Monday, May 14, 2012

Impact Statement

I had an opportunity to testify at a hearing a couple of weeks ago about the impact of a crime on my life. Many have asked me how it went. Below is the statement that I read to the judge. I have taken out the defendant's name, though. Mainly I don't want people to search for her name and find me.

When imagining the scene, you have to include me crying. I so wish I could carry myself with dignity. I just don't, though. Around tears and jagged breathes, this is what I said:

Your Honor,
I do not feel it is possible for me to adequately explain how deeply and thoroughly I was impacted by this crime. I will try, however, to express myself clearly in the hopes that no other family experiences this trauma.
When I was informed that the defendant had lied and stolen from us I literally sank to the ground.  Expecting news of my daughter’s birth, I was instead told of her loss. This fraud cost us one of our greatest treasures. Last January we lost a precious child. We prayed for our daughter. We named her Abigail. We told her big brother about her. We bought and borrowed pink of everything.  We created a blog to keep her birth parents connected with her life. We filled out paperwork for hours and hours. We proudly announced her to our friends and family. We bought matching jewelry for our baby girl and her birth mom. We loved her.
Even now, knowing that there never was a baby, I still have an ache for my little girl. She would be 15 months old now. I can imagine her toddling around with pig tail puffs in her hair, chasing her older brother.  In the past year we have even been unexpectedly blessed with another child. Still, the pain remains, because children do not replace one another.
Immediately after learning of the deceit I sobbed in pain. I made a horrific phone call to my husband to tell him he no longer had a daughter.  I had a friend come take my older child; I was too distraught to care for him well. I broke the hearts of our numerous friends and family by telling them the baby they had all been praying and hoping for was not coming, after all.
In the weeks that followed I felt disgust as I realized that I had been made a liar when I regurgitated all the filth that the defendant presented as truth.  The grief process is often marked by anger. My anger would be better categorized as rage. I was so furious at times my chest literally hurt.  I felt a fool for being so vulnerable with her, sharing the deepest places of my heart. I saw an interview on television two months later in which the defendant asked another adoptive mom to name the baby girl Abigail. The reason she gave for choosing the name was the one we had given for naming our daughter.  I stopped breathing as I realized that she not only killed our daughter, she then stole her identity.  I can not think of a word strong enough to convey how appalling that was. The thesaurus helped a bit. I found heinous, atrocious, evil & depraved. None really express how maliciously she acted, though.  The callous, sinister way she treated us threatened to consume my soul with thoughts of revenge. 
Had my heart not been healed by Jesus Christ there is a good chance that I would have been permanently scarred by this injury.  He did heal me, though. My husband and I forgive the defendant for her attacks on us and our family. Only the strength and love of the Lord Jesus Christ could allow such a thing. For this is no small loss. I know that the laws can only recognize this as a white collar crime. This fraud, though, cost us much more than money. We lost our child. And having also lost a child through miscarriage, I can say this lost was felt just as deeply. Perhaps more so, because someone destroyed our child for mere money.
I am also grieved to think of the untold children who will remain orphans because of this crime.  Adoption is an expensive, dangerous journey. Parents, and their support systems, have heard this story and been scared off from finding their babies. The damage is immeasurable.
As I consider what I want to ask of you, Your Honor, I realize I want the impossible. For what I want is my little girl.  But since I can’t have her, I would ask that you do everything you can to keep the defendant from hurting anyone else like this again. I don’t know if a lengthy jail sentence will accomplish that, or not.  Her remorseless behavior months after assaulting my family leads me to believe she will continue to disregard and attack others. I do know that the only One who can bring lasting change in her heart and actions is the Lord Jesus Christ.  I no longer want revenge. I do, though, want to serve as a stopping point for her corrupt behavior.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.