We’ve started something important. And through it all we’ve met some amazing families who have offered to share their experiences. These experiences are heartbreaking, yet, somehow, together we are finding ways to lift each other back up. We thank each contributor and family for believing that we can make positive changes in the lives of families affected by child abuse.
The Overwhelming Fear
Tara B. – August 27th, 2014 will be burned in our family’s memory forever. It was the day our 14-month-old daughter, Annabell, was significantly injured by our ‘trusted’ in home day care provider. She had been providing day care for us for over a year. She had taken care of another family member’s child in the recent past and we thought we had become friends. We thought our daughter was getting the love and attention she needed. We were so very wrong. Annabell was found by my husband, her father when he arrived to pick her up from the women who was suppose to be providing Day Care. He found her bruised, burned multiple times and swollen almost beyond his recognition. Her father immediately brought her to the ER, still not understanding what had happened to our baby. After multiple tests, x-rays, body and head scans we were sent to a more specialized pediatric hospital. It required 3 days in St. Vincent’s PICU. We could not take her out in public for almost 2 months because of how bad she looked with her swollen head, swollen shut black eyes, bruised and burned head/face, shoulder, arm, and hand.
This is something you see on TV, this happens to other people. We are not the first people to say ‘this does not happen to our family.’ This affected our entire family on every level; it devastated and forever changed us. Our daughter has already faced more physical and mental pain/trauma than most people have after a life time. We had to start working with the Birth to Three program, specifically with speech therapy, as she stopped talking after the trauma and wasn’t regaining it. We worked with them weekly and our family worked on approaches in our home everyday hoping for her words to come back. We spent months struggling to know what she wanted as she could no longer communicate verbally.
This incident has forever changed our lives. At this time we know that she has physically healed and we are thankful that physically there will be no permanent damage. The night terrors were horrific; they started almost immediately after the trauma. For the next few months they occurred almost nightly and often multiple times a night. She would wake up or start screaming while she is still sleeping; sometimes she would even start batting away at her face, kick, hit, scratch, cry and most often they would end in her throwing up. They would last anywhere from 5-20min to well over an hour. There were times over the year and a half when we thought the night terrors were getting better, and then we were proven horribly wrong it was almost like they would come back with a vengeance. Our last night terror was well over a year and a half after the trauma. It broke our hearts over and over again every night.
I don’t know how we lived through this as a family. But, in reality we had no choice, we just had to. Sleepless nights for months on end just leave you feeling numb.
The overwhelming fear she felt of others since this traumatic day was scary. She used to be very outgoing and comfortable with anyone around her in very short time. Even now she refuses to go towards many people. It can take hours for her to warm up to close family members. Annabell has obviously had several doctor appointments since this happened, and for over 2 years she was extremely fearful of them. It was imperative that both of us were at all appointments. One person to try and calm her, clean up her vomit, hold her as the Doctor looks her over and the other person to talk with the doctor.
It is overwhelming me to say this but our daughter almost died from this abuse, my sweet innocent baby girl. The fact that we could not protect her, she was so young and this monster nearly destroyed her. Who knows if she will ever be able to trust again and time will only tell just how deep this affected her. What this woman did to our baby was pure evil. She stole our baby’s innocence, her preciousness and forever devastated and changed us. This terrible abuse not only hurt our daughter, it hurt our son, and it hurt our entire family.
The real question is what future do these children have if no one will stand up and fight for them. Please support the cause, all of our children’s lives depends on it! We want to support families going through similar situations as we know what a struggle this is, no one should have to go through this horror alone.