For years now I have visited you every month or so in your chambers when you review my status as your county ward.
Is it odd that you are the only adult who has stayed in my life since I was taken away from my father eight years ago?
He had done terrible things to me until I was seven. When I started school the nurse saw all my bruises and reported me to child protection. I am glad that happened. It probably saved my life.
But it’s not much of a life. I remember running out into traffic on Chicago Avenue just after I was put into St Joe’s Home for Children. I have done other life threatening things also.
I am abnormal. I feel it deeply that I don’t fit in. The traumatic things that happened to me and the prolonged exposure to violence and neglect have made me grow up differently than other kids.
My attention is always locked on the bad things that can happen to me. I am hardwired that way.
Because my childhood was so hard, I can’t be comfortable around other people, in a school, with other children, or in a family. My behaviors are explosive because that is the way I learned to survive with my father.
Telling me all day long to stop my bad behaviors will not help me to develop coping skills to replace my explosive personality. The Prozac and Ritalin that I have taken these past five years have made me feel like a zombie and I hate taking them. I am just a combative person.
School is the worst because I started three years later than the other children in my class and I have never caught up or kept up. I had no parents to help me start school. My language skills weren’t half as good as other kids & I just hate being made to look stupid again and again all day long because of how much I don’t know and how much I can’t do.
I don’t have attention for school. My mind is not able to let go and get into English or Math or History and I cannot read.
There have been over one hundred social workers, foster parents, and other adults in my life since I left my dad. None of them have stayed for more than a few years. My feelings of abandonment have been reinforced over one hundred times. I have lived with twenty-seven foster families and group homes. My explosive personality and lack of trust make it hard for me to stay in one place too long.
Even though I never show it, I very much appreciate your monthly reviews. It is about the only thing regular and predictable in my life.
You have been a stern but caring figure in my life. I hope someday that I will be comfortable enough with myself to be able to thank you.
I have several children in my child protection work (as a guardian ad-Litem) that have seen the same judge for many years. This is the letter that I like to imagine that they would write if they had the thinking, coping, and writing skills that they don’t have today.
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