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Rated: ASR · Non-fiction · Personal · #166895
The life of an abused girl.
         Initially this story was written as the experience of a "friend." Juvenile though it was, this is my story, a story that I am finally ready to truly share with the world. A story of life, of death, of pain, of joy, of love, and of loss. This is my life.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The names in this story have been changed.

         My name is Laura, but that wasn't always what I was called. I was born Irene Nicole Jones on July 31st, 1986. My mother's name was Jamie, and my father--well, my father's name was Claude Spencer Jones. He went by Spencer. I don't blame him. However, I am an illegitimate child, as my mother was certainly not married to Spencer. I don't know my biological mother. Let me tell you why.

         Everyone goes through hardships in his or her life. It's only natural. Mine started at a particularly young age. I was only 18 months old when I was burned by my biological mother's boyfriend. From what I've been told, I was out playing in the mud, and he got angry with me for tracking the mess in the house. He was so upset when he gave me a bath that he ignored my screaming, perhaps not realizing what the hot water was doing to my legs, perhaps not caring. Either way, I was eventually hospitalized with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on my legs and feet. The state held a hearing to see if I should be put in foster care, but in the end the judge sent me back to my biological mother.

         What a mistake. Only six months later, Jamie burned me again. No one except her is quite sure what happened because she refused to tell. The story she gave was that I'd had an allergic reaction to some Noxema she'd put on my "sunburn." Right. I've been told the burns on my back and the backs of my arms are some sort of chemical burn, probably from being thrown on the hood of a car on some hot day. Again I was hospitalized with serious burns, and again we went to court. This time, though, I was taken from my biological family and put in foster care.

         During my second stay in the hospital, a woman came to visit me. She told me her name was Donna and that I would be coming to live with her when I got out of the hospital. One of her very first visits, she read me a story and fed me some chicken, a miracle according to the nurses who had struggled to get me to eat something other than my usual diet of Pepsi and iced tea. When I was released from the hospital, I went home with Shawn and Donna Smith.

         The Smith family was already large by most standards. They already had five children, all girls, ranging at that time from 13 down to 5, and then me. They called me "Nikki" and immediately welcomed me. Many other foster children came and went. But I never left.

         Two years after taking me into their home, the Smiths made it permanent. I was adopted when I was five, and it was then that I chose a new name--Laura. Unfortunately only my second choice for a name, since Mom wouldn't let me pick Cinderella. At least one of us had common sense then.

         I got along fairly well with my sisters, all except for one of them--Leah, who was only 2 years older than I. She and I have never gotten along, though I still don't understand why not. A little more than 2 years after my adoption, someone else came into my life. Her name was Elisabeth. Mom and Dad talked to all of us about her, like they did with each foster child that came to live with us, and made sure we were all okay with it. She was another burn survivor, like I was. Two years my junior, she had already been in a foster home, one that had turned out to be almost as bad as her biological home. There was just one small issue.

         Elisabeth was black.

         I didn't care. I couldn't understand why someone's skin was important, even when Mom told us it would only be temporary until DFS could find a "racially appropriate" home. Elisabeth finally arrived, and we quickly became the best of friends. I was so happy to have someone like me as a friend, someone who could understand what I was going through.

         She never left. Two years after she came to live with us, we adopted her, and she became my sister by law. But she had always been my sister, and always will be. Yet she became more than that. Elisabeth became my best friend, my rock, my only link to sanity. Without her, I don't know what I'd do.

         School was a difficult time for me. From the first day of kindergarten to my last day of high school, I had to deal with the insensitive, ignorant people who constantly asked questions, or gawked, or pointed, or laughed. I've been told some horrible things, even that I'll never get married because no one will love me because of my ugly legs. Of course, that was in second grade, but still, memories like that stick with you. Even in college, I had a professor who laughed and cracked jokes about my burns. I deal with people like that every day, and it never gets any easier.

         Throughout my life, I've suffered from emotional problems stemming from my abuse. It's been a difficult journey, and I continue to learn and grow as a person. No doubt there will always be those few people who choose to behave inappropriately, but I suppose that's life.

         And my childhood, considered by many to be traumatic, has been turned into a great triumph.

         To continue reading, please visit
 Growing Pains  (ASR)
A continuation of the story "The Unknown Girl"
#1350617 by Beth is a mama!

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