Three children adopted by Charles and Suzan Sealock | Pound Pup Legacy

Three children adopted by Charles and Suzan Sealock

A nine-year-old girl, a seven-year-old boy and a six-year-old boy adopted by Charles and Suzan Sealock were physically abused by their adoptive parents. The seven-year-old boy was being locked in his room.

The Sealocks had a child of their own who showed no sign of abuse.
Date: 2014-09-07
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Non-lethal physical abuse, Non-lethal neglect, Non-lethal deprivation
Abuser: Adoptive father, Adoptive mother
Home schooling: yes

Location

Dandridge, Tennessee
United States
See map: Google Maps
DocumentDatesort icon
Sheriff: Parents facing charges after "torture" of adopted child2014-09-07
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Sadly, I know these people.

Sadly, I know these people. We go to the same homeschool co-op group. (No, not everyone who homeschools is an abuser or a nut. Most are just people who want something better for their children's education.) Never in a million years would anyone ever guess they would do something like this. They seemed nice, normal people. The kids seemed happy, well-behaved, and normal. I never saw any bruises or anything that would make me think something was amiss. One thing that is incorrect in this listing I would like to point out, and I have seen it mentioned in other news articles on this case: the Sealocks actually only had one biological child living with them, the 14 year old. The other children, including the three year old, were all adopted. I am not sure why everywhere is saying the three year old was their child, because he was not. I just hope and pray these kids have been placed in a good home this time. This is just too terrible and unbelievable for words.

Home-schooling, and the reputation that goes with it

I'd like to share my thoughts on those who choose to home-school, and why I see the red-flags I do when I hear an adoptee is being homeschooled.

Over twenty years ago, after I had my first of four children, I was invited to join a women's Bible study group. My neighbor at the time was in the same phase of womanhood as me: we were both new stay-at-home moms, who believed it was critically important to stay at home with our children, and do all that we could do to ensure our babies were well cared for, and never left in the hands of strangers, or those who would hurt our babies.

My neighbor invited me to join her small group so I would not feel so overwhelmed and alone, as I often felt, as a new mom, with no extended family to help.

Keep in mind, my neighbor was never adopted. She came from a strong faith-based family, whereas I came from a severely dysfunctional abusive adoptive home. We both saw our roles as wives and mothers the same, and yet our lenses were very different.

I absolutely loved these bible-study group dates. I loved the camaraderie and sense of fellowship I experienced with all these SAHM's. I loved how "family values" (read: family preservation) really mattered to these women, and I'll be honest, I envied just how much support each woman seemed to received from fellow church-members.

I also worried just how brainwashed some of the women were, especially when it came to teaching a child, and demonstrating restraint and discipline.

Some women in this group had husbands who were very dominant, with some seriously questionable "faith-based" beliefs regarding child-rearing and child discipline.

I noticed the wives with dominant husbands were more quiet, and not at all forthcoming when it came to group-discussions that kept a focus on the pressures one often feels, when staying home and caring for a brood of (very demanding) children.

Since there was a babysitter available for the children/mothers, I was able to see how the other women's children compared to my own. Never did I see any bruised and battered children, but I did see some obvious differences. Some children definitely looked more "cared for" than others.

Over time, I was able to see who came from families where spanking and strong punishment was taken to an extreme. I was also able to see just how many were not willing to question the mother or the child who seemed to live in a question-raising living-situation. (As I already knew from my own childhood, there are some questions that must not be asked, no matter how many red-flags appear on a given face.)

Because I was allowed to sit with and among this group of faith-based women, I was able to learn what issues mattered to them, as wives, mothers, and teachers to their young. I learned some chose to homeschool because they felt as though they were doing what was best for their children. For some, the decision was based wholly on religious faith, while for others, the decision to home-school was made for them: they found their local school system was lacking in professional services.

(How many adoptive parents would agree: their local school systems are not equipped to educate the adopted child who has endured a world of unknown losses and trauma, and does not use English as a first language ? How many adoptive parents can relate: there are not enough educational services available for adopted children with multiple complex needs.)

What is a parent to do?

For many, the only option is to home-school.

For some, this plan may work very well.
But we have to remember, there are those parents who are not educated, prepared, or fit to teach and care for a child 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

I believe there are far too many cases of child abuse taking place in the home-schooling home environment -- cases that are being over-looked and ignored, for a variety of reasons. While I cannot see how every single home-schooling family can be watched and monitored for signs of child abuse, I do believe those who have adopted and have chosen to homeschool are put in a high-risk group, due to the stress and unpreparedness that often goes with adoptive parenting and home-schooling. As such, I believe these parents and children need to remain on some sort of grid that calls for close observation and monitoring. (If nothing else, I believe the abuse cases featured on PPL showcase what can happen to a child and family when the adoptive parents are not only overwhelmed and stressed, but lack much needed adoption-services, as well.)

I strongly maintain, if adoption is to serve the needs of a child's best interest, then the industry itself needs to meet those needs, through adoption services that go beyond assistance with paper-work, scrap-booking, heritage tours, and matching children with wanting/willing adults. I would love to see adoption-services that reach-out to the parents and extend into the schools.

The needs of today's child "born from the heart" go far beyond those born from the womb. In no way are adopted children, touched by negligence and abuse, "the same" as those who have never endured parental abandonment/separation, neglect, and quite likely, sex abuse.

Members of Adoptionland need to see today's children put in new "forever families" are NOT the same sweet orphan children we have often seen in television and movies. Most children put in "forever families" these days come with a long-list of troubling baggage -- the sort of baggage that does not (and will not) go away with a hope and prayer, or a crash-course of "attachment therapy".

This reality needs to be acknowledged by the powers-that-be at the local, state, and national level of Adoptionland. Services for the children and parents "touched by adoption" ought to be case-sensitive, reviewed, monitored, and adjusted, as needed. Anything less is simply putting adopted children at risk, and in a situation where the abuse rate can go through the roof, because an overwhelmed, over-stressed, out-of-their-mind adoptive parent can no longer cope with, or teach the child(ren) put in their care.

Who, in my mind, are the children at highest risk of abuse? Those who are taken off the social-grid, and kept by owners/keepers who treat their children like animals, or much worse, something profoundly obstinate and evil.

Support Ohio SB 248

Ohio SB 248, requires all parents who homeschool to undergo a social services investigation which would ultimately determine if homeschooling would be permitted. Social workers would have to interview parents and children separately, conduct background checks and determine whether homeschooling is recommended or not. If it is not recommended, parents would have to submit to an “intervention” before further consideration of their request to homeschool.

SB 248 was offered by sponsors as a way to respond to the death of 14-year-old Teddy Foltz-Tedesco in January 2013. News reports indicate that Teddy had been abused for years by his mother’s boyfriend, Zaryl Bush. After teachers reported abuse to authorities, Teddy’s mother withdrew him from public school, allegedly to homeschool him. Reports tell a sad story of a broken home where neighbors, friends, family, police, teachers and others knew Teddy was suffering ongoing abuse. Finally, Bush beat Teddy so severely that he later died of his injuries. Both Bush and Teddy’s mother are now in prison. A news report can be found online.

Needless to mention, this Bill in Ohio is being met with opposition by most homeschoolers and pro-home schooling groups. This is their position:

Unfair to Homeschoolers

HSLDA condemns child abuse and is saddened by Teddy’s death. HSLDA supports the prosecution of child abusers like Bush and the improvement of systems that prevent child abuse. However, this proposed law does not actually address the problems that led to Teddy’s death and instead unfairly targets homeschooling.

In recent years HSLDA has observed numerous attempts to severely restrict homeschooling in state legislatures around the country. In response to a growing number of academic critics, Michael Farris wrote “Tolerance and Liberty: Answering the Academic Left’s Challenge to Homeschooling Freedom.” Published in the Peabody Journal of Education and available online, Farris articulates why laws like SB 248 are unnecessary and un-American. His response to these critics who have proposed radical constraints on homeschooling freedom puts this latest attempt in the proper context.

Teddy Foltz-Tedesco was killed because those responsible for protecting him did not step in as the law or common sense would have dictated. Why? Although news reports indicate that abuse had been reported for years prior to Teddy’s death, it does not appear that any serious intervention was made by government authorities charged with investigating such allegations. Why was not enough done to protect Teddy from known abuse?

System Failure

Even if, as SB 248 would require, his mother had sought social service’s approval to homeschool and was denied, he still would have been at home subject to abuse after school. Regardless of where he went to school, Teddy was left by authorities in a home where they knew abuse was occurring.

Clearly, SB 248 would not have saved Teddy.

SB 248 turns fundamental American values upside down. Parents have been deemed by the United States Supreme Court in Parham v. JR to act in their children’s best interests. In Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the Court ruled that parents have a fundamental right to direct the education of their children. This law replaces parents with unqualified social workers to make educational decisions for children.

What happened to Teddy Foltz-Tedesco is a tragedy that could have been prevented. If those responsible for investigating child abuse had done their job, Teddy might have been saved. The system needs reform, but Senate Bill 248 will increase the load on social workers by requiring them to investigate all families who want to homeschool rather than focusing resources on parents actually suspected of child abuse.

Misguided

Rather than target tens of thousands of decent Ohioans who homeschool, policymakers like Cafaro should try to discover what prevented police and social workers who knew what was going on from taking action and faithfully enforcing Ohio’s already adequate child protection laws. This bill is misguided and a step in the wrong direction.

HSLDA has requested its Ohio members contact the bill’s sponsors to ask them to withdraw Senate Bill 248. However we encourage all our members to consider intervening. This misguided attack on homeschooling in Ohio may only be a precursor to more general attempts by some to impose similar restrictions on parents. Such attempts have been made in the past in numerous states but thanks to the work of HSLDA and state organizations, homeschooling has so far been protected.
• • •
For more info:
http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/oh/201312170.asp

Thanks

Your personal story gives a great insight in the relations home schooling, faith and child abuse. Thanks!

Home Schooling Abuse

While I often question the abilities of those who attempt homeschooling, my biggest concern with the above defense of it "even if the child attends public school, they are still at home with the parents" is this:

School personnel are MANDATED REPORTERS who have a legal duty and obligation to report to authorities any suspected cases of abuse of children.  If parents know their child will be going to school the next day or week, it is much harder to conceal evidence of abuse.  For that reason, I would always recommend that every State include in its home schooling legislation a requirement for children to be seen at least once every six months by a mandated reporter such as school personnel or public health nurse.  Children should also be required to demonstrate academic progress by testing, because when I was in education we often had parents pull their children out of public schools to attempt homeschooling, only to give up after several years and return them to our schools, where they required MUCH remedial work (the Bible just doesn't have much good math in it!)

So many times in cases of child abuse and particularly adoptee abuse, I see that the children were home schooled.  I think it is often a way of hiding abuse.

This is my Uncle and I am

This is my Uncle and I am not surprised. He is a harsh individual. I haven't seen them in almost 10 years, but I always knew something was fishy. He only wanted the money. Same as him having my grandmother and grandfather move to TN so he could control their money. I feel so bad for the kids and even though the older two shows no signs of physical abuse I'm pretty sure it is mental abuse.

???

I happened upon this site by accident and am appalled by the small minded, self-serving and biased thinking process of those who post here. Let me inform you of the many errors I see with all of this...

You only seem to label the families that home school. How about the many that do not home school but still abuse their children? Why do you focus so much on the homeschooling? Was the creator of this site home schooled, adopted and abused? Well, let me tell you... I am adopted, I was abused sexually and physically and went to public school. I was also tortured/bullied in school, even by some of the so-called adult authority figures. I am sure I'm not the only one either. Let's hear your explanation for that. Let me see you do something about it. I bet you don't even care about it because there was/is no homeschooling involved

I am much older now and found out that a lot of adults knew, but never did anything about it. Huh... go figure. I see now it's because they were too busy sticking their heads in the sand and blaming the wrong people. How about this: ALL HUMANS SUCK and are capable of anything!

Why is it only adopted children, do you not care about all children? I know a lot of homeschoolers and they DO NOT abuse their kids. As a matter of fact, they took them out of abusive, bullying situations that were occurring in the public schools. It seems like most of the posters here don't have kids and/or have no idea what goes on in public schools. Most of these posts are fashioned to blame these abuses on homeschooling, which is very irrational and illogical.

FACT: The majority of abuse cases are made up of kids enrolled in public schools and preschool aged children. Pointing fingers at one group of people is very dangerous business my friends, because it distracts from other abuses and abusers, that have nothing to do with homeschooling.

I am ashamed for you.

noteworthy

Let me address the issues you raise.

Pound Pup Legacy archives cases of abuse in adoptive families in general. We do this because at the time we started our website, more than 8 years ago, this was an entirely undocumented phenomenon.

Of course, child abuse is horrible, irrespective of the family structure, but adoptive families, unlike biological families, have been screened and have received approval to take in children. Abuse in adoptive families is therefore not just a sign that something is seriously wrong in that family, but also a sign that something went seriously wrong in the screening and approval process. It is for that specific reason, we started archiving cases, so hopefully professionals in the field of adoption can learn from mistakes made in the past.

The reason we specifically tag cases when homeschooling plays a role, has to do with an initial observation that quite a number of cases involved homeschooling families. To find out if there really was an over-representation of homeschooling families, we started tagging each case with that classifier. As a result we found out that homeschooling families represent more than 19% of the population of abusive adoptive families we have added to our archives, while the population at large knows some 3% homeschooling families.

We think this discrepancy is noteworthy and deserves more attention.

Even more noteworthy

So then, abused, adopted children, who attend public and/or private schools, represent 81% of those cases. I and the majority of other people believe THAT is much more noteworthy. So with that in mind, why would people here suggest that home schoolers need to undergo "extra" investigating. If people are going to push this issue, then it should stand for all people who want to have children, PERIOD. "What is good for the goose is good for the gander" so to speak.

A snippet of a proposed bill:
"With the introduction of Senate Bill 248 on December 3, 2013, by Senator Capri Cafaro, Ohio has suddenly become a frontline in the battle over homeschooling freedom.
SB 248 is breathtakingly onerous in its scope. It requires all parents who homeschool to undergo a social services investigation which would ultimately determine if homeschooling would be permitted. Social workers would have to interview parents and children separately, conduct background checks and determine whether homeschooling is recommended or not. If it is not recommended, parents would have to submit to an “intervention” before further consideration of their request to homeschool."
"SB 248 was offered by sponsors as a way to respond to the death of 14-year-old Teddy Foltz-Tedesco in January 2013. News reports indicate that Teddy had been abused for years by his mother’s boyfriend, Zaryl Bush. --->*After teachers reported abuse to authorities*<--- Teddy’s mother withdrew him from -->*public school*<-- allegedly to homeschool him. Reports tell a sad story of a broken home where neighbors, friends, family, police, teachers and others knew Teddy was suffering ongoing abuse. Finally, Bush beat Teddy so severely that he later died of his injuries. Both Bush and Teddy’s mother are now in prison."

Again... How dare people make the generalization that home schoolers are abusive. Obviously this particular child WAS in public school where they did notice the abuse, but yet did NOTHING! Another example of ignored abuse is of a well known reality television family. Tell me... have they taken the children from her yet? NO... WHY NOT? How much more proof do people need to do something about ALL abusers of ALL children!? I was abused, I went to public school and I don't think my adoption had anything to do with it. I believe it would have happened anyway. It is really amazing how many adults knew and did nothing. To be honest, I think I would have preferred being home schooled. I dreaded school and I dreaded going home after school. I was double whammied.

My parents were screened. They represented the "All American" family on paper. My Ma being an RN and my Pa former Air Force. He also worked for the city we lived in afterwards. No matter the screening process, people will lie, cheat and give a grand performance to get what they want. The only resentment that I do carry, is being approximately 50% Native American, I think I should have been placed with a similar type of family, not a racist European family that called me Pocahontas or redskin every chance they got. How boring it was to hear the warrior calls and "how"... etc... I'm thankful I made it out of there alive, because realistically, the way this family acted with me, I'm surprised I wasn't kidnapped or worse. I was a token adoption in "keeping up with the Jonses'."

Don't get me wrong... I think crimes against children are the worst form of criminal activity and should never be taken lightly. Children are to be treated like the grandest gift of all. So how about instead of making it a point to go after one group of people, why don't we make sure ALL children are safe with ALL adults. Because as I see it, no matter what type of people we look at, rich or poor, light or dark, old or young, public or private, organizations..... etc... abuse comes in all forms, and we should try to prevent all of it.

Case in point....

I can appreciate your anger and your questions. I too was abused by members of my adoptive family and experienced many hardships in school due to bullying, which was the direct-result of being adopted. I can't say I would have preferred to have been homeschooled by my mentally-ill adoptive mother, (who happened to have been a licensed teacher), so, like many children - adopted or not - I had to rely on the kindness of strangers and people outside my family to keep me safe from harm. Some years were better and safer for me than others.

With that, PPL was created to give a voice to the many ways adoptees are not given the focus they need and deserve, especially when one looks at child abuse statistics. Until PPL, very little, if any, recognition or acknowledgment was given to the rampant number of unfit parents allowed and approved to adopt. Until PPL, no safe platform was created for adopted children taken out of public-view and abused severely, in the name of discipline or religion, and under the guise of being home-schooled.

It's our hope, our efforts and focus will give members of government and the adoption community good reason to take the safety needs of all children put-in-care more seriously.

(Sure, it'd be nice it ALL people were screened and educated before childbearing, but try selling that idea to people who want less government oversight, not more. As it is, there are too many who want to minimize the experiences adoptees like you and I had as children, and pretend all is well and good in Adoptionland. It isn't.)

While vetting and educating ALL prospective parents is impossible, wouldn't you agree, at the very least, better vetting and more comprehensive teaching should be made for prospective adopters, for the sake of the children put in their care?

risk factors

Based on the data we have collected about abuse in adoptive families we can draw the conclusion that homeschooling is a risk factor when it comes to child abuse.

This shouldn't be a surprise. There are plenty of cases of abuse where the children were taken out of school, under the pretext of homeschooling, when schools started to ask questions about injuries. There are also plenty of cases of abuse where children were homeschooled because the parents adhered to "religiously inspired" discipline (aka torture). Just read about the case of the children adopted by John and Linda Dollar or the case of Lydia and Zariah Schatz and tell me how the complete isolation of these children benefited their lives.

Preventing child abuse can only come from identifying risk factors, and despite the fact that many people do a great job homeschooling their children, it is a serious risk factor in a disproportional number of cases.

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