather for touching me. After everyone finally left, I was in trouble because my godmother basically lectured Terry for leaving me alone, not giving me any way to get a hold of her, and for locking me out of the house. Terry told her she had to because I stole things. What on earth I would possibly steal from my own house didn’t make any sense to me, but that was the way it was. I remember her knocking me out of a chair telling me to shut up and stop being a baby and asking did I tell them anything. I said yes, I told my godmother about what happened but Terry said “No no, did you tell them anything?” I knew what she meant and I said no because I didn’t, I knew not to or I would be burned. (When she really didn’t want my sister and I to not tell something, she would hold our hands over the gas stove and we would have 3rd degree burns on our fingers. She wouldn’t allow us to put ice on them and she would keep us home from school until the blisters went away. I remember the agony and to this day, I hate burns.) She would then tell us if we told anyone our “secrets” she would sit us on the stove the next time and burn us. My sister and I believed her.
    She also had the habit of making us stand in the corner or a doorway from 8 am to 7 pm without moving, our hands behind our backs. When we had to go to the bathroom, she would move us to the laundry area, put down newspapers and tell us to go on the papers standing up. She would then say we were her “puppies”. My sister and I both have flat feet and have to wear arch supports for standing for days on end for years. But I digress from why I started this post.
    When I was 23 I spent 2 weeks with my kids at my “parent’s” house while waiting for my divorce from my first husband. One night me and the kids were alone sleeping, I on the couch. I woke up to find my “brother” on top of me pulling at my clothes and I could feel his erection through the blanket and my nightgown. I started to freak screaming what are you doing?? He said he was still a virgin, Terry didn’t let him date much and when he did she inspected his underwear, and since we weren’t blood related, it was okay for us to have sex. I remember thinking “wait a minute. Maybe he has been abused too, just in a different way.” I calmed down, pushed him off me and said “Joey, talk to me. Why do you think that?” We ended up talking for an hour or so and I realized that Terry had some sick obsession with sex. I felt bad for Joey’s humiliation and we agreed to not tell my “parents” about the incident. Well, for 2 days things were okay, but then when I would walk by, he started grabbing me or “accidentally” brushing up against me. I asked what are you doing and he said “you won’t tell mom and even if you do, she won’t believe you, I’m her favorite.” At that moment I felt like a sex toy for anyone who wanted me and I was so devastated by Joey’s words, I moved out that day and in with a friend. I have never forgiven him for that, I don’t consider him my brother and I haven’t talked to him since 1981. I never want to see him again or talk to him. My sister is the only family I have, she even apologized for the sexual things Terry made her do to me and I didn’t even need to forgive her, I knew it wasn’t her fault and I loved her so much for caring and apologizing for leaving at 15, which she felt she needed to do for her own healing. We both survived the same childhood and we both knew we would not be like Terry or let her destroy us. We draw strength from each other and I’m even an aunt and great aunt to her kids and her birth family whom she found when she was in the girl’s home at 16. Sometimes I’m envious of her, she has blood kin galore (She’s Mexican and they have very large families), but she shares them with me and I adore being called Aunt. With my 4 kids and one grandchild, I only know of 5 people who are my blood kin on the whole planet. I did find out generic info about my birth parents, but it was more upsetting than comforting. I wish I had just let it go actually.
    My point of this post was I was sexually abused by more than one person and for years I was afraid of sex and picked dominating controlling men as husbands. (I married my “mother” twice.) I felt all I was good for was to be someone’s plaything and to bear children. I had a daughter, then twins (boy and girl) by the time I was 20 since I married at 18 after I had to leave foster care. I divorced, married my deaf son’s dad and we were together 8 years. I had my youngest when I was 25 and we moved to Ohio in 1984. It was here that I was able to start the healing process and figure out why I would have no memory of things people told me I did, or signed school papers for the kids, etc. We found out my son was deaf when he was 2 1/2 and that ripped all my mental scars open and things were wacky for a while but I got better. Through good people, therapists and myself and the love of my children I got well. I’ve fixed everything I can fix and I’ll have issues for the rest of my life, but I’m okay now. I know what normal is or should be, at least for me. It is possible to heal and learn compassion instead of hate or becoming an abuser, you just have to WANT TO. For those of you who are uncertain and suffering, you CAN take control of your life and turn something horrible into something positive. It takes a lot of effort and work, but it can be done. You can learn to love yourself and realize your potential. Please seek help if you need it, it can save your sanity and even your life. Courage.

  8. sirkissa

    Jamie, I can understand how you feel. I was jealous because my brother was never abused and we girls were. I wanted parents to hold me, cuddle me, soothe me and just be proud and encouraging of me. (They are the only people I know who didn’t want their kids to go to college! But I think it was the fear of me telling.) I did hate Terry for years but not my dad. ( Because he “only” raped me.) Through counseling and personal growth I learned that the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. Hate was a useless emotion, it just led to anger and other negative emotions that served no purpose in my getting healed.
    I talked to Terry for the last time by phone in 1994. She was in Calif and I was in Ohio. All I wanted was an acknowledgement of the abuse and an apology. Wrong move on my part. She denied everything, said I made it up, that I needed to be in a mental hospital, that I was incurably mentally ill, etc. I was devastated and told my counselor who advised me I should have consulted her first. Anyway, she helped me see that I’ll never have normal, loving parents and so I gave up. There are still times I wish I had a mom who would hold me and tell me it will be okay but that will never happen. Terry died after spending 2 years in bed because she fell and broke her wrist and was afraid of falling and then got dementia. She died a sad death, not knowing anyone around her.
    My Beloved has cancer and I love taking care of him and being there for him as I do for all those I love, but with Terry I felt nothing. The thought of bathing her and caring for her filled me with revulsion at first, then nothing. I didn’t care if she was suffering which did make me feel guilty at first but that passed. My sister called me about 11 am the day she died and then I forgot about it (because I was moving) until about 4 pm. A serene peace came over me and the little child in me realized it was over, she was gone and could never hurt me again. I didn’t fell joy or satisfaction, just peace. I didn’t go back to Calif for her funeral and have no regrets.
    I don’t know if this part of my story will help anyone, I just wanted to tell you that I didn’t wish for her death but I didn’t mourn it either.

  9. jamie

    So I have been pretty busy with some at-home tasks the past day or so, and I haven’t spent as much time on our site as normal. That said, tonight was my first time reading your story. Wow. I am so shocked at what you were forced to go through, yet so inspired by your attitude and positive mentality. Thank you for joining us and sharing that with us.

    For some reason, a particular part of your story hit me hard. It wasn’t the abuse….that was terrible in it’s own right. But what caught me was when you mentioned Terry’s death and how you were at peace. Here’s why.

    Aside from the abuse my father did to me, I have learned about some other things he has done. He had an affair and had a child with the other woman. I wanted to know my brother, and have since met and talked to his mother. Apparently, their affair started when she was 16, years before my abuse. She said as far as she knew that there were plenty of other girls that he was with while married. He recently left my stepmom for another woman he had been seeing. My stepmother is a saint in my eyes. She stuck with him through all of that, through my abuse, all for the sake of their 3 children. As you can imagine, I was often worried for them. They still lived in the house with him. 2 of them are adults now, and I’ve had some conversations with them about our father. They assured me nothing happened to him, and that they only knew of him as a great father. I am so happy for them in that regard, but at the same time I am envious. Jealous. Why didn’t I deserve a great father? I am 29 years old and still find myself longing for a father figure. I had to teach myself to shave. My mom taught me to catch a baseball. My boy scout troop taught me to fish and shoot a BB gun. As far as the things a father does with a son, I always had those experiences elsewhere. I suppose the one thing he DID teach me was how to not be a father. My girlfriend has a 9 year old son. While his father is present in his life, I recognize my role as a parent. I play sports with him. I work with his mother in keeping him with a positive attitude. I just taught him to mow the lawn. When I see a little bit of the things I have taught him displayed in his behavior, I am overjoyed. I have made a solemn promise that I’d give him (and any other future children I may have) the ‘great father’ experience that my siblings mentioned.

    I got a bit sidetracked. I tried having a relationship with my father as an adult. He thought that I was lazy for living with my cancer-patient mother at 23. He thought that I was using him because I asked him to help me with my car troubles. I had an interest in learning, and he had the knowledge. He listened to country, I listened to punk and rock. He was conservative, I was liberal. He is a negative person, and I try to remain positive. The only thing we had in common was an interest in cars. He didn’t see that….he saw me trying to get free repairs. After a while, I cut it off. But I was discussing all of this with a friend that I used to work with. His father had recently died, and they also had a broken relationship. He recommended I patch up our relationship, as he felt ‘robbed’ when his father died without that relationship. But you posed a different feeling. I have, of course, imagined my father dying and how I may react. (Not in a morbid way, but more in a natural way-of-life way) I can’t imagine myself feeling robbed. I am choosing not to have a relationship with some I deem a horrible person.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings on that. If the time comes that my father passes on, I too think I may have closure. I don’t WISH him death, but I always felt a bit guilty for having literally no interest in a relationship with him. I like to think that I will feel peace when that time comes, be it one month from now or 20 years from now.

    Thank you for that perspective. I am sorry I carried on a bit long, and I hope I didn’t sound too twisted.

    I just want to reiterate that I don’t wish my father death, or actually any harm or ill events. I just find the topic of abusers dying and the impending feelings of the abused an interesting one to discuss.

  10. sirkissa

    Thank you. I am happy to be a part of this community and will help in any way I can. Decide. Commit. Succeed. ๐Ÿ’ก

  11. callie

    The world needs more people with your kind of strength. It takes so much strength and wisdom to break that cycle of abuse and sadism that you experienced. So many people who go through what you do come to think of it as “normal.” What I find so striking is that you had the strength of mind to know it was wrong and resolve to stop it even when you were so young. I am so very sorry for what you went through, but I’m so happy for the way things have turned out for you. I firmly believe the best way to fight hatred is with love. Love is the strongest weapon any of us have, and you seem to have plenty. I applaud you for your vigor in fighting for victims of abuse, and being an advocate for the deaf. I’m so glad you’ve joined out community and i hope you’ll stick around stay engaged with us!

  12. pinky

    And you have EVERY reason to be. What a fighter you are. I hope your children and your smart, gentle husband know how lucky they are to have you ๐Ÿ™‚ I applaud you.

  13. sirkissa

    Thank you both for your kind words. My counsler said she had to have been sadistically abused, but instead of learning compassion, she became an abuser too. I do know she hated her father. I was diagnosed with MPD now called DID, PTSD, depression, panic attacks and irritable bowel syndrome at the Cleveland Clinic. They taped my sessions for teaching purposes and I was mortified and yet fascinated when I saw 7 other “people” living in/with me. That’s why it took 12 years to integrate myself, 3 sessions a week. I had to learn to love the little child I never got to be and love myself as an adult. But I WANTED to. I didn’t want to be a mess, I had children to love and care for.
    I have been married four times (eep) first to a bully, then a smart but cheating man, then another bully and finally a smart gentle man whom I’ve loved for 16 years. My sister and I are very close, she still lives in Calif but we talk by phone all the time. I love her dearly and always will. She has her own anxiety issues, but she had 4 kids too and didn’t abuse any of them. I’m proud of her.
    I know my story is hard to read (I had one therapist who asked to be removed because she couldn’t handle what I needed to say) but maybe it will inspire someone and give them hope that you CAN rise above a horrid past and be a good caring person, (albeit with some problems), and lead a productive happy life. I own my own candle business and I’m proud of the person that I have become. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. pinky

    Sirkissa. Firstly, I want to thank you so much for the courage it probably took to share this story, and I want to commend you on the strength it certainly takes every day for you to overcome the horrors that you lived through. The abuse that your suffered is almost unimaginable to most, but how strong you are to have not only survived it, but come out on top of it. Your story, I think, is such an important one for our community to see because we so often think of the men as being the sexual abusers… but in this case, it was almost always the woman in your life. I can’t help but wonder what the cause for her need to abuse was. It takes a very damaged individual to do the types of things you described, and most of the time, abuse is a “learned” behavior that a person has picked up from their own parents. Do you know anything about her own upbringing? What kind of ways did you find to cope with your abuse? I know you said you immersed yourself in your education as a child, but when you became an adult and had to learn to form relationships, how did your emotional scars impact that? Also, have you heard from your sister at all since then, and how is she coping with the childhood trauma?

    I am so happy to hear that you have a stable home life now and a bond with your children. Your story is so heartbreaking and at times almost difficult to read, but it is such an inspiring one because of the strength you so clearly show by breaking away from it and choosing your own path. Your positivity is admirable, to say the very least. Good luck to you in all of your many battles, and we will be here to support you in each and every one. I hope you continue to be an active member of the AVFTI family, as we could definitely use your courage and your positive outlook to help us in healing others. Thank you again for you story, but more importantly, for your inspirational attitude. Keep in touch.

  15. pinky

    Sirkissa. Firstly, I want to thank you so much for the courage it probably took to share this story, and I want to commend you on the strength it certainly takes every day for you to overcome the horrors that you lived through. The abuse that your suffered is almost unimaginable to most, but how strong you are to have not only survived it, but come out on top of it. Your story, I think, is such an important one for our community to see because we so often think of the men as being the sexual abusers… but in this case, it was almost always the woman in your life. I can’t help but wonder what the cause for her need to abuse was. It takes a very damaged individual to do the types of things you described, and most of the time, abuse is a “learned” behavior that a person has picked up from their own parents. Do you know anything about her own upbringing? What kind of ways did you find to cope with your abuse? I know you said you immersed yourself in your education as a child, but when you became an adult and had to learn to form relationships, how did your emotional scars impact that? Also, have you heard from your sister at all since then, and how is she coping with the childhood trauma?

    I am so happy to hear that you have a stable home life now and a bond with your children. Your story is so heartbreaking and at times almost difficult to read, but it is such an inspiring one because of the strength you so clearly show by breaking away from it and choosing your own path. Your positivity is admirable, to say the very least. Good luck to you in all of your many battles, and we will be here to support you in each and every one. I hope you continue to be an active member of the AVFTI family, as we could definitely use your courage and your positive outlook to help us in healing others. Thank you again for you story, but more importantly, for your inspirational attitude. Keep in touch.

  16. aquatopaz

    Wow. I can’t or don’t know what else to say….. I to have four children and broke the cycle ( like you I knew I was going to break it before I even knew what it was.)
    You sound like you’ve dealt with this situation very well as an adult and I applaud you for breaking the cycle and making a better life for your four children!

  17. aquatopaz

    Wow. I can’t or don’t know what else to say….. I to have four children and broke the cycle ( like you I knew I was going to break it before I even knew what it was.)
    You sound like you’ve dealt with this situation very well as an adult and I applaud you for breaking the cycle and making a better life for your four children!