Why we came to be...
In 2007, Khriste's daughter, Morgan, disclosed to a friend she had been molested by her step-father, Khriste's husband. The friend shared this with Khriste. Khriste removed the children from the home and called the police. The police had Khriste bring Morgan to the County Sheriff's offices located in the County jail to be interviewed. Next, CPS interviewed Morgan at their home. Over the next 2 weeks investigations, interviews, lie detector test were done. During one of the interviews with a detective, he asked Morgan if she was sure, "this could really mess up someones life". Morgan said "It's possible I dreamt it....but I don't think so". Khriste and Morgan went from that interview to 4 Winds Saratoga. During the 2 weeks Morgan was there, she was diagnosed with a many number of things and the psychiatrist said she didn't think Morgan had been molested. The police and CPS investigation said the same thing. No one thought Morgan was molested. Khriste believed the professionals instead of her daughter.
Over the next 3 years, Khriste's family followed the recommendations of the doctors and counselors and then Morgan disclosed again. This time to her aunt. This time Khriste and the children left. Khriste called her attorney. They had to wait till new information was disclosed because the previous had been unfounded. After 2 weeks, Morgan disclosed new information to Khriste. Khriste called her attorney, went to family court, filed for a stay away order and then called CPS.
This time everyone believed Morgan.
This time criminal charges were filed. CPS report was founded and a case was opened. Family court proceedings were underway. The ADA shared with Morgan, one of the reasons they believed her this time was because she wouldn't have said it again, especially after how it went last time, if it wasn't happening. So Morgan was brave enough to say it once. The courage that took. Then brave enough to say it again. She said to protect her sister who was now the same age she had been when it started for her. The unbelievable courage and selflessness that took. Because of her bravery, we got a second chance. A lot of families do not.
While going through these processes, Khriste had a day she was in family court and the judge gave unsupervised visits to the father of the other children. The same day, she found out there was a warrant for his arrest. CPS wasn't aware of the warrant. Khriste was at her counselors and talking about this, asking how that happens; is there communication between the agencies/organizations; who helps do that? The counselor said "You do". Khriste said, "So when our world has been turned upside down, on top of trying to establish a home, start working, continuing homeschooling, help the children adjust, help Morgan heal, help our family heal, and do everything else life requires... I have to learn how to navigate this too? There isn't anyone who can help with that?" And the seed was planted.
Another day, when attending court, Khriste and her attorney were talking about things were proceeding. Her attorney mentioned that how Khriste conducted and carried herself was helping the case. Khriste's response was "Thank you but that makes me sad. Because I have the support I need, family, friends, attorney, counselor, etc. and am able to show the right amount of emotion but not too much. What about the families that don't have that? They should still be able to get justice. What about the families that don't get a second chance?". And the seed grew.
Over the last 10 years, Khriste has been helping families as they come into her world; because friends would pass along her name as someone who could help them. Hearing from those families how much it helped. To know they weren't alone. To have someone to call and talk to that understood. To have someone at court with them, to sit with them. To not be alone. To be able to call someone and organize thoughts. To fill out papers. To answer questions. To just listen. To not have to do it alone. The seed grew.
And here we are. Our mission is to support families that have to go through a traumatic transition due to child sexual molestation, help them go from survivor to thriver, and to increase the community’s awareness of this pandemic. Because families that have to go through a traumatic transition because of abuse - when a family is going through court, working with CPS and other agencies, as well as moving, counseling, work changes, raising children, helping them heal, and then all the rest life requires - they shouldn’t have to do it alone, to have to navigate it all by themselves.
We can walk this path with you. You are not alone.
To read more of Morgan's story and about ACEs