Andrea says she never knew what a normal family behaved like until she went over to a friend's house. "I would ask my friend, 'You mean your parents don't beat you?'" Andrea says. "I remember her family inviting me up to a camping trip two weeks out of the summer, and it was like heaven."

Rhonda, the oldest child, says she had a different experience with her mother. She grew up Barzee's mental decline, she says, and her mother was loving toward her. The children's biological father is the one who physically abused them, she says. "He had a couple of belts that he would use when we were younger," she says. "[My mother] didn't participate, but she never stuck up for us."

Derrick says his mother was afraid of their father too. "My mother was probably terrified," he says. "She would incur the wrath of him if she would have tried to defend us."

Andrea says she experienced physical abuse at the hands of both of her parents. "When I started standing up for my siblings, then I tended to get more of the physical abuse from both my dad and mom," she says.


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