I’m originally from northern Kentucky. One of my mom’s boyfriends used to get me to do cocaine with him before I was even 12. He thought it was funny to get high with a kid. I developed a dependency on the drug and ended up spending time in a residential treatment center for girls.
Another boyfriend used to hit me and my mom all the time. The police got called to our house so often that they had our phone number on speed dial. I had a dream one night that he might kill me if I kept letting him hit me. I was 13 at the time. So the morning after this dream he starts hitting me again and I pushed him through a plate glass window. Soon our house was full of police officers and EMTs. He was hospitalized and the police put me in a shelter house. I stayed there for three months and my mom never came to visit me or get me out.
I guess the one good thing that came out of all this is that my mom’s boyfriend hasn’t hit anyone in our family since that day. I ended up in a foster home and, to this day, my mom still thinks I tried to run off her boyfriends. And she blames me for running off my father. He used to abuse me when I was little. I told my teacher and that created a big blow up that led to my parents’ divorce.
In the divorce battle my mom got custody of us kids and my dad got custody of our dogs. He’d mistreat the dogs just to get back at us. I had to go to court all the time because of the abuse charges and missed a lot of school. He never did do one day in jail. I don’t even consider him my father. In addition to my early drug problems, I’ve had lots of issues with my weight. I’ve been overweight at times and anorexic at other times. I used to gain weight on purpose so men wouldn’t notice me sexually.
I lived in 8 or 9 foster homes before coming to Boys Haven’s Independent Living Program. One foster parent used to lock me and my pregnant foster sister in our bedroom for days at a time and not feed us. The foster care agency cancelled the contract with these parents when they discovered these problems.
My friends used to ask me, “Cindy, why did you put up with foster parents like that? Why didn’t you run away?” Before Boys Haven I never had a place where I felt settled. Now I have my own apartment and I’m back in high school.
I can honestly say there have only been two bright spots in my entire life. I have a therapist and a boyfriend, both who helped me get off drugs. I love them dearly. And with a stable living situation at Boys Haven, I’m starting to think about my future. I would love to be a Legal Aid attorney someday and help kids so they don’t have to go through what I’ve gone through.