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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will I'm sure be a controversial thread and I apologize for that in advance. I'm not sure where to post so am posting in general parenting.

This is the situation. My MIL fostered and then adopted two children, a boy and girl when they were 3 and 4 years old. They are now 10 and 11. These children were severely neglected and the girl was sexually abused and as a result they were removed from their home and eventually fostered by my MIL.

They both have attachment disorders but it comes out differently in each child. The girl "Jackie" has a difficult time seeing anything inappropriate about sexual behavior as a result of the abuse and lack of bonding that she suffered. She does not have a good sense of boundaries. She does understand that there is behavior that healthy adults consider inappropriate and unacceptable. Behavior that will put an adult in jail.

Jackie had been seeing a counselor since she was a small child provided by the state. Unfortunately over the years Jackie has acted inappropriately with younger children. I do not know the details but it was serious enough that she has been expelled from two schools.

In the past year she told her counselor that she had touched a younger female member of the immediate family. When it came to light there was uproar in the extended family.

My MIL is now coming to live a short drive away from us. My dh and I have three children under six.

A very major issue is my MIL cannot deal with her daughter's history, as an abused child and now as a child acting out that abuse on others. One of the reasons is because my MIL is an adult survivor of sexual abuse herself. As a result she wants to deny what happens and always says it's all in the past and Jackie does not behave that way anymore.

As much as I sympathize with all that Jackie has suffered, I also want to make sure as much as I am able that no more children suffer as a result. I am very concerned that my MIL will not tell the school principal or anyone else at the new public school they will be attending about Jackie's history. I hate to color a teacher's view of Jackie and create a self fulfilling prophecy and/or surround her with suspicion, but I also think other children must be protected.

What would you do in this situation?
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Honestly? I don't know. I'd absolutely monitor my own children's interactions with her...But when it comes to the school, I imagine that it's something in her record at school? I'm not certain how that sort of thing works, though. Thing is, I don't think there's any legal way you could find out that information.

I guess, try to get in touch with the counselor or principal at her new school and tell them she has had issues acting out with other children in the past, without going into too much detail if possible. Really, though, how much opportunity would she have, at 10 or 11, to be alone with other kids so that she could do something? She's in elementary school, right?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sagesgirl
Honestly? I don't know. I'd absolutely monitor my own children's interactions with her...But when it comes to the school, I imagine that it's something in her record at school? I'm not certain how that sort of thing works, though. Thing is, I don't think there's any legal way you could find out that information.

I guess, try to get in touch with the counselor or principal at her new school and tell them she has had issues acting out with other children in the past, without going into too much detail if possible. Really, though, how much opportunity would she have, at 10 or 11, to be alone with other kids so that she could do something? She's in elementary school, right?
One of the biggest risk factors for becoming an offender is to have been abused as a child, and abuse often takes place at school or other "trusted" places with younger children. Elementary schools have recess, kids meet in the bathroom, they walk home -- there are a million opportunities for an offender to find a victim.

I would make absolutely sure that a) the school is aware of her history (which sounds like it already includes instances of her perpetrating) and b) that they have a plan in place to keep the other kids safe. While the pain she has suffered is an issue, the bigger issue for me is how to keep her from hurting other children now. I have empathy for perpetrators who were abused first, but that doesn't change the responsibility of the people around them to protect other children.
 

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I wonder if there is someone you could talk to at her old school about how/if that sort of information is passed from school to school. Weather there is a note in her school record or whatever. There may be something in place in which case you don't need to worry about it. Also someone from her old school who knows the details of what happend might be better able to inform her new school of what to expect. And if it is her old school talking to her new school than it isn't you sticking your nose in it and upsetting your MIL if you kwim.
 

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Your mother in law is not doing this child any favors through her denial. I think that really loving a child means meeting all of their needs, and unfortunately, this child has as much of a need to be held accountable for her actions as she needs forgiveness and gentle, loving, consistent care.

Do not make the same mistake as your MIL. Do not ever, ever leave your kids alone with her, even for a second. And if she does something with which you are uncomfortable, call her on it. Gently and respectfully, of course, but be sure that she knows that nothing gets by you.

I have specialized training in working with children who sexually abuse other children (who are always sexually abused themselves, IME). If you have specific questions, please feel free to pm me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your responses. We have never left Jackie or her brother with our children alone or out of sight. I should explain that we are in a different state and my MIL is moving from California to our area. Up to this point we only saw MIL and her children once or twice a year.

When she first fostered the children the social services were not aware of the sexual abuse. They also have an older sister who was around 8 when they were preschoolers. My MIL saw behavior in the older sister that was very disturbing and she couldn't sleep at night for fear that the eldest sister would try to do something to the younger ones. Eventually it came to light that their grandmother, who they still had visitation with, was abusing them.

The oldest sister was fostered and adopted by a single woman and by that time my MIL was very attached to the younger children and she adopted them.

However because of my MIL own history she would have never fostered in the beginning if she knew they had been sexually abused. My MIL does have a personality that copes with stress by denial. When these abuse events happen my MIL goes nuts at Jackie and eventually becomes so overwhelmed emotionally herself that she then passes quickly into denial. The extended family are very good with boundaries and making it clear to Jackie where the line is.

My MIL has a good heart and is a loving person, she is also somewhat erratic, and I can't say that she is always gentle or consistent. She is not violent but is not always gentle in how she deals with things.

Jackie also has a challenging personality, due I'm sure to a lack of healthy bonding as a baby. She lacks social skills and although she does well academically always finds it hard to make friends of her own age. She tends to gravitate toward younger children. I don't know the details of the incidents at the schools, but as a PP mentioned, she was able to spend time alone with another girl in the bathroom.

She has been thru a few schools in the past. I was thinking that once my MIL moves here and has the children registered I will go to the principal in confidence, voice my concerns and ask that she/he make sure she/he has a full set of records from previous schools.

My DH and I have also discussed a set of ground rules that we have to tell my MIL. One is that she cannot just come by unannounced with her children. Another is that I will never watch her kids (I have 3 under six). She has just retired so can come by during the day when her kids will be in school. We are homeschooling. The children can just be around for special occasions and celebrations, planned in advance so we have plenty of adults and we know exactly who is watching all the children present, plus as I mentioned earlier she must be in our sight at all times when other children are there.

If you have other suggestions I would be grateful.
 
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