Adopted Children Get Abused Too

Quillen Culler
2 min readMay 8, 2022


There’s been a longstanding myth that since adopted children are wanted children, they are not abused by their adoptive parents. I wish this were always true.

In my case, it wasn’t.

I was put into foster care around the time I was three years old. I remember the day I went to live with my new family.

It wasn’t long before the beatings began.

Even back in the 70s, foster parents were not supposed to hit children. Call it “spanking” if you will, but hitting is hitting, and it wasn’t allowed. I think that because my new family lived in a nice house and went to church and were white, there was not much scrutiny regarding their fitness for taking in and caring for stray children. The visits from caseworkers didn’t materialize either, so no one was assessing the situation on a regular basis, and I certainly didn’t know who to call for any problems.

I remember the first beating. At three years old, I didn’t know how to blow my nose. I don’t think any three-year-old does, but new mommy must have thought I was being stubborn or something. She shook me, threw me around, slapped me, pulled my hair, and screamed at me for what seemed like an eternity. I remember the physical violence for sure, but I mostly remember confusion. What was going on and what was I doing wrong?

What really bothers me about the situation (besides the obvious) was that there was another adult in the room who stood by and watched the entire time this happened.

This person did nothing to stop it.

In the years after — and following many more instances of physical and verbal abuse, new mommy would start to talk (yet again) about what an awful child I was. She would bring up that event, repeat her accusations of me being “difficult,” and then brag about how much she scared the person in the room watching. It was truly sickening.

There are some people who never should have been parents. My adoptive parents had biological children already, and those children did not receive the vicious treatment that I did. “Chosen” and “wanted” did not apply in my case, and the adoptive parents got lots of attention from the people at their church for the “good thing” they were doing.

I still haven’t made my peace with it, and I struggle with why it happened and why no one tried to help me. It’s honestly proof that we do not live in a just or fair world, and I wish I had known the following message years ago:

No one is coming to save you.