As with my previous diary posts, I will be leaving my teen writings in tact. I have not edited out the mundane and just left her writings as they were.
As with the previous post, some of these entries are the typical “silly things” you expect to see from a young teen, other posts take a dark turn.
There are no diary entries between the last ones, when I still lived with my bio-parents, and these. Because of that I only have my memories to go off of for filling in the blanks for that time period. As I am currently 35 years old, those memories are now 22 years old and a bit hazy. I will attempt to fill in the gaps as best I can.
In the months between my last diary entries and my entry into foster care I began to actively rebel against my parents and their abuse. My rebellion took the form of telling my parents I was no longer following their religion of Neo-Pagan Wizardry. I had converted to Christianity and would disobey my parents by sneaking out of our home to attend church services at our local Lutheran Church.
When my parents would physically punish me I would pretend it didn’t hurt and would laugh in their faces. This led to the force and maliciousness of their abuse to increase. My bio-father began to slice my legs open with razor blades to “bleed the evil spirit” out of me.
My memories, from the night that I entered into the child welfare system, are hazy. I know I did something which pushed my parents to a point of extreme anger. I remember my bio-mother and bio-father had me cornered in my bedroom and were taking turns kicking and punching me. For the first time in my life I fought back. In the past I would struggle to get away. On this night, when my mother had shoved me to the ground and was climbing on top of me, instead of trying to get away, I kicked her in the stomach.
The beating that followed left bruises and raised bumps on my back which would take weeks to heal. The beating ended, to my knowledge, when my parents had knocked me unconscious after banging my head against the wall.
When I regained consciousness, I decided to run away from home with the plan of ending my life. I ran to the railroad tracks, which were not far from my home, and sat on them willing a train to come and end my life. While sitting there I remember looking at a W.W.J.D bracelet that my friends Care, Tammy and Leslie had given me. I remember screaming out to God telling him that if he was real and loving he wold not have let me be born into my family.
To this day, I still can not remember how I ended up leaving those train-tracks. I don’t remember why or how I made the decision to leave. All I remember is walking away from the tracks and going to a pay phone where I tried to call the 1-800 number for reporting child abuse which I had seen on an episode of Boy Meets World. When I was unable to make that call connect I went to the home of my friends Tammy and Leslie.
At Leslie and Tammy’s house their mother sat down with me and let me tell her my story. When I was done she told me that I needed to go home. Why, I do not remember. To this day, her inaction in helping me in that moment, is why I take every single report of maltreatment I hear from a child seriously and report it to the authorities. I will never do, to another child, what was done to me that night.
Leslie’s mom drove me home and dropped me off in the alley behind our house. My brother Dan found me in the back yard and ran inside to tell my birth-parents that I had returned home.
When inside the house the beatings began again. I remember being slammed into the kitchen counter and then my father lifted me up by my neck, choked me, and then dropped me to the floor. He demanded to know where I had been. In that moment I decided to lie. I told them I had been to Leslie and Tammy’s house and that their mom was calling the cops on them.
This lie ended up being the lie that changed my life. My parents, worried about the police, called the police themselves and reported that I was acting violently towards the family. They called the police and I was removed from the home and taken to the Evergreen Shelter in Bemidji, MN.
While at the shelter home I decided to stop lying to cover my parents abuse and I told anyone who would listen the truth about life within my home. This led to CPS coming to the decision to remove me from my parents home and place me in foster care.
I remember my time in the shelter home very fondly. The staff there was friendly and encouraging. While I was picked on and sometimes roughed up by other youth in the shelter, the loving kindness and guidance of the staff there made that experience one of the closest things I ever had to a loving home environment.
The staff in this home broke some rules to give me the guidance and nurturing I desperately needed. One of my the rules, my parents gave the shelter, was that I was not to have any contact with friends from my home town or exposure to Christianity. One of the staff members, I will call her L, bought me an angel necklace, which I still have to this day. Another staff member, I will call him G, brought me to a book shelf in the wreck-room and showed me a book called Jesus was a Carpenter. “This isn’t supposed to be here. I guess you should keep it.” This same staff member also took me out of the home and allowed me to attend a play with his family. He is the first father figure I ever had. G, if you are reading this, I still have the book.
When the decision was made, to place me in foster care, my birth parents came to visit me at the shelter and brought me birthday gifts which my grandmother had sent for me. The meeting was supervised by one of the staff members. During the meeting, I cant remember what I did to instigate this, my birth father became angry and threw the items at my head and stormed out of the room. The staff member who observed the meeting, I will call him S, sat with me after and told me that while I had caused the anger violence was never an appropriate response. He was the first adult figure to plant the seed in me that violence is never an appropriate response to someone else’s behavior.
My first social worker, I will call him H.G., decided that I needed to be permanently removed from my parents home and placed in an intensive foster home for children with behavioral problems. During court hearings my parents and siblings had testified that I was an out of control child who was abusive to everyone in the home. Years later, my bio brother wrote this message to me confirming that they had been coached to lie .
During the court process I was interviewed by a few social workers and police officers. In one vivid memory, a police officer accused me of lying about what had happened stating “normal kids who go through what you say you went through want to go home. Your not wanting to go home is not normal. Are you telling the full truth”.
In May of 1998 I was placed in my first foster home. This was my favorite foster home of all that would follow. Joanne was my first foster mother and I was her first foster child. I think that the newness of the situation, for both of us, helped us to get along as we learned to navigate this new situation together. This is where my diary picks up the rest.
Before I switch over to my diary entries I do want to explain one more thing. In 1997, the Adoptions and Safe Families act was passed. This act changed the way the foster system operated by mandating that child welfare systems do everything in their power to place children back in the homes of their birth families.
During my first month living with Joanne, we believed this would be a permanent placement for me until I reached the age of 18. Because I did not show any “bad, violent or destructive” behaviors in the home I was allowed to babysit a neighborhood child and have more freedom.
At this time, a new social worker, fresh out of school came in and took over my case. I will call him Annakin. Annakin decided that a permanent placement was not needed for me and that he wanted me to be reunited with my family.
May 20, 1998 Age 13 Dear Kitty, it’s been forever since I’ve written to you. Well I’m in a foster home now. My foster mom is Joanne and I have a foster brother whose 16 named Mike and a foster sister named Nicole whose 12.
I stayed at the Evergreen group home for 4 weeks and 1 day. Now I’ve been in my foster home for 4 weeks and 1 day. Cool huh? Well I’ve been to two sleepovers. One of them was at Ammy and Jamie’s house. We went to abandoned haunted houses in the woods and a wine cellar in the woods. We didn’t drink any. Then we went horseback riding most of the night.
The second sleepover was at Shelly’s house. We saw Deep Impact in the theater. The next day I saw Deep Impact with my foster family. I also went to a wedding with my foster family.
May 21, 1998 Age 13 I’ve been in this foster home for a month now. Today as I went outside for my run I saw Shelly and she was on her way to a small carnival at one of the schools nearby my house. I came home and got my money and Nicole and went to the carnival.
I could have gone on a horse ride and a hayride but I spent all of my time dancing. There were 3 guys playing instruments. The guitar, the violin and a little drum that you hit with a stick in your fingers. It was so cool. I got to dance with Nicole. I led a dance train. You know, where kids get in line behind each other.
May 23, 1998 Age 13 Last night I was at a sleep over at Tiffany’s house. We chased her horses and goats in the pasture. In the pasture with her horse’s there was another section with a stream and a bridge that we sat on. One of the horses got in there and we had to chase it out. It was cool. I’m going to a resort in Hackensack with Shelly tomorrow to go swimming.
May 25, 1998 Age 13 Dear Diary, yesterday I went to a resort with Shelly. It was fun. We went swimming but it was icky because the bottom was all sea weed. Amy and I ran off the dock and jumped in. We also went paddle boating. That’s where you paddle the boat with your feet. We went in a row boat.
Shelly’s cousins Kristen and David jumped on the boat from a paddle boat. On the way back to land Shelly’s paddle fell off and we almost didn’t get it back. Shelly and I all went canoeing around the lake for a whole hour. It was fun. We got ice cream on the way back.
Today I babysat Doyle, the kid one house over, from 8:00AM to 1:45PM and I got paid $7.50.
Joannes step dad came over today. We had a pot luck at the neighbors. I got back before the rest of my foster family and I went and hid in the closet to hide from Nicole. Joan came into my room saying “Liz.” I sat still for a moment. Then I walked into the kitchen and when I was half way around the corner I saw Joanne saying to her step dad “I think she ran away.” That makes me feel like she has no trust in me. I’m so mad and sad.
Oh, I sewed the binding on the book Nicole wrote for her. Well, see you.
June 13, 1998 Age 13 Dear Katie, I changed your name to a friends that moved away in Bagley. It’s June 13 and its Saturday. Last week on June 7th I went to a sleepover at Minnow’s house. Minnow, Tiffany, Jamie, Amy, Hillary and I were there. We played lots of games. We went out in the woods. We went to a stream in the woods and sat there. At night we made a movie about a girl named Emily (me), who had a bratty sister named Sarah (Jamie). Jamie was in love with a guy who is out at war. He dies. Hillary and Amy played two girls that rented a room in our house. I (she) gets a letter that the boy Emily loved dies. She turns into a really mean person. At the end of last scene Sarah and I get a letter that our dad died. When I used a knife to cut the letter open I really cut myself so we had to redo that scene. Well I didn’t cut myself the second time but I ended up killing myself.
Two days before on June 5th I went to a sleepover at Hillary’s house. We went to the mall. Minnow, Tiffany, Me, Hillary, and April looked in a perfume or Bath and Body Wash shop. We sprayed each other with stuff. We had our pictures taken in an arcade. We also saw our math teacher Mr. Anderson there. We also bought a dream interpreter book at the Bedolton book store. Hillary’s house was 20 miles out in the woods. We went row boating and played games. Minnow had to go home for a soccer game the next day but Tiffany and I spent the night.
Now back to Minnow’s sleepover. We made banana floats and fudge. We also went to the theater and saw Deep Impact. When we got there Nicole and Margaret were there. We didn’t tell them we were having a sleepover. We told them we were just meeting there. I have seen Deep Impact five times now.
I have seen Titanic two times. Once with my family two days before I ran away from home on March 23, and once with Jamie Yates, a friend from Bemidji Middle School. She brought a friend with her.
I have to go now. I have to be asleep before Joan gets home from bingo. She makes us go to bed by 8:30 PM.
June 18, 1998 Age 13 I was able to see Leslie and Tammy yesterday. It was fun. We were supposed to meet at 2:30PM but we met at 2:00PM. Tammy went with her brother Andy to a doctor appointment. K, one of the PATH social workers had to follow us. She said we were odd kids because we let her talk and do stuff with us. She said normal kids ignore her when she follows them at things. She got her ears pierced.
Leslie and I brought $35 dollars with us. We both got our pictures taken in the arcade photo booth. We bought a friendship necklace, with a peace symbol on it. We also got friendship earrings in the shape of half a yin and yang. Then we got a What Would Jesus Do bracelet because my parents took the one she gave me.
I CANT BELIEVE THIS. I was just babysitting Doyle and when I got home Joan said my mom called and said that I can never see Leslie again. My brother said he saw us at the mall yesterday. The bad thing is it will work. She can say what I can and cannot do.
June 23, 1998 Age 13 Dear journal, or whatever I am supposed to call you, I’m too pissed off to name you like I usually do. I went to counseling today. I have a dumb meeting with my parents tomorrow. Anyway I went to counseling and Kim told me that my brothers and sister told their counselor that they are scared of me. (Bull Shit). My brother (Don’t know which one) said that I attacked him with a knife. And the worst of it, my cute little sister, the one that was always with me, the only nice one, said “One night Elizabeth came into a room and held a pillow over my head. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. I hate them.
Over the next few months my siblings would tell social workers about the “abusive” and “scary” things I had done to them during childhood. As time passed and I grew up I began to question my sanity and wondered if I had blocked out the memories of the “evil” child I had been. I was 28 years old when my younger brother and sister would finally come forward and apologize to me for lying to the court system about me to protect my parents.
June 25, 1998 Age 13 Well, yesterday I had a meeting with my parents and they are jerks. They blamed everything on me except for the religious change I did to Christianity. They blame that on Leslie. For about ten minutes all they did was say, “Elizabeth got caught up with some really bad kids. They have very mixed up beliefs. They are from those Evangelical churches and turned Liz against us.” Well there were a lot of accusations at that meeting. It ended saying I cannot talk to my friends and I should have frequent visits with my sister. Well, for some punk ass reason my parents called H.G, my social worker, and said I should never see my sister again until they say the time is right. They said that the whole meeting was aimed against them because my counselor Kim said they needed anger management.
July 20th, 1998 Age 13 I had a meeting with my parents today. It sucked. Yesterday I called the Christian Hope Line and told them my problems. They gave me a list of Bible verses to read. My head has been running a mile a minute lately.
I am watching the sunset out of my window right now. There are so many things I want to say but I don’t know how to write them, so I am going to tell them like a story. But before I start the story I want to tell you some of the things that happened at the meeting.
My dad yelled at me about the religion change. He said I called them weird ugly and strange people to their faces. They, or he, said I rebelled because I didn’t think they were normal. Well, for starters, I never said that they were weird and that their religion not being normal is what is turning me against them now.
I am going to write my life like a story now. The story will start with me thinking back on my past. This story will go back and forth between now and the past. The beginning is taking place today.
The Story. Chapter One, My earliest Memories
I sit here looking out my window watching the sun set wondering how the world can be so calm at a time like this in my life. I’m listening to Q107 the Christian radio station. I try to think of why this happened, how it started and what could I have done to cause this. Why do my parents despise me so much?
As I try to call up a memory the sun keeps getting lower the farther back I go. I go past my fifth birthday to when my sister was born. Now to when my brother was born. Now I’ve gone back as far as I can go. I’ve gone back to…my birth. My mom told me sometimes I was a failed abortion and also this version.
Chuck stood in the waiting room of the hospital with his 3 and a half year old son David. His wife was in the delivery room of the hospital in St. Cloud.
“Back there. She’s getting your baby brother.”
“Well you see the Doctor?” Realizing that his son wasn’t paying attention he stopped talking. Suddenly a nurse comes through the door. “They are ready.” Chuck rushed to the delivery room. When they pulled the baby out of the stomach.
“It’s a girl,” Chuck said.
“Honey, I know you wanted a boy but a girl is just as good.”
“Yah I guess,” he said. “But we prayed for a boy. I wish we had asked what it was ahead of time. But no we wanted to be surprised.”
“Don’t worry, she’ll be a great child for us.”
I take off my head phones for a second to hear the cars go by. The sun is down now. They sky is blue with orange clouds. Dogs bark in the distance. The breeze coming through the window is soft and gentle. It is the slightest bit cool in this hot day.
I remember being told by my parents about the day I was born. My parents told me that my mother and I were expected to die at birth. Because of that the doctor said they would have to give her a C-section. She had a choice of having me on April 1, 2 or 4. Because she did I am exactly one year older than Tim, a boy in my class in Bagley.
As I think of Bagley I get a sad pain in my heart. I wasn’t supposed to move again from there. Well that was bullshit. Now I sit down trying to remember more memories. Now I go back to I don’t know how old.
I know I’m in a room. It looks like Christmas time. My brother was holding a present wrapped in blue. Now I am going back to a few years before.
Mom was walking in the mall with her two and a half year old daughter. As they walk down the hall her daughter Elizabeth saw a guy dressed up like Santa Clause. Her mother had hadn’t wanted her kids to know about Santa Clause because it hurt finding out he was not real and a lie made up by Christians.
Well mom went to the drug store and got in line to pay for her stuff. She found that her daughter was not there. She leaves the store to find her.
Meanwhile Elizabeth is walking around the store looking for that jolly man. She finally spotted him and, having no fear, ran right up to him and climbed on his lap. The people, not knowing where her parents were, decided to entertain her. Elizabeth liked the tall Rudolph Ride.
When Elizabeth’s mom found her she had had her picture taken and Nancy owed the money. All of the way home all Elizabeth did was talk about how Santa would come and bring presents. When she got home she told her brother all about him. Her parents saw their eager faces and decided to give up keeping Santa a secret.
I look at the time now and realize it is time for bed. Well here comes another night of nightmares.
August 13, 1998 Age 13 A lot has happened since I wrote last. I went to a meeting with my parents, Joanne, T from path, Annakin my new social worker, Kim my counselor, and me. At the meeting it was decided I could see and talk to Leslie.
Well my mom and dad made is to that I can’t see Kim anymore. They said he made me make up the stories about my dad touching my private places. Now I have to see Marie. She did the MMPI test on me on April 1st. I scored really high. They say I am as smart as people in college. Well last week on Monday I was told I had to switch foster homes. I had court today and they were going to have me leave the 21st this Friday but now they moved it to next Friday the 28th.
Out of my $72 dollars I saved from babysitting I bought a camera, and a black t-shirt and black pants. Oh, Jene from the handicapped room is my new foster mom.
On August 2-7 I went to Lutheran Island Camp. It was fun. The counselors had names like Beesly, Giligan, and Waldo. I sang at the talent show and did a made up play making fun of scientists. I got Gilligan to play my partner and I was a mad scientist. I made a friend there. Her name is Sheila. She helped me make up the play.
Mike and Nicole were at camp with me along with their grandpa who took us there.
I love God. I went out at the pitch black in to the woods out there to scare some kids and counselors who were in these tree houses.
September 5th, 1998
Forget about the dumb story. My life is over.
Annakin moved me out of my old foster home with Jonne, Nicole and Mike. I had 10 days warning. Then, after three days I had court. Kristen, my attorney, told the judge I didn’t want to move. He made me move anyway. Joanne was told, and told me, she was going to adopt me. Because I did not do anything bad living with her they are going to move me to Bagley and then back with my parents.
Jene and Mitch, my new foster parents, couldn’t take me on the 21st so they would take me on the 28th. Not only that, they wouldn’t let me go school shopping with Joann. Jene wanted to take me.
Well close to 9 days before I left, Joanne’s stepdad Kenneth, the guy who took me to Lutheran Island Camp, went to a physical at the doctors and they found an aneurysm. It was 9 centimeters big in his stomach. An aneurysm is a blood clot that can burst. It is on his aorta and can burst at one or two centimeters big.
Well he went to Fargo Hospital. He called us from there to tell us he was going to have surgery. We left the next day to see him before he went in. Well we ran into a lot of road construction on the way to Twin Valley where Terry lives. Terry is Joanne’s friend who we were going to pick up who would drive us the rest of the way to Fargo. When we got there we were late. Joanne’s dad had already gone in for surgery.
Well to make the next part short the nurse who was supposed to put the IV in his arm screwed up and popped his subclavian artery. His top blood pressure dropped to 40. They didn’t know where he was bleeding from so they had to break his breast bone and squeeze his heart. We ended up staying in Fargo for two days. He didn’t wake up yet. We left when some relatives were there for the weekend. We went back only for that Friday night. I took pictures of Shelly, Doyle, and Bill. I showed them my 184 beaded tail gecko. I went to bed and said I’ll see you tomorrow. That was the last time I saw them on August, 21st.
The next day we left at 9:00AM to go to Fargo. Well Grandpa didn’t get better. He didn’t wake up, but he started to respond to commands. Annakin needed me to come back to Bagley on Monday so I could register for school. On Saturday night Joanne, Mike and Nicole gave me a one liter of Pepsi and a bag of M & M’s. Terry was going to take me to her house at 7:30AM and Tracy, my path social worker, was going to pick me up the next day. That night Joan’s daughter Nicole asked her mom to wake her up the next day before I left the next morning.
I got up at 6:00AM, took a shower, drank some pop, and ate an animal cookie. At 7:25 am I knocked on Joanne’s door and waited. Joanne came to the door and hugged me goodbye but not Nicole. I got up and walked out of the family and waited for Terry to pick me up.
The night before I left a pastor came to see grandpa and Joanne had him baptize me with fountain water. My parents had banned me from being baptized so this was done secretly.
Terry picked me up at 8:00AM. She was late. I rode with her to Twin Valley. She went to work and her daughter and I watched TV. T picked me up at 10:00AM. She drove me to Bemidji to another foster home. Then a yucky thing happened.
The yuck thing that happened was when I went to the home where Tony and Mick lived. Joanne did respite for them so I knew them. I stayed up until midnight with Mick watching TV. I went to bed and woke up in the middle of the night with Mick sitting next to the bed with his hand under my shirt on my breast. I was in a cold sweat there was a cold feeling on my breast. I looked at Mick and said “what the hell are you doing in here?” He just said “fooling around.” “Well then get the heck out,” I said.
That night I was so scared I was actually afraid that monsters might come and get me. I could not move out of my bed. In the morning I told my foster mom what happened and she called my PATH social worker T. T came out about ten minutes later. She said that Mick didn’t even deny it. Well then T took me to a home with 12 kids. Two were boys the rest were girls. I was the only white girl. Everyone else was Indian.
I spent the night there and the next day she picked me up and drove me to Bagley. We went to where Annakin worked. She left and Annakin and some lady took me here to my second foster home with Mitch and Jene. My social worker K says would not have touched me if I did not wear short shorts. Is that true? If true I don’t know what is not short.
One of my favorite memories, from my time living with Joan, was a month long Canoeing day camp my foster sister and I went on with the Evergreen House. We canoed down rivers, took wrong turns and ended up in swamps, swam in lakes in the middle of no where. I am sad that I did not mention it in my diaries. It is one of the most peaceful, relaxing and adventurous memories I have from that time in my life.