An 8-year-old survivor's letter to the social workers that saved her life.

We’re not crying, we’ve just got something in our eye… 

Trigger warning: This article details child abuse and may be triggering for some readers. 

Marie Surprenant was eight months old when she was first admitted to hospital with horrific injuries from months of abuse at the hand of her mother and boyfriend. Weighing just six kilograms, she had 14 fractures, including a broken spinal cord which left her paraplegic.

At eight years old, Marie is now is a happy, bright, intelligent child with an academic scholarship, three pets and a loving mother – a stark difference from the painful start to her life.

Marie and her foster mother, Michelle Surprenant. Image via Facebook.

She taught herself how to push her own wheelchair at just 17 months old, she goes to art camps and drama camps, and even surfs.

Related: This is not about ‘context’ or parental judgement. This is what child abuse looks like.

Marie has written a touching open letter to the social workers who took her out of the care of her abuser and completely changed her world.

“When I was little I got hurt and I wasn’t going to walk at all. I couldn’t walk because my spinal cord was broken and couldn’t be fixed,” Marie wrote in her letter.

“They asked how I got hurt in the ER. But he lied and said that I fell out of bed. That’s when you got involved and solved my case,” read Marie’s heartbreaking letter.


letter 1 final
Part one of the three-part letter. Image via Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
letter 2 final
Part two of three. Image via Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
letter 3 final
Part three. Image via Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

The letter was shared by Marie’s foster mother, Michelle Surprenant, and has received an incredible reaction from the public.

One, was Marie’s case worker, Rita Goodman:

“Hi Marie, This is Ms. Rita your case worker. I’m in a wheelchair sometimes myself now. I had to retire 2 years ago. I’m so glad to hear you are happy. I am also so proud of you. You are one of my best memories of the 12 years I spent in child welfare,” she wrote.

As Michelle points out, it’s stories like these that prove “social work works”.