The button at left links to a very cool organization. Their motto is “Helping Missing Children Recover.”  While many entities exist to recover missing children, as well they should, this organization exists to help those children — now adults — recover from what honestly amounts to child abuse.  It is entirely peopled by formerly missing children who were abducted by a parent.

It’s a unique situation, to be sure, and I’d never met another soul who shared my story until I happened upon this website a few years back. To be honest, I still have not “met” anyone else who was abducted, but reading their stories was an incredibly emotional experience for me. That night, I stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning watching video after video and reading story after story. I was stunned to hear bits and pieces of my weird story coming out of someone else’s mouth.

While I have not been an incredibly active member, I have benefited greatly from simply knowing Take Root exists. I contribute to surveys as they come along, hoping that sharing my story will help researchers, psychologists, and law enforcement personnel deal carefully with the children they return to  a “left behind” parent. One such survey came long today, and it was only one question:

How did your taking parent keep you “hidden?”

I suppose my answer to this question was the first time I ever enumerated components of our hiding strategy. I say “our” because I was part of it. My mother did ask me if I wanted to live with her or with my dad before she took me, so I was part of the decision from the beginning. You know, as much as a four-year-old little girl can be when her mother asks her a question like that.

Having told my story to inquiring minds countless times, I went about answering this question immediately and effortlessly.  Here’s my answer:

  1. We moved to another state, and moved within that state often.
  2. My middle and last names were changed.
  3. My birthday was changed.
  4. I was told that my father was abusive and that he didn’t love me, but only wanted to hurt my mother.
  5. My mother “home-schooled” me or enrolled me in extremely small and obscure private schools.
  6. I was instructed to tell people that my father died of cancer before I was born.
  7. Every bit of my fake identity was known to me.  I knew I was lying about everything, but I was told it was necessary to keep me safe.

This may come off as stating the blatantly obvious, but after I wrote it all out, I said to myself, “Wow. That’s pretty messed up.”

Indeed. But that was life as I knew it, and Take Root has reminded me that it’s perfectly normal to still be recovering from it… over 15 years after “recovery.”

Thank you, Rooters.

  1. jasonS says:

    It is incredible the stories and testimonies you find from people all over the place. Reminds me that you just don’t know where a person has been or what they’ve endured. Thanks for sharing today…

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