Originally Published: March 28, 2016 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: I adopted two older children from different orphanages and now they are grown adults. They both suffered deprivation and abuse in their early childhood years, but overall seem to be achieving more than expected.
My older child, “Rose,” married a man with a gambling addiction and an attraction for young children. Rose has a new baby and apparently wants to keep the baby’s father in the picture at all costs. She goes along with whatever he says and rationalizes their behavior as acceptable and normal. I strongly suspect they deal in child pornography to supplement their income, as this has been a problem in the past.
My youngest daughter, “Meg,” has a 10-year-old daughter who was molested by these two when she was 5 years old. The family decided never to allow the child to be alone with Rose and her husband, and told them why. Meg reported the incident to the police and someone contacted child protective services. Unfortunately, the facts of the case got mixed up and Meg was found guilty of failing to protect her daughter, while the perpetrators were never even interviewed. Rose and her husband moved out of state.
Meg went back to school and is finally getting her college degree, but she is panicked about finding a job. She is talking about moving near Rose. My granddaughter doesn’t remember the earlier abuse and seems excited to be with her new cousin. Meg says she wants to be closer to her sister, and promises never to leave her daughter unsupervised.
I worry constantly about the new baby’s safety and what could happen to Meg’s daughter. Meg is planning a visit soon, and I’m sure they’ll be staying with Rose while she looks for nearby housing. How can I protect my granddaughter if she moves out of state? – Frightened Grandma
Dear Grandma: This situation is reprehensible. Surely, Meg can find a job in another city just as easily as she can in Rose’s area. We wonder why she is so determined to go there, knowing the risks. If Meg moves to Rose’s town and stays in her home, report the situation to their local child protective services. You can do so anonymously. They will investigate the home and determine what’s going on. And if there is any chance they may be abusing the baby, call child protective services immediately.
Dear Annie: You’re good about passing along wisdom from readers. Several weeks ago, my husband and I participated in a bike ride that included 8,000 other people. It didn’t take long for us to get separated. Near the end of the ride, someone ran into me and down I went. Numerous volunteers helped me get up, checked my bike and bandaged my wounds. But then one asked if I had a cellphone. I said yes, and that it was in the backpack – the one my husband carried. In fact, every necessary item was in his backpack.
It occurred to me that my husband always carried our backpack. We’d never been separated before, so there had never been a need to change the arrangement. I now make sure to have the basics in my own fanny pack, just in case. – Oregon
Dear Oregon: Thank goodness for the wonderful volunteers, and thank you for the reminder. When cycling, one should always have a cellphone, ID, a bit of cash, a list of medications and allergies and bottled water.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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