Amanda's Story

At just five years old, Amanda was taken from her biological family and placed into Child Protective Services (CPS) custody after facing verbal, physical, sexual and mental abuse. She spent three years in foster care and was separated from her four siblings before finally being adopted.

She was hopeful for a better future with her new family, which was quite large with eight children. However, the dream she’d hoped for slipped away, and things quickly fell back into the patterns with which she was all too familiar.

Frequent verbal and mental abuse soon turned into physical abuse. Over the years that followed, Amanda became well-versed in the process of CPS check-ins. Her father would often enact creative “punishments,” which would catch the attention of neighbors and teachers who then reported their concerns to law enforcement. Her parents would coach her and her siblings on what to tell CPS workers to explain away the injuries.

Her only escape from her abuse was school where she was an excellent student who thrived in her classes and smiled regardless of the pain she was carrying from home.

One of her last interactions while living with her second family involved her father pressing a screwdriver into her palm until blood began to pool; this was done to convince her to “confess” to stealing food from the pantry.  Soon after, her mother threatened to send her away to “straighten her out,” and Amanda decided to take her up on her offer.

Amanda came to Boys and Girls Country at 15 years old. After coming to BGC, Amanda began regular counseling sessions. She opened up for the first time about her home life and was told that what she had experienced was abuse. This was news to Amanda, who thought physical abuse was just how parents expressed their frustrations to their children.

During her first few months at BGC, Amanda recalls feeling like a robot, scared to speak up for fear she would be punished again. She remembers going through the motions and asking permission for her every movement. Soon, she realized that she was welcomed here, that she was loved and wanted. Finally, her personality began to shine. She became the smiling and optimistic girl at home that she was always known to be at school, except now it wasn’t a mask.

Now 16 years old, she is working through the trauma that is often associated with stories like Amanda’s. She has struggled with depression, anxiety, and self-harm but is hopeful that she will one day be able to use her experiences to help others.

She is still in the top of her class at school where she has joined ROTC and plans to start a new Christian club for her peers with the help of her assistant principal. After high school, she plans to go to Sam Houston State University to study psychology with the goal to become a counselor for those who have experienced painful abuse and trauma. When you ask Amanda what she wants people to know about her, she replies, “I want to be known as someone who helps people.”