Hello all my friends and supporters,
I am writing this message in tears, as I have been for the last week. Yesterday, I received the official paperwork that gives me sole custody of my little sister Bailey.
Her father never contested or even responded to any summons, despite multiple attempts. Her grandmother never responded, either. The judge awarded us full custody, a name change, and a passport for Bailey. If they ever want contact with her they will be required to take me to court for access, which I highly doubt they will do. They will never be able to hurt her again if I can help it!
It's overwhelming to know that all of the fighting and struggling over the past six months is over and it's all paid off. I would have done it over a million times for this result, despite how draining and taxing it has been, despite how it's weighed on commissions and friendships, and despite the money and time involved. It is all worth it to know my little sister will be safe and in my home forever, and that she will never have to go into a broken foster system or home where she isn't loved and appreciated.
I haven't been able to stop crying since court, but they are mostly happy tears. It's prevented me from really being active online for the last while, so I apologize for my inactivity and not answering messages. I will be answering them all and updating today as much as possible. But, please understand that Bailey and I needed this time to spend together and heal. I am going to start working very hard to catch up now, and with Bailey going back to school in a few weeks my schedule and time management will be much better.
It's brought up a lot of memories about how I grew up, and I am ready to share with all of you that the reason this has been particularly hard for the both of us, because I think it's important and Bailey and I both want to prevent this from happening to anyone else. Bailey and I were both sexually abused at the hands of our father.
The legacy of abuse has spanned more than twenty years, and it's time to break the silence. Bailey has given me new confidence in myself, and every time I see her speak about what happened, I know how important it is to break the silence and guilt. Bailey wanted me to tell you all that she thinks you're beautiful and what happened to you is not your fault. She says that when you are ready to talk about it that she is cheering for you wherever you are.
We both want you to know that your silence is not required and that talking openly about what happened to you is your right. Please, please, please, teach your children about what abuse is, and encourage them to tell you if they ever encounter something like it. Bailey, I, and many others have suffered because we were just never taught that what happened to us was wrong and our abusers used our vulnerability against us. Breaking the silence when you feel comfortable could literally save someone's life, and if you are ever comfortable enough to do so, just know we are so proud of you, and that we send you our love and support. And, if you keep it inside forever, I want you to know I love you. You are so brave and strong, even if you don't feel like it. That silent pain is something I wish I could take from you, so if it ever gets too hard, I hope you find comfort in imagining us carrying the burden together.
My little sister is incredible, and I can't believe this part of the fight is over. We did it, everyone. With your support and positive thoughts, we have made it through the storm. More challenges await, but right now, the relief is the most intense feeling I have ever had. Your patience and love over the last months have changed my life, and it changed Bailey's, too. I am so grateful to you all from the bottom of my heart to the moon and back. You made a difference in the life of a child just by being supportive. This is a testament to the power of your love.
You're all warriors, wield that power with pride.
Thank you all so much, for everything. You changed my life.
Anna + Bailey