Crapser was originally adopted, along with his sister, by a Michigan couple, who relinquished the siblings after six years. The two children were split up, and Adam bounced around foster homes until he was almost 11, when he was adopted by Thomas and Dolly Crapser of Oregon.
The Crapsers had multiple adopted and foster children, though Adam Crapser said he was the only foreign-born adoptee. He said the couple regularly abused and humiliated the children. He recalls being beaten, burned and having his head slammed into door frames.
He compared his adoptive mother, a devout Jehovah's Witness, to Cruella de Vil, the "101 Dalmatians" villain obsessed with having a variety of animal furs. "It was like 'one of each' for her: They had a Latino boy, a Filipino boy, Caucasian siblings, a black girl, me," Crapser said. "We were shown off at Jehovah's Witness gatherings to make it look like she was doing Jehovah's work."
In 1991, the couple was arrested and charged with 34 counts of rape, sexual abuse and criminal mistreatment of their children. They were convicted a year later on several counts of criminal mistreatment and assault. Thomas Crapser was also convicted on one count of sexual abuse, although he served just 90 days in prison.