An 8-year-old girl rescued from abusive parents wrote the sweetest note to her social worker heroes.

"I think that if you never helped me my life would still be awful and lonely. Because they might not help me, not feed me or they would hit me when I cried. But now I'm much better. I now have a safe happy environment."Trigger warning for discussion of child abuse.

When she was just 8 months old, Marie was admitted to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, bringing with her injuries that would affect the rest of her life.

She weighed just 14 pounds and had suffered 14 fractures. Additionally, Marie's spinal cord was injured, leaving her paraplegic.

Marie's mother and her boyfriend were arrested. She was placed in the care of social worker Michelle Surprenant, who would eventually adopt her.



Though she's unable to walk, Marie has enjoyed a happy and healthy life.

She's taken trips to Disney World, learned to swim, attended art camps and drama clubs, and done just ... well, kid stuff.

Now 9 years old, Marie wants to let the world know just how special the detectives and social workers who helped her are. At age 8, she decided to write a letter to the people who helped her so much as a small child.

The letter reads:

Dear social workers and detectives,

I want to thank you for making me happy by giving me a new warm and safe environment. Now I have a home that is nice, and I have three nice meals a day. This is Marie Rose Surprenant. When I was a baby I got hurt and you were on my case. 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. So they asked how I got hurt in the ER. But I lied and said that I fell out the bed. So then that's when you got involved and solved my case and not letting the bad guy hurting me or anyone else.

I think that if you never helped me my life would still be awful and lonely. Because they might not help me, not feed me or they would hit me when I cried. But now I'm much better. I now have a safe happy environment. I'm also around smart people.
Now my life is much better. But the only thing that drives me crazy is our pet dog is named Jo. She snores as loud as a vacuum and sounds like an old man. I also have two cats their names are Gypsy and Mr. Fluffy. Gypsy is grey all over and has green eyes. She likes to play with yarn mice, she likes cat scratchers, she is very curious and likes to watch what we are doing all the time.

And Mr. Fluffy is a black and white cat with green eyes too. He likes to sleep on his beach chair all day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. But he's active at night. I love pets but I love lizards. My favorite lizard is a bearded dragon. My class has a class pet that is a bearded dragon his name is Mr. Cuddles.

I wish that you keep doing what you do to make the world a better place and to make kids feel protected. I also wish that no matter how big or small the case is you will at least try and help the kids.

Love,
Marie











Michelle shares Marie's gratitude, writing in a blog post:

"Her future looks bright, and we know very well that none of this success would have been possible without the amazing team of social workers, detectives and medical staff in Atlanta. Thank you for being the stepping stone that this little, baby girl needed." — Michelle Surprenant

This is Marie's story, but it's also that of so many others.

According to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, roughly 1 in every 50 infants is the victim of child abuse each year. Additionally, they estimate that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by the time they reach their 18th birthday.

Social workers save lives, and though most won't get the credit they deserve, they keep working away to create a better world for those they care for.

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Women around the world are constantly bombarded by traditional and outdated societal expectations when it comes to how they live their lives: meet a man, get married, buy a home, have kids.

Many of these pressures often come from within their own families and friend circles, which can be a source of tension and disconnect in their lives.

Global skincare brand SK-II created a new campaign exploring these expectations from the perspective of four women in four different countries whose timelines vary dramatically from what their mothers, grandmothers, or close friends envision for them.

SK-II had Katie Couric meet with these women and their loved ones to discuss the evolving and controversial topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations.

SK-II

"What happens when dreams clash with expectations? We're all supposed to hit certain milestones: a degree, marriage, a family," Couric said before diving into conversation with the "young women who are defining their own lives while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most."

Maluca, a musician in New York, explains that she comes from an immigrant family, which comes with the expectation that she should live the "American Dream."

"You come here, go to school, you get married, buy a house, have kids," she said.

Her mother, who herself achieved the "American Dream" with hard work and dedication when she came to the United States, wants to see her daughter living a stable life.

"I'd love for her to be married and I'd love her to have a big wedding," she said.

Chun Xia, an award-winning Chinese actress who's outspoken about empowering other young women in China, said people question her marital status regularly.

"I'm always asked, 'Don't you want to get married? Don't you want to start a family and have kids like you should at your age?' But the truth is I really don't want to at this point. I am not ready yet," she said.

In South Korea, Nara, a queer-identifying artist, believes her generation should have a choice in everything they do, but her mother has a different plan in mind.

SK-II

"I just thought she would have a job and meet a man to get married in her early 30s," Nara's mom said.

But Nara hopes she can one day marry her girlfriend, even though it's currently illegal in her country.

Her mother, however, still envisions a different life for her daughter. "Deep in my heart, I hope she will change her mind one day," she said.

Maina, a 27-year-old Japanese woman, explains that in her home country, those who aren't married by the time they're 25 to 30, are often referred to as "unsold goods."

Her mom is worried about her daughter not being able to find a boyfriend because she isn't "conventional."

"I really want her to find the right man and get married, to be seen as marriage material," she said.

After interviewing the women and their families, Couric helped them explore a visual representation of their timelines, which showcased the paths each woman sees her life going in contrast with what her relatives envision.

SK-II

"For each young woman, two timelines were created. One represents the expectations. The other, their aspirations," Couric explained. "There's often a disconnect between dreams and expectations. But could seeing the difference lead to greater understanding?"

The women all explored their timelines, which included milestones like having "cute babies," going back to school, not being limited by age, and pursuing dreams.

By seeing their differences side-by-side, the women and their families were able to partake in more open dialogue regarding the expectations they each held.

One of the women's mom's realized her daughter was lucky to be born during a time when she has the freedom to make non-traditional choices.

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"It looks like she was born in the right time to be free and confident in what she wants to do," she said.

"There's a new generation of women writing their own rules, saying, 'we want to do things our way,' and that can be hard," Couric explained.

The video ends with the tagline: "Forge your own path and choose the life you want; Draw your own timeline."

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