One of the girls is acting out again. I don't think she will ever be a completely safe child. She is on meds to curb her libido and they aren't stopping her urges. I know most people think, "How can you keep her there?" or "How can you be sure other children are safe with her there?". The fact is, there is a chance in any family that has children that have survived sexual abuse that you will have some acting out. She is safer in our home because we know. We have taken special precautions to protect the other kids.
Remember when we discovered we had a predator in the house? I believe that was October 2008. Right before we finalized the adoption of the sibling group. I was a mess, at first. I loved this child. I had been completely snowed by her. I feared the rest of my children were in danger and I needed to figure out a way to keep them safe, even if it meant she had to go. The therapists that specialized in sexual abuse felt we cold mange.
We did many things to make our home safe. We moved her to her own room and bathroom. All the children were required to dress and undress in the bathroom only. We turned the video monitors back on with the focus on her. We paid attention to the things that got the kids excited or wound up and stopped those activities. Things like Hide and Seek, any chasing games, playing house is a trigger for one of my kids, personal space is a biggie, no shared blankets ever, no hands under the blankets, and there is always 3 or more kids playing together. Those are the general house rules but the child in question is kept close to an adult or in their room when they can't be watched. They are allowed to play with all the kids, just never alone with any of them. It is important for them to have interaction that is safe and appropriate but monitored.
I think the single biggest help was talking as a family. No secrets. We openly discuss (no details) what is going on with who. We talk about ways to be safe. We talk about how to handle specific situations. We give permission to protect yourself and examples. We talk about feelings towards each other without consequences. We talk about their past and how they are recreating it with each other. We talk about how these behaviors are not normal. We use that word because it does have an impact. Acting out sexually with your siblings is not in any world, normal. We talk about how to show your love in a more appropriate way. We do not freak out when they tell us they have a "tingly feelings". We talk about masturbation being normal and healthy as long as it is alone. We praise them for talking about these things with us and not acting out.
It's been a long time since we have had any incidents. The addition of the new kids has triggered some activity. Being completely honest, I'm not surprised but I am angry. The one acting out has been clear all along that she was struggling. She will now be videoed and recorded at all times that she is not with me. It makes me sad for many reasons but she is not a predator. She is acting out around others and crossing lines. She is manageable.
I believe that almost any child that is not predatory can be managed in a home with certain precautions in place. It isn't easy but can be done safely. I think a parent that educates themselves and their family about this can make this work. I have worked with well over 100 children in a residential setting that were predators and I have seen my own child work through this.
Some worry about the victim living in the same house with the child. Our experience with our sibling group has been amazing. We empowered the other children. We have watched them grow closer in a more appropriate way with a lot of guidance. We have seen real healing that could never have happened if we had given up. We have seen remorse and empathy that was not there just a couple of years ago. I was skeptical, at first. I have spoken to each of my children numerous times about it and I think it would have done more harm for them to lose another family member. They now consider that child the safest one in the house. This child has openly, on her own, begged for their forgiveness and promised to keep them safe. They trust her because she worked very hard in therapy and has kept her promises.