April 26, 2017
Abba says she was a newborn when she was adopted by Michael and Sharen Gravelle, who went on to foster and adopt a total of 11 children. While Abba says she was close with her siblings, she said they had very different experiences growing up in the Gravelle household.
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“My brothers and sisters were kept in cages. I was the only one that slept in a bed. I would even ask my parents if I could sleep in a cage because I wanted to be like the rest of my siblings,” Abba says. “One of my sisters who had Down syndrome, I witnessed my parents shoving a sock down her throat.”
The now 19-year-old says she felt scared and afraid. “Although I was never physically abused, I was emotionally abused by witnessing the abuse,” she says.
WATCH: ‘I Spent Most Of My Early Childhood Locked Up In A Cage’
She also says she carried guilt for being treated better than her brothers and sisters. “My siblings would always ask me, ‘Oh, Abba. You get treated better than us. Why is that?’ -- “I never knew the answer why. I felt really guilty,” she shares.
When Abba was 10, her parents were arrested and she was removed from the only home she knew. The Gravelles were eventually convicted of four felony accounts of child endangering, two misdemeanor accounts of child endangering and five misdemeanor accounts of child abuse and spent two years in prison.
WATCH: Man Who Helped Save 11 Kids From Abusive Parents Shares His Story
Hear more of Abba’s story in the video above. And on Wednesday’s episode of Dr. Phil, don’t miss Abba’s emotional reunion with one of her siblings whom she hasn’t seen in 10 years. Check here to see where you can watch.
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